A Stock Parody
where a character is in a rush to get somewhere on foot and the iconic theme music from Chariots of Fire
starts playing. It's become the stock running theme music in general much like the Jeopardy
theme song has become stock thinking music, to the point where this music playing in the background while people run is all that many people know about the original film. Often the scene using this trope will start to go in slow-motion when the Chariots
theme begins (despite this being rather sparingly used in the original film, more often taking place during scenes in regular speed), and sometimes the character will start to mimic Eric Liddel's long strides, loping gait, and/or head tilt as well.
Not surprisingly, Chariots of Fire
is the name of this piece of music. The original was written and performed by Vangelis, who also did a lot of the music for Blade Runner
. The use of their tune as a parody or as generic running music has become well known even among those who have never seen Chariots of Fire
or even who couldn't identify it by name - see also The Weird Al Effect
- Done in Are We Done Yet?, as the doctor power-walks to the family's house. There's no slow motion here since he is speedwalking and not running.
- Bruce Almighty does this as Bruce runs in front of a line of kids and pours milk over their heads. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Happens in Happy Gilmore during one of the slow-motion running golf swings.
- The live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has this as the Grinch participates in a potato-sack race.
- In Madagascar, this theme music is played when Alex and Marty find each other after getting shipwrecked in Madagascar, and run towards each other in slow motion. Then Alex gets angry and starts chasing Marty... still in slow motion.
- A version of this music plays in Mr. Mom during the company picnic which includes a short footrace with everyone wearing diving flippers. True to form the entire race is shown in slow-motion.
- National Lampoons Vacation uses this, as the Grizzwolds run toward the entrance of Wally World.
- A rare literary example occurs in Bloodsucking Fiends. During the turkey-bowling event at Tom's night job, one of the bowlers imagines the theme to Chariots of Fire playing as he lines up his shot. Then it all goes wrong.
- Sesame Street had a parody named Chariots of Fur, with Grover running to the theme until he dropped from exhaustion.
- Neil Patrick Harris and Max Casella are involved in this in an episode of Doogie Howser MD
- Whos The Boss plays this while Tony is in a swimming race.
- The London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony included the theme being played by the London Symphony Orchestra, with Mr. Bean on synthesizer. The skit then shifted to Mr Bean's fantasy of the scene, with himself in Eric Liddell's place.
- QWOP plays the first few bars of this when you get to running speed. If you get to running speed.
- In the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "Dreamlighting" (which itself is a parody of Moonlighting), Jeanette/Ms. DaPest runs to catch a bottle of explosive rocket fuel before it hits the ground; the sequence is played in slow motion, and is accompanied by a very slight rearrangement of the Chariots of Fire theme.
- In The Smurfs cartoon special "The Smurfic Games", Clumsy strains to reach the finish line at the end of the Smurfathlon while a slight rearrangement of the Chariots of Fire theme tune plays.
- The Simpsons: In the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon shown in "Lisa's First Word" the theme can be heard while Scratchy is running during an Olympic game.