American Grand Prix driver Pete Aron is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard. While Stoddard struggles to recover, Aron begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team, and becomes romantically involved with Stoddard's estranged wife.Written by
Damian Penny <email@example.com>
The main drivers in the film were given names and helmets that were purposely close to real drivers so that footage from actual races could be used, with the hope that audiences wouldn't notice (since the drivers' names were quite prominently written on the cars at the time) - Aron/Chris Amon, Sarti/John Surtees, Barlini/Lorenzo Bandini, Stoddart/Jackie Stewart. See more »
After Jean Pierre crashes he is helped out of his car. He pulls his goggles part way down as they are now just under his lip and covering his chin. The view then cuts to a close-up of Jean Pierre's face and the goggles are not over his face any more. See more »
I suppose what's wrong with me is my life. But I can't change it, or won't. So there's nothing you can do for me.
What's wrong with your life?
I've begun to see the absurdity of it. All of us, proving what? That we can go faster, and perhaps remain alive? Nino gambling his life for a trophy, then fills it with beer, and does tricks. Stoddard filling himself with drugs in order to drive, and still passing out with the pain. Don't you see how absurd it all is? Who cares?
I thought you cared, for ...
[...] See more »
Grand Prix is one of those films that simply couldn't be made today. This fact is mentioned over and over in the extras on the excellent DVD-edition, and rightly so. Back in the 60s, F1 racing was still much more "innocent" (and more exciting) than the multi-billion-dollar media-circus it is today. Just imagine someone trying to get Bernie Ecclestone and the teams to allow a film-crew to use F1-tracks on a race-weekend or even to film in the pits/paddock-area of today's F1 - for free! Or imagine having a bunch of actors drive around in real race-cars on real tracks at break-neck speed in today's safety-obsessed world - impossible.
Well, Frankenheimer did all that back in the 60s and for that reason alone the movie is required watching for anyone who has even a slight interest in cars or motor sports. GP offers us a pretty realistic glimpse of an era gone-by - and it doesn't shy away from the gruesome reality and dangers of motor-racing in the 60s. This realism alone makes GP stand out. The filmmakers didn't simulate races, they actually had the actors racing cars on the original tracks and filmed it. The result is astonishing and really gives a feeling of what it must've been like to sit in one of those beautiful deathtraps at speeds of around 300 km/h. The excellent cinematography, editing and music add to this unique experience and they also give the picture that typical 60s-feel (the opening credits alone are worth the price of admission in my book).
On a side note: Being a racing-fan myself, I can't help but wonder why Frankenheimer didn't include the race at the Nürburgring. Back in those days, F1 still used the 20km+ Nordschleife-version of the track, possibly the most demanding and "scary" circuit ever.
Naturally: Between races the movie loses momentum. That's not so much caused by some weak dialog or the predictable plot - it's s just that those incredible scenes on the tracks simply steal the show. No wonder that I find myself fast-forwarding through a lot of the dialog.
In short: 10/10 for the action on the racetracks - 6/10 for the scenes off the track = 8/10
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