Leelah Henriquez

Written by Leelah Henriquez

Modified & Updated: 22 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Rottentomatoes.com

The Great Race is a classic comedic adventure film that has captured the hearts of audiences since its release in 1965. Directed by Blake Edwards, this star-studded movie boasts an all-star cast, including Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Natalie Wood. The film takes viewers on a wild journey as eccentric daredevil The Great Leslie (played by Curtis) and his rival, the dastardly Professor Fate (played by Lemmon), compete in a race around the world. With its fast-paced action, hilarious antics, and unforgettable characters, The Great Race has become a beloved favorite among movie enthusiasts. In this article, we will delve into 45 intriguing facts about this timeless classic, from behind-the-scenes trivia to interesting tidbits about the production and reception of the film. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the fascinating world of The Great Race!

Key Takeaways:

  • The Great Race is a timeless classic filled with thrilling race sequences, iconic characters, and a blend of comedy, romance, and adventure that continues to entertain audiences of all ages.
  • With its innovative special effects, memorable quotes, and star-studded cast, The Great Race remains a beloved source of laughter and joy, inspiring fans for over five decades.
Table of Contents

The Great Race was directed by Blake Edwards.

Renowned director Blake Edwards was in charge of bringing this epic comedy to life. Known for his successful collaborations with actor Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther series, Edwards was the perfect choice to helm this hilarious race around the world.

The movie stars Tony Curtis as The Great Leslie.

Tony Curtis plays the charismatic and dashing hero, The Great Leslie. Known for his charming on-screen presence, Curtis brought his unique blend of humor and charm to the role.

Jack Lemmon portrays the villainous Professor Fate.

Jack Lemmon gives a memorable performance as the comedic antagonist, Professor Fate. Lemmon’s comedic timing and physical comedy skills shine throughout the film.

The Great Race was inspired by the real-life rivalry between early 20th-century daredevils.

The movie draws inspiration from the competitions and rivalries that took place during the early days of automobile racing. This adds an exciting element of history to the comedic storyline.

The movie was filled with thrilling and elaborate race sequences.

From daring stunts to breathtaking chases, The Great Race features some of the most memorable race sequences in cinematic history. These action-packed moments keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Natalie Wood plays the role of suffragette reporter Maggie DuBois.

Natalie Wood delivers a strong and sassy performance as Maggie DuBois, a feminist reporter covering the Great Race. Her character adds a touch of feminism and wit to the storyline.

The film boasts a star-studded supporting cast.

In addition to the main cast, The Great Race features an ensemble of talented actors, including Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn, and Arthur O’Connell, who each bring their own comedic flair to their respective roles.

The movie was a box office success.

Upon its release, The Great Race was a commercial hit, solidifying its status as a beloved classic. Audiences flocked to theaters to witness the uproarious adventures of Leslie, Fate, and the other characters.

The Great Race received three Academy Award nominations.

Recognizing its impressive production design, sound design, and cinematography, the film was nominated for Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.

The iconic pie fight scene required over 4,000 pies.

One of the most memorable moments in the movie is the epic pie fight scene. It took meticulous planning and a whopping 4,000 pies to create this hilarious and chaotic sequence.

The film’s budget was $12 million.

The Great Race was considered one of the most expensive movies of its time, with a budget of $12 million. The filmmakers spared no expense in creating a grand and visually stunning spectacle.

The Great Race was praised for its innovative use of special effects.

From elaborate boat and car chases to intricate stunts, the movie pushed the boundaries of special effects in the 1960s. It set a new standard for action comedies in terms of visual effects.

The Great Race showcases stunning period costumes.

The movie’s costume designers went to great lengths to capture the fashion trends of the early 20th century. The characters’ costumes, particularly those worn by Natalie Wood, are a feast for the eyes.

The film features an enchanting musical score.

Composed by Henry Mancini, the musical score of The Great Race perfectly complements the comedic and adventurous tone of the movie. The catchy tunes add an extra layer of enjoyment for the viewers.

A miniature version of The Great Leslie’s car was created for certain scenes.

To film certain sequences, including stunts and close-ups, a miniature replica of The Great Leslie’s car was built. This allowed for greater control and precision during the filming process.

