Chariots of Fire (1981)
This is the new trailer for the movie which will be re-released in England this summer for the London 2012 Olympics.
The story follows two British runners in the 1924 Olympics. One is a Jew and faces both his insecurities the anti-semitic upperclass in England of the 20s. The other is a Christian who faces the balance between faith and public duty. It is based on actual events though elastic with some moments like the order of races and character interaction. Beautifully written and acted. There is so much to like about this movie. Please forgive the soundtrack--Vangelis and the synthesiser do not hold up to time particularly well.
Why is it a great patriotic movie, you ask? Fair question. In the movie, Eric Liddell, was a young runner as well as Scottish missionary to China. He is asked to run on the Sabbath while at the Olympics and declines. In the movie he is confronted by the British Olympic Committee headed by the Prince of Wales. They try to bully him into running but he stands fast. It is only after a solution is brokered by another runner (Lord Andrew Lindsay) that Liddell will be able to run after all. After the meeting, two of the committee members talk about how it all worked out:
Duke of Sutherland: A sticky moment, George.
Lord Birkenhead: Thank God for Lindsay. I thought the lad had us beaten.
Duke of Sutherland: He did have us beaten, and thank God he did.
Lord Birkenhead: I don't quite follow you.
Duke of Sutherland: The "lad", as you call him, is a true man of principles and a true athlete. His speed is a mere extension of his life, its force. We sought to sever his running from himself.
Lord Birkenhead: For his country's sake, yes.
Duke of Sutherland: No sake is worth that, least of all a guilty national pride.
Patriotism is about conviction. Sometimes you rally around the flag, but sometimes you challenge the flag holders. Both can be patriotic. There are times you trust your leaders implicitly and if the order isn't immoral or illegal, then you follow. Those times, however, to quote The West Wing, usually 'involve body counts'. Most of the time, however, patriots can disagree of fundamental points and still be patriots. To suggest otherwise is ludacrous. (Soupbox descended ... back to the blog).
This is footage of Liddell winning the gold in the 400 m.
BTW-to those of you who disagree that its the best sports movie ever made ... feel free to disagree ... would love to hear your thoughts on the subject ... will post all suggestions except for Caddyshack!
Up next--27 minutes of required viewing for all students.