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The Great Race (1965)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 14 October 1965 (UK)
Trailer
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ON DISC
In the early 20th century, two rivals, the heroic Leslie and the despicable Professor Fate, engage in an epic automobile race from New York to Paris.

Director:

Blake Edwards

Writers:

Arthur A. Ross (screenplay) (as Arthur Ross), Blake Edwards (original story) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Professor Fate / Crown Prince Frederick Hoepnick
Tony Curtis ... The Great Leslie
Natalie Wood ... Maggie Dubois
Peter Falk ... Maximilian Meen
Keenan Wynn ... Hezekiah Sturdy
Arthur O'Connell ... Henry Goodbody
Vivian Vance ... Hester Goodbody
Dorothy Provine ... Lily Olay
Larry Storch ... Texas Jack
Ross Martin ... Baron Rolfe Von Stuppe
George Macready ... General Kuhster
Marvin Kaplan ... Frisbee
Hal Smith ... Mayor of Borracho
Denver Pyle ... Sheriff
William Bryant ... Baron's Guard (as Bill Bryant)
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Storyline

Professional daredevil and white-suited hero, The Great Leslie, convinces turn-of-the-century auto makers that a race from New York to Paris (westward across America, the Bering Straight and Russia) will help to promote automobile sales. Leslie's arch-rival, the mustached and black-attired Professor Fate vows to beat Leslie to the finish line in a car of Fate's own invention. Written by Jeanne Baker <jbaker@erim.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE GREAT LAUGH SHOW OF ALL TIME! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1965 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' The Great Race See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,333,333
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (RCA Sound System)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of what convinced Jack Lemmon to take this film was the chance to play two utterly disparate characters: The outrageously evil Professor Fate, and the gentle-souled, puppy-like Prince Frederick. Lemmon played both roles with a comic abandon rarely displayed by this highly disciplined actor. See more »

Goofs

Shortly before the starting gun, a very tall police officer (who strikingly resembles Max Baer Jr.) picks up two children on his shoulders. A couple minutes before that, while Peter Falk is cranking up the Hannibal 8 automobile, you can see the cop in the background with the kids already on his shoulders. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Master of Ceremonies: [addressing the crowd] Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness the most spectacular feat ever attempted by the greatest daredevil in the world: The Great Leslie!
[the crowd cheers]
Master of Ceremonies: He will be strapped in a straightjacket before your very eyes and lifted up into the clouds where eagles soar and no sparrow dares to venture!
[the crowd murmurs]
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Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros logo, opening credits, intermission and closing credits all appear in the form of a magic lantern slideshow (an early form of cinema), with each credit having a custom slide. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Great Race was licensed for showing in the Soviet Union in 1965. However, the whole episode where the race is going through Russia was cut. The Soviet authorities took it as a mockery of the 1908 Russian people. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sweetheart Tree
Words by Johnny Mercer
Music by Henry Mancini
Performed by Natalie Wood (dubbed by Jackie Ward) (uncredited)
Robert Bain guitar accompanist (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Greatest Epic Comedy
4 September 1999 | by Eric-62-2See all my reviews

Although "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" was the first comedy to get the epic film treatment, "The Great Race" is in my opinion the best epic comedy. It's just a much funnier film with so many laughs in its first half that the more serious part dealing with the palace intrigues and the straight sword fight acts more as a breather for the viewer before it revs up again with the funniest pie fight of all time and the smashing (literally) finale. Jack Lemmon shows why he was probably the most versatile comic actor of the 50-60s next to Peter Sellers (this is a long ways from the Lemmon of "The Apartment" or "Irma La Douce"!). Peter Falk, a decade before "Columbo" is hysterical too, while Natalie Wood never looked more sexy (except for the last part of "Gypsy") than she does here.

They don't make this kind of simple comedy devoid of crudity any longer. That's what makes a film like "The Great Race" something to keep coming back to and enjoying again and again.


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