Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vangelis Chariots of Fire (OST) album cover
3.09 | 165 ratings | 17 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Titles (3:33)
2. Five Circles (5:20)
3. Abraham's Theme (3:20)
4. Eric's Theme (4:18)
5. 100 Metres (2:04)
6. Jerusalem (2:47)
7. Chariots of Fire (20:41)

Total Time 42:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Evangelos Papathanassiou / synthesizers, piano, drums, percussion, arranger & producer

- The Ambrosian Singers / chorus vocals (6)
- John McCarthy / choir director (6)
- Harry Rabinowitz / arranger (6)

Releases information

Soundtrack to Hugh Hudson's film with the same title

Artwork: Alwyn Clayden

LP Polydor ‎- POLS 1026 (1981, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- 800 020-2 (1983, Germany)
CD Universal Music Catalogue ‎- 984 139-8 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Vangelis

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy VANGELIS Chariots of Fire (OST) Music

VANGELIS Chariots of Fire (OST) ratings distribution

(165 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

VANGELIS Chariots of Fire (OST) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
3 stars Probably the most accessable work by the great man.Side one is the boring stuff that comes directly from the film soundtrack.The reason for checking this album out is the suite on side 2 called 'Chariots Of Fire'.This was NOT taken from the soundtrack but uses melodies and themes from it instead.Really good quasi classical music.Overall not great and not essential.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent & accessible progressive New Age, this record is the soundtrack of the "Chariots of fire" movie. Side one has 6 short tracks, rather floating & symphonic. "Titles" is the wonderful piano + symphonic keyboards hit that was used to be aired from radio stations as far as in 1990; you probably know it. "Jerusalem" is a well known cover song, having an outstanding cathedral ambience, with all those extremely powerful choirs and church organ parts: it MUST be played as loud as possible: the level of the feeling involved is EXTREME!

On the other side, the epic eponymous track is absolutely delightful, although starting a bit too slowly and slightly eternizing at the end; when the piano starts, then the tracks takes all its dimension: sometimes delicate and emotional, sometimes powerful and anthemic, rhythm & melody changing all the time, this track will really move you. It is a major achievement in the Vangelis' work. The track is not complex, but the combination of echoed piano + keyboards are played in a such way that 3 words come to mind: grace, grandeur and majesty.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Were it not for the Oscar-winning film score, for a quite over-rated Hugh Hudson movie, this album would probably have enjoyed a lesser fame. Nonetheless, it is still one of the more boring music scores by Vangelis I ever heard, and since I owned a vinyl record I never really enjoyed it much. "Titles" was a huge hit, a popular and very accessible melody but nothing outstanding. The rest of the album is boring ambient, synth-laden "elevator music" that IMO cannot satisfy a demanding prog rock listener. Not recommended unless you are a Vangelis completist or if you like boring background soundtrack music.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, recently, I have acquired over ten Vangelis albums and have decided I would review most or all of them. I decided to choose this album as the first. Chariots of Fire contains the most well known Vangelis composition, "Title." I have never seen the movie, nor do I really care to, but I have to say, while I wasn't blown away by this album, it still made for an enjoyable listen and actually surpassed my expectations.

Like I said before, everyone knows the first piece on this album, whether they want to or not. It's very accessible and catchy, but after repeated listens, it doesn't hold up compared to most other Vangelis tunes. The rest of the tracks on side one (bar "Jerusalem," a choral piece, which most people know as well) have there moments, but are pretty forgettable when it comes down to it. "Jerusalem," on the other hand, is absolutely grand! It's truly a stunning version of the famous choral work.

The title track, which had nothing to do with the money as far as I can tell, is where the real magic is. It starts slow, but gradually gains power and majesticness. Some of the themes from tracks on side one are redone her in a sort of theme and variation format. It's an excellent symphonic, electronic, Prog epic, not to be confused with new age!

Side one would get 2 stars, while I would give side two 4 stars, thus three stars is pretty accurate, while an easy and accessible listen, this is definitely not the best Vangelis album.

