Strange Bedfellows: Lindsay Anderson and Chariots of Fire

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In 1986, Thames Television broadcast a series of programmes on British cinema. In one of them, dedicated to the Free Cinema documentary movement of the 1950s, and the new wave of films it triggered in Britain in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s (particularly Anderson’s own), Lindsay Anderson took the opportunity to ridicule the prominent box office and Academy Award success of Chariots of Fire, which premiered in Britain at the Royal Film Performance of May 1981. His ironic remarks pertained particularly to the film’s producer, David Puttnam, who clearly represented for Anderson what was bad about the current state of British cinema: its blatant commercialism, its aim for success in the American market, and its greedy yearning for Oscars. The claims that Anderson made in the programme even prompted legal action on Puttnam’s part. I have studied this TV programme in some detail elsewhere. Here, however, I would like to trace the personal background for Anderson lurking behind it by studying whatever contemporary references to Chariots of Fire itself—not the TV programme, which is also lavishly represented in the collection—can be found in the Lindsay Anderson Archive at the University of Stirling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLindsay Anderson Revisited
Subtitle of host publicationUnknown Aspects of a Film Director
EditorsErik Hedling, Christophe Dupin
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-53943-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-53942-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Studies on Film


  • private letters
  • Dan Ford
  • Chariots of Fire
  • David Puttnam
  • Lindsay Anderson


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