Start Your Engines: Ron Howard’s “Rush” and Claude Lelouch’s “C’était un Rendezvous”

Ron Howard’s upcoming film Rush tells the story of the infamous rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the World Championship at Fuji in Japan. There’s no better way to gear up for all the burning rubber than to watch C’était un Rendezvous.

Director Claude Lelouch’s nine-minute-long cinematic masterpiece was made in the same year that Howard’s film is set. Rendezvous depicts a high-speed early-morning drive through the streets of Paris that most certainly broke a few laws. There is no narration. No music. Simply the sound of a revving engine going through its paces, images of an awakening City of Lights whizzing by (thanks to a grill-mounted camera) and an ending that is trés romantique.

Rendezvous has become the stuff of legend (Who drove the car? Was it a Formula One driver or Lelouch himself? What car was used?), with fans tracing the actual route in Paris—or making their own versions in other cities, including avid car collector Jay Leno, who did his own tribute ("one of my favorite car films of all time") on a circuit near his Beverly Hills home in a Mercedes SLS AMG.

C’était un Rendezvous (1976) [full]:

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Rush (2013) [trailer]:

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