Review by Australian
3 stars This is my second review of "Chariots of Fire" as my first was, well a rushed one and I failed to take into account the many times I had listened to this album and enjoyed it. I also didn't think of the electronic beauty of it either, there are many prog electronic albums, but few are as beautiful as this. "Chariots of Fire" is very good background music as it isn't intrusive or loud, which is why I listen to it when reading. That said it isn't boring and it can be listened to intently and still be very enjoyable despite the slowness of the album.

The 20 minute "Chariots of Fire" on the album is made up of repeated versions of the same theme from Titles, except they are altered in certain ways and different backing sections are added. This epic is a more solid effort than most other epics by prog Electronic bands as it just feels more real. (By solid I mean more real). When reflecting on the other shorter songs on "Chariots of Fire" I have now realized that they, in themselves are good and melodic songs. "Five Circles" has a great theme to it as does "Abraham's Theme" and "Eric's Theme." I believe certain parts to "Chariots of Fire" were used in small ways on Jon Anderson's 'Olias of Sunhillow.'

1. Titles (4/5) 2. Five Circles (4/5) 3. Abraham's Theme (3/5) 4. Eric's Theme (3/5) 5. 100 Metres (3/5) 6. Jerusalem (2/5) 7. Chariots Of Fire (4/5) Total = 23 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 3.285 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

My new rating for this album is much fairer than my first. I don't know why I initially gave it two stars, it was too rushed I guess. "Chariots of Fire" was a very successful album and it got Vangelis the accreditation he deserves. Vangelis went on to write the wonders of 'Conquest of Paradise', 'El Greco' and many other enjoyable albums. "Chariots of Fire" in many ways opened the gate for Vangelis. I give it three stars because I know it is not the best thing he has come up with, but let's not forget three stars still means "good" and "Chariots of Fire" is a good album.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The 42 minute mile

"Chariots of fire" was of course a phenomenally successful film which won many awards and plaudits. Vangelis' film score undeniably played a significant part in the film's success. I deny anyone who has seen the film to hear the main theme without instantly picturing a group of runners on a beach, filmed in slow motion. Apart from that defining moment, the soundtrack complemented the film superbly, Vangelis toying with the watcher's emotions though the various moods he created.

This however is not a film review, and here we must assess the music on a purely audio basis. Unfortunately, as with the majority of soundtracks, when heard out of context the results do not hold up nearly so well.

The title theme enjoyed major success on the back of the film, and is a fine piece of music in its own right. Confusingly, the piece we all know as "Chariots of fire" is in fact called "Titles" here. It is however only a brief part of the album, the remainder of which is largely washes of atmospheric synthesisers, such as can be found on any number of Tangerine Dream albums.

Side one of the album closes with a rendition of the hymn "Jerusalem", also covered by Emerson Lake and Palmer on "Brain salad surgery". This is quite different to the rest of the album, as it features the Ambrosian singers performing the piece in a straight church choir manner with Vangelis providing church organ.

The piece which actually bears the title "Chariots of fire" occupies the whole of the second side of the album. This 20 minute suite is not taken directly from the film, but sees Vangelis improvising upon and developing themes from side one. While there is a relaxed quality to the music, it retains the feel of being film music. At times, it seems we have drifted into a classical piano concerto, with only the occasional dramatics of a synthesiser burst or clumsy attack on the timpani to keep things from wandering too far.

Seen for what it is, the music from a film, "Chariots of fire" is a reasonably strong piece of work. Assessed solely as an album in its own right, it is a pleasant diversion, but largely lacking in anything of substance.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Is there anyone alive unfamiliar with the title theme to this popular 1981 movie? The soundtrack won Vangelis an Academy Award for Best Original Score, and secured a global reputation for the Greek synth- rock keyboard wizard. Arguably, it also went a long way toward earning the film its unexpected Oscar for Best Picture (much to the chagrin of Warren Beatty).

Not bad for a collection of music that hardly ranks among the composer's best efforts. Even more surprising: the now ubiquitous theme was a last minute replacement for the pre-existing Vangelis song director Hugh Hudson wanted to use over the opening credits (the stately "Hymne", from his underrated 1979 album "Opera Sauvage").

