As Chariots Of Fire returns to cinemas in the UK this weekend, film critics & the media appear to have forgotten that without the financial involvement of Mohamed Al Fayed, Chariots Of Fire would never have been made!
Chariots Of Fire was co-produced and financed by Allied Stars, the film production company run by the late Dodi Al Fayed which also produced and financed Breaking Glass, FX, FX:2, Hook, The Scarlet Letter and Peter Pan.
Commenting on Dodi’s involvement in Chariots Of Fire, his father Mohammed said: “When Dodi first came across the script for Chariots Of Fire, it had been collecting dust on a shelf at Goldcrest because no-one else wanted to invest in it. But Dodi was a filmmaker of real vision and when he showed me the script, I knew it was something very special.”
“Chariots Of Fire was unlike any other film being made at the time; a story of loyalty, determination and standing up for what you believe in; refusing to be knocked down when everyone around you wants you to fail. These were principles Dodi and I shared. Principles I have lived my life by. There was no question, we wanted this story to come to life in film and put the money forward so it could be made.”
Based on a true story, CHARIOTS OF FIRE was the winner of four Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, in addition to receiving nominations for three more.
Mohamed adds: “The evening of the 1981 Oscars, was one of the proudest nights of my life; it was the night that a film my son Dodi had had the foresight to back, won four Oscars, including Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Chariots Of Fire would never have been made if it hadn’t been for Dodi, its executive producer.”
As an Egyptian, Mohamed understood Harold Abrahams’ struggle to triumph over British racism and snobbery and warmed to Eric Liddell’s refusal to compromise his conscience.
The first British film to win four Oscars would never have seen a cinema without Egyptian vision and money and as Chariots Of Fire producer David Puttnam said in his Oscar acceptance speech “ thank you Dodi and Mohamed for putting your money where my mouth was “.
20th Century Fox will bring a new digitally re-mastered version of the film to over 100 cinema screens nationwide on July 13th thanks to BFI funding.
Mohamed Al Fayed said: “I hope you will take the time to go to see it in cinemas. If you do, you will be in for a treat. Through this incredible true story you will see that with courage and character you can overcome literally anything.”