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Grandad of Races (1950)

The annual horse race held in the Piazza del Campo in Siena is highlighted in all its color, pomp, and pageantry.


(as Andre de La Varre)


(narration written by)



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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)

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Begun in Medieval times, the annual horse race between various contradae (districts) in the Northern Italian city of Siena is full of pomp, pageantry, and tradition. The various contradae try to outdo each other with colorful costumes and enthusiastic partisan support. The mounts are not pedigree thoroughbreds but home-grown Barbary horses and the jockey's whips are not only for their horses but each other. Although the circular course is only 3/4th of a mile, the cobblestoned surface of the Piazza del Campo are full of uneven twists and rises, and before the exciting race is over, many of the horses will cross the finish line riderless. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 September 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sports Parade: Grandad of Races  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Narrator: Here is true poetry in masonry and marble.
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User Reviews

Decent Short
9 November 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Grandad of Races (1950)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Oscar-winning short takes a look at the annual horse race that takes place in Siena. The race is held in the Piazza del Campo and this documentary takes a look at the actual event as well as everything else that goes into making it so memorable. I must say that this here is a decent short and a fine way to kill 9-minutes but you have to scratch your head and wonder why it won an Oscar but then again, perhaps all the other nominations that year were worse. With that said, for the most part this remains entertaining even if it's certainly nothing special. Art Gilmore does the narration as we see the actual horse race, which looks incredibly dangerous and we're told why it's so dangerous. Considering it's in the streets of a small place you have to wonder how many people have been killed or injured over the years. The film also shows us the various flags that are laid out for the event and the beautiful colors certainly come to life with the Technicolor, which is without question the highlight. The film really isn't all that different than what you'd see in MGM's TravelTalks series so fans of that should enjoy this here.

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