Eric Liddell in China: A Review of “On Wings of Eagles”

Powerful film takes up the Olympic champion's life in World War II China.

Starring Joseph Fiennes as Liddell, the new film is a fine tribute to Liddell’s life. After being captured by the Japanese, Liddell and his companions face the dual challenges of surviving and maintaining their faith and integrity.

Liddell, specifically, has opportunities to leave China altogether and reunite with his family. He decides not to each time.


Little-known fact: In the 1940s, while Germans tortured Jews across Europe and Americans incarcerated Japanese on the West Coast, the Japanese interned in China a group of civilians from Allied countries—including Olympian Eric Liddell.

A devout Christian, Liddell famously switched Olympic track events to avoid running on a Sunday in the 1924 Paris Games. After winning gold in the 400-meter, he returned to his birthplace of China as a missionary.

That’s where the 1981 film Chariots of Fire left off—and where On Wings of Eagles begins.

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