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Bobby Deerfield
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Reviews & Ratings for
Bobby Deerfield More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Lost and Forgot.. but a real GEM!

9/10
Author: leparrain5
11 February 2004

Al Pacino is BOBBY DEERFIELD in this touching and moving film about a race car driver in a indifferent marriage who falls in love with Lillian (Marthe Keller). Deerfield buries his feelings and forgets his past until a reckless and passionate woman (Keller) who also lives in death's shadow shows him life's possibilities to the fullest. Beautiful scenes shot in France and Italy make this film even more romantic as well. As Pacino said during the filming of Bobby Deerfield, "I might have been closer to that character, what he was going through, than any character I've played". Why this film is not out on dvd is beyond me, it is fantastic. Funny and touchingly romantic. This was during Pacino's best years.

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A truly great film

Author: Gary-161
18 June 2002

Charming, if slightly patronizing 70's drama. Superb direction. Subtle and understated script. Pacino at his most gorgeous. Howlingly funny, despite it's tragic subject matter. A memorable ending, brilliantly realised. I'd forgotten about the "look, it's Bobby Deerfield" scene as well as all that stuff about salami. Pacino's reactions, especially after first dropping off Marthe Keller at her uncles, are perfectly pitched, dead pan gems. Inexplicably maligned by many, this hidden jewel may be due a timely re-assessment, not least because Keller's performance now seems perfectly in tune with the Ritalin generation.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Heaven Has No Favorites

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
19 December 2008

When Bobby Deerfield was marketed in the USA it was sold to the public as a racing picture like Grand Prix or Le Mans. I well remember the advertisements for it. The European racing scene however is only a background for an Erich Maria Remarque novel on which the film is based. It is a very typical Remarque story about doomed people.

Remarque was one of the most pessimistic of 20th century writers. His best known work however usually has a war background. He spent his entire life trying to out do his first great success All Quiet On The Western Front. Such other work as Three Comrades and Arch of Triumph which were also filmed had a war background or post or pre-war if you will.

The novel Bobby Deerfield is based on Heaven Has No Favorites and came out in 1961 and its protagonist was not an American. My guess is that in order to film it and insure box office the protagonist was changed to an American and a rising American star was cast. Al Pacino plays the title role, an American driver on the European circuit who is self involved in his career. In fact he goes visiting another injured driver, not out of any tremendous concern for him, but to find out information about the crash because he's driving the exact same type of car.

While at the hospital he meets Marthe Keller who leaves the hospital with him. She's a terminal tuberculosis patient and she wants to experience a little of life before it's too late. His kind of risk taking profession appeals to her. It takes a while, but the two develop a relationship.

Which was paralleled in real life between Al Pacino and Marthe Keller and that certainly helped the film a lot. Keller joins Ingrid Bergman from Arch of Triumph and Margaret Sullavan in Three Comrades as yet another of Remarque's doomed heroines. And like in war Pacino's in a job where his number can come up any time.

The film was shot on location in France. Sydney Pollack showed some of the style he did while making that other Oscar winning romantic film Out of Africa. The French countryside is captured beautifully.

Still I think it was bad for American audiences to expect another Grand Prix in Bobby Deerfield. There was enough racing scenes in the film to satisfy racing fans, maybe. But make no mistake, this is a tender romantic story and a good one.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Compelling and original

8/10
Author: russell_jw (russell_jw@hotmail.com) from Warwickshire, England
10 July 2002

Bobby Deerfield is not your average romantic drama especially when compared to the recent phase of Rom-Com's sweeping the screens at the cinemas.

Firstly, Al Pacino is at his best, highly intense and more importantly convincing as a character to accept. This is not surprising as his two other significant films of that decade were the masterful The Godfather and Godfather Part II. There seems to be something compelling in his role in this film which i cannot grasp to identify to you. Maybe because his co-star heightens our interest by their exchange of witty dialogue although i would point towards his stern expressions and calm voice which can explode in his characters few moments of glory.

