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Chariots of Fire
BLU-RAY disk
07.31.2012 By: Stephanie Cooke
Chariots of Fire order download
Director:
Hugh Hudson

Actors:
Ben Cross
Ian Charleson
Nicholas Farrell

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The story of two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If youíve ever played a sport for any length of time and were remotely good at it, chances are the thought crossed your head that you could possibly go to the Olympics. Becoming an athlete is a ridiculously long and hard process that usually starts at an exceptionally young age. As someone who played a wide variety of sports growing up, I know that dreams of grandeur in what you do are almost inevitable. While Iím not a huge fan of sports films and biographical films about athletes for the most part, I do find them fascinating, particularly when you see how badly these people want that prize and that recognition that comes with being the best.

I had never before seen CHARIOTS OF FIRE and so getting to sit down to this beautifully restored Blu-ray was an absolute treat. Warner did an exceptional job cleaning up this film from 1981 and breathing new life into it. Of course, Warner timed the release to coincide with the launch of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and who can blame them? This inspirational tale of two British runners trying to immortalize themselves through sport is the perfect way to get yourself excited for the upcoming games, if thatís your cup of tea.

The story, the acting and the overall message of the film holds up since its initial release and the four Oscars that it won in its day (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score) still feel justified. Especially the Best Original Score Oscar, seeing as the song that plays during the movie may be more iconic than the film itself.
THE EXTRAS
Wings on their Heels: The Making of Chariots of Fire: The actors and the crew talk about what it took to get the film made and the process that went into accurately bringing this story to life. There are short clips from the film, accompanied of course by more talk about the film itself and behind-the-scenes sort of things.

Chariots of Fire: A Reunion: This is exactly what it sounds like, itís a reunion for the cast and crew of the movie. They discuss the inspiration for the film and all other things that one would go over when reminiscing about a film that was made quite some time ago.

Sprint Around the Quad: Hugh Hudson, Nigel Havers (who played Lord Andrew Lindsay) and David Puttnam reunite to discuss the scene where Lindsay and Abrahams do the sprint around the quad before the clock finishes chiming to 12.

Famous Opening Shot: Ben Cross talks about the scene and what it was like to film it with the actors running about a mile and a half, bare foot in freezing cold water while mixed in with actual athletes. Itís a very short feature and I think Iíve pretty well just summed it up right then and there, but still.

Paris, 1924: Birth of the Modern Olympics: This feature isnít so much about the movie as it is about the actual Olympics themselves, specifically in 1924. Lots of historians and experts chime in and people involved with the film as well and give their two cents about the event.

David Puttnam: A Cinematic Champion: Just from the title, you might be able to gather that this is a feature all about David Puttnam. A number of friends, colleagues and industry people discuss him and his career and what heís managed to achieve in his lifetime.

Hugh Hudson: Journey to the Gold: And just like the previous feature was a spotlight on David Puttnam, this is a spotlight on director, Hugh Hudson. Hugh talks about his career and the film.

Deleted scenes: These deleted scenes arenít restored along with the Blu-ray. Theyíre all in their original state, with maybe some slight touch ups, but the quality is not nearly as good as the film itself. The deleted scenes are a good bunch for those who enjoy the film and want a bit more, but other than that, theyíre your typical cut from the movie clips.

Screen tests: The original screen tests for the film. These have a particularly interesting vintage-ish quality to them as theyíre not really touched up for the Blu-ray.

Last but not least, thereís a Commentary by Hugh Hudson included among the special features.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If youíre a fan of CHARIOTS OF FIRE or if youíre a collector, then this Blu-ray set is well worth picking up as the DigiBook is beautiful, the restoration is great and thereís even an additional 4-song sampler from the soundtrack included with the set.
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