Wings of Eagles continues the true story of Eric Liddell, beyond the end of the Oscar-winning classic Chariots of Fire. It draws us into the heart of this ordinary man, who did extraordinary things. Without a professional coach, and with an ungainly style in which he looked up to heaven, Eric had won Olympic gold. But he then turned down opportunities for continued fame and fortune, choosing instead to go to China as a missionary. There, he became an ordinary teacher at a school for students in the city of Tianjin, but he also had an extraordinary passion to reach and teach those in the poorer villages.
When the Japanese invaded, Eric turned down opportunities to escape, choosing instead to stay with the people he had been called to serve. So, he devoted himself to teaching the children in the Weihsien internment camp where he was imprisoned. Even when the British government brokered his release in a prisoner exchange, he arranged for a pregnant woman to take his place.
Told from the perspective of a sceptical Chinese friend and honestly portraying his struggles, the film conveys the ordinariness of this man, affectionately known as ‘Uncle Eric’, who did extraordinary things. Fittingly, it takes its title from words on the memorial headstone which was placed on Eric’s grave after it was rediscovered in 1989: ‘They shall mount up with wings as eagles’. The biblical verse from which this is quoted begins: ‘Those who trust in the Lord…’ It is not a promise available just to special people, but to everyone. This verse, and this film, can inspire us all to do extraordinary things if we will look up to heaven, as Eric did when he ran his race.
Categories: History, Mission, Movie Moments, Sport