Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson dies aged 86 after short illness

10 February 2023, 20:00 | Updated: 10 February 2023, 21:41

Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, has died in hospital aged 86, a statement on behalf of his family said.
Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, has died in hospital aged 86, a statement on behalf of his family said. Picture: Getty / Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, has died in hospital aged 86, a statement on behalf of his family said.

Mr Hudson died in London following a short illness.

The statement said: "Hugh Hudson, 86, beloved husband and father, died at Charing Cross Hospital on February 10 2023 after a short illness.

"He was best known for directing the Oscar-winning film Chariots Of Fire. He is survived by his wife Maryam, his son Thomas and his first wife Sue."

Nigel Havers, who starred in the classic film, said he was "beyond devastated" by news of the filmmaker's passing.

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The film, released in 1981, was based on the true story of two British athletes, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who competed at the 1924 Olympics.

Hugh Hudson attends the photocall before The Lumiere Prize ceremony during 9th Film Festival Lumiere on October 20, 2017.
Hugh Hudson attends the photocall before The Lumiere Prize ceremony during 9th Film Festival Lumiere on October 20, 2017. Picture: Getty

Liddle, played by Ian Charleson, is a devout Christian who even refuses to take part in a heat due to his religious convictions preventing him from running on the Sabbath.

Athletes run on a shot from Hudson most famous film.
Athletes run on a shot from Hudson most famous film. Picture: Alamy

But he eventually competes in the 400m after a teammate offers him his place in a different heat. He then beats the odds to overcome his strongly favoured US rival.

Meanwhile, Abrahams, played by Ben Cross, battles to overcome antisemitism and bounces back from a defeat in the 200m competition to win the 100m race.

Chariots of Fire was nominated for seven Oscars, winning four, including Best Film.
Chariots of Fire was nominated for seven Oscars, winning four, including best film. Picture: Alamy

The film won four Oscars including best film.

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