Winning


2h 3m 1969

Brief Synopsis

A racecar driver risks his marriage in pursuit of speed and success.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Sports
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 May 1969
Production Company
Newman-Foreman Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA; Indianapolis Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 3m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (UK release) (unconfirmed), Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

While celebrating his victory in the Redburne 200, stock car driver Frank Capua persuades Avis representative Elora to accompany him on a drive. When Elora voices concern for her reputation, revealing that she is a divorcée with a teenaged son and suspicious mother, Capua suggests an idyll in California. Upon their return they marry, and Capua adopts Elora's son, Charley. In preparation for the Indianapolis 500 the racer embarks on a grueling training program, neglecting his wife. Arriving at Elora's motel room, he discovers her in bed with his rival Luther Erding. Following a wordless confrontation Capua leaves Elora. Alarmed, Charley hitchhikes to Indianapolis and joins his stepfather, voicing the hope that Capua will best Erding in the upcoming race. Capua is victorious in the Indianapolis 500, after which he assaults his antagonist and pleads with Elora for a reconciliation.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Sports
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 May 1969
Production Company
Newman-Foreman Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA; Indianapolis Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 3m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (UK release) (unconfirmed), Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Winning


Paul Newman was able to combine his profession (acting), his personal life (wife Joanne Woodward) and his passion (auto racing) in Winning (1969), a well-praised and commercially successful hybrid of romantic melodrama and fast-paced action flick.

Newman plays Frank Capua, a seasoned racecar driver who meets and woos Elora, a divorced single mother (Woodward) working in a car rental agency. The two fall in love and marry, and Capua adopts Elora's teenaged son. But when his fortunes on the track take a downward turn, Capua decides to absorb himself totally in the sport, to the detriment of his marriage. His neglected wife begins an affair with his chief racing rival, and his sponsor turns over to that same rival the car that Capua has been longing to drive. When his adopted son hitchhikes across country to support him (and reunite him with Elora), Capua gains the confidence to make his greatest mark yet in the Big Race.

What might have been a routine formula picture was elevated by the presence of Newman and Woodward, the screen's most respected couple at that time, and by Newman's intense fascination for fast driving. In fact, the project was originally intended as an NBC TV movie, but when Newman showed interest in it - for its racing theme rather than its script (which the actor felt was weak) - it was expanded into a big-budget theatrical feature. With Winning, Newman launched his long-time production partnership with John Foreman with a bang; the film grossed $7 million in the U.S. alone on its initial release and did even better in Europe, where racing was then a more popular sport. The authentic excitement of the Indy 500 was bolstered by the inclusion of footage of a 17-car pile up that was shot at the actual race the year before.

Newman's involvement in racing up to this point was strictly from the spectator end. He often rearranged his shooting schedule to attend the Indy 500 (the centerpiece contest in this film) and other races. With this project, he saw his chance to finally get behind the wheel. He and co-star Robert Wagner, who plays his rival, went to the famous Robert Bondurant Racing School, where James Garner and Yves Montand had trained for the earlier racing picture Grand Prix (1966). Newman and Wagner had far less time to learn than their predecessors, but within a week, Newman had amazed his teacher by advancing to driving solo. He began shooting Winning with only two weeks of high-performance driving experience, refusing a stunt double for many of the race sequences, a move that forced the worried studio to insure him for $3 million.

Woodward was equally frightened of her husband's newfound enthusiasm for the sport, especially after going out with him for a high-speed run around the track that left her fingernail marks in his arm. She even tried to get a sense of the appeal racing held for him by taking a turn around the Indy track herself during production - at 40 miles an hour. But she remained unconvinced. "She thinks competitive driving is the silliest thing in the world," Newman said. "It is also very scary for her, and she doesn't much care for it." But that didn't stop him from entering a number of races well into his 70s, even after some potentially serious crashes at 100+ miles per hour.

Besides the two married stars, the performance that got the most attention was that of young Richard Thomas, making his film debut as Woodward's young son. Variety predicted Thomas's "winning" work would get him future roles. He went on to appear in dozens of films, television series and made-for-TV movies, winning an Emmy for his role as John Boy in the long-running show The Waltons. Also in the cast were a number of real-life racecar drivers playing themselves, including Bobby Unser and Dan Gurney.