Never mind that the electronic score is entirely ill-suited to such a modest (but visually elegant) inspiration piece, set against a backdrop of the 1924 Olympic Games and celebrating God and England with pomp, circumstance, and no shortage of Old Empire virtue. The music may lack a certain period flavor (to say the least). But it's quintessential Vangelis, symphonic in its grandeur, unashamedly romantic (if sometimes overwrought), and catchy as hell.

But would it be nit-picking to point out that the CD soundtrack only contains 18 minutes of original music from the film? The balance is filled by a suitably heroic arrangement of the old Anglican hymn "Jerusalem", performed by the Ambrosia Singers, and a long (nearly 21 minutes) "Chariots of Fire" suite, arranged by Vangelis around many of the score's established themes. All of it is very pleasant, very polite, and very unlikely to offend your parents or neighbors.

Perhaps it's an unwritten axiom that an artist will be rewarded for his least deserving effort. That's not entirely true in this case: the music here marked a significant turning point in Vangelis' career, after all. But in retrospect this one soundtrack was hardly the career zenith its world-wide popularity would suggest.

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars I remember doing a Spanish project in high school and used ''Themes'' as the soundtrack to the goofy outtakes we had. At the time, I didn't think much of the song other than I liked it quite a bit; I stupidly thought that the song I was listening to was called ''Chariots of Fire'' and I hadn't the slightest clue who Vangelis was.

Flash forward to August 2008 when rummaging through my uncle's vinyl collection, the CHARIOTS OF FIRE album caught my eye (along with several others). I decided to take it to my house and listen to it. While ''Themes'' was exactly how I had originally remembered it, everything else seems to sag. I can barely pick out another memorable melody other than bits of ''Eric's Theme'' and the title track (not to mention ''Jerusalem''). Most of the time (especially during the title track), my mind can't help but just wander aimlessly because I feel so bored with the music being presented.

It's very keyboard oriented in the sense that the keyboard is the only type of instrument you will hear barring the choir on ''Jerusalem''. Not being much of a movie watcher, I haven't seen the accompanying film, the opening excluded. I feel that the lack of a visual is what's causing me to have a disadvantage in listening to the music. Nevertheless, I feel the music is too noneventful for me to really enjoy it. I feel that the music tries way too hard to achieve a lasting melody that ultimately falls on its face doing so. Comparing it to Tangerine Dream, while that band also used lots of synths, the stuff I've heard from TD has more experimental value to it causing me to gravitate more towards that kind of stuff. I'll still give CHARIOTS OF FIRE two stars out of decency.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Chariots of Fire' is the first introduction to Vangelis for many people such as myself becasue the film was so popular and for that reason it is a very accessible album. The music is absolutely beautiful and captures the essence of the film and the longing for greatness. The music is incredibly uplifting and there are no filler tracks here. The music became such a statement of the running on the beach footagte that it is impossible to imagine the film without it and vice versa. The music is haunting and memorable. The theme is based on the old hymnal but is laced with classical influences and those trademark heavy symphonic keyboards.

I can recommend this over many other Vangelis albums as it is captivating from beginning to end. It is worth getting hold of just for the 20 minute magnum opus on the last track which is a blend of all the thematic motifs and acts as a type of multi movement suite or overture.

I am not a huge Vangelis fan but his soundtracks are all great. I prefer 'Blade Runner' with its darker visionary style to this, but 'COF' is still great music by any standard.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Bring me my bow of burning gold, Bring me my arrows of desire. Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold, Bring me my chariot of fire

I have never been a big fan of Vangelis nor of electronic music in general, nor have I seen the film for which the present album is the soundtrack. But who can possibly have missed the famous title song? Even if this album was released in the same year as I was born, I have certainly heard the title song many times (even if I don't remember where and when, but I think it was used as a theme tune to some nature program on TV). The album as a whole ranks somewhere in the middle between Vangelis' best and worst works.

While Electronic Prog lies far outside of my area of expertise, I cannot say with some confidence whether this will be appreciated by fans of that genre, but it certainly doesn't have anything at all to do with Prog if we by that term understand progressive Rock. There is nothing here that might be called Rock in any sense. Rather, it lies somewhere in the middle of New-Age and Classical. As such it is soothing, relaxing and occasionally a bit dull even if pleasant at times.