Secondly, this film is not for the mass popcorn audience, the direction is obtuse and could be compared to the 'Art film' style that we struggle to view at all in popular culture. This is were the 'original' element of my comment of Bobby Deerfield spurs from. It is the fact that the mass audience wouldn't know what to do with the arbitrary meanings revealed. It is usually clear cut in 'Hollywood'.

To finish up, the romance and the character sparring is worth the time of a person who wants to be inspired or possibly take something away from a film that will last longer than the time it takes to see it.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Lost and Forgot.. but a real GEM!

9/10
Author: leparrain5
11 February 2004

Al Pacino is BOBBY DEERFIELD in this touching and moving film about a race car driver in a indifferent marriage who falls in love with Lillian (Marthe Keller). Deerfield buries his feelings and forgets his past until a reckless and passionate woman (Keller) who also lives in death's shadow shows him life's possibilities to the fullest. Beautiful scenes shot in France and Italy make this film even more romantic as well. As Pacino said during the filming of Bobby Deerfield, "I might have been closer to that character, what he was going through, than any character I've played". Why this film is not out on dvd is beyond me, it is fantastic. Funny and touchingly romantic. This was during Pacino's best years.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A bit deep, but very good.

9/10
Author: Gordy Wright from Lisburn, Northern Ireland
6 August 2002

I must admit, I had heard of this film, but never got round to seeing it.

When I did, i just caught the start of it in time, flicking through channels for something to watch.

I was glad I did, as this was a really good film, not the usual hour and a half of rootin' tootin' and shootin' that Hollywood likes to push out from time to time, but a really good film, where the actors were the stars and not the special effects.

Pacino, as always was excellent, I like his sullen and silent roles, and there are few who carry this off better, I also like him when he talks, but in this film there were shades of Michael Corleone, not the menace, but the deepness.

Marthe Keller, the female lead, was ideal to counterpoint Pacino, he was dark, deep and thoughtful, and she was, witty, bright and a little bit off beat.

As for the storyline, a love story would almost cover it, but not quite.

The Motor racing angle is a hook, with a very small cameo from Bernie Ecclestone, Formula Ones supremo, it adds to the film but doesn't overtake it ( please pardon the pun!) but if you want a film with lots of race cars and aggression watch James Garner in Grand Prix instead.

This is well worth seeing, and I would recommend that you do.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An offbeat Pacino/Pollack work.

Author: dbdumonteil
9 November 2002

"Bobby Deerfield" enjoys,so to speak ,a very low rating on the site ,which is probably unfair.Pacino's usual characters and Bobby Deerfield are worlds apart.And coming after the brilliant " dog day afternoon" it could only be a let down.

I saw the movie when it was released and even at the time it seemed rather obsolete and old-fashioned.Adapted from an Erich Maria Remarque novel,it mixed a Douglas Sirkesque melodrama with French nouvelle vague with a bit of the long Cassavetes-like conversations thrown it. It's European to the core.Besides,the two actresses are Swiss (Keller) and French (Duperey).The former is the only interesting character of the movie but it's an endearing one:a short chat with a nurse tells us about her health ,but it will be an hour and a half before Pacino learns it.Keller's joie de vivre is infectious and sometimes the things soar.But it never really lasts and some scenes are boring.The metaphors are a bit ponderous ,as Keller is off on a balloon trip.The races -Deerfield is a race driver- are dully filmed and won't convince "Grand Prix"'s fans.

The best scenes are to be found in the hospital where Deerfield pays a visit to an injured friend,and then the small trip through the splendid landscapes of Switzerland .

Although BD cannot match Pollack's best works (they shoot horses don't they?;Jeremiah Johnson;This property is condemned)it's a whole lot better than later mediocre thrillers like "the firm".