The Great Race inspired a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series.

The success of the film led to the creation of “The Great Grape Ape Show,” an animated series by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The series featured a character named Grape Ape, who bore a resemblance to the character of The Great Leslie.

The movie portrays an entertaining blend of comedy, romance, and adventure.

The Great Race offers a delightful mix of genres, making it a versatile and enjoyable film for audiences of all ages. Its humor, romance, and thrilling race sequences make it a true cinematic gem.

The Great Race was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

The film received recognition not only from the Academy Awards but also from the Golden Globes. It was nominated in the category of Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, highlighting its entertainment value.

The Great Race paved the way for other comedic adventure films.

The success and popularity of the movie inspired other filmmakers to explore the comedic adventure genre. It served as a blueprint for future films that aimed to combine humor with thrilling and action-packed storylines.

Critics praised the performances of the main cast.

Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Natalie Wood garnered positive reviews for their performances in The Great Race. Their chemistry and comedic timing brought the characters to life and added depth to the overall narrative.

The Great Race remains a beloved classic.

Decades after its release, The Great Race continues to entertain audiences around the world. Its combination of comedy, adventure, and unforgettable characters has solidified its place in cinematic history.

The Great Race is often compared to other classic madcap comedy films.

Films like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines are often mentioned alongside The Great Race. They share a similar comedic spirit and thrilling race sequences.

The movie’s runtime is approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.

With its engaging storyline and numerous comedic set-pieces, The Great Race offers a lengthy but highly entertaining cinematic experience.

The Great Race was re-released in 2001 on DVD.

In 2001, the film received a special DVD release, allowing a new generation of viewers to enjoy the timeless humor and adventure.

The Great Race has a dedicated fanbase.

Over the years, The Great Race has amassed a loyal following of fans who appreciate its comedic brilliance and nostalgic charm. Many fans gather at conventions and film screenings to celebrate this beloved movie.

The Great Race inspired several memorable quotes.

The film gave us iconic lines such as “Push the button, Max!” and “The winner and still champion, The Great Leslie!” These quotes have become ingrained in popular culture and are often referenced in comedic contexts.

The Great Race showcases impressive production design.

The set designers and art directors paid meticulous attention to detail, creating lavish sets that transport viewers to the early 20th century. The intricate backdrops enhance the overall visual appeal of the film.

The movie’s screenplay is full of witty dialogue.

The Great Race features sharp and clever dialogue that adds to the comedic charm of the film. The well-written script enhances the performances of the actors, resulting in memorable comedic moments.

The Great Race features a memorable pie fight.

The epic pie fight scene has become one of the most iconic moments in the movie. It is a testament to the film’s slapstick humor and physical comedy prowess.

The Great Race was shot on various locations across the United States.

From California to Colorado, the film’s production took place in multiple states, allowing for diverse and stunning landscapes to serve as backdrops for the race sequences.

The Great Race was released in Technicolor.

The film’s vibrant color palette, made possible by the Technicolor film process, adds to its visual splendor. The vivid hues contribute to the overall charming and immersive viewing experience.

The Great Race influenced other filmmakers in the comedy genre.

Directors and writers who came after The Great Race drew inspiration from its comedic style and adventurous spirit. The movie’s success had a lasting impact on the comedy genre as a whole.

The Great Race received praise for its costume design.

The elaborate and detailed costumes of The Great Race earned the film recognition for its exceptional costume design at the Academy Awards. The outfits perfectly capture the fashion trends of the early 20th century.

The Great Race features a memorable sword fight scene.

In one of the film’s exciting showdowns, The Great Leslie and Professor Fate engage in a thrilling sword fight. This adds an extra layer of action to the comedy-filled storyline.

The Great Race was a technological marvel of its time.

With its innovative use of special effects, elaborate sets, and thrilling action sequences, The Great Race showcased advancements in filmmaking technology during the 1960s.

The film showcases various modes of transportation.

From cars and boats to trains and balloons, The Great Race takes audiences on a whirlwind adventure through various means of transportation. This adds excitement and variety to the race sequences.

The Great Race pays homage to silent films.

