ⓘ Bobby Deerfield

Bobby Deerfield

ⓘ Bobby Deerfield

Bobby Deerfield is a 1977 American romantic drama film directed by Sydney Pollack, and stars Al Pacino and Marthe Keller. Based on Erich Maria Remarques 1961 novel Heaven Has No Favorites, the film is about a famous American race car driver on the European circuit who falls in love with an enigmatic Swiss woman who is terminally ill. Pacino was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.


1. Plot

Formula One auto racer Bobby Deerfield is a calculating, control-obsessed loner who has become used to winning the checkered flag on the track. But after he witnesses a fiery crash that kills a teammate and seriously wounds a competitor, Deerfield becomes unsettled by the spectre of death.

During a visit to the survivor, Deerfields world is further set askew when he meets Lillian Morelli Marthe Keller, a quirky, impulsive woman racing against time.


2.1. Reception Critical response

Critics panned Bobby Deerfield as an over-the-top melodrama with a plodding story line; audiences reportedly laughed at scenes intended to be dramatic. Race-film fans, expecting another Grand Prix or Le Mans, were disappointed that the story did not play out on the race track; however, the action footage was filmed by racing cinematographers over the course of the 1976 Formula One season and features actual drivers, including Carlos Pace, Tom Pryce, James Hunt, Patrick Depailler and Mario Andretti. Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that it "may turn out to be the years most cynical movie made by people who know better, including Sydney Pollack, the director, and Alvin Sargent, who wrote the screenplay."

Critics continue to give the film negative reviews and the film has a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes. Time Out stated that the film is a "classic example of a Hollywood director being struck down by a lethal art attack as soon as he sets foot in Europe."

Bobby Deerfield was released on DVD for the first time on March 11, 2008. The soundtrack, recorded on the Casablanca Records label, has been unavailable for years.


2.2. Reception Awards and nominations

  • 1978 Golden Globe Award Nomination for Best Motion Picture Actor, Drama Al Pacino