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Fast cars, a hot romance and a behind-the-scenes look at the world famous Indy 500 - Winning has it all. It stars Paul Newman as Frank Capua, a hotshot race car driver who will do anything to win. However, this obsession nearly causes him to lose his wife, Elora (Joanne Woodward), and his friendship with arch-rival Luther Erding (Robert Wagner) along the way.
Released in 1969, Winning features a believable personal drama, spectacular footage of the 1968 Indy 500 with its famous 17-car pileup and a biting look at the people who make their living in the fast lane. It also marks the screen debut of Richard Thomas, who went on to become television's John-Boy of The Waltons.
Paul Newman plays a racecar driver, Frank Capua, who steps out of his professional and personal isolation long enough to marry a single mother, Elora (Joanne Woodward). The two have a brief but happy life together with Elora's 13-year-old son, Charley (Richard Thomas), but it comes to an end when Frank goes back on the racing circuit and Elora assuages her loneliness in the arms of her husband's chief rival, Luther (Robert Wagner). Frank checks out, and Charley travels across the country to find him and effect a reconciliation. A touching movie (with some good racing footage) by director James Goldstone, Winning is about the real pain of people who have become used to a certain way of safe, arm's-length living, and who have to learn to get beyond it to find redemption in love and faith. Good performances by Newman, Woodward, and Thomas, who makes a terrific impression in one of his earliest roles. --Tom Keogh
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Newman paired with Woodward, and Richard Thomas pre-John Boy! A tight script about marital infidelity coupled with fine directing and acting, mix in some grand cinematography at the old brickyard (shot during the actual race in 1968), and a fine Dave Grusin soundtrack, and the product is a real winner!
Where infidelity is concerned, we are often quick to blame one partner or the other. But if we are honest, we must ultimately see that both partners can be at fault. Winning shows that so often one partner can be responsible and the other to blame.
A thought-provoking movie, despite a glaring technical flaw - Newman carrying the Borg Warner trophy around like a bowling trophy (any racing fan would know the Borg Warner trophy weighs nearly 100 pounds; the winner actually gets a replica that stands about 14 inches tall and weighs about five pounds) - director James Goldstone gets the most not only from his actors, but also from the backdrop of the movie: the 1968 Indy 500. The excitement and pageantry of the "greatest spectacle in racing" are expertly captured. These finely tuned machines from the "golden era" of racing are shown gracefully circling the track, like a skater delicately balanced on a single skate blade. Even the wrecks, shown in agonizing slow motion, have a certain beauty about them, while one of Newman's pit stops manages to stylistically contrast sitting still while his car is being serviced with the exhilaration of being on the track and at speed.
For fans of Newman and Woodward and racing buffs alike, Winning is a winner. And at $9.98, it's a steal, too!
In my view, Winning is an overlooked gem with great performances from Newman and Woodward (always great to watch these two in action together), a mature plot with a credible dramatic setup, and some fantastic racing footage based at the Indianapolis 500. (Check out the wreck that happens just about a minute after the great race begins: it's one of the most frightening things ever captured in cinema. I don't know if this wreck was staged or just happened to be captured on film.)
Great to see Richard Thomas in an early role as a troubled but likable teenager. And here's to Robert Wagner, Newman's arch rival on the track and in the bedroom, who's a villain you almost have to love!
Good work all around. Some of the music soundtrack appears a bit dated with 40 years hindsight, but Winning still wins: it's a great looking film with exciting action and great stars that also serves as a fascinating time capsule of the 1960's car culture.
As far as a movie, it is a pretty good example of the time and not that bad a race movie in that it actually has a plot other than going from one race to another. There is some hanky panky going on off the track that makes the movie interesting to those not fully into racing.
The race scenes are not bad, although the on-track announcing is borderline funny at times...but not as bad as "Redline 7000" of about the same vintage which starred James Caan. That movie was more a kitsch drive-in movie, although fun in its own way.
For race buffs there are better movies, the best being "Grand Prix" with James Garner and in the mix "Le Mans" with Steve McQueen, with a weaker story line than both "Grand Prix" and even "Winning".
The film arrived in a timely manner and in very good shape. I would use this seller again.