To my ears, there is little that distinguishes the different tracks from the others. Two tracks stand out, however, the aforementioned Titles and Vangelis' own version of the hymn Jerusalem (that contains the words 'Chariots of fire'). This version is considerably less dramatic and bombastic than Emerson Lake & Palmer's version of the same that opens their excellent Brian Salad Surgery album.

The last piece is a 20 minute "epic" that revisits some themes from earlier songs of the album. Again, I find this pleasant, but not very exciting in the end.

I recommend this album to people with a special interest in the man and his music.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is the best known album from Vangelis, but to my judgment it is not his best one.

Of course, there are some beautiful soundscapes available like "Five Circles" but they sound a bit shy in comparison with "La Fête Sauvage" IMHHO. Before this track the very well known (and quite good, let's be honest) "Titles" had opened this album in a brilliant way: bombastic, flamboyant and moving. It is a very good song indeed even if some consider it too commercial. I quite like it.

It is also true to say that the other (short) tracks of the first side are quite average. There is nothing from the other world amongst "Abraham's Theme" and the likes. This confirms that we are not facing a masterpiece. The closing track of this first side is "Jerusalem". But it falls very shy from the ELP version.

The epic from side two shares some themes from face one; but in an extended version. It is quite ambient, melodic and well performed. I would have appreciated some more bombastic moments, but I have to cope with the artist's vision.

This is a good Vangelis album, even if some parts like "Abraham's or Eric's Theme" are average. Still, some more composition skills would have been welcome. Three stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars It might have been a five stars album, but unfortunately it's only half a album so the stars should be two and a half.

Let me explain better: Vangelis has written this oscar-winner soundtrack for the omonimous oscar-winner movie. Winning an Oscar is not a guarantee of progginess even if soundtracks are usually close to the prog world as they have often a concept.

But Vangelis wrote only 5 tracks plus an arrangement of the traditional "Jerusalem". Yes, the main theme "Titles" is one of the most famous piece of music in the world, very often used to comment sports in general amd olympics in particular. The other 4 tracks are not bad, but playing them together with a little rearrangement as they were an organic suite just to fill the B side of the vinyl is not nice.

I have to say that I have enjoyed this album several times with a preference for the B'side. A 20 minutes track sounds more progressive in that sense.

So even if I'm tempted to give it the third star, I'll stick on two. A very good half disc

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I never have watched to the "Chariots of Fire" film. I remember that it was available to be watched to in several cinemas in my city in 1981-1982. But I don`t remember the reason I never went to a cinema to watch the film then. Maybe it was because I have never been a very dedicated "fan" of films. In fact, I prefer to listen to music on CDs or to watch to a full concert or music documentary on DVD for two hours than to spend two hours watching to a film not related to music. It seems that music is my favourite form of art.

But I remember that the "Titles" musical theme (broadcasted in the radio stations in my city titled as "Chariots of Fire") was played a lot. It really was a Hit Single here, as it also was in other parts of the world.

The music in this album in fact is not very complicated. it is very accessible. Maybe that was the reason this soundtrack album was very successful then. Or maybe VANGELIS`s talent made things easier to the general public. Maybe this album was also an introduction for the general public to the music of VANGELIS. In fact, at that time I only have listened to JON and VANGELIS`s "Short Stories" album in late 1981, and a year later to their "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" album. That was allI knew about VANGELIS`s music then.

"Titles" is the only thing related to the scenes of the film that I have watched to in video on TV and in youtube. It is a very melodic piece of music, very accessible, which still makes me remember some musical ideas that i have listened previously in his "Heaven and Hell" album. I don`t know if VANGELIS re-cycled some of those muscal ideas for this"Titles" musical piece. Anyway, it is very good.

"Five Circles" has some Clasical Music influences, but it still is in the New Age music style that VANGELIS helped to create.

"Abraham`s Theme" and "Eric`s Theme"`, as long as i know, are the musical themes for the main characters of the film. "Two runners with different motivations to participate in the 1924 Olympic Games". Both themes are very "atmospheric" musically.

"100 Metres" by VANGELIS is more like a brief musical link to the Traditional British Hymn "Jerusalem", which is sung by the Ambrosian Singers with a Church Organ. I like this Hymn a lot, and the arrangement in this case is very good.

