Every year when the film awards roll around, arguments ensue over the winner. Critics are ready to voice why the films selected are not worthy. In 1981, the historically inspired Chariots of Fire won multiple awards. It continues to be known for its score and virtue… yet many critics wonder if it was overrated. How do we assess such films that are remarkable for their artistry and message, yet lag in terms of popular appeal? Even more curious: How does a film that positively and overtly features Christian faith become an award winner—not only in Hollywood, but also overseas?

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss Chariots of Fire, a film on the Never Seen list for them both. Erin was familiar with the film due to her background in running, while Hannah knew of it from the faith community angle. Both were surprised by its gentle, quiet retelling of two amazingly talented runners vying for Olympic Gold in 1924. Eric Liddell is a Christian whose faith frames his quest as part of his life goal of serving God. Harold Abrahams is Jewish, driven to prove his worth through his running feats. Through drastically different approaches to running and life, these two men both earn gold (Eric in the 400M, Harold in the 100M). But the film is about much more than their racing. Instead, it focuses on the inner worlds of two men who seek to live lives of meaning. Discussion covers the unexpected nature of a film about competition and faith, as well as the underlying messages about how we go about our life’s work. How did Chariots of Fire win over the critics to receive such acclaim? What lessons can we learn from these two men? Is this a movie that can be watched without snacks? Listen in for dialogue on issues like these, and continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.


Erin Straza: Web / Twitter
Hannah Anderson: Web / Twitter


Twitter: @PersuasionCAPC
Instagram: @PersuasionCAPC
Facebook: /Persuasioncapc

Persuasion 169 Resources & Links

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Great Movies Review by Roger Ebert

Vangelis: why Chariots of Fire‘s message is still important today, The Guardian

Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen:

Persuasion 164 | Beyond the Silver Screen, with Alissa Wilkinson

Persuasion 165 | Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca

Persuasion 166 | Get in, Losers. We’re Talking Mean Girls.

Persuasion 167 | Podcastin’ in the Rain, with Gina Dalfonzo

Persuasion 168 | Describing The Breakfast Club Ruckus, with Wade Bearden and Kevin McLenithan

Theme music by Maiden Name.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your review of this movie. I disagreed with you on a few points. It’s a beautiful film that uses running as the medium but this is not really a movie about running as “A Million Dollar Baby” is really not about boxing. Showing the running in slow motion is a device to get us to focus on the real issues. This is a movie about motives, convictions and commitments, and religious discrimination and using your gifts to glorify God. In most movies we don’t know the back story of every item and things like the trowel is majoring on a minor and this doesn’t affect our understanding of the main messages of the movie. I agree with you that it is quite. To me that’s the attraction. This is not a Ra Ra super amped up sports competition movie. Quite movies do require more of us but they are so worth it. They are probably a dying breed in our sound bite, internet world. Eric running with his head back is actually a portrayal of how he actually ran. Viewing actual footage of Liddell run shows this. I don’t see where this was a pedantic measure about how Christians should run. I also think this was a quotable movie.
    “Jenny, the Lord made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure.”
    “I won’t run on Sundays”
    “I don’t run to take beatings.
    I think the second viewing of this film is a richer experience.
    I loved your thoughts about the film having a Christian message without being preachy. I agree with you fully on this.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

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