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Grand Prix (1966) vs. Rush (2013)


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#1 Flat Black 84

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 16:15

I have a certain tradition associated with Monaco/Indy. On the night before these races I watch Grand Prix and on the following night, Rush. 

 

It seems to me the general consensus is that those are the two finest auto racing films ever made, and such is their fame that I would be surprised if many posters on this site haven't seen them. (Most of you have probably watched them many times.) 

 

The purpose of this thread is to compare and contrast the two films, make arguments supporting the superiority of the one to the other, or simply explain why one is your favorite, even if it technically lags the other in this or that respect. 

 

For myself, I honestly cannot decide which I prefer, or which is the better film. They are rather different pictures, but in my opinion, very evenly matched. And that's why I'm soliciting your views. I'm keen to see if convincing arguments, based upon whatever criteria you choose, can be made in favor of Grand Prix or Rush.



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#2 sabrejet

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 17:41

I prefer Le Mans (1971), followed by The Racers (1955); the latter mainly because it features a nice HWM. Never cared for either of the F1 films.



#3 JacnGille

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 18:20

For me, Rush left out too many very relevant details which made the Hunt v Lauda story what it was.



#4 AJCee

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 18:25

Agree, I prefer Le Mans.

While Rush isn’t awful, I think it would have been a better film if they’d been honest that they far from hated each other.

Edited by AJCee, 27 May 2024 - 18:27.


#5 10kDA

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 18:56

First, a disclaimer: I've watched Grand Prix many, many times, including twice in its original Cinerama format when I was 13 years old, and the only version of Rush I have seen was on TV and the Spanish-language version at that.

 

The racing footage in Grand Prix was astounding on the big screen, and has not lost much in the way of impact over time, even in smaller formats and on the small screen. Cinerama had the distracting feature of the three-way split screen, but you could get used to it and it became unnoticed. At the time it was the best attempt to widen the field of view while sitting in a theater seat, and it was fairly successful. One would think if Grand Prix were produced today, it would be in IMAX format.

 

The racing scenes in Rush were good, and it was great to see the cars of that era, but I didn't think its racing scenes were as compelling as in Grand Prix. Again, small screen experience only.

 

As far as story lines, well, they are both movies, even though Rush did a pretty good job of telling the most well-known aspect of the 1976 GP season. I get it, Grand Prix had to get butts in seats, and date night generally means selling two tickets, and the off-track drama was not too bad, given it would last only until the next race. At least the drivers were not depicted as at each others' throats between races which would have been stereotypically Hollywood, and worldwide cinema production in general, for that matter. A big factor for me was the appearance of contemporary drivers who I had read about, and maybe seen giving answers to "What's it like out there?" questions, actually having "roles" (as such) in the story. It seemed to add an authenticity that is still apparent as I watch it today.

 

Rush was at a disadvantage in that it had to recreate a past rather than record a parallel timeline. Rush effectively presented the story of Lauda's unlikely, almost unbelieveably rapid recovery from life-threatening injury, which scriptwriters would have been challenged to come up with on their own. But even in Spanish I detected some "Ron Howard moments" that have spoiled some movies on which he had been doing so well, until...

 

BTW the voice actor who dubbed "James Hunt's" Spanish lines sounded very much like the voice-over guy in the Mentos commercials from the 80s.

 

In reference to the OP's tradition - for a few years in the mid-70s one of the local TV stations would run Grand Prix the evening after the Indy 500. It was shortened into a 2h30m time slot including commercials, but before VCRs, DVDs, or streaming, it was the only way to watch it when it was out of theater distribution. So I did. Now I have the DVD and I still watch it a few times a year, though I admit to FF'ing through the JP><Monique conflict and Jeff Jordan giving the scribblers a quick shmooze followed by Stoddard getting inside ASAP only to be scolded by Jordan re: trophies on display.



#6 Flat Black 84

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 19:47

Agree, I prefer Le Mans.

While Rush isn’t awful, I think it would have been a better film if they’d been honest that they far from hated each other.

 

My sense is that while Lauda and Hunt were portrayed as cordially loathing one another early in the film, over the course of the picture they develop a begrudging respect for one another that ultimately develops into a slight fondness.

