Chariots of Fire is a British film based on the athletic careers of two British athletes in the run up to the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics; the film shows the large amount of prejudice based on class and religious beliefs that were present in the early 20th century. Directed by Hugh Hudson and written by Colin Welland, the 124-minute movie won four of the seven Oscars it was nominated for, including the theme by composer Vangelis that has become an iconic tune for sporting moments. The title Chariots of Fire comes from the William Blake poem Jerusalem that has become a famous song sung at sporting and national events in the England.
Opening in 1919, Chariots of Fire tells the story of two athletes from different areas of the U.K., the privileged Englishman Harold Abrahams and the poor missionary Eric Liddell. Abrahams is from a privileged background, but finds he is not accepted at Cambridge University because of his Jewish heritage and religious beliefs; Liddell on the other hand is a national hero in Scotland but faces problems in his sporting career because of his strong Christian beliefs. Eric Liddell is constantly criticized by his sister for continuing a competitive athletic career and argues his case that his God-given talents should be shown to the world. Abrahams and Liddell face off in a race, which Liddell wins, prompting Abrahams to employ a professional trainer, much to the unhappiness of his masters at Cambridge.
After being chosen as the sprinters for the 100 meters at the 1924 Paris Olympics Liddell and Abrahams travel to France; on the journey Liddell learns his heat for the 100 meters takes place on a Sunday and pulls out for religious reasons. A fellow athlete gives Liddell his place in the 400 meters, leaving Abrahams as the best hope of a victory in sprinting. Abrahams loses the 200 meters to the better trained and funded U.S. athletes and finds his best chance of a gold medal in the 100 meters.