Hugh Hudson, who directed the British 1980s hit movie Chariots of Fire, has passed away aged 86. The sports movie is based on the true story of two British runners at the 1924 Olympics – one Christian, and one Jewish. It starred Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, and Ian Holm. One of the most famous aspects of the movie is the score by Greek composer Vangelis – who passed away 9 months ago.
When the drama movie won Best Picture at the 1982 Oscars, its writer famously proclaimed “the British are coming!” This didn’t quite come true, although the British movie Ghandi did win the following year. In the 1990s the British movies Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient won Best Picture. The most recent British movies to win were Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and The King’s Speech (2011).
Actor Nigel Havers said (via the BBC) that he was “beyond devastated” by Hudson’s death. He added; “Chariots of Fire was one of the greatest experiences of my professional life, and, like so many others, I owe much of what followed to him. I shall miss him greatly.” Kenneth Branagh first ever movie role was in Chariots of Fire, but he was uncredited, as he was an extra.
Hudson didn’t go onto to make many movies after Chariots of Fire, although he directed Revolution starring Al Pacino in 1985. He also directed a movie called Lost Angels in 1989, starring Ad-Rock from Beastie Boys. He directed another movie based on a true story – I Dreamed of Africa – in 2000, starring Kim Basinger and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. Hudson was married to ‘Bond girl’ Maryam D’Abo.
Although Chariots of Fire can be considered yet another British period film about posh people, according to the British Film Institute (BFI), it became “one of the decade’s most controversial British films” due to its perception as a “radical indictment of establishment snobbery.”
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