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The Great Race (1965)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  1 July 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 11,726 users  
Reviews: 146 user | 33 critic

When a popular daredevil proposes an automobile race across three continents, his arch rival vows to beat him, while an ambitious female reporter has her own plans for victory.



(screenplay) (as Arthur Ross) , (original story), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Professor Fate / Crown Prince Frederick Hoepnick
Maximilian Meen
William Bryant ...
Baron's Guard


Professional daredevil and white-suited hero, The Great Leslie, convinces turn-of-the-century auto makers that a race from New York to Paris (westward across America, the Bering Straight and Russia) will help to promote automobile sales. Leslie's arch-rival, the mustached and black-attired Professor Fate vows to beat Leslie to the finish line in a car of Fate's own invention. The Blake Edwards style of slapstick and song originated with this movie. A dedication to Laurel and Hardy appears at the beginning of the film. Edwards' tribute to Stan and Ollie can be seen most clearly in the interaction between Professor Fate and his cohort Max, as well as in the operatic Pottsdorf pie fight. Written by Jeanne Baker <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The movie with 20,000-mile or one-million-laughs guarantee! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 July 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' The Great Race  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As the budget for this film ballooned from $3 million to $12 million, Jack L. Warner, the head of Warner Pictures, said Blake Edwards was spending money like water. Edwards, in turn, accused Warner of being "tight". Warner then served Edwards with legal papers to remove him from the picture. Edwards made several concessions to the studio, however, and continued with the project. See more »


During the hot air balloon scene, wires on the balloon are clearly seen. See more »


Professor Fate: The world is mine!
Max: The world is ours!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Starts with the dedication "For Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy". Opening credits are in the form of a turn of the century slide show, beginning with "Ladies kindly remove your hats". The WB logo is drawn on the hood of a car. When the main characters are introduced, Jack Lemmon is jeered (and sticks out his tongue in reply), Tony Curtis cheered and Natalie Wood gets dog whistles. There are various hiccups along the way: a fly is shooed off by a stick, the lights go out and a (real) hand with a match comes on. Other slides have to be adjusted by hand. When one of them starts to burn, "One moment please" is interjected. The producers' credit is upside down. The last slide turns into the opening shot of the movie. See more »


Referenced in Team America: World Police (2004) See more »


Tales from the Vienna Woods
Written by Johann Strauß
Performed at the Potzdorf Ball
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Some Like It Custard
31 October 2004 | by (Tampa Bay, Florida) – See all my reviews

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, memorably paired in "Some Like It Hot", tried it again in "The Great Race". Natalie Wood was a reluctant addition, with a new biography of this actress repeating her displeasure with the film and its director. Peter Falk, not yet Columbo, rounded out a globetrotting quartet chasing first prize in the 1908 New York to Paris automobile race.

Much has been made of how the script's "Prisoner of Zenda" subplot slows the action. Yet these scenes shot in Salzburg have contributed several zingers to the stock of movie quotes floating around in general circulation. Someone must have liked the "Potzdorf" episode, as "More brandy!" and "Drat!

I never mix my pies!" remain among Jack Lemmon's most cited lines.

Surviving participants in the real-life 1908 competition did not care for this trashing of their personal history. I loved it on its first release way back when, and it remains a pleasant (if long) watch on cable TV and home video.

32 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Lemmon steals the film plus some great actors in smaller roles rgdmalaysia
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