Director: James Goldstone
Producer: John Foreman
Screenplay: Howard Rodman
Cinematography: Richard Moore
Editing: Edward A. Biery, Richard C. Meyer
Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen, John J. Lloyd, Joe Alves
Original Music: Dave Grusin
Cast: Paul Newman (Frank), Joanne Woodward (Elora), Robert Wagner (Luther), Richard Thomas (Charley), David Sheiner (Crawford), Clu Gulager (Larry).
C-123m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Rob Nixon
Winning

Winning

Paul Newman was able to combine his profession (acting), his personal life (wife Joanne Woodward) and his passion (auto racing) in Winning (1969), a well-praised and commercially successful hybrid of romantic melodrama and fast-paced action flick. Newman plays Frank Capua, a seasoned racecar driver who meets and woos Elora, a divorced single mother (Woodward) working in a car rental agency. The two fall in love and marry, and Capua adopts Elora's teenaged son. But when his fortunes on the track take a downward turn, Capua decides to absorb himself totally in the sport, to the detriment of his marriage. His neglected wife begins an affair with his chief racing rival, and his sponsor turns over to that same rival the car that Capua has been longing to drive. When his adopted son hitchhikes across country to support him (and reunite him with Elora), Capua gains the confidence to make his greatest mark yet in the Big Race. What might have been a routine formula picture was elevated by the presence of Newman and Woodward, the screen's most respected couple at that time, and by Newman's intense fascination for fast driving. In fact, the project was originally intended as an NBC TV movie, but when Newman showed interest in it - for its racing theme rather than its script (which the actor felt was weak) - it was expanded into a big-budget theatrical feature. With Winning, Newman launched his long-time production partnership with John Foreman with a bang; the film grossed $7 million in the U.S. alone on its initial release and did even better in Europe, where racing was then a more popular sport. The authentic excitement of the Indy 500 was bolstered by the inclusion of footage of a 17-car pile up that was shot at the actual race the year before. Newman's involvement in racing up to this point was strictly from the spectator end. He often rearranged his shooting schedule to attend the Indy 500 (the centerpiece contest in this film) and other races. With this project, he saw his chance to finally get behind the wheel. He and co-star Robert Wagner, who plays his rival, went to the famous Robert Bondurant Racing School, where James Garner and Yves Montand had trained for the earlier racing picture Grand Prix (1966). Newman and Wagner had far less time to learn than their predecessors, but within a week, Newman had amazed his teacher by advancing to driving solo. He began shooting Winning with only two weeks of high-performance driving experience, refusing a stunt double for many of the race sequences, a move that forced the worried studio to insure him for $3 million. Woodward was equally frightened of her husband's newfound enthusiasm for the sport, especially after going out with him for a high-speed run around the track that left her fingernail marks in his arm. She even tried to get a sense of the appeal racing held for him by taking a turn around the Indy track herself during production - at 40 miles an hour. But she remained unconvinced. "She thinks competitive driving is the silliest thing in the world," Newman said. "It is also very scary for her, and she doesn't much care for it." But that didn't stop him from entering a number of races well into his 70s, even after some potentially serious crashes at 100+ miles per hour. Besides the two married stars, the performance that got the most attention was that of young Richard Thomas, making his film debut as Woodward's young son. Variety predicted Thomas's "winning" work would get him future roles. He went on to appear in dozens of films, television series and made-for-TV movies, winning an Emmy for his role as John Boy in the long-running show The Waltons. Also in the cast were a number of real-life racecar drivers playing themselves, including Bobby Unser and Dan Gurney. Director: James Goldstone Producer: John Foreman Screenplay: Howard Rodman Cinematography: Richard Moore Editing: Edward A. Biery, Richard C. Meyer Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen, John J. Lloyd, Joe Alves Original Music: Dave Grusin Cast: Paul Newman (Frank), Joanne Woodward (Elora), Robert Wagner (Luther), Richard Thomas (Charley), David Sheiner (Crawford), Clu Gulager (Larry). C-123m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Rob Nixon

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed at the Indianapolis Speedway and at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. MPAA rerating: M.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 14, 1969

Re-released in United States on Video June 29, 1994

Re-released in United States on Video December 17, 1996

Released in United States Summer June 14, 1969

Re-released in United States on Video June 29, 1994

Re-released in United States on Video December 17, 1996