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The Great Race (1965)

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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 »
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Popularity
3,060 ( 181)
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:

17 December 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' The Great Race See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

As its production budget swung wildly out of control, this film became the most expensive movie comedy ever made at the time. And with a duration of 160 mintes, it's also one of the longest comedies ever made. See more »

Goofs

After Max drives the "Leslie Special" into the castle where Maggie and the Prince are being held. He parks next to the "Hannibal Twin 8", exits the "Leslie" then jumps into the "Hannibal" and starts it up. Earlier in the movie, Max had to use a crank to start the engine. 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]
See more »

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 has been re-released in France in 1996. However, after the race starts, all scenes involving people from the newspaper in New York have been cut. The French authorities or distributors took them as a mockery of the French suffragette's, feminist's and women's lib movements. See more »

Connections

References Sunset Blvd. (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

The Beautiful Blue Danube
(uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Performed at the Potzdorf Ball
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Worthy of modern restoration and DVD issue.
15 February 2001 | by alembicSee all my reviews

In the classic opening credit sequence just before where we are transported back to the days of the "Magic lamp" slide projection shows, we are given a hint of what is to come when a tribute salute " For Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy " appears on the screen. Yes this movie does owe something to the slapstick routines of those two gentlemen yet it has a life of it's own which in many ways far surpasses slapstick. For those people who can only see the sight gags then this movie will only provide mild appeal. Look deeper and appreciate the marvellous comedic talents of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn and Natalie Wood.

Comedy is always a thing of personal taste. I suspect that there will be those who will rave about how wonderful The Great Race is while others will call it a waste of time and money. There will be few in the middle ground. I fall into the rave category. To me this movie is sheer FUN.

The visuals are splendid and awesomly huge. The costumes fabulous and the location settings vast. Everything is over the top, yet there is still room for small subtleties and in-jokes. The actors have a ball. Jack Lemmon just sneaks in as the best scene stealer but the able cast hold their own too. The Great Race just cries out for a restoration job and a release on DVD - please !


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