London 2012: Chariots of Fire wins Olympics re-release Oscar-winning drama about two British sprinters competing in the 1924 Paris Olympics is to be re-released on 13 July to celebrate London 2012
The Oscar-winning 1981 British film Chariots of Fire is to return to cinemas more than three decades on to celebrate the London Olympics.
Starring Ben Cross and Ian Charleson as British sprinters competing in the Paris Olympics of 1924, Hugh Hudson's drama won four Oscars at the 1981 Academy Awards, including best picture, best original screenplay, best costume design and best original music for Vangelis's stirring synth-fuelled score. Its victory is famous for screenwriter Colin Welland's speech while collecting his Oscar, in which he declared: "The British are coming".
The digitally restored Chariots of Fire will be re-released in more than 100 UK cinemas from 13 July with £150,000 in funding from the British Film Institute. It opens two weeks ahead of the London 2012 Olympics' opening ceremony. A previously mooted stage adaptation, Hudson's own idea, will also run from 9 May to 16 June at London's Hampstead Theatre.
David Puttnam, now Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, who produced the Oscar-winning film, said: "Chariots of Fire is about guts, determination and belief. Just as the film succeeded in raising spirits and aspirations 30 years ago, I believe it could deliver exactly the same message today. At the heart of the film is the quest for Olympic glory, and I find hard to imagine anything more likely to resonate throughout the country this summer."
Hudson's film depicts the struggles of two British Olympic runners – one Jewish, one a deeply religious Christian – to reconcile their love of running with their respective faiths. "Discretion, loyalty and self-sacrifice, questions of faith and refusal to compromise, standing for one's beliefs, achieving something for the sake of it, with passion, and not just for fame or financial gain, are even more vital and relevant today," said the film-maker. "Chariots is about these issues."