Eric Liddell is fast, really fast. They call him the “Flying Scotsman.” With the 1924 Olympics looming, he is ready to answer the call to run the 100 meters for God and country; but he has also answered the call to serve as a missionary in China. He can’t do both, can he?
Harold Abrahams is fast, very fast. He has never lost a footrace. Running for his Oxford alma mater, he wins medal after medal. His sights are on the Olympics as well, but can he outrun the Americans with all of their world records?
As Britain’s finest travel to Paris, both men wrestle with their inner demons. To his dismay, Eric discovers that his heat is scheduled on Sunday, and racing on the Lord’s Sabbath is contrary to his deeply help convictions. Harold is wracked with waves of self-doubt. He has poured most of his life into preparing for this one race – only 10 brief seconds. What if he loses? What would be the point of his life then?
This movie is not so shallow as to be a mere sports story. The men and their motivations take center stage as we attempt to peer inside these athletes’ souls to see what makes them tick. What drives people beyond their limits to achieve such greatness?
The contrast between the protagonists is striking. Eric has but one goal: all for the glory of God. Harold, on the contrary, acutely feels the disdain of society upon his Jewish heritage, and runs to prove himself and upstage every gentile rival. Their post-race responses are especially telling: Eric celebrating joyfully with teammates, Harold drunk and morose.
Why we do what we do is more than what we do. Every one of us was created for a purpose. “God made me fast,” Eric says. “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”
These men may be fast, but this 150 minute movie is not. Younger tykes will find the pacing slow and uninteresting. For the more mature, however, the finish line is more than worth the marathon.
My favorite part of the movie is the iconic and award winning soundtrack by Vangelis. It has stood the test of time: memorable, creative, inspiring – a trailblazing foray into the relatively new genre of electronica.
5 out of 5 running shoes
WHY THIS MOVIE?
We watched this as a family movie (my 11 year old was bored to sleep).
Have you discovered what you were created for? When do you feel God’s pleasure?