Hugh Hudson, Chariots Of Fire Director, Dies At 86

Hugh Hudson, best known as the director of the 1981 sports drama Chariots of Fire, has passed away at age 86 after a battle with a brief illness.

Hugh Hudson, best known as the director of the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, has passed away at age 86. Hudson garnered success in television commercials and documentaries early in his career before starting filmmaking. Though only Hudson’s second-ever film, Chariots of Fire would go on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Currently, the film is ranked at number 19 in the British Film Institute’s Top 100 British Films.

It was announced by Hudson’s family (via The Guardian) that the director passed away on February 10 after a brief battle with illness. Though the illness was not specified, it has been confirmed that Hudson died at London’s Charing Cross Hospital. Hudson is survived by his wife Maryam D’Abo, his first wife Susan Caroline Michie, and his son Thomas. Several people who worked on the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, including Nigel Havers and Esta Charkham, released statements expressing their condolences. Read their statements below:


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A statement from actor Nigel Havers, who appeared in Chariots of Fire:

“I am beyond devastated that my great friend Hugh Hudson, who I have known for more than 45 years, has died. Chariots of Fire was one of the greatest experiences of my professional life, and, like so many others, I owe much of what followed to him. I shall miss him greatly.”

Hugh Hudson’s Legacy On Film

Ben Cross and Ian Charleson running in Chariots of Fire

Throughout Hudson’s career, he made a total of 12 credited movies, of which ten he made as a director. His first film was an Italian documentary Fangio: Una vita a 300 all’ora, which was then followed by his most popular work, Chariots of Fire. His final film was Tiger’s Nest, which follows a young boy and his rescued tiger cub going on an adventure. While he did not serve as a director, he did write the screenplay alongside Rupert Thomson. His last directorial film was 2016’s Finding Altamira, which starred Antonio Banderas and Golshifteh Farahani.

Not only is Chariots of Fire considered one of the most important British films in history, but Hudson’s bold choices for the film’s direction have become massively influential for the rest of the industry. Notably, Hudson brought on electronic musician Vangelis to do the film’s score, which was considered an unorthodox, left-field choice. Nevertheless, the opening music with the athletes running on the beach is a remembered score that has since been played in other movies, TV shows, and sporting events. Vangelis eventually won Best Original Score at the Academy Awards for Chariots of Fire, only further validating Hudson’s incredible directorial choices.

Hudson is also notable for directing Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan in 1984, I Dreamed of Africa in 2000, and several now-famous British television advertisements. Though Hudson is best known for Chariots of Fire, he had a long and successful career and created incredibly influential work. While Hudson will be sorely missed, his work will go down as some of the most notable in British history.

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Source: The Guardian

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