1981, Warner Bros., 124 min, UK, Dir: Hugh Hudson

Based on actual events, this inspiring drama follows a pair of British runners in the 1924 Olympics: Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) and Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson). Abrahams is a Jew who competes to battle anti-Semitism, while Liddell is a Christian who runs to glorify God - and confronts hurdles when he refuses to race on a Sunday. Named one of the top British films of all time by the British Film Institute, CHARIOTS OF FIRE won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Original Score (for Vangelis’ distinctive electronic music, forever linked to shots of young men in white running in slow motion along a beach).

1983, Park Circus/MGM, 132 min, USA, Dir: Barbra Streisand

Adapted from Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story/play, this engaging musical is set in a Jewish community in Poland in the early 20th century. After her father’s death, Yentl (Barbra Streisand) wants to continue her study of the Talmud but, according to tradition, that is strictly a man’s work. So Yentl adopts a male alter ego and enrolls in a Jewish religious school - where she winds up in a romantic triangle with a fellow student (Mandy Patinkin) and his fiancée (Amy Irving). Streisand’s directorial debut raises thoughtful questions about religious and gender identity while it entertains, and it earned her a Golden Globe. The score earned Oscars for Michel Legrand and lyricists Alan & Marilyn Bergman; among the memorable songs in the film’s hit soundtrack are “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” and “The Way He Makes Me Feel.”

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