The Great Race

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Great Race Movie Poster Image
Perfect family movie is fun from beginning to end.
  • NR
  • 1965
  • 160 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Violence & scariness

Slapstick punches and, of course, the pie fight.

Sexy stuff

Fate and Max speculate mildly about Leslie's relationship with DuBois.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

The prince has a drinking problem; Leslie frequently has champagne as evidence of his sophistication and elegance.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Great Race has some slapstick violence, and one character drinks too much. The reporter played by Natalie Wood is something of a caricature of feminism, more committed to shocking people than to any thoughtful concept of equality. But she has an unquenchable spirit, and she's courageous and resilient.

User Reviews

Adult Written byDr3w November 9, 2011

Not As Clean As You Think

I liked this movie well enough. It reminded me faintly of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (another race movie that came out the same year). The... Continue reading
Educator and Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written bySarahD 7 May 17, 2016

Hit the Button Max!!!

I think this is one the whole family can enjoy. There is very mild violence in the form of sword fights and fist fights but nothing truly scary. There is also s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byijustlovemovies September 27, 2011

great and really long but to risque for younger children

well i thought there was way to much discussion of sex throughout the movie and leslie and maggie dicuss about having sex in the open plus you see maggie scatil... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMister Keating April 21, 2011
I Love It. It like a Human cartoon, It a little old but hey as they say "The old ones are the best"

What's the story?

In THE GREAT RACE, always dressed in impeccable white, the Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) is a good guy so good that his eyes and teeth literally twinkle. The bad guy is Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon). They both enter an automobile race from New York to Paris. So does beautiful reporter Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood), to prove she can get the story -- dressed in an endless series of exquisite ensembles. The race takes them across America, through the Wild West, to a rapidly melting ice floe in the Pacific, and into a European setting that is a cross between a Victor Herbert operetta and The Prisoner of Zenda, where a spoiled prince happens to look exactly like Professor Fate and it takes all of the stars to foil an evil baron who wants to use Fate to take over the throne.

Is it any good?

It's a perfect family movie, just plain fun from beginning to end; it may also provide an opportunity for a discussion of competition and sportsmanship. Dedicated to Laurel and Hardy, The Great Race is both a spoof and a loving tribute to the silent classics, with good guys, bad guys, romance, adventure, slapstick, music, wonderful antique cars, and the biggest pie fight in history.

At the end, Leslie deliberately loses as a gesture of devotion to Maggie. Professor Fate shows some sense of honor -- apparently it is all right for him to cheat to win, but not all right to win by having Leslie refuse to compete. "You cheated -- I refuse to accept!" Modern adults may wince a bit at Dubois' notion of how to attain equal opportunity -- she ultimately succeeds by showing her leg to the editor, who becomes too dazed to argue further. But like Mary Poppins, it provides a chance to remind children that at that time, women did not even have the right to vote.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Leslie should have let Fate win in The Great Race. Why wasn't Fate happy when he beat Leslie? Why was Fate so jealous of Leslie?

  • Why did DuBois want to be a reporter so badly?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love cars

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate