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Parodies of Fire

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Have you seen this movie?
Our guess would be no
But this famous theme song
You probably know
We'll show you how this song is used
In movies and shows (all your favorite shows)
The character's always in a race
Running in slow-mo

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 has become standing "running" theme music in general much like the Jeopardy! theme song (or in Britain, the jingle from Countdown) has become standard "thinking" music, to the point where "this music plays while people sprint" 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 slow-motion being rather sparingly used in the original film; most often the music played during race 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 note . The original was composed 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 Parody Displacement.


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  • This commercial for Duracell batteries features marathon runners running through New York City to the Chariots of Fire theme, with the one powered by the then-newest Duracell battery lasting the longest.
  • The first Nike Free commercial plays this song while some men run barefoot through an environment that combines elements of the beach and a cityscape. When the song pauses, the ad reveals the scene as a fantasy that one Nike Free wearer has while running through a city.
  • This Six Flags commercial.

  • Used in the Halloween Episode of Time Bokan 24 when Bimajo and her minions trip Calen and Tokio and are about to reach the goal. The correct answer is actually Tottori, not Shimane.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the film Madagascar, the theme plays 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 Lampoon's Vacation uses this, as the Griswolds run toward the entrance of Wally World.
  • Good Burger uses this when Ed and Dexter deliver a burger to Shaquille O'Neal.
  • Used in a trailer for MarleyAndMe.

  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Neil Patrick Harris and Max Casella are involved in this in an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D.
  • The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer featured a brief sketch spoofing the film, consisting of Vic and Bob running across Scarborough beach, where Vic is overtaken by Bob, who is revealed to have asparaguses for legs.
  • Who's the Boss? plays this while Tony is in a swimming race.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Donkey Hodie used a sound-alike version in "The Breakfast Bowl", during a scene in which Donkey and Panda race each other with cereal boxes.
  • Sesame Street had a parody named Chariots of Fur, with Grover running to the theme until he dropped from exhaustion.

    Video Games 

     Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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 (1981) 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.
  • Seen in the Rocko's Modern Life episode "From Here to Maternity," as Filburt attempts to beat a stork to the O-Town Hospital, when running to the main entrance, everything then goes into slow-motion as a sound-alike of the Chariots of Fire theme plays, as Filburt manages to run ahead of the stork. But then the music stops (with Record Needle Scratch) and the speed returns to normal when the stork catches up and swipes Filburt's glasses so he can't see where he's going.

  • The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games included the theme being played by the London Symphony Orchestra, with Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) on synthesizer. As Bean gets bored of having to play the same note for the main beat, he has a fantasy of the scene, with himself in Eric Liddell's place and wins the race by taking a ride in a carnote . He then wakes up in confusion as the whole orchestra has stopped playing except himself as he was falling asleep.


Video Example(s):


Scarborough 1924

Vic has an imagine spot where he and Bob partake in a race across Scarborough beach to the tune of Chariots of Fire, which swiftly turns into an advert for asparagus.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / ParodiesOfFire

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