Chariots of Fire (Title derived from the hymn "Jerusalem" and from 2 Kings 2:11) is a 1981 British film telling the tale of the 1924 British Olympic team, their humble beginnings, and their success at the 8th Olympiad in Paris. Primary to the story are Eric Liddell (The Flying Scotsman) and Harold Abrahams, the former a Christian and the latter a Jew. It is through these religious conditions that most of the films themes are developed.
Abrahams, from the outset, is depicted as being constantly reminded of his faith and both overtly and covertly discriminated against as a result. Similarly, Liddell is chastised and pressured to ignore his beliefs so the the crown of Britain might shine more brightly. Specifically he refuses to run on the Sabbath at the games in Paris.
Being that I am not much of a learned historian, nor do I want to spoil the story here for those that have not seen the film, I will offer my thoughts and be on my merry way for four miles on the road this morning.
Bottom line is, this is a movie where the main characters are runners, but the movie is about religion. That doesn't make it a bad movie, it is enjoyable. I do not think it has much replay value for me personally, but I can see why it has critical acclaim. The competitive sequences (ie: races) are not very compelling or grand, but that's okay too. The title sequence, with the very-well-known-running-on-the-beach-in-slow-motion-theme-music is beautiful and moving. (FYI: it was filmed on the beaches of St. Andrews) Regarding the religious themes, I did find the exploration of Liddell's devotion and Abraham's discrimination interesting. Hard to think of any NFL players today that would refuse to play on the Sabbath.
I am still looking for inspiring movies about running, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.