Edit
Chariots of Fire (1981) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

In the 1920s, American flags had 48 stars, not 50.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the long shot of the departing boat that takes the athletes to France, there's a rather obvious radar antenna. Fortunately, it's not rotating.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A modern day EXIT sign can be seen over a door as they attend "The Mikado".
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Houses at the end of the track at the Scotland-France meeting have modern double-glazed windows.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
At minute 57 in the movie, that takes place in the early twenties of XX century, when Eric Liddell is asked for an autograph he does not unscrew or remove any cap from the pen he uses. As all fountain pens have caps, he seems to be using a ballpoint pen because of a retractable tip type. Actually a patent for ball pen was only filed by László Bíró in UK in 1938.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the 1920s, the Canadian flag was either the Union Jack or the Canadian Red Ensign. The red maple leaf flag was not introduced until 1965.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Eric and Jennie Liddell talk on the hill in Edinburgh, a man jogs across the background in a 1970s/80s tracksuit.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the 1924 the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was not yet using the set and costume designs seen in this film. These designs were executed by Charles Ricketts for the 1926 production of "The Mikado" at the Savoy Theatre.
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After Eric Liddle has given his speech at the highland gathering, there is a brief glimpse of a boy whose trouser bottoms have no turn-ups (cuffs). As the movie is set in the early 1920s, trousers without turn-ups wouldn't be seen during this time period as they didn't come into fashion until much later. The trouser legs also looked quite narrow and not in keeping with the style of the 1920s when they were much baggier.
1 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

On the boat to France, Abrahams is playing the piano, but the notes we see him strike bear no resemblance to the music we hear.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Character error 

The note that Jackson Scholz hands to Eric Liddell at the Olympics is addressed to Mr. Liddel (only one "L" at the end.)
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
At the end of the montage "He is an Englishman" Harold is cheered for by the audience, presumably as the soloist. But the solo from HMS Pinafore is for the boatswain, and Harold is dressed in superior officer's clothes.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Continuity 

Eric momentarily loses the crumpled paper from his hand during the 400m race at the Olympics.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Before the last race Scholz gives a piece of paper to Lidell with a Bible quote, which he holds in his left hand. This piece of paper disappears during the race and reappears at the finish line.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Eric Liddell is in the locker room getting ready, before going over to wish Abrahams luck, the camera is in a close up on him. He walks past a row of showers and the man in the final stall is seen facing the camera and holding a towel. The angle then switches to a far away shot and the man is now naked, showering with his back to the camera.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Colonel John Keddie meets Sam Mussabini, the cane in Keddie's hand jumps from his right hand to his left, so that his right hand is free to shake Mussambini's.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Crew or equipment visible 

Just before the group of people enter the ball where the Prince of Wales is, we can see the camera and the camera man's shadows in the back of the lady in light green dress (the last one going inside). And the guy in the right side of the shot is looking at the camera too.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Errors in geography 

(at around 30 mins) Just before Abrams and Montague register at the Porters' Lodge of "Caius College, Cambridge 1919" their taxi is seen driving along a street and stopping at "the" College entrance. The street is Trinity Lane at the back of Caius College and the entrance is not that of Caius College but of Trinity Hall. Even the Trinity Hall crescent can be seen above the entrance.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the first Cambridge scene, set in 1919, passengers are seen on the railway station's footbridge. In fact, pressure from 19th century Cambridge University leaders opposed to railways led to special conditions being imposed on the station before it was constructed, and one of these was that it must have no footbridges; although one was added later, it was demolished again in 1863 and since then the station has had level access to all platforms. In 2011 work began on a second platform which will be connected to the original platform by a pedestrian bridge.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Factual errors 

Early in the film (at about 10 minutes in) the narration says "Thursday October the tenth, 1919...". That date was in fact a Friday that year.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Lord Lindsay (real name: Lord Burghley) and Aubrey Montague are shown attending Harold Abrahams' memorial service in 1978. In reality Aubrey Montague died on 30th January 1948, 30 years earlier.
6 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Outside the church , there are cars with number plates that end in 75 ( the Paris region number plate in France ) , but these didn't come into effect until 1950 , 26 years after the Paris Olympics.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Harold Abrahams fiancée is incorrectly identified as opera singer Sybil Gordon. Abrahams actually married Sybil Evers, a singer at the same opera house as Gordon, but they did not meet until 1934.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Jenny Liddell is portrayed as opposing her brother's running career. In fact, she was an enthusiastic supporter.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the scene where Harold Abrahams's coach is showing him Charles Paddock winning gold in the 1920 Olympics and why Jackson Scholz only got silver, the coach had it wrong. Scholz only came fourth and was not successful in winning silver. He did however win silver in 1924 at the Paris games.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The Parade of Nations is completely out of order. The US team is shown first, then the British team, then the French team (immediately preceded by Cuba). The official report of the Eighth Olympiad indicates that the Parade of Nations took place in French alphabetical order, beginning with South Africa (l'Afrique du Sud). Greece would not lead off the parade until 1928.
5 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Some historical details (some minor, some not) have been altered for the sake of the narrative. We're inclined towards leniency.
3 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

In 1924, the future Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor was Prince of Wales. At the meeting between "the committee" and Eric Liddell, Lord Birkenhead calls him "David". Some have assumed that this is a goof because he is played by David Yelland, but in fact the prince was known to his friends and family as David, and it is coincidence that an actor with the same name plays him.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After the Olympic flag is raised, the sixth verse of the French national anthem is sung. The first, fifth, and sixth verses are the most commonly sung verses of the Marseillaise.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The five-striped flag of the Republic of China is shown flying next to the US flag in the stadium. Although Chinese athletes did not compete in the Olympics until 1932, the Chinese flag was in fact hoisted at the 1924 Olympics. Several Chinese athletes marched in the opening ceremony but did not compete.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Before the 400 m race, the crowd can be heard chanting "U-S-A!" Although some have believed this to be an anachronism, it was in fact a common cheer for American teams at international sporting events in the early 20th century. For example, in Leni Riefenstahl's documentary series "Olympia", American spectators are heard using the "U-S-A!" chant to cheer on Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Revealing mistakes 

In the first race between Liddell and Abrahams the runner in the first lane (runner #6) is actually winning the race at the finish line and pulls up to ensure that Liddell wins.
2 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the 200 yards open championship race in the Highlands of Scotland, Eric Liddell starts the race two yards behind the other runners even though there was plenty of space for him on the starting line. Runners never started behind the others in races of only 200 yards.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page