Maybe the best part in this album is the long musical piece titled "Chariots of Fire", with a duration of 20 minutes. It really is a long piece of music on which VANGELIS does variations of some of the musical themes which were presented in the previous musical pieces (with the exception of "Jerusalem", of course). The main instrument in this long musical piece is the piano, with "Orchestrations" done with other keyboards. It is also a very "atmospheric" musical piece. VANGELIS really plays the piano very well in this long musical piece.

Maybe one day I`m going to watch to the film. But as a soundtrack album, I think that it is a very enjoyable album.

Review by Matti
3 stars The Greek maestro VANGELIS has a special place in my heart when I look back at my entire music listening history. Quite rare for a basically instrumental output, his synth-based and often pretty romantic music has sort of walked by my side since adolescence; in the emotional sense it has often stored my inner feelings. The settings of my Vangelis-related memories may be seemingly as simple as having a desolate stroll in a lakeside park in a beautiful summer evening, but nevertheless they're dear to me, and the music still manages to touch me. Now, due to my sentimental intro you probably presume Chariots of Fire is among my most cherished Vangelis albums. Actually, it doesn't have that status. But re-listening to it now, I realize it comes very close to having it, at least partially if not for the album whole.

This soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film about two British runners participating in the Paris Olympics in 1924 brought Vangelis more fame. I finally saw the movie at the age of 22 or so. I liked it, but just like with Blade Runner, I felt slightly disappointed here and there of the way the music was used. The album itself had already been familiar to me as my first love had it. Needless to say, the famous main theme (commonly known as 'Chariots of Fire' instead of 'Titles') works brilliantly in the opening scene with a bunch of men running on the sea shore. One of the best known Vangelis tunes it has remained ever since, for a good reason. It is fresh, compact, uplifting, accessible, and unlike much of synth music -- or any popular music -- of the early 80's, it still sounds fresh.

The vinyl has six pieces on its first side. Next comes 'Five Circles' which I also enjoy a lot for the romantically soft and yet majestic soundscape. 'Abraham's Theme' is a reserved and introvert piece which hides most of the passion under the quiet surface. 'Eric's Theme' is my least fave track on this album. It feels overlong and therefor a bit hollow to me. '100 Metres' is a very reserved, tension-building intro to the powerful bliss of the famous Anglican hymn 'Jerusalem' composed to the poem of William Blake. BTW, I adore also ELP's version of it. Vangelis's version featuring a choir and church organ is very orthodox unlike ELP's, but it's gorgeous anyway.

The entire second vinyl side is a near 21-minute piece confusingly titled as 'Chariots of Fire' which circulates some themes. Imagine slow movements of romantic piano concertos, with synths taking place of an orchestra. Well, I'm not a great fan of this over-extended and rather vaguely wandering epic. Admittedly there's a lot of sensitive emotions in the piano melodies; I clearly prefer the more delicate sections over the more bombastic ones.

So, as I said, this album hasn't been among my dearest from Vangelis, but for the best moments it's absolutely first class Vangelis in the romantic end of his spectre. In fact, it surprises me how many two-star reviews it has here. My rating is 3½ stars rounded down.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Chariots of Fire by Vangelis is a classic soundtrack album that while may not be his most defining moment, still stands as one of his strongest. The most well known piece from the film, "Titles", is at once beautiful, symphonic, the definition of majesty, and has one of the most recognizable ... (read more)

Report this review (#607719) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The big hit. This soundtrack established Vangelis more than anything else in his career. Up to this time he was largely a cult figure, highly regarded amongst a limited number of people. All that has now changed. The film won Best Picture at the Academy, and conversely, Vangelis won best s ... (read more)

Report this review (#292616) | Posted by Progosopher | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Eric's Theme and Titles are magnificent, the remainder is weaker (the longest track, 20 minutes, is pretty, but too long). A good soundtrack, from a magnificent movie, but not the best from Vangelis anyway. Maybe one of his most acclamed and sold albums. Indeed, the music fits wonderfully with ... (read more)

Report this review (#163473) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of VANGELIS "Chariots of Fire (OST)"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.