Top F1 movies: from documentaries to action on the sofa.

Top Formula 1 racing movies
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F1 movies: when the camera loves the race tracks

The mixture of adrenaline rush, drifts and the drama around the racing arenas has always been an advantage for cinema fans. Racing films in general and Formula 1 in particular have had their share of theaters with many films that appealed to the audience.

  • F1 movies: How did it start?
  • Formula 1: Top 3 documentaries
  • "The Driver"
  • "Rush"
  • F1 movies on Netflix

Top F1 movies
Grand Prix 

The first F1 movie. The Grand Prix

In 1966, John Michael Frankenheimer directed his Oscar-winning masterpiece

The Movie had all the elements, from the love trio depicted against the backdrop of roaring engines and racing material, to a reference to all the Formula One films that followed. It won three Oscar awards for its technical achievements. Grand Prix success paved the way for many attempts to show the epic battles of the race tracks, divided into biographical, fictional and documentary films. Documentaries showed real footage of the races and the drivers. This makes them the archives of Formula One history.


 


The three best F1 documentaries


№ 3 Weekend of a Champion 1972

Top F1 movies
Senna movie

One of the biggest and first attempts to make a documentary about Formula One was Roman Polanski's 1972 film "Weekend of a Champion," which was the best friend of Formula One driver Jackie Stewart and filmed the British driver's attempt to complete the 1971 Monte Carlo Grand Prix. It received good reviews for showing not only the racing scenes or the continuous efforts of Formula One drivers, but also the star side of the drivers at the time and how they were treated like kings on the streets of Monaco.


№ 2 Senna


Considered by many film critics to be the best documentary ever made about Formula One, Senna portrays the life and death of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. The film examines the controversial career of the driver since his debut at the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix, when he raced with Toleman and Lotus before joining the British Mclaren team, which made him world champion. Senna had an unforgettable rivalry with his teammate Alain Prost, which was massively portrayed in the film. The film ended with the dramatic accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix that led to Senna's death. 




№1 Life on the limit 2014


The success of Senna encouraged Paul Crowder to make a film that had been in the shadows for 25 years, emphasizing the evolution of safety measurements and their development in Formula One, at a time when drivers were starting the race without knowing if they would finish it alive.


The glamour of Hollywood on wheels


Away from documentaries, Hollywood fans have always been fans of car movies, and they seem to enjoy imagining themselves on the road, even if it only takes two hours, whether it's a criminal running away from justice, with escape scenes and slow motion crashes, or simply competing with other motifs and dreams on the track.

"The Driver" 

"The Driver"  is considered one of the prominent films that incorporates the road trip into its main plot. The 1978 thriller / action film, written and directed by Walter Hill and starring Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern and Isabelle Adjani, was so popular because it depicted a fascinating driver who made a living stealing fast cars and using them as getaway vehicles in robberies across Los Angeles. The film opened the door to many films with similar plots, and arguably the most famous film in this category is the blockbuster series 


"Fast and Furious." 

Another plot that has been shot several times in Hollywood is the Competition plot, which features two main characters with contradictory personalities; on top of that, the fury of the races and you will get another blockbuster. 

"Rush"

Probably the most famous movie in this category is "Rush," which made an enormous impression when it was played in 2013. 
Christopher Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl brought the legendary rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt to the screen in the seventies. The film was immediately popular with fans because of the interesting plot and the touching scenes of the terrible accident that happened to Lauda at the Nürburgring. The film showed how both drivers were prepared to give their lives for the victory. Ron Howard directed and produced it also together with Andrew Eaton, Eric Fellner, Brian Oliver, Peter Morgan and Brian Grazer. 



A true Formula One enthusiast is probably asking himself: "Where can I watch all these movies and more?" And the answer is pretty clear.

Netflix and chill

Netflix is home to the highest-rated films, as well as the hidden gems, and prides itself on having the diversity of films that are particularly popular with fans.

Here are some suggestion of F1 movies to watch on Netflix

  • Red Bull: Return to Millen Mountain (2011)
  • Le Mans
  • Williams
  • Ferrari: Race To Immortality


There is no doubt that Hollywood and films enriched the Formula 1 business and contributed to its spread and popularity, but at the same time, it is very misleading to draw all the information and facts about Formula One exclusively from films, with the exception of documentaries, since the films are often characterised by exaggerations and dramatic conspiracies that contradict reality.

Taisiya Lavi

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