Director Hugh Hudson's absorbing drama, based on a true story, deals with the personal struggles faced by two very different long-distance runners competing for Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) is a devout Christian who sees victory as a testament to the glory of God, while the other, Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), is a Jewish Cambridge student who sees victory as a challenge to anti-Semitism and his ongoing struggle for acceptance by Britain's elite. Eric, a hometown Scottish hero to the people, gives rousing sermons after victory and works at a local missionary. Harold runs with a zealous commitment, upsetting Cambridge's educational upper crust (played with enjoyable wit and candor by Sir John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson) while enjoying social life with his university chums and his beautiful showgirl girlfriend (Alice Krige). But when faced with such a competent challenger, Harold hires trainer Sam Mussabini (Ian Holm) to further his dreams of winning the gold. Ultimately, the two runners meet in Paris to run for British victory in a rousing finale. Featuring an unforgettable soundtrack by Vangelis, this Academy Award-winning film is an inspirational story of athletic excellence and spiritual awakening that captures the zeal of post-WWI Britain and the glory of the Olympics.
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