 

Lauda, incidentally, gave Rush his stamp of approval, claiming it is surprisingly accurate. But you're certainly correct that the film is not entirely accurate. I've never seen a Hollywood historical film that is. 



#7 Flat Black 84

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 19:54

First, a disclaimer: I've watched Grand Prix many, many times, including twice in its original Cinerama format when I was 13 years old, and the only version of Rush I have seen was on TV and the Spanish-language version at that.

 

The racing footage in Grand Prix was astounding on the big screen, and has not lost much in the way of impact over time, even in smaller formats and on the small screen. Cinerama had the distracting feature of the three-way split screen, but you could get used to it and it became unnoticed. At the time it was the best attempt to widen the field of view while sitting in a theater seat, and it was fairly successful. One would think if Grand Prix were produced today, it would be in IMAX format.

 

The racing scenes in Rush were good, and it was great to see the cars of that era, but I didn't think its racing scenes were as compelling as in Grand Prix. Again, small screen experience only.

 

As far as story lines, well, they are both movies, even though Rush did a pretty good job of telling the most well-known aspect of the 1976 GP season. I get it, Grand Prix had to get butts in seats, and date night generally means selling two tickets, and the off-track drama was not too bad, given it would last only until the next race. At least the drivers were not depicted as at each others' throats between races which would have been stereotypically Hollywood, and worldwide cinema production in general, for that matter. A big factor for me was the appearance of contemporary drivers who I had read about, and maybe seen giving answers to "What's it like out there?" questions, actually having "roles" (as such) in the story. It seemed to add an authenticity that is still apparent as I watch it today.

 

Rush was at a disadvantage in that it had to recreate a past rather than record a parallel timeline. Rush effectively presented the story of Lauda's unlikely, almost unbelieveably rapid recovery from life-threatening injury, which scriptwriters would have been challenged to come up with on their own. But even in Spanish I detected some "Ron Howard moments" that have spoiled some movies on which he had been doing so well, until...

 

BTW the voice actor who dubbed "James Hunt's" Spanish lines sounded very much like the voice-over guy in the Mentos commercials from the 80s.

 

In reference to the OP's tradition - for a few years in the mid-70s one of the local TV stations would run Grand Prix the evening after the Indy 500. It was shortened into a 2h30m time slot including commercials, but before VCRs, DVDs, or streaming, it was the only way to watch it when it was out of theater distribution. So I did. Now I have the DVD and I still watch it a few times a year, though I admit to FF'ing through the JP><Monique conflict and Jeff Jordan giving the scribblers a quick shmooze followed by Stoddard getting inside ASAP only to be scolded by Jordan re: trophies on display.

 

I certainly agree with you regarding Grand Prix's racing footage. Not only is it an almost sensual--and very visceral--experience, it is also poetic in the extreme. In fact, I'm hardpressed to think of a more visually poetic film. Add in Jarre's delightful score and you have a picture that is extremely artistic in the best sense of the word. Rush can't measure up in that respect, but in certain others--humor, for instance--it may excel Grand Prix.



#8 ellrosso

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 04:24

Grand Prix over Rush any day for me - the racing footage was so well done. Interesting, Racing Car News interviewed some of the top drivers back in the day after they had watched it. Leo Geoghegan actually said it was quite awkward watching it with his wife as she had no idea beforehand what it was actually like in the car - she was a 

bit rattled by it apparently. I loved that era of 3 ltre F1 too - my first real exposure to the sport at an age where I could appreciate it I guess.



#9 john aston

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 06:26

Grand Prix had its moments and the on track stuff was excellent. Off track ... with some notable exceptions (principally James Garner) the acting was wooden and often cringeworthy  and the plot was hackneyed . Rush was the better film by far - except for all the on track action . I love Cadwell but you can have too much of a good thing ...     

 

Le Mans was  plot free nonsense but made up for its faults with its in- car stuff. Ford v Ferrari? Great off track , awful on it . Ferrari ? Cast excellent (especially the volcanic Penelope Cruz ) , race stuff mainly not bad , but terrible in places .