Through its comedic slapstick moments and homage to early cinematic techniques, The Great Race celebrates the era of silent films. It serves as a loving tribute to the pioneers of cinema.

The Great Race features impressive practical effects.

The filmmakers relied heavily on practical effects and stunts to create the thrilling race sequences. This adds authenticity and excitement to the on-screen action.

The Great Race was not initially a critical success.

Although it gained commercial success, the film initially received mixed reviews from critics. However, over time, it has become appreciated for its comedic brilliance and entertaining storyline.

The Great Race inspired a theme park attraction.

In 1993, Universal Studios Florida introduced The Great Race attraction as part of their Studios Tour. The ride allowed visitors to experience the suspense and excitement of the movie firsthand.

The Great Race was known for its memorable sight gags.

Throughout the film, there are numerous sight gags that add comedic value to the scenes. These visual jokes contribute to the overall lighthearted and fun atmosphere of the movie.

The Great Race soundtrack was well-received.

Henry Mancini’s musical score for The Great Race received praise from both critics and audiences. The catchy tunes perfectly complemented the comedic and adventurous tone of the film.

The Great Race offers a timeless portrayal of early 20th-century culture.

From its depiction of gender roles to the influence of technology, The Great Race provides a snapshot of the social and cultural dynamics of the time period it represents.

The Great Race showcases the power of determination and teamwork.

Throughout the movie, characters must work together and push their limits to overcome challenges and reach their goals. This message of unity and perseverance resonates with audiences.

The Great Race continues to inspire laughter and joy.

More than five decades after its release, The Great Race remains a beloved source of entertainment. Its timeless humor and thrilling adventures continue to bring smiles to the faces of viewers of all ages.

So, whether you’re a fan of classic comedies, thrilling adventures, or simply enjoy a good pie fight, The Great Race is a must-watch movie that guarantees a rollicking good time. Experience the joy and excitement of this legendary film and join the ranks of fans who adore The Great Race!


In conclusion, The Great Race is a classic movie that has captivated audiences for decades. With its thrilling race sequences, memorable characters, and comedic moments, it continues to be a favorite among movie enthusiasts. The film’s impressive production design and stunning cinematography truly bring the story to life, making it a visual feast for the eyes.

Additionally, the superb performances from the cast, including Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood, add depth and charm to the film. The Great Race is a timeless adventure that showcases the creativity and ingenuity of the filmmakers.

Whether you’re a fan of action-packed racing sequences, hilarious slapstick comedy, or engaging storytelling, The Great Race is a movie that delivers on all fronts. It is a testament to the brilliance of classic cinema and continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest movies of its time.


Q: When was The Great Race released?

A: The Great Race was released on July 1, 1965.

Q: Who directed The Great Race?

A: The Great Race was directed by Blake Edwards.

Q: How long is the running time of The Great Race?

A: The Great Race has a running time of approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Q: Is The Great Race based on a true story?

A: No, The Great Race is a fictional comedy film inspired by the early 20th-century automobile races.

Q: Who are the main actors in The Great Race?

A: The main actors in The Great Race are Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood.

Q: Has The Great Race won any awards?

A: Yes, The Great Race won an Academy Award for Best Sound Effects.

Q: Is The Great Race a family-friendly movie?

A: Yes, The Great Race is generally considered suitable for all ages. It contains comedic elements that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Q: Where was The Great Race filmed?

A: The Great Race was primarily filmed in California, USA.

Q: Does The Great Race have any notable music?

A: Yes, The Great Race features a memorable and lively score composed by Henry Mancini.

Q: Is The Great Race available on streaming platforms?

A: Depending on your location and subscription, The Great Race may be available for streaming on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu.

Inspired by The Great Race's thrilling car race sequences? Dive into more high-speed excitement with our NASCAR Facts article. Craving another classic film that oozes old Hollywood glamour? Check out 47 Facts About The Movie Butterfield 8. Can't get enough of Tony Curtis's charm and talent? Discover 10 Extraordinary Facts About Tony Curtis that will make you appreciate this silver screen legend even more. From pulse-pounding races to iconic performances, our articles offer fascinating insights into the world of entertainment.

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