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'Grand Prix' (1966) vs 'Le Mans' (1971)


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Poll: 'Grand Prix' (1966) vs 'Le Mans' (1971) (140 member(s) have cast votes)

  1. Grand Prix (1966) (70 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  2. Le Mans (1971) (70 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

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#1 OSX

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:27

Many people seem to think that Grand Prix (1966) is the best racing film ever made while others think it's Le Mans (1971). Wich one of the two you consider to be the better one and why?

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#2 Ivan

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:19

Le Mans was sort of a mockumentary of a race. Which was very interesting and fun. But no real side plot other than the fact that the main driver, Michael, crashed in last years Le Mans race and killed the hubby of a lady that he now has the hots for. She being a hottie, and now a mourning groupie.
Grand Prix was to that date and now really the best at showing what a year of GP racing was like.
With all the (extras) like sleeping around with your team mates wife while he is re-cooporating from the accident which you caused. Nino a talented driver who sleeps with all the groupies and the teams time keeper. Almost wins the WDC but team mate dies and so, the team calls Nino in, while he is leading the deciding race. Jean-Pierre, (Nino's soon to be dead team mate) has an affair with a photo journo, shooting the season for a fashion mag. All the while leaving a super hot wife all alone to run the family business.

So basicly both movies are about gettin' your groove on!!

#3 LB

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 07:12

Imho Le Mans is the better racing film while Grand Prix is a better film.

#4 Stephen W

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 09:43

Originally posted by LB
Imho Le Mans is the better racing film while Grand Prix is a better film.


Have to agree with LB and have voted for Le Mans as it is the better racing film and there are more of what I like to see in a motor racing film - the cars!

:wave:

#5 fuzzi

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:07

I'm with Steve. A test for me is that I have Le Mans on video, and watch it occasionally, whereas I've never felt the need to see Grand Prix again.

#6 drivers71

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:16

Grand Prix is the better FILM - Le Mans has the better CARS.

#7 petefenelon

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:47

Grand Prix has some great background and some excellent real racing footage. Sadly the faked stuff is not impressive, and the plot and acting are at best functional, although Garner does have some charm. Brian Bedford has all the charisma of a damp handkerchief; Montand's performance is cliched, Sabato's is no better... The supporting players do lift it a bit, Toshiro Mifune is always superb and Jack Watson was great. Adolfo Celi did a fairly naff take on Il Drake.

Le Mans is a love affair to the world's greatest race made when it had some of the most charismatic cars ever racing there. It's a film about racers and racing, with virtually zero plot to get in the way of the action. It barely exists if you're not a racing fan, but if you are it's beautiful.

I own and enjoy both, but Grand Prix is pulp and Le Mans is an existential love affair with racing. If I could only have one, it's Le Mans.

#8 GD66

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:22

I agree Pete, but considering the unfamiliar surroundings for Frankenheimer's team, I think they did a credible job in fitting the racing footage in with the fake stuff, which must have been considered only passable even in those times. But for me, they're the only two films that have even attempted to portray the drama and passion of motor racing (crappy plotlines aside), and both have given us plenty of GREAT SOUND, so for me both have a place, and I won't be voting as I luv 'em both ! :cool:

#9 lil'chris

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 13:05

Grand Prix has footage of places like the proper Spa, whilst Le Mans has the 917s flying through Maison Blanche.

On balance and being a circuits rather than a car man, I'd have to go for Grand Prix.

Chris

#10 Lemans

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 13:11

I rated Le Mans the best film on racing and a good Steve McQueen movie.

#11 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 14:33

Originally posted by Ivan
Le Mans was sort of a mockumentary of a race. Which was very interesting and fun. But no real side plot other than the fact that the main driver, Michael, crashed in last years Le Mans race and killed the hubby of a lady that he now has the hots for. She being a hottie, and now a mourning groupie.
Grand Prix was to that date and now really the best at showing what a year of GP racing was like.
With all the (extras) like sleeping around with your team mates wife while he is re-cooporating from the accident which you caused. Nino a talented driver who sleeps with all the groupies and the teams time keeper. Almost wins the WDC but team mate dies and so, the team calls Nino in, while he is leading the deciding race. Jean-Pierre, (Nino's soon to be dead team mate) has an affair with a photo journo, shooting the season for a fashion mag. All the while leaving a super hot wife all alone to run the family business.

So basicly both movies are about gettin' your groove on!!


Superb. Ivan have you ever thought of being a film critic? You summed that up perfectly. :up: :rotfl:

#12 ian senior

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 14:53

I think Pete's assessment is about right. The "plot", such as it is, in Grand Prix borders on the scarcely credible at times. I guess that's the price to be paid for having to include a "human interest" angle in the film to appease Joe and Jane Public.

