Chariots of Fire: 5 things to know about the classic to review on Disney +

The great classic Chariots of Fire has just joined the catalog of the Disney + platform. The perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on Hugh Hudson’s first multi-award-winning feature film to (re) discover now.


Having become a great classic of the cinema, Les Chariots de feu freely adapts the real course of two British athletes to the 1924 games in France. English Jewish sprinter Harold Abrahams runs to challenge anti-Semitic prejudice. His compatriot and opponent, the Scotsman Eric Liddell, runs to assert his Christian faith.

The first feature film by director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan), this drama is carried by the excellent Ben Cross and Ian Charleson. Forty years after its theatrical release, (re) discover the sporting and personal fights of these two ambitious athletes on the platform Disney +.


Presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1981, Chariots of Fire won the 54th Academy Awards the following year by winning the coveted Best Picture statuette – the first for a British film since Oliver! in 1968. The feature film also won three other trophies for its original screenplay, costumes and music.


And what music! Whether you have seen Chariots of Fire or not, you have certainly heard its theme, which has now become legendary. Signed by the Greek composer Vangelis, this music accompanies the memorable race of the athletes by the sea which opens and concludes the film by Hugh Hudson. While the latter wanted to use The Child, included in the album Wild opera (1979) by Vangelis, the musician offers him an original piece which meets the expected success.

A successful bet for the composer who won the Oscar for Best Music, and gave birth to a soundtrack now cult throughout the world.


Chariots of Fire marks the very first screen appearance of a certain… Kenneth Branagh! Long before directing Henry V, Thor or more recently The Crime of the Orient-Express, the actor and filmmaker was an intern on the set of the feature film. He was offered the opportunity to be an extra for a very short sequence. And he was not the only one, since a very young Stephen Fry, then a student at Cambridge, is also hiding in a shot of the film!

Nice coincidence: the actor will play a few years later the title role of the feature film Friends of Peter directed by Kenneth Branagh.


While Chariots of Fire met with great success with spectators and critics, the British film has also made a name for itself in the watch-list of the 46th President of the United States. The feature film is indeed Joe Biden’s favorite movie!

Rediscover Chariots of Fire in the Star universe now on Disney +.

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