6.8/10
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80 user 40 critic

Le Mans (1971)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 23 June 1971 (USA)
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4:37 | Clip
Almost at the verge of documentary, film depicts a single auto race from the ground up.

Director:

Lee H. Katzin

Writer:

Harry Kleiner
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Michael Delaney
Siegfried Rauch ... Erich Stahler
Elga Andersen ... Lisa Belgetti
Ronald Leigh-Hunt ... David Townsend
Fred Haltiner Fred Haltiner ... Johann Ritter
Luc Merenda ... Claude Aurac
Christopher Waite Christopher Waite ... Larry Wilson
Louise Edlind ... Mrs. Anna Ritter
Angelo Infanti Angelo Infanti ... Lugo Abratte
Jean-Claude Bercq Jean-Claude Bercq ... Paul-Jacques Dion
Michele Scalera Michele Scalera ... Vito Scaliso
Gino Cassani Gino Cassani ... Loretto Fuselli
Alfred Bell Alfred Bell ... Tommy Hopkins
Carlo Cecchi Carlo Cecchi ... Paolo Scadenza
Richard Rüdiger Richard Rüdiger ... Bruno Frohm
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Storyline

Almost in breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world's hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 13.4 kilometers of cordoned country road. Every few hours the two drivers per car alternate - but it's still a challenge for concentration and material. In the focus is the duel between the German Stahler in Ferrari 512LM and the American Delaney in Gulf Team Porsche 917. Delaney is under extraordinary pressure, because the year before he caused a severe accident, in which his friend Lisa's husband was killed. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Story of Heroes See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

23 June 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Mans See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,573,797 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve McQueen became increasingly paranoid as a result of finding out he was on Charles Manson's kill list. It led him to pursue a license to get a gun to protect himself. His marriage to Neile Adams McQueen was falling apart as well. She was having an affair with Maximilian Schell. When he found out, McQueen offered him a part in the film (possibly in the hopes of running him off the road), but Schell wisely refused. See more »

Goofs

The main accident scene has at least four cars involved, but only the important two are mentioned by the track announcer. See more »

Quotes

David Townsend: Michael, I want you to drive flat out. I want Porsche to win Le Mans.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Steve McQueen: American Icon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

The Race, First Laps
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand Et Son Orchestre
See more »

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User Reviews

Delaney - the unheroic hero (and all the better for it)
24 October 1998 | by Caius&GonvilleSee all my reviews

It's always the dispassionate films executed in documentary style that show us what mankind is truly capable of and consequently make us passionate. Kubrick did as much regarding space travel in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as did Wise in his portrayal of scientific method in The Andromeda Strain. When Delaney (McQueen) undramatically explains his motivation for returning to the most demanding of the GT endurance races with the plainly delivered words "When you're racing - it's life. Anything that comes before or after is just waiting" we realise that any emotional content delivered on top of the actions of such men would be superfluous, or would even detract from their achievements.

To the unfamiliar viewer, raised on the formulaic and dependable sports action drama, the tension is in all the wrong places. The start of the race - effectively a 15 minute build up to the 4 o'clock commencement climaxing in Delaney's racing heartbeat and the roar of 50 or so competition engines - has us more wound up than the sequence portraying the final lap (but only just). Similarly, the scene in which Delaney's team manager (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) orders him back on the circuit after a near-fatal accident is without the (surely obligatory nowadays?) show of defiant reluctance - Delaney is hardly the identikit Hollywood hero whom we could expect to confront authority armed to the teeth with the usual cocky dialogue. Quite the opposite. Delaney - the lop-sided figure quite unable even to cope with a confrontation with a fellow racing-driver's widow without feeling awkward - realises that, rather narrowly, he is able only to drive faster than most other professional drivers and that he has no self-affirming existence outside of the demands and constraints of the team.

For all those who believe that the heroes of this world are those who rebelliously reject such impositions on the 'free-spirited' individual - whether they be the social class-based constraints of Titanic or the intellectual ones of Dead Poets Society - the film will no doubt descend into lap upon lap of fast Ferraris and Porsches (as it did for the Time Out film reviewer). Those of us who know that mankind's most towering achievements (winning an event such as the 24 hours of Le Mans being no exception) have been constructed by relatively stunted men and women will sympathise with the character of Michael Delaney. Delaney is no hero, but is all the more heroic for it.


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