6 Great Racing Films

With all the hype surrounding Ford v Ferrari, I decided to make a list of great films which have one thing in common: fast cars. I decided to skip animations (Cars would have otherwise made a fine addition to the list) and franchises of debatable quality (yes, I mean Fast and Furious) in order to focus on really memorable movies. So, here we go, in chronological order:

1. Speedway (1968)

This musical had some of the top names in the entertainment industry at the time, including Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra. The film centres around Steve Grayson, a driver who has to raise an impressive amount of money to pay taxes accummulated through poor bookkeeping. While it’s certainly not a masterpiece, it’s an interesting piece of history.

2. Grand Prix (1966)

Living up to its memorable title is Grand Prix, a film about driver Pete Aron, who faces scrutiny after crashing in Monaco and injuring his teammate, Scott Stoddard. It racked up three Academy Award wins, and although they were lesser prizes, it remains a worthwhile watch.

3. Le Mans (1971)

Le Mans has for decades been one of the top attractions in motorsport. The French showpiece heavily relies on endurance, as it goes on non-stop for 24 hours. This almost-documentary film gives a sneak peak into such a race, and famously features Steve McQueen as one of the protagonists.

4. Days of Thunder (1990)

Probably not the finest racing film out there, but it shows another facet of racing events: NASCAR. Big names such as Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall star in the Oscar-nominated film for Best Sound – a category that racing flicks throughout the years seem to have done rather fine in.

5. Senna (2010)

This BAFTA-winning documentary centres around the life and tragic death of one of the most acclaimed Formula 1 drivers who have ever graced the game – Ayrton Senna. The film not only chronicles the 3 times World Champion’s achievements, but also shines a light on the dangers that the sport poses to those who take part in it.

6. Rush (2013)

My personal favourite of the bunch is Rush, the story behind the great rivalry between F1 champions Niki Lauda and James Hunt, throughout the 1970s. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth, the film transcends its genre and remains an inspirational life story – and a great tribute to the two drivers, and especially to Niki Lauda, who passed away earlier this year.

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival

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4.11.2019
 

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