(Review originally written at 28 November 2006)

After 40 years, this still is a very exciting movie to watch, especially obviously for race fans and F1 fans in particular.

As weird as it might sound, "Grand Prix" is a real period movie. There is an immense difference between '66 Grand Prix racing and present day Formula 1, in terms of rules, cars and mostly safety regulations. In that regard it makes "Grand Prix" an already outdated and old fashioned looking movie. By todays standards the races and cars in this movie look ancient. In a way it all speaks way more to the imagination, perhaps because of the reason that the sport looked (and was) so much more dangerous back then. It makes the movie also very exciting and the races in the movie thrilling. No way a movie like this could be made this present day.

The story most definitely isn't the strongest aspect of the movie and it features some typical stereotypical and dramatic elements you could expect from a sport movie but thank goodness that the movie really lays its emphasis on the racing elements of the movie.

The movie its story visits some of the best racing tracks in the world, Monte Carlo, Zandvoort, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. Spa in the movie is still for most part a road circuit and the Monza track has a couple of large and incredibly dangerous banking on it, like a NASCAR track. For a racing fan it already is an huge experience to see this circuits in their old glory. The tracks looked better and were more challenging back then but also way more dangerous than now. None of the tracks still exist in this form present day.

Also one of the powerful things about this movie is that everything is real. No miniature or computer generated cars and drivers, this is the real stuff! Racing movie really don't get more realistic than this, with for most of the time also the real actors racing in the real cars. Again; No way a movie like this could be made this present day.

The movie uses some interesting experimental techniques, some more successful than others by the way, such as in-cockpit cameras and multiple split-screens. It makes the movie a totally unique viewing experience.

The crashes in the movie are totally over-the-top but spectacular nonetheless. Seeing cars crashing in the Monte Carlo harbor and flying straight into the water is a spectacular sight.

But not only the crashes are spectacular, also the races in general are brought spectacular to the screen. The way of filming puts us right into the cars and directly in the middle of the action. It makes us part of the action during the races, which should get your adrenaline flowing.

The acting is the greatest, with the exception of Eva Marie Saint, who was really great. Nevertheless the characters remain good and interesting enough, although they are extremely stereotypical. It also seemed that all of the non-English speaking actors in the movie for halve of the time had no idea what they were saying. They deliver some of the lines in a totally wrong way, like they had no idea what their sentences meant. This goes mostly for Yves Montand but also for Antonio Sabato. But luckily, like I said before, the movie lays its emphasis in the racing elements of the movie, which makes the acting and story comes sort of secondary.

For race fans (and Formala 1 fans in particular) an absolute must-see! Race movies don't get any better and more realistic than this one.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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