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Chariots of Fire (30th Anniversary Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Winner of four Academy Awards® (including Best Picture), this internationally acclaimed motion picture recounts the poignant true story of two British sprinters vying for gold in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a driven athlete of Jewish ancestry, runs to overcome prejudice and to achieve personal fame; his rival, Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Scottish missionary, competes for the glory of God. An inspirational story of spirit and strength in the face of enormous odds, the film combines the finest elements of athletic competition and human drama to create a compelling and timeless cinematic classic.
- Limited edition contains a CD sampler with four tracks from the soundtrack: • Titles (Theme Song) • Abraham’s Theme • Eric’s Theme • Jerusalem
- Paris 1924: Birth of the Modern Games (new to Blu-ray)
- David Puttnam: A Cinematic Champion (new to Blu-ray)
- Hugh Hudson: Journey to the Gold (new to Blu-ray)
- Commentary by director Hugh Hudson
- Composer's Isolated score
- Wings on their Heels: The Making of Chariots of Fire
- Chariots of Fire: A Reunion
- Reliving the Sprint
- Filming the Opening Shot
- Screen tests
- Additional scenes
- Theatrical trailer
The come-from-behind winner of the 1981 Oscar for Best Picture, Chariots of Fire either strikes you as either a cold exercise in mechanical manipulation or as a tale of true determination and inspiration. The heroes are an unlikely pair of young athletes who ran for Great Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics: devout Protestant Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a divinity student whose running makes him feel closer to God, and Jewish Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a highly competitive Cambridge student who has to surmount the institutional hurdles of class prejudice and anti-Semitism. There's delicious support from Ian Holm (as Abrahams's coach) and John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson as a couple of Cambridge fogies. Vangelis's soaring synthesised score, which seemed to be everywhere in the early 1980s, also won an Oscar. Chariots of Fire was the debut film of British television commercial director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke) and was produced by David Puttnam. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Little will prepare fans of "Chariots Of Fire" for this BLU RAY reissue - the picture quality is SENSATIONAL - and for a British film made on a budget in 1981 - that says a lot. Also - re-watching it in 2012 (the year of the 30th Olympiad in England) - it's nice to find that this homage to Sporting achievement and human spirit hasn't lost any of its capacity to stir the soul and bring a tear to the eye. It was nominated for 7 Oscars at the time and won 4 - including Best Picture.
The first thing to note is that even though the print quality and abundant extras are the same for the UK and US versions - they differ greatly in their 'packaging' and there's actually 3 variants of the BLU RAY to choose from. The UK issue comes in two versions - a simple uninspiring plastic clip-case with just 1 disc at around ten pounds (type in barcode 5039036052344 into the Amazon Search Bar) and a second issue with the music CD as well for a few quid more (type in barcode 5039036051163).
This US Warner Brothers version (at about twenty pounds) that I'm reviewing however comes in a beautifully presented 36-page embossed hardback 'Book Pack' (or Digibook as its sometimes called) with an outer page attached to the rear (type in barcode 883929093946 into Amazon). Regardless of which issue you buy or where you live - ALL ARE 'REGION FREE' - so will play on every machine.
The booklet for the US variant is beautiful - featuring articles and pictures on Producer David Puttnam, Director Hugh Hudson and Writer Colin Welland.Read more ›
The film tells the story of these two individuals, who are as different from each other as different can be, and explores their personal drive and reasons for running. Eric Liddell is a staunch Scot and a fervid Presbyterian. The son of a missionary and himself a missionary by avocation, he runs because "God made him fast for a reason". His running is a reconciliation of his faith and his passion. He runs for the glory of God. His faith always remains constant and pre-eminent in his life. His devotion to it causes some controversy during the Olympics, as a consequence of the stance he takes when he discovers that the preliminary mete for the 200 metre race would be held on a Sunday. Liddell simply refuses to run on the Sabbath! Luckily for Great Britain, Lord Andrew Lindsay (Nigel Havers), a gentleman and fellow competitor, graciously steps in and, as he had already won a gold medal in the hurdles, gives him his place in the 400 metre dash, which would take place on a Thursday. This would never happen today in the dog eat dog world of competitive sports, much less in the Olympics of today!
Harold Abrahams is completely different. A secular Jew and Cambridge scholar, he studies in the bastion of upper crust British society, struggling to fit in but always remaining the proverbial outsider. He has a passion for running that is motivated by his passion for winning. In his world, God has nothing to do with it.Read more ›
The film is, of course wonderful. I will not go over ground covered in the other reviews here, except to say that this is a beautiful, moving and inspiring film. I remember seeing it in my school hall when I was 9 years old and hadn't seen it again until I viewed this DVD. The years have only sderved to improve the film; comparing it to modern movies is a bit like comparing the 1924 Olympiad to Athens 2004- we seem to have lost something wonderful in the interim.
The DVD, however, is terrible. Others have mentioned the sound: this is not an isolated problem. Throughout the film the speech is muddy, the music harsh and distorted. Often there is mismatch between speech and film- an unforgivable offence. For such a beautiful film the picture itself is grainy; although this may be a deliberate cinematic effect (I can't quite believe that!), given that the sound is so bad it is more likely just poor transfer. As for extras, erm... what extras? I'm not usually too bothered but in a film like this, a Best Picture Oscar winner and a historical tale to boot, I would expect a little more, even a short documentary of the true facts, pictures of the athletes or brief biographies of the protagonists would be nice. Particularly galling as that this is billed as a "Special Commemorative Edition" yet is identical to the previous edition bar a cardboard slipcase bearing the words "Commemorative Edition"!; commemorative of what, exactly? 80 years since the events shown? Then why no documentary abut the 1924 Olympics or the development of the Olympic movement? Or perhaps commemorative of this year's (Athens) olympics? I suspect the words "cash" and "in" are involved here.
I can't help but feel that the producers of this DVD have betrayed the ideals which they promote so highly in this film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The sound is awful. On full volume you could hardly hear it. Then when the music you had to reduce the sound. Not good.Published 24 days ago by Ms Jacqueline M Radford
my nephew is a budding athlete, and I bought this to give him inspiration. it certainly has he loves it and keeps watching it.Published 1 month ago by peter wall
I loved to watch this film again. delivered on time. What more can one ask...Published 1 month ago by chris reed