Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Oscar Winner "Chariots of Fire" 25th Anniversary
It’s been 25 years since the release of one of my favorite films, Chariots of Fire. The story about two British athletes preparing to compete in the 1924 Olympics was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won 4 including Best Picture.
The movie is based on the true story of Englishman Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell known as the flying Scotsman. Both were competing in the 100 meters but Liddell dropped out as a matter of Christian conviction when he discovered that the race was to take place on the Sabbath. Liddell was allowed to compete in the 400-meter race instead where he won a gold medal.
If you haven’t seen the movie do yourself a favor and rent it this week. It is not a “sport’s film” as much as it is the story of men who follow their passions and live their convictions.
There are many memorable scenes. Allow me to highlight just one. Liddell was a devout Christian whose parents were missionaries. His sister Jenny had serious doubts about the appropriateness of Eric’s racing and the fame that accompanied his success. On one occasion she challenged him that he should quit racing and get on with becoming a missionary.
Liddell responded, “Jenny, God made me to run fast and when I run I feel His pleasure.” My friend, God has made each of us to do and be something and when we are faithful to that we “feel His pleasure.” What a profound joy that is.
The film doesn’t go on to tell the rest of Liddell’s story. He did become a missionary to China where he served the poor and worked as an educator. During the Chinese-Japanese War his mission was taken captive by the Japanese army. Liddell became a leader in the prison and helped the others to survive the ordeal. He died in prison in 1945.