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1 - Life On The Limit [DVD]
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Narrated by Michael Fassbender, 1: Life on the Limit is an action documentary that evokes the glamour, speed, danger and excitement of the golden age of Formula 1. In an era when the sport was terrifyingly dangerous, the drivers were revered as rock stars with charisma and raw talent, however many of them paid the ultimate price. Those who survived racing at this time became leaders, standing up to save lives in a sport that was stealing them at a tragic rate.
Using rare and archival footage, 1: Life on the Limit features the largest list of F1 interviewees ever assembled.
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Top Customer Reviews
Inevitably, as the film focuses on the dangerous aspects of motor-racing, we’re shown dozens of high velocity crashes. In many of them the drivers were badly injured and even killed. It includes the heart-rending scene of one driver trapped inside a burning car while another desperately tries to save him, but fails because of inadequate trackside equipment. If that aspect of motor-racing repels you, then you definitely shouldn’t watch this.
However, Life on the Limit doesn’t glorify death or exploit the flinch-inducing footage. Instead it uses these examples to illustrate how the drivers’ movement and the F1 organisers gradually moved away from the ‘devil may care’ gentleman-racer free-for-all that initially existed and which relentlessly killed drivers and spectators every season. Using interviews with key figures, some retired and other still involved in F1, the film shows how that loss of life and injury became unacceptable and it explains much about the background to modern grand Prix competition. The film of drivers and mechanics hammering plainly ineffectual ‘safety barriers’ back together just prior to a race was a shocking eye-opener about just how offhand some circuits were about safety in the 1960s and 70s.Read more ›
This is not just about the drivers either; we get to hear from family members like James Hunt's son and wives etc. Also we get the men behind the sport which has to include Bernie Eccelstone and Colin Chapman, the man behind Lotus. We go through the highs and lows, the developments that took speed further and the negligence of track owners and organisers as to the safety of the drivers and the spectators. The names of the participants read as a veritable who's who of the motor racing world. We have Nicki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Michael Schumacher, Emmerson Fitipaldi and both Damon Hill and his father to name but a few.
There is oodles of archive footage as well as contemporary interviews and an awful lot of honesty about just how unprofessional some of the behind the scenes antics were. It all makes for fascinating stuff. Whilst a lot of aspects of F1 are covered the controversy around sponsorship and moreover tobacco sponsorship is never alluded to. Whilst that may never have been part of the remit, it would have been nice for the juxtaposition of asking for health and safety in the sport to be taken seriously whilst promoting a product with known health issues. Still this was a different age with very different values and the development of the cars is also fascinating, with wings etc all adding to the increased speeds.Read more ›
Loses a mark for two reasons; the lack of F1 incidents and safety progress post the end of the 1990s. There is footage of Kubica's huge Canada crash, but almost in passing. To be fair this Blu-ray is marketed as more on the history of F1. However more annoyingly it does gloss over certain incidents to fit its narrative, It details Brundle's 1996 crash in Australia as the first "big one" since Senna. Never mind Wendlinger's career ending Monaco crash in 1994 or Hakkinen's coma inducing 1995 shunt. Ironically they talk about Brundle's survival in relation to the high cockpit sides introduced that season - these had been coming since Wendlinger's crash and in response to it. It would have been appropriate to link back to Karl's incident in Monaco I think.
All in all a great documentary.
The film is made from an amazing array of archive footage sourced from official broadcasts as well as hand-held 'Super 8' clips and is narrated by actor Michael Fassbender. Some of the footage shocks - like the announcement and reaction to Jim Clark's death at Hockenheim - whilst David Purley's frantic (and vain) attempt to save Roger Williamson is almost impossible to watch - especially as so many other drivers carry-on past the scene of the accident whilst Purley becomes more and more exasperated with the lack of proper equipment and apparent ambivalence of others.
There are a vast amount of interviews with key figures - many of those who speak are true legends - for example Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jackie Stewart. It is notable that these three were all most prominent in the 1970's - this is the era with which the film mainly deals. The 80's are passed-over very quickly - but then the aim of the film does not seek to tell the definitive story of Grand Prix Racing - that would take many films - but to look at the defining moments which brought about improvements in driver and crowd safety. Sadly, in 1994 there were two deaths in one weekend, which also features heavily in the story. There is some more recent footage showing some escapes which would have been impossible 30 years ago. The film is bookended by Martin Brundle's huge accident in Australia, 1996 and we see him - full of adrenaline, with just one purpose - seeking Doctor Sid Watkins' permission to re-start in the spare car...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After watching Senna I looked for other films about F1. Life On The Limit is in some ways even