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Four young men in matching blazers hold a smiling male runner on their shouldersYou will already have studied the plot of Chariots of Fire – the step by step action in a story.

What we will now look at are the themes of the film. We could say that the themes of a story are the moral and the ideas behind the story; what the viewer or reader should take away as the main idea.

If you were asked to describe Chariots of Fire once you have seen it then you might describe the film by saying that it tells the story of two runners at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. This gives information about the plot of the film. However, you could describe it in a different way. You could say that the film is about “the will to win”, for example. This is one of the themes of the film.


Four young men wearing tuxedos stand in a grand hall drinking champagneWhat moments in the film illustrate this theme of “winning”? How important is the idea of “winning” in the development of the story?

Here are some other themes which are to be found in the story:

Prejudice, belief, hypocrisy, friendship, rivalry, patriotism.

Can you think of any other themes or ideas which the film illustrates?

Download the THEMES CHART. For each of the themes, try to remember moments in the film which might illustrate each theme and write these down in the column for each theme.