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This movie is somewhat different to a regular Pacino movie

Author: kryan-1
30 March 2001

This movie is hard to locate and seems to be a true lost gem. Both Al Pacino and Marthe Keller are true hedonists who fall in love. But there's more. Keller is dying of cancer and Pacino is a racing driver who lives for the adrenalin buzz of speed and excitement. Both get to realise the reason behind their own "Live for today" motivations. Keller is the society girl who falls in love with Pacino and their manic lifestyles compensate one another. A very poignant and truly touching movie which will bring a lump to your throat.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An under-appreciated BEAUTIFUL movie! (MAJOR SPOILERS)

10/10
Author: vicky_lc2001-1 from Philippines
12 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love this film! Very underrated, I really don't understand why people hate both this and Author Author so much! I just re-watched this with my mom, & we both loved this and Author Author, I gave both films a 10/10 rating. However, I have to disagree with some people's assessment that Pacino was living through his racing. I believe that he may have had a fuller life or at least, had a life when he was younger. He would do impressions of Mae West as a kid, w/c is a clue to how this lifeless man became a race-car driver & how he had lost himself in the process. But I believe racing was what eventually sucked him dry or his approach to racing. It was mentioned that he had many friends who died in their profession, & Lillian commented that he lived his life, trying to 'not die'. I believe there is no truer statement said about Bobby, I never really considered it, even when we were shown him lamenting (well, not really lamenting but you know what I mean) & fussing over how his peer-racer died. It made sense that he was concerned, for all I know, he did this occasionally but the moment she said those words, it became a revelation to Bobby and his life. It was true, he may have had more substance before but as soon as he became more meticulous with death & its prevention, he at the same time, learned to numb himself around that concept & to everything around him. Numbing himself or this self-detachment was the only way he knew how to cope with the high risk job he had undertaken (he couldn't even muster any facade of feeling for his ailing mother, his brother went to France, all the way from Nework just to plead for him to visit their mother, how sad is that?). He couldn't really think about death & racing 24/7 w/o a coping mechanism of sorts, numbing himself was his defense, defense from fears involved with the job. To be able to live through it, & at the same time, go over its possibilities/prevention schemes, to be able to function, to self-preserve amidst the fear. We see him & his life w/ his devoted girlfriend, a lifeless & empty existence, & we contrast this to Morrelli & hers. Bobby has lived with death for so long, he became accustomed to it & it became a shadow he had to live with in his life, Lillian was newer to the experience & handled it differently. Lilian & 'her manly hands', her strong masculine features were the embodiment of life or the 'opposite' Bobby needed, as Lillian commented, Bobby was more delicate, effeminate even, and I just loved that not only was their characters different, their physicality attested to that fact, it was the embodiment of these 2 opposing forces drawn together. Towards the end, at the tunnel, I expected or was waiting for Bobby to scream, but he never did, that to me spoke more than anything, Bobby had reverted to his old life, or to his lack of life, & yes, this was not only a tragic love story, it was tragic for Bobby. To have experienced vibrancy (Lillian), to have learned & changed, only to revert back to before there was a Lillian. I imagined he went back to his girlfriend & they could've married, had children even. He was as hollow and as empty as he ever was, a lifeless corpse w/o a Lillian to give him life! So in the end, Lillian didn't only die, the Bobby that developed/was born through her, died with her as well.:(

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful young woman in France is dying...but not fast enough!

3/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
21 June 2010

Esteemed screenwriter Alvin Sargent, working from the novel "Heaven Has No Favourites" by Erich Maria Remarque, seems to have overdosed on a cinematic double-feature of "A Man and a Woman" plus "Love Story". American race-car driver Bobby Deerfield, in France to drive in the Grand Prix, refuses to get back on the track until it can be determined why another driver perished in a fiery crash; while visiting an injured comrade at a Swiss medical clinic, Bobby meets an enigmatic young woman who talks in riddles ("Are you sick?" he asks her. "Do I look sick?" she answers). Sydney Pollack has directed this film for its images, not its characters. We are offered a color-supplement spread of European bridges, canals, hotels, boats, and hot-air balloon rides in place of living, hurting people. In the lead, Al Pacino scratches the surface of a performance, but cannot dig any deeper with the ridiculous dialogue and situations he's been given (at one point, Pacino is required to do a Mae West impression, and even this falls flat). Marthe Keller is the fading love-interest: chipper on the outside, frightened on the inside, and not above flashing a little skin. The movie attempts not to romanticize death but to instead romanticize the FEAR of dying. It's dead, all right. *1/2 from ****

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