Chariots of Fire is a classic story. People overcoming barriers that are put in their way, overcoming conflicts to triumph in the end.
Not only is the story classic in this way, it is also classic in the way in which the plot is constructed.
Plot is a term which we can define as the events that make up a story, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, in a sequence, through cause and effect.
Let’s look at the key aspects of a plot of a story. We can divide these up into five key plot moments.
How do these relate to the story of Chariots of Fire?
The opening of a film will set an “enigma”, a question that we hope will be explained as the story unfolds. It will also introduce all of the main characters in the story. It shows how they relate to one another, what their goals and motivations are, and the kind of person they are.
We also get to know the main characters, what drives them, what their aims are – the key elements which will drive the story forward. This phase ends, and the next begins, with the introduction of conflict.
Think back to your viewing of Chariots of Fire.
The major characters have been introduced, their motives and aims have been made clear and they now begin to struggle against one another.
The main characters start to work towards their goal.
At this stage of the story we can indentify that a rivalry between Abrahams and Liddell starts to grow. But is this the only conflict which starts to develop. Think about how Abrahams is treated and viewed by his Cambridge college. How does Liddell deal with both his beliefs, his fame and his sister, Jennie?
The turning point of the story is where the main characters make the single big decision that defines the outcome of their story and who they are as a person.
Where would you say that the turning point of Chariots of Fire is to be found?
Where is the moment that drives Abrahams and Liddell on towards their final glory?
Do you think that the film makers have set up one conflict but then replaced it with another?
And what are the moral conflicts that are set up in the film? How do they come to a turning point where both Abrahams and Liddell have to make decisions which will affect the outcome of the story?
This is the moment of greatest tension in the story. The main characters have to prove themselves and overcome the final barriers in order to achieve their goals.
What are the final barriers for Liddell and Abrahams to overcome before they either succeed or fail in achieving their goals?
How is tension created regarding whether they will win their Olympic races or not?
How are these tensions related to other characters in the story?
At the end of any story we will see the main character either win or lose in their efforts to reach their goal.
And in what other ways do they win or lose?
How does the tension created in the climax of the film resolve the aims of both Liddell and Abrahams?
How are both men’s stories rounded off?
Why do you think that the film ends on the memorial service and not at the 1924 Olympics in Paris?