COTD: Al Pacino's forgotten F1 movie edition

When we talk about great racing movies, there's one that never enters the conversation: "Bobby Deerfield," a forgotten 1977 bellyflop starring Al Pacino as a Formula 1 driver. Directed by Sidney Pollack, the film's off-track moments are as slow as Italian table service; its on-track footage — featuring the real lineups from F1's 1976 season, including cameos from a Tyrrell P34 and Bernie Ecclestone — tends to focus on the fake wrecks rather than real action. You can watch the whole thing on Netflix streaming, or just the racing portions in this clip, where Deerfield takes a real hot lap. Streetside Stig did a much better job conjuring a scene of F1 greatness involving Colin Chapman and a dream:

"I had a horrible dream last night, Twiggy," muttered Colin, without looking up from his clipboard. The 72C roared by the line, and she somehow heard the tidy little click of Colin's stop watch.

"Oh?" she probed cautiously, knowing not to distract him much while he was at this.

"Yes," he went on, scribbling as he spoke, "It was 2011 and they'd forgotten everything."

"Everything?" she wondered, fearing a long and didactic story. "About this race?"

"That, yes. They still ran it, but there were so many rules, so many penalties. It was like watching barges go round."

"You mean they were slow?" she said through a smile, trying to imagine such a thing.

"No, they were still fast, my dear, just...heavy. They seemed heavy." Colin suddenly chuckled. "And there were two Lotus teams. Heh." After a moment he finally put down his pen and watch and looked up at her, an uncharacteristic fear in his eyes. It startled her. "But that was far from the worst of it. The road cars were all being built by these little Malay fellows. And worse still, some Swiss biscuit called Dany was fattening them all up, making them just like every other super car in the world! They'd forgotten about us!"

Colin seemed to suddenly realize he'd been shouting. He fumbled for a handkerchief to wipe his sweating forehead. His hand shook over the stop watch. Twiggy had never seen him like this, but reached a thin, bronzed hand over to squeeze his shoulder. "It will be all right, Colin," she soothed. "It was only a dream."

"Yes," he admitted. "I suppose it was," and resumed his study of the clipboard. The 72C screamed across the line.


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Congratulations, Mr. Streetside Stig, on today's COTD! My award to you isn't a Lotus F1 but a beautiful Lotus Elise to be brought to you by the lovely Teresa. It may take her a few days to drive there, as her arms seem to be otherwise occupied. Way to go, Sir!