Rush (2013)


Rush (2013)

Set against the sexy, glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Bruhl). The story follows their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die.
IMDb   8.1 /10
Metacritic   74 %
TheMovieDb    7.7 /10
FilmAffinity   7.2 /10
Director Ron Howard
Writer Peter Morgan
Release Date2013-09-12
Runtime2h 3mins
GenreAction, Biography, Drama, Sport
Content RatingR (R)
AwardsTop Rated Movies #220 | Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 63 nominations.
CompanyExclusive Media Group, Cross Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment
CountryUK, Germany, USA
LanguageEnglish, German, Italian, French, Spanish
Suzy Miller
Louis Stanley
Alastair Caldwell
Stirling Moss
Anthony 'Bubbles' Horsley
Harvey 'Doc' Postlethwaite
Enzo Ferrari (as Augusto Dall'ara)
Luca Di Montezemolo

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 starred Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Brühl 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.


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 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 Hunt's 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 Nürburgring 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 Lauda's 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 doctor's 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. Hunt's late rally in Lauda's 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 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 person he ever envied.


  • Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt, a British F1 driver who races for McLaren
  • Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda, an Austrian F1 driver and Hunt's main rival who races for Scuderia Ferrari
  • Olivia Wilde as Suzy Miller, Hunt's wife
  • Alexandra Maria Lara as Marlene Lauda, Niki Lauda's wife
  • Pierfrancesco Favino as Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda's teammate
  • David Calder as Louis Stanley, chairman of BRM
  • Natalie Dormer as Nurse Gemma, a nurse who checks Hunt's injuries and is one of Hunt's girlfriends
  • Stephen Mangan as Alastair Caldwell
  • Christian McKay as Lord Hesketh
  • Alistair Petrie as Stirling Moss
  • Colin Stinton as Teddy Mayer
  • Julian Rhind-Tutt as Anthony 'Bubbles' Horsley

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.


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 Nürburgring in Germany. Both vintage racing cars and replicas were used in the filming.

The financiers include Hürth-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 Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg 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.

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 Lauda's wife's shock at his disfigurement), and others invented (like Hunt beating up a reporter or the Nürburgring nickname being "the graveyard"; in fact Jackie Stewart had nicknamed it "the Green Hell"). A further inaccuracy is that when Lauda's car was in flames, another driver, Arturo Merzario, released his seatbelts and 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 Hunt's 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, fixed his life and got a job as a television broadcaster.


The film's 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.


BBC Two aired the documentary Hunt vs. Lauda: F1's 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.


Box office

Rush was a box office success. It earned $26.9 million in domestic box office and $71.3 million in international box office for a worldwide gross of $98.2 million against an estimated budget of $38 million.

Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 231 reviews with an average rating of 7.50/10. 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 Brühl." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating to reviews, calculated an average score of 74 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

When Niki Lauda first saw 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. 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".

Home media

Rush was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 28 January 2014. A Sainsbury's 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.


AwardCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
AACTA International AwardsBest FilmNominated
British Academy Film AwardsOutstanding British FilmNominated
Best Supporting ActorDaniel BrühlNominated
Best EditingDaniel P. Hanley, Mike HillWon
Best SoundDanny Hambrook, Frank Kruse, Markus StemlerNominated
Boston Society of Film CriticsBest Film EditingDaniel P. Hanley, Mike HillWon
Critics' Choice Movie AwardsBest Action MovieNominated
Best EditingDaniel P. Hanley, Mike HillNominated
Best MakeupNominated
Best Supporting ActorDaniel BrühlNominated
Empire AwardsBest British FilmNominated
Best Supporting ActorDaniel BrühlNominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Motion Picture – DramaNominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureDaniel BrühlNominated
Phoenix Film Critics SocietyBest Film EditingDaniel P. Hanley, Mike HillNominated
San Diego Film Critics SocietyBest Supporting ActorDaniel BrühlNominated
Best ScoreHans ZimmerNominated
Santa Barbara International Film FestivalVirtuoso AwardDaniel BrühlWon
Satellite AwardsBest DirectorRon HowardNominated
Best CinematographyAnthony Dod MantleNominated
Best Visual EffectsAntoine Moulineau, Jody Johnson, Mark HodgkinsNominated
Best EditingDaniel P. Hanley, Mike HillNominated
Best SoundDanny Hambrook, Frank Kruse, Markus StemlerNominated
Best Art Direction and Production DesignMark Digby, Patrick RolfeNominated
Best Costume DesignJulian DayNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleDaniel BrühlNominated
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion PictureNominated
Visual Effects Society AwardsOutstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion PictureJody Johnson, Moriah Etherington-Sparks, Mark Hodgkins, Antoine MoulineauNominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActorDaniel BrühlNominated
Best EditingDan Hanley, Mike HillNominated