If you’re like me, you’re up to date on all of your Top Gear episodes and Formula 1 races (Korea was AMAZING by the way), have already seen Love the Beast 5 times, and you’re bored of pwning noobs on Modern Warfare 2. What do you do for entertainment on a dark, dreary, fall day? I suggest you take in the cinematic classic entitled Grand Prix.
Grand Prix is the multiple Oscar winning 1966 film which chronicles a fast and furious (sorry) Formula 1 season. We’re talking the classic Formula 1 that valued speed far more than safety. This was the era when drivers were true dare devils. They tossed themselves in a sparsely protected cockpit and threw caution to the wind by racing wheel to wheel.
This revolutionary film was directed by John Frankenheimer, who gave us one the best–if not THE best– car chase scenes in cinematic history (found in Ronin). Grand Prix stars a much younger (but still uber manly) James Garner as Pete Aron, an American racer on the comeback trail. He faces off to an aging multi-world champion French driver, a former British teammate recovering from a spectacular wreck, and a young hot-shoed Italian chauvinist. The movie follows these drivers throughout the season, telling a story of love, deceit and competition.
What makes this film spectacular is the revolutionary onboard racing shots and the amazing symphonic sound that only a ‘60s Formula 1 car can make. In fact, this movie won Oscars for Best Sound Effects, Best Film Editing and Best Sound in 1967. Not only do you get a true feel for what it was like to race these beasts, you get cameos of real racing legends throughout the film, including: all-American Formula 1 hero Phil Hill, Lotus racing legend Jim Clark, Australian powerhouse Jack Brabham, and revolutionary driver Bruce McLaren.
While I can see why the film didn’t win an Oscar for dialogue, the action is truly visceral. The cinematography is absolutely jaw-dropping, especially when you keep in mind that this film was made 44 years ago!
Even if you are not a Formula 1 fan (which you should be and here’s why), we highly recommend this film for its historic racing cinematography, amazing sound, and involving story, which hearkens to the Formula 1 of old.