In 1971, filmmaker and racing fan Roman Polanski spent a weekend with world champion driver Jackie Stewart as he attempted to win the Monaco Grand Prix. Polanski was given intimate access to Stewart’s world for three days, both on the track and off. The result was WEEKEND OF A CHAMPION, an extraordinarily rare glimpse into the life of a gifted athlete at the height of his powers. Now after forty years, Polanski and Stewart revisit the film, looking back with both nostalgia and the temperance that comes with age. Featuring a newly-filmed postscript, WEEKEND OF A CHAMPION is here presented as both a timeless relic of the racing world in the early 70s and a fond tribute to the enduring power of the sport.


“Weekend of a Champion” is a great documentary about racing. Whether you’re an F1 fan or a guy in the stands, Polanski and Stewart work together to give you a sense of what’s going on in the sport. I love that Brett Ratner used his muscle to help get a proper release for the film, as it’s a documentary that I’ve heard about…but I hadn’t seen until now. While F1 is boring to a lot of Western audiences, there’s more to appreciate. Hell, just look at racer Jackie Stewart explaining the ins and outs of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Jackie Stewart takes his time explaining why this is dangerous and why he is hesitant to race. It wouldn’t be long before Jackie Stewart would end up retiring and becoming the voice of the Indy 500 for the 1970s. But, this is a moment in time where the great racer was still out on the track. People liked him and they cared for his opinion. Nevertheless, Polanski looked great for a man whose wife and friends were murdered less than two years prior.

The DVD comes with a re-release trailer as the only special feature. The Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 Mono tracks sound crisp. I kept to the original audio, even though I’m sure the remixed 5.1 probably made the Grand Prix action came to life. The transfer is pretty flat, but it punches up where the documentary needs it. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to racing fans.


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