Film Score Friday: Chariots of Fire

Alright, it’s time to pull out another movie from my childhood! The classic and inspirational Chariots of Fire.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Music: Vangelis

This movie popped back into my brain because I watch Netflix’s The Crown, and season 5 introduced us to Dodi Fayed (Princess Diana’s partner after her divorce from Prince Charles). Fayed’s production company, Allied Stars Ltd., produced Chariots of Fire. There was an episode of The Crown that highlighted Fayed’s involvement with the film and subsequent win at the Academy Awards.

I can’t tell you anything about the director, Hugh Hudson. In fact, while searching him up on the interwebs, I found that he recently died on February 10, 2023. He directed a few movies that I’ve heard of, but never seen.

I can’t really tell you anything about the composer, Vangelis, either. Again, while searching him up on the interwebs, I found that he died in 2022 from complications with COVID-19. He has composed for several movies I’ve seen, but I’ve never really paid attention to the films’ scores. (Blade Runner, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Alexander … to name a few.) He has a diverse style, and primarily uses electronic instruments.

Now, Chariots of Fire. It’s based on a true story of two British runners in the 1924 Olympics. One athlete is Christian, the other athlete is Jewish. There are some young recognizable faces in this film: Ben Cross (Sarek in Star Trek (2009)), Nigel Havers (Dr. Rawlins from Empire of the Sun), Alice Krige (Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact), Dennis Christopher (older Eddie Kaspbrack from It (1990 miniseries)), and Ian Holm (just look him up on IMDB. Trust me, you know who he is!) Apparently, a young Kenneth Branagh makes his film debut in Chariots of Fire!

The main theme/title is one of the most recognizable main theme/titles. I immediately envision the men running on the beach. This track is used at sporting events around the world. It’s a classic!

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