Bobby Deerfield (Al Pacino), a famous American race car driver on the European circuit, falls in love with the enigmatic Lillian Morelli (Marthe Keller), who is terminally ill.
Al Pacino ... Bobby Deerfield
Marthe Keller ... Lillian Morelli
Anny Duperey ... Lydia
Walter McGinn ... Leonard
Romolo Valli ... Uncle Luigi
Stephan Meldegg ... Karl Holtzmann
Jaime Sánchez ... Delvecchio
Norm Nielsen ... The Magician
Mickey Knox ... Tourist
Dorothy James ... Tourist
Guido Alberti ... Priest in the Garden
Monique Lejeune ... Catherine Modave
Steve Gadler ... Bertrand Modave
Van Doude ... The flutist
Aurora Maris ... Woman in Gas Station
I must admit, I had heard of this film, but never got round to seeing it.
When I did, i just caught the start of it in time, flicking through channels for something to watch.
I was glad I did, as this was a really good film, not the usual hour and a half of rootin' tootin' and shootin' that Hollywood likes to push out from time to time, but a really good film, where the actors were the stars and not the special effects.
Pacino, as always was excellent, I like his sullen and silent roles, and there are few who carry this off better, I also like him when he talks, but in this film there were shades of Michael Corleone, not the menace, but the deepness.
Marthe Keller, the female lead, was ideal to counterpoint Pacino, he was dark, deep and thoughtful, and she was, witty, bright and a little bit off beat.
As for the storyline, a love story would almost cover it, but not quite.
The Motor racing angle is a hook, with a very small cameo from Bernie Ecclestone, Formula Ones supremo, it adds to the film but doesn't overtake it ( please pardon the pun!) but if you want a film with lots of race cars and aggression watch James Garner in Grand Prix instead.
This is well worth seeing, and I would recommend that you do.
Bobby Deerfield is not your average romantic drama especially when compared to the recent phase of Rom-Com's sweeping the screens at the cinemas.
Firstly, Al Pacino is at his best, highly intense and more importantly convincing as a character to accept. This is not surprising as his two other significant films of that decade were the masterful The Godfather and Godfather Part II. There seems to be something compelling in his role in this film which i cannot grasp to identify to you. Maybe because his co-star heightens our interest by their exchange of witty dialogue although i would point towards his stern expressions and calm voice which can explode in his characters few moments of glory.
Secondly, this film is not for the mass popcorn audience, the direction is obtuse and could be compared to the 'Art film' style that we struggle to view at all in popular culture. This is were the 'original' element of my comment of Bobby Deerfield spurs from. It is the fact that the mass audience wouldn't know what to do with the arbitrary meanings revealed. It is usually clear cut in 'Hollywood'.
To finish up, the romance and the character sparring is worth the time of a person who wants to be inspired or possibly take something away from a film that will last longer than the time it takes to see it.
"Bobby Deerfield" enjoys,so to speak ,a very low rating on the site ,which is probably unfair.Pacino's usual characters and Bobby Deerfield are worlds apart.And coming after the brilliant " dog day afternoon" it could only be a let down.
I saw the movie when it was released and even at the time it seemed rather obsolete and old-fashioned.Adapted from an Erich Maria Remarque novel,it mixed a Douglas Sirkesque melodrama with French nouvelle vague with a bit of the long Cassavetes-like conversations thrown it. It's European to the core.Besides,the two actresses are Swiss (Keller) and French (Duperey).The former is the only interesting character of the movie but it's an endearing one:a short chat with a nurse tells us about her health ,but it will be an hour and a half before Pacino learns it.Keller's joie de vivre is infectious and sometimes the things soar.But it never really lasts and some scenes are boring.The metaphors are a bit ponderous ,as Keller is off on a ballon trip.The races -Deerfield is a race driver- are dully filmed and won't convince "Grand Prix"'s fans.
The best scenes are to be found in the hospital where Deerfield pays a visit to an injured friend,and then the small trip through the splendid landscapes of Switzerland .
Although BD cannot match Pollack's best works (they shoot horses don't they?;Jeremiah Johnson;This property is condemned)it's a whole lot better than later mediocre thrillers like "the firm".
# Al Pacino didn't know how to drive a car prior to this film. He had to take driving lessons before he was able to drive in the race car scenes.
# The race car used by Al Pacino in the movie is a Brabham Alfa Romeo BT-45, which belonged to the Brazilian Racer José Carlos Pace, who actually drove it during the race (South African GP, in 1976) scenes.
# Catherine Deneuve desperately wanted the role of Lillian.