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Hugh hudson was the fulcrum around which ‘chariots of fire’ was built.

Hugh Hudson was the fulcrum around which ‘Chariots of Fire’ was built.

His passing, coming on the heels of the loss of Vangelis and the film’s screenwriter, Colin Welland, offer a moment to reflect on how incredibly fortunate I was, maybe we all were, to work together at a very particular point in our careers.

Nigel Havers referred to the fact that the film was made, with little likelihood of commercial success, by ‘a happy band of brothers’ who sincerely believed in the underlying issues the film tried to address.

Class, religion, commitment, misplaced loyalty, empty triumphalism – the film took aim at a whole slew of prejudices, and audiences drew a variety of conclusions – but not many left the cinema unmoved.

Hugh’s contribution was immense, and everyone involved benefited hugely as our subsequent careers developed.

It’s a strange thing, but the opening of ‘Chariots of Fire’ has an ageing ‘Aubrey Montague’ speaking at a Memorial Service, uttering these words: “now only a few of us are left, we who had hope in our hearts and wings on our heels”.

With Hugh’s passing, how profoundly those words are echoing today.


David Puttnam

11th February 2023