But I can think of at least 2 real motor racing stories that would probably make better films - how about The First Year of March or The Connew Story? There's racing and human interest in both stories, although sadly not too much racing in the latter (sorry Barry!).

#13 Lee200

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 15:29

Originally posted by LB
Imho Le Mans is the better racing film while Grand Prix is a better film.


I agree with LB, not just because those are my initials too. :)

I've got both on DVD and thoroughly enjoy watching each of them again again. We are lucky that Frankenheimer and McQueen produced the only two racing movies that are worth watching more than once.

Oh, I'm forgetting Driven/l by Sylvester Stallone. :rotfl:

Lee

#14 D-Type

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 15:29

Remember that both films were pitched at John Q Public and his good lady and not at the enthusiast. So the question should be 'Which film attracted more strangers into our world?'.
I reckon the answer is Grand Prix

If the question is 'Which shows (on track) racing more accurately?' then it's Le Mans

But judging by the 'Grand Prix out-takes' thread if you ask 'Which has given members of the forum the more enjoyment?' it's Grand Prix even if only for affording us the opportunity of being very anorakish in spotting the technical flaws.

Overall verdict: a big ?

#15 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 16:26

Can´t say I enjoyed either very much. Hollywood doesn´t have the first clue about making motorracing movies. Their concept of the whole thing can be summed up in one word, corney. It might appeal to people who only have a passing interest in the sport, but I can´t see any real enthusiasts getting exited by those types of productions.

#16 JacnGille

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 16:40

Which one do I like the best? Whichever one is in my DVD player at the time. ;)

#17 fines

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 16:51

As already related elsewhere on this forum, I can't get too excited about "Grand Prix" mainly because of its very poor plot. Technically it's remarkably good, but overall I only watch it because I'm a racing nut and hungry for racing footage (I do also watch gory accident videos on YouTube because of that, so that is hardly a compliment for the film!).

About "Le Mans", the least said the better.

So I won't vote because I actually loathe 'em both.;)

#18 Keir

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 18:29

My vote goes to "Grand Prix" by a slim margin, as I believe that it was the better movie.

The racing action is slightly better and more authentic in "Le Mans", but where is the story ??

I always felt that Steve McQueen would have changed things a bit given the chance, but I really think he was having too much fun driving !!

I stll take the time to watch both movies at least twice a year.

#19 Peter Darley

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 18:45

I know this is OT, but what about "A Man and a Woman" ? . I seem to remember some good footage of a GT 40 and Mustang on the Tour de France, plus the bonus of a superb music soundtrack by Francis Lai.

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#20 uffen

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 19:36

Grand Prix had its faults but it was never dreary like Le Mans. Grand Prix all the way!

#21 petefenelon

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 21:15

Originally posted by ian senior
I think Pete's assessment is about right. The "plot", such as it is, in Grand Prix borders on the scarcely credible at times. I guess that's the price to be paid for having to include a "human interest" angle in the film to appease Joe and Jane Public.

But I can think of at least 2 real motor racing stories that would probably make better films - how about The First Year of March or The Connew Story? There's racing and human interest in both stories, although sadly not too much racing in the latter (sorry Barry!).


Oh yes, Four Guys And A Telephone would make a hell of a film! It's a pity they didn't do it at the time; as has been observed, Peter Cook was a dead ringer for Max ("I could've been a judge but I never 'ad the Latin... oh and my dad was off his rocker too"?). And Robin Herd could've played himself - as he said in the book, during March's first year he was propositioned by four film stars, the problem being only three of them were women...;)

#22 petefenelon

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 21:19

Originally posted by uffen
Grand Prix had its faults but it was never dreary like Le Mans. Grand Prix all the way!


Maybe it depends on what kind of motorsport you prefer... for the last decade or so sports cars have floated my boat to a much greater extent than ugly one make rubbish single seaters ;)

#23 dretceterini

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 03:26

For cars I think I would take "The Racers" over both, but it is a piece of crap as a movie. I prefer LeMans over GP, as I a much more into sports cars that GP/F1. None of the 3 is really what I would call a great movie..

#24 COUGAR508

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 10:22

Originally posted by uffen
Grand Prix had its faults but it was never dreary like Le Mans. Grand Prix all the way!


I always regarded Le Mans as a more arty, "European" take on racing, despite the heave American input. On the other hand, Grand Prix is simply great escapist fun. The plot of Grand Prix is more dynamic. Although it is beautiful to look at, personally I find Le Mans to be somewhat sluggish and pedestrian.

It is difficult to make a valid comparison between the two films, as they were possibly trying to do different things.