 

Although a documentary, The Last Race (re a  Long Island stock car track ) puts them all in the shade 



#10 Alan Baker

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 08:28

First, a disclaimer: I've watched Grand Prix many, many times, including twice in its original Cinerama format when I was 13 years old, and the only version of Rush I have seen was on TV and the Spanish-language version at that.

 

The racing footage in Grand Prix was astounding on the big screen, and has not lost much in the way of impact over time, even in smaller formats and on the small screen. Cinerama had the distracting feature of the three-way split screen, but you could get used to it and it became unnoticed. At the time it was the best attempt to widen the field of view while sitting in a theater seat, and it was fairly successful. One would think if Grand Prix were produced today, it would be in IMAX format.

 

 

Grand Prix was filmed in Super Panavision 70, not three strip Cinerama. By the time that Grand Prix was made three strip had been abandoned in favour of "single lens Cinerama" which was 70mm projected onto the curved Cinerama screen without any dividing lines. Only two narrative films were made in three strip Cinerama, How the West Was Won and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. All other "Cinerama" presentations were single lens 70mm.


Edited by Alan Baker, 28 May 2024 - 08:29.


#11 opplock

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 08:37

I saw Grand Prix when I was 11. Having only seen motor racing at Levin the footage from Spa was mind blowing. Seeing the places I'd only ever read about - Spa, Monaco, Monza, Brands Hatch. I knew where I was going when I grew up although it took until the early 80s to do so. Plot, who cares about the plot? 

 

Bizarrely I learned many many years later that a previously unknown aunt (my mum's half sister) and her husband had made a brief appearance in a scene filmed 5 miles from where I now live. 

 

If Grand Prix and Rush are shown on TV again I'll only bother taping one of them.



#12 68targa

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 08:46

Of the two films mentioned in the OP, Grand Prix is by far the better IMO.  By the time Rush was made there had been vast improvements in cinematic techniques and technical advances   Some of the images in Grand Prix are extremely well done without the benefit of GCI.   Having 'genuine' drivers interspered with the actors was also a good move.  Whilst not the best film ever made it does have a certain charm.



#13 10kDA

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 11:22

Grand Prix was filmed in Super Panavision 70, not three strip Cinerama. By the time that Grand Prix was made three strip had been abandoned in favour of "single lens Cinerama" which was 70mm projected onto the curved Cinerama screen without any dividing lines. Only two narrative films were made in three strip Cinerama, How the West Was Won and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. All other "Cinerama" presentations were single lens 70mm.

Maybe what I'm remembering was distortion out at the far edges of the screen and attributing it to the Cinerama split screen. It was nearly 60 years ago.



#14 Glengavel

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 12:09

My sense is that while Lauda and Hunt were portrayed as cordially loathing one another early in the film, over the course of the picture they develop a begrudging respect for one another that ultimately develops into a slight fondness.

 

Lauda, incidentally, gave Rush his stamp of approval, claiming it is surprisingly accurate. But you're certainly correct that the film is not entirely accurate. I've never seen a Hollywood historical film that is. 

 

When did Hunt and Lauda first meet? I can imagine there might have been an initially cool period between them.



#15 Collombin

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 12:57

When did Hunt and Lauda first meet? I can imagine there might have been an initially cool period between them.


The Hunt bio by Donaldson talks of the two of them having a lengthy chat about the dangers of the sport after a particularly hairy race in Sweden - likely Karlskoga, 9th Aug 1970, though their first race together was probably at Magny-Cours in May.

#16 rl1856

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 13:46

Shouldn't we really discuss Francois Hardy vs Olivia Munn ?     

 

Both movies were melodramatic and took poetic license with reality.   GP is a better movie as a visual spectacle.  In fact it was cutting edge at the time and the intensity of what was depicted has a visceral impact that remains even 58yrs later.  Rush is grittier, and plays up supposed animosity between the leads.  What should have been depicted accurately was distorted, while the background seemed surprisingly realistic- at least based upon memories of the era.  Rush focused as much attention on the offscreen lives of Hunt/Lauda as it did on the actual racing season.  Good or Bad ?  For participants in this forum, probably bad, for casual viewers who accompanied us to the theater probably better for it.

 

Rush did a good job of including Lauda's miraculous recovery.   But GP did include the recovery of Stoddard; he was literally near death after Monaco, but was able to compete (with...ahem....medical assistance) later in the season.  This was a good subplot and depicted as realistically as possible given when the movie was made.

