ⓘ Rush (2013 film)

Rush (2013 film)

ⓘ Rush (2013 film)

Rush is a 2013 biographical sports film centred on the Hunt–Lauda rivalry between two Formula One drivers, the British James Hunt and the Austrian Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 motor-racing season. It was written by Peter Morgan, directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Lauda. The film premiered in London on 2 September 2013 and was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival before its United Kingdom release on 13 September 2013.


1. Plot

James Hunt and Niki Lauda are exceptional racing car drivers who first develop a fierce rivalry in 1970 at a Formula Three race in London, when both their cars spin before Hunt wins the race. Hunt is a brash and self-confident individual, while Lauda is a cool and calculating technical genius who relies on practice and precision. Lauda takes a large bank loan from Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank wearing their logo thereafter to buy his way into the BRM Formula One team, meeting teammate Clay Regazzoni for the first time. Meanwhile, Hesketh Racing, the fledgling racing team Hunt drives for, enters Formula One. Lauda then joins Scuderia Ferrari with Regazzoni and wins his first championship in 1975. Hesketh closes down after failing to secure a sponsor, but Hunt joins the McLaren team. During this time, Hunt marries supermodel Suzy Miller, while Lauda develops a relationship with German socialite Marlene Knaus.

The 1976 season starts with Lauda dominating the first two races while Hunt struggles to catch up. Hunt wins the Spanish Grand Prix, but is disqualified after a post-race inspection rules that his car is fractionally too wide. Struggling to comply with F1 rules, McLaren suffers a series of racing setbacks, and Hunts situation is further exacerbated when Suzy starts a relationship with actor Richard Burton. Following his divorce, Hunt regains his competitive spirit and, when his disqualification in Spain is overturned, the points put him into championship contention. Lauda marries Marlene in a private ceremony but begins to have concerns about the effects of his newfound happiness, worrying that he has become vulnerable as a racer, as he now has something to lose.

At the German Grand Prix, Lauda urges the F1 committee to cancel the race due to heavy rain on the already notoriously dangerous Nurburgring Nordschleife. At a drivers meeting on race day, Hunt argues that Lauda is trying to benefit by having one less race in the season, and the drivers vote to race. Most drivers start the race with wet weather tyres, which becomes a costly tactic due to most of the track quickly drying. They all change tyres during the second lap, but on the third lap, a suspension arm in Laudas Ferrari breaks, sending the car flying into an embankment then bursting into flames. Lauda is airlifted to hospital with third-degree burns to his head and face and internal burns to his lungs. For six weeks, Lauda is treated for his injuries while he watches Hunt dominate the races in his absence. Despite his doctors orders, he decides to return to drive his Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix, finishing fourth while Hunt fails to finish.

The 1976 season comes to a climax at the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. Hunts late rally in Laudas absence has pulled him within three points of Lauda. At the end of the second lap, after his car has slid several times, Lauda returns to the pits and decides to retire from the race, considering it far too dangerous and opting to stay with Marlene instead. This gives Hunt a chance to win the championship if he can finish third or better. After facing stiff competition under gruelling conditions, tyre problems and a hand injury due to the gear shifter knob breaking, Hunt finishes third, winning the championship by a single point.

Hunt spends the rest of the year revelling with fame, sex and drugs, while Lauda takes an interest in flying private planes. At a private airfield in Bologna, Lauda suggests to Hunt that he focus on the next racing season to defend his title, but Hunt argues that his glamorous lifestyle is the most enjoyable part of being world champion. Lauda later on realises that Hunt no longer feels he needs to prove himself to anyone. Hunt continues to race until his retirement in 1979, and becomes a motorsport broadcast commentator until his death in 1993 at the age of 45. Lauda reflects on how their great rivalry and personality differences spurred each other on to their finest achievements, and states that Hunt was the only other driver he ever envied.


