Admit it: you can’t run on a beach without hearing Vangelis’ majestic score pounding in your ears. That’s the result of this movie’s indelible opening sequence, in which that piano-and-synthesizer theme plays while a team of nattily-dressed British athletes jogs in slow motion on a beach, the sunlight and sand and sea foam all all gleaming as the runners parade past.
Director Hugh Hudson originally wanted to use the Greek composer’s tune “L’Enfant” for the beach scene and filmed it with that 1977 piece blasting from speakers so that the runners could pace themselves to its rhythms. But Vangelis convinced Hudson he could write a better theme, then did so. As he later told Chariots producer David Puttnam, “My father is a runner, and this is an anthem to him.”
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