 

I watch and like both, but for different reasons.



#17 Flat Black 84

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 17:18

Grand Prix had its moments and the on track stuff was excellent. Off track ... with some notable exceptions (principally James Garner) the acting was wooden and often cringeworthy  and the plot was hackneyed . Rush was the better film by far - except for all the on track action . I love Cadwell but you can have too much of a good thing ...     

 

Le Mans was  plot free nonsense but made up for its faults with its in- car stuff. Ford v Ferrari? Great off track , awful on it . Ferrari ? Cast excellent (especially the volcanic Penelope Cruz ) , race stuff mainly not bad , but terrible in places .

 

Although a documentary, The Last Race (re a  Long Island stock car track ) puts them all in the shade 

I tend to think of Grand Prix as a high-speed soap opera. But it's an excellent high-speed soap opera. 

 

I liked Montande's performance and the woman who played Stoddard's mum--interesting character that. She's lost one son to racing almost lost a second, and yet looks on stolidly as he prepares to set sail again in an extremely weakened condition. 

 

Then there's the dazzling Geneveive Page, who is still with us at age 96.



#18 Flat Black 84

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 17:24

Shouldn't we really discuss Francois Hardy vs Olivia Munn ?     

 

Both movies were melodramatic and took poetic license with reality.   GP is a better movie as a visual spectacle.  In fact it was cutting edge at the time and the intensity of what was depicted has a visceral impact that remains even 58yrs later.  Rush is grittier, and plays up supposed animosity between the leads.  What should have been depicted accurately was distorted, while the background seemed surprisingly realistic- at least based upon memories of the era.  Rush focused as much attention on the offscreen lives of Hunt/Lauda as it did on the actual racing season.  Good or Bad ?  For participants in this forum, probably bad, for casual viewers who accompanied us to the theater probably better for it.

 

Rush did a good job of including Lauda's miraculous recovery.   But GP did include the recovery of Stoddard; he was literally near death after Monaco, but was able to compete (with...ahem....medical assistance) later in the season.  This was a good subplot and depicted as realistically as possible given when the movie was made.

 

I watch and like both, but for different reasons.

I also think both films did a good job of addressing the philosophy--for lack of a better word--of auto racing in those parlous times. Why men willingly put themselves in grave peril race after race, year after year, is a fascinating subject and speaks, I believe, to something (eternal?) in the male constitution. 



#19 Collombin

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 18:01

Then there's the dazzling Geneveive Page, who is still with us at age 96.


As is 99 year old Eva Marie Saint.

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#20 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 19:26

Grand Prix is a groundbreaking film by a master of cinema. Taking into account the differences in the eras depicted and in which they were produced I believe Grand Prix to be far superior. I’ve seen GP many times and never tire of it. I’ve seen Rush twice and consider that to be enough.



#21 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 June 2024 - 19:38

Shouldn't we really discuss Francois Hardy vs Olivia Munn ?     

 

Both movies were melodramatic and took poetic license with reality.   GP is a better movie as a visual spectacle.  In fact it was cutting edge at the time and the intensity of what was depicted has a visceral impact that remains even 58yrs later.  Rush is grittier, and plays up supposed animosity between the leads.  What should have been depicted accurately was distorted, while the background seemed surprisingly realistic- at least based upon memories of the era.  Rush focused as much attention on the offscreen lives of Hunt/Lauda as it did on the actual racing season.  Good or Bad ?  For participants in this forum, probably bad, for casual viewers who accompanied us to the theater probably better for it.

 

Rush did a good job of including Lauda's miraculous recovery.   But GP did include the recovery of Stoddard; he was literally near death after Monaco, but was able to compete (with...ahem....medical assistance) later in the season.  This was a good subplot and depicted as realistically as possible given when the movie was made.

 

I watch and like both, but for different reasons.

Sadly, Francoise Hardy passed away today at the age of 80.



#22 B Squared

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Posted 13 June 2024 - 09:29

Shouldn't we really discuss Francois Hardy vs Olivia Munn ?

I don't think Olivia Munn was in Rush. Possibly you're mistaking her for Olivia Wilde.