Thursday, January 31, 2013


80’s movies I forgot to watch the first time around month Post #11

Chariots of Fire

"I saw where Chariots of Fire just won Best Picture. I’ll get around to seeing it."
Chris, a student, sometime in 1981

"All right. I still haven't seen Chariots
of Fire
, and now I can't get that song
out of my head.
Chris, a librarian, the first blog post on 1001: A Film Odyssey from August, 2009

I’ve listed Chariots of Fire several times as a heading on this blog whenever I couldn’t think of any other heading to use, even though I’d never seen it. I was going to keep using this and have Chariots of Fire as my last movie of the 1001 list, but I thought since I was doing 80’s Movies I never got around to seeing before this month, I figured it was probably time to watch it. I guess I’ll have to find another film for my heading for any more miscellaneous blog listings.

When a lot of people think of Chariots of Fire, the first think you think of is the theme song by Vangelis. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’re probably familiar with the majestic theme, usually associated with Olympic runners running dramatically in slow motion. This has been referenced and parodied countless times, from National Lampoon’s Vacation to Madagascar.

The actual film isn’t bad, though doesn’t really strike me as a Best Picture winner. Some thought that Reds or even Raiders of the Lost Ark should have won that year.

What strikes me as interesting about this film is how old fashioned it is. If you take away the sophisticated camera angels and slow motion of the actual athletic competition and the use of the score (though I think the score is used even more dramatically in the accompanying Vangelis music video), I think this film could have been made in 1951 just as easily as 1981. It’s a definite throwback plotwise, which is interesting that it came as a Best Picture winner in the aftermath of radical 70’s cinema. Definitely a sign of a change in direction.

Now that I've gotten that Chariot off my back, I can feel the closure and know it's finally time for me to forge ahead.