#25 Coral

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 11:30

"Grand Prix" is by far my favourite of the two films. I'm more than a little obsessed with that film. To me it just seems to give a flavour of what Grand Prix racing must have been like in the 1960s, a time which I am sadly too young to remember. Scenes of Monaco in 1966 (in colour) have me beside myself with excitement! And being able to see "real" drivers, many of whom are no longer with us, is wonderful too. The drivers' conference before Spa was worth the price of the DVD alone in my opinion. I am a huge fan of Steve McQueen and I do like "Le Mans", but I much prefer "Grand Prix".

#26 Ivan

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 17:15

The fact that these movies spawned another thread shows that we enjoy both of the movies for what they give us. Coral, I too like the fact that I get to see many of Formula Ones' past hero's in the movie. When I was a kid and now too, that was the main reason I loved Grand Prix.

#27 AMICALEMANS

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 18:15

:clap:
Ok i would say
Grand prix is the best movie about Formula 1
Le Mans is the best movie about Sportscar racing

and the Italian Job is the best movie about Minis and english people !

#28 Dave Ware

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 18:50

I've always preferred "Grand Prix" over "Le Mans". Neither is a good film. The racing footage on both were fantastic, and were the best we could get at the time. While corny, "Grand Prix" has some humor, some of it unintended (like the plot and the characters.) "Le Mans" is so serious and heavy-handed, and I think that's why I prefer "Grand Prix."

I enjoy them both. But if stuck on a desert island with only one, it would be "Grand Prix."

Dave

#29 AMICALEMANS

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 19:09

Stuck on a a desert island... I prefer maybe another movie :rotfl:

#30 wsshores

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 19:36

Grand Prix is a better film (better script, challenging cinematography, better acting), but I prefer to watch Le Mans because of the 917s.

#31 LB

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 20:30

I'm glad Lee200 didn't just agree with me because we share initials because mine aren't LB (its a nickname from my surname) :D

I also have both on DVD and have watched both many times I love them both because it enables me to watch racing from before I was born, simple as that.

#32 COUGAR508

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 22:15

Originally posted by wsshores
Grand Prix is a better film (better script, challenging cinematography, better acting), but I prefer to watch Le Mans because of the 917s.


Yes, Le Mans does have a certain exotic, novelty value because of the presence of the 917s.

#33 Bill Becketts

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:29

I have to admit to being completely biased on this. Together with some School friends, I went to see Le Mans at our local Cinema. I remember that the girls that went thought it was boring, something about "No story" and "Steve Mc Queen hardly talks" but then again, they were only girls. :confused:

It fired me up enough to buy my first Autosport (An Annual in fact, with a 917 on the cover..) and since then I've been to La Sarthe sixteen times. OK I've also been to sixty nine Grands Prix, but none of them individually compares to the 24 Hours.

To be slightly objective about this, when watched at home, Grand Prix does suffer from using all that "Split-screen" stuff IMO.

#34 Paul Parker

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 12:39

Personally I found Le Mans rather boring and some of the on track action at the end unconvincing.

Grand Prix is another thing altogether and as they say comparisons are invidious. For me the actual screen plot and the acting thereof are largely irrelevant. It is the backdrops, the 1966 racing footage, the appearance of real personnel (photographers, drivers etc.) that make this worth looking at every so often if only to remind one of what things were really like back then. Spa in particular.

For those coming to this for the first time it is worth noting that the actor's in car footage at Monza was achieved by bolting one of Jim Russell's disguised FF Lotus 51 sans its front wheels onto the back of a Ford GT40 that had its tail removed and a camera facing backwards to capture the action. It was apparently driven by Chris Amon at up to 140 mph.

No wonder some of the drivers (sic) were terrified, especially Antonio Sabato according to Mike Cooper who took a picture of this Heath Robinson arrangement that can be seen in Sixties Motor Racing.

#35 scheivlak

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 00:14

Earlier thread:
http://forums.autosp...y=&pagenumber=2

#36 HistoricMustang

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 10:00

Well, since "Redline 7000" is not on the list I pulled the lever for "LeMans". :up:

I can still see and hear the Shelby GT-350 and Daytona Coupe.

Henry

#37 ry6

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 11:55

Both films are 'valuable' parts of the motor racing story.

What is to me of great interest, now looking back, is how much development there was to the cars (and not just comparing F1 to sports racers) and the changes in 'marketing' the sport in the relatively short span between 1966 and 1971.

#38 red stick

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 15:42

I voted for Le Mans, based on the "remote control index."

When I watch Le Mans, I typically only use the play and pause buttons. When I watch Grand Prix, there's way too much FF.

#39 F1flagger

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 17:20

If only Francoise Hardy was in LeMans...

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#40 COUGAR508

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 20:52

Originally posted by F1flagger
If only Francoise Hardy was in LeMans...


and Jessica Walter....

#41 philippe charuest

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 20:54

Originally posted by F1flagger
If only Francoise Hardy was in LeMans...

why Elga Andersen was cute too, one movie with good race footage (indy and sprintcar) is "to please a lady" 1950 with clark gable and barbara stanwyck

#42 OSX

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 17:59

Originally posted by LB
Imho Le Mans is the better racing film while Grand Prix is a better film.

I agree. Of the two I rate Le Mans slightly higher than Grand Prix. It's a more purer racing experience. Although both fim's main fascination for me lies in the historical backdrops, the old cars and the tracks as they used to be. Personally I'm more a F1 than sports cars fan but still I prefer watching Le Mans and the 917s.

#43 Big Jim

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 16:40

I may be very much mistaken, but, wasn't the film "A Man and A Women" centered around the 24 Hrs of Le Mans. I know there was an early GT40 in there.

#44 OSX

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:43

Originally posted by Big Jim
I may be very much mistaken, but, wasn't the film "A Man and A Women" centered around the 24 Hrs of Le Mans. I know there was an early GT40 in there.


Have to check that out. Thanks for the hint! :up:

#45 philippe charuest

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 17:35

Originally posted by Big Jim
I may be very much mistaken, but, wasn't the film "A Man and A Women" centered around the 24 Hrs of Le Mans. .

not really . the main character in the story is a race driver played by jean louis Trintignant , but its really not a "racing" movie its a chic sixties french love story mostly remember for his music by michel legrand .some scene were shot at monthlery with the help of FORD FRANCE (wich explain the white gt40) and i thinq some scene were shot at the monte-carlo rally.

#46 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 17:51

There's a lot of info here on this film. Have a look at:

'Un Homme et une Femme' 1966 (merged)

which contains links to many other threads about it.

#47 OSX

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 12:13

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting."

Watched 'Le Mans' again last night for the first time in two plus years. I don't think I've ever quite realized before how essential the subplot that is woven in between the racing really is for this movie. The on-screen chemistry between Steve McQueen and Elga Andersen is really strong. And the very subtle and believable way that they play with it is something you rarely see in the movies these days. The racing footage is of course top notch and it doesn't really get any better than it does in Le Mans but it's the combination of the two which really makes this movie the classic that it is. Definitely have to watch Grand Prix again tonight to get another fix of classic racing action.

Le Mans (Trailer)

Edited by OSX, 16 July 2010 - 12:14.


#48 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 19:12

As I would prefer a documentary on the 1966 Grand Prix season or the 1971 Le Mans in the first place, I'd end up watching Bullitt altogether. That movie, in it's own minimalistic way, I see as a precursor of Le Mans. Incidentally it was launched a few weeks after the 1968 Le Mans race.

Jesper

#49 OSX

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:44

As I would prefer a documentary on the 1966 Grand Prix season or the 1971 Le Mans in the first place, I'd end up watching Bullitt altogether. That movie, in it's own minimalistic way, I see as a precursor of Le Mans. Incidentally it was launched a few weeks after the 1968 Le Mans race.


'Le Mans' is pretty much a documentary as it is. And so is 'Grand Prix' to a degree only with more fiction and fabrication thrown in. 'Bullitt' is a popcorn classic which has some nice driving action (and a plot that makes less sense than that of the original 'Thomas Crown Affair') but I would put that movie in a different category despite of the McQueen connection. Still I suppose I need to watch 'Bullitt' again tonight now that the name popped up...


#50 adamcooperf1

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:37

This debate has been going on since about 1971, and to be honest we should think ourselves lucky that these two time capsules exist! Aside from their merits (or not) as movies, they contain some priceless footage that captures a flavour of the era. I am sure they have also in their way done much to promote our sport over the years. When Roland Ratzenberger first drove a 962 in Le Mans - in the last pre-chicane race - he proudly told me that he'd been inspired to become a racing driver by Steve McQueen.

Of course there are things in Grand Prix that purists cringe at, but I think it strikes a successful balance between the racing stuff and the storyline. Don't forget it was made as MGM's big budget action movie of that year - Frankenheimer got the deal on the back of his success making The Train, also made in Europe and featuring loads of stunts. In terms of the split screen stuff, the on board camera shots and the sound he was really pushing the limits, and doing it all on the hoof, on location, often against incredible odds. And Maurice Jarre was the hottest composer at that time, having just done Dr Zhivago. Indeed if you watch other movies he worked on either side of Grand Prix you can hear the family resemblance! Even if you don't like the rest you can just gaze at Francoise Hardy and wonder what her real hobby was...

It's not a question of which of these films is better than the other, but how appalling every subsequent attempt at a racing movie has been. By way of illustration here's a review I wrote in 2001 of the dreadful Driven, one story I really enjoyed writing! Alas I guess it's only visible to Autosport subscribers, but have a look if you can...


http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/15558