The hour of the victor

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German title The hour of the victor
Original title Chariots of Fire
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1981
length 118 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Hugh Hudson
script Colin Welland
production David Puttnam
music Vangelis
camera David Watkin
cut Terry Rawlings

The Winner's Hour (original title: Chariots of Fire ) is a 1981 film directed by Hugh Hudson . The film won an Oscar for "Best Picture" in 1982 ; The film music was also awarded. The piece Chariots of Fire by Vangelis from the opening sequence is a world-famous melody that is still used in many films to this day and is synonymous with slow-motion sequences. The music was also played in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics , while Rowan Atkinson, in the role of Mr. Bean, parodied the opening sequence in a feature film.

The English title Chariots of Fire comes from the poem And did those feet in ancient time by William Blake , the line of which goes back to a passage in the Bible : 2. Book of Kings 2:11 ELB and 6, 17 ELB .


The story of the film is based on a true story. The main characters are two British athletes who took part in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris . The sprinter Harold Abrahams is Jewish and is therefore discriminated against at his university, the University of Cambridge . He wants to fight against this by winning the gold medal in his special discipline, the 100-meter run. While preparing for the Olympics, he falls in love with the singer Sybil. The second athlete is the devout Scottish Christian Eric Liddell , who grew up in China as the son of a missionary couple. He is also nominated for the 100-meter run, but refuses to take part because the preliminary runs take place on a Sunday. His team-mate Lord Lindsay gives him his starting place in the 400-meter run, in which both the prelims and the final are each scheduled for one working day.

Abrahams hires a professional trainer, Sam Mussabini , to work on his running technique. For this measure he is criticized by the university administration of Cambridge: It is dishonorable to seek professional help. Abrahams suspects anti-Semitism behind the criticism. Liddell, meanwhile, is accused by his family of paying more attention than God to running preparation. Abrahams and Liddell eventually win the 100 meter and 400 meter finals respectively and make a successful return to Great Britain.

In the credits it is learned that Abrahams married Sybil and became an important sports official and that Liddell died in 1945 in the Japanese-occupied part of China.

Awards (selection)

Academy Awards 1982

British Academy Film Awards 1982

  • Awards in the categories of Best Film , Best Supporting Actor (Ian Holm) and Best Costumes .
  • Further nominations in seven categories, including Best Sound .

At the Cannes International Film Festival in 1981 , the film competed. Ian Holm received the Best Supporting Actor award .

In 1982 the film received a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film . The British Film Institute chose Chariots of Fire in 1999 at number 19 of the best British films of all time .


“The film sings the victor's high song and ignores historical references as well as the questionable nature of unreflected performance thinking. Photographically brilliant and opulently equipped, but too superficial. "

“Exceptionally well cast right down to the supporting roles, Hudson's film conjures up a world full of nobility and chivalry, in which the women's fashion is less nostalgic than the noble spirit of the athletes who have not yet deposited their egos at the bank counter. For us, who read about athletes almost exclusively in surgical German and financial gibberish, the film seems like a fairy tale from an ideal world in which men still had ideals. "

- Wolfgang Limmer : The mirror

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The hour of the victor. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Wolfgang Limmer: Running and kicking. In: Der Spiegel , May 17, 1982. Retrieved August 23, 2014.