Almost in the breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world’s hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 13.4 kilometers of a cordoned country road. Every few hours the two drivers per car alternate – but it’s still a challenge for concentration and material. In the focus is the duel between the German Stahler in Ferrari 512LM and the American Delaney in Gulf Team Porsche 917. Delaney is under extraordinary pressure because the year before he caused a severe accident, in which his friend Lisa’s husband was killed
The Ultimate Racing Flick
The reason why most racing movies fail is because the Hollywood people try to tie in some cheesy plot to the highly professional sports of auto racing. In real life car racing, there is no dramatic love story, no struggle between good and evil, no rebel against the authority. In real life, racing is all about speed, physical strength, and concentration, anything else is just distraction.
Rather than put in a third rate plot to make a crappy story out of it like Driven or any other racing flick has done(including the Grand Prix), Steve McQueen’s Le Mans has chosen to walk the different path, to bring the true spirit of car racing on the big screen. Who cares if there is no plot, no conversation, or no love story. If you are looking for those things, you are watching the wrong movie. The sound of the 917 blasts down the Mulsanne at full throttle is well worth the time to watch this movie.
Sadly, this is probably the last of the true racing movies. The world today is impossible to make a movie out of the real racing cars (every single race car in Le Mans is real. The Porsche 917, the Ferrari 512S, The Lola T70). Driven uses mock CART car based on Indy Light, plus a whole lot of crappy CGI car, Grand Prix uses the F2 car that looks like the F1 at the time. A movie like Le Mans probably will never be made again.