2. Cast

Hunt and Lauda appear as themselves, in the 1970s and 1980s, in archive footage at the end of the film, while Lauda is then seen for a few seconds in contemporary 2013 footage.


3. Production

The film was shot on location in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire, the Snetterton Norfolk, Cadwell Park Lincolnshire, the former Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch Kent motor racing circuits in Britain, and at the Nurburgring in Germany. Both vintage racing cars and replicas were used in the filming.

The financiers include Hurth-based action concept Film- und Stuntproduktion, Egoli Tossell Film, Revolution Films GB and Cross Creek Pictures US. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW funded the film with €1.35 million, additional funding was provided by MFG Filmforderung Baden-Wurttemberg and the German Federal Film Fund DFFF.

Director Ron Howard originally intended for Russell Crowe to make a cameo appearance as Richard Burton for a brief scene where he confronts James Hunt on his affair with Suzy.


4. Historical accuracy

Some things in the film are exaggerated like the Hunt–Lauda rivalry; in reality they had shared a flat early in their careers and were good friends, others downplayed like Laudas wifes shock at his disfigurement, and others invented like Hunt beating up a reporter or the Nurburgring nickname being "the graveyard"; in fact Jackie Stewart had nicknamed it "the Green Hell". A further inaccuracy is that when Laudas car was in flames, only one other racing competitor, Arturo Merzario, succeeded in pulling Lauda out of his car, not four as shown in the movie. Other inaccuracies include the British F3 battle at Crystal Palace, which in reality was between Hunt and Dave Morgan, and Hunts overtake on Regazzoni for 3rd place in the Japanese Grand Prix when in the actual race he passed Alan Jones. Another error in the Japanese Grand Prix is that Regazzoni and Laffite finished fourth and fifth, while in the actual race it was Jones and Regazzoni who finished fourth and fifth. In the end scene an incident is described where Hunt, while being a tv broadcaster, comes to a meet-up with Lauda on a bicycle with a flat tire. In reality this incident happened while Hunt ran out of money and fell into alcohol-addiction. On this day Lauda gave him money to rebuild his life. Hunt, after Lauda gave him money a second time, later fixed his life and got his job as a television broadcaster. The visual blog Information is Beautiful deduced that, while taking creative licence into account, the film was 82.9% accurate when compared to real-life events, summarizing that there were "a little staging to get Lauda and Hunt in the same locations sometimes, but otherwise true".


5. Soundtrack

The films orchestral score was composed by Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack includes 1970s rock music by Dave Edmunds, Steve Winwood originally performed and written by the Spencer Davis Group, Mud, Thin Lizzy and David Bowie.


6. Marketing

BBC Two aired the documentary Hunt vs. Lauda: F1s Greatest Racing Rivals, on 14 July 2013. The documentary provides an extensive look at the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, featuring interviews with Lauda and former crew members of the McLaren and Ferrari teams.

The Ferrari & the Cinema Society jointly organised a screening of the film at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas in New York on 18 September 2013. Chris Hemsworth attended the screening.


7.1. Reception Box office

Rush was a box office success as it earned $26.9 million in domestic box office, $71.3 million in international box office, with a worldwide gross of $98.2 million against a budget of $38 million.


7.2. Reception Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89% based on 223 reviews with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, "A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a finely crafted sports drama with exhilarating race sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating to reviews, calculated an average score of 75 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Niki Lauda was pleased with the overall look of the film. He was quoted as saying: "When I saw it the first time I was impressed. There was no Hollywood changes or things changed a little bit Hollywood-like. It is very accurate. And this really surprised me very positively." Though, when first seeing the pre-screening of the unedited footage he considered himself to be portrayed too negatively. This changed on the day of the first screening when Bernie Ecclestone told him how much he liked it.


7.3. Reception Home media

Rush was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 28 January 2014. A Sainsburys exclusive edition with a bonus disc of new special features was released for a limited time. The Australian Blu-ray release is bundled with the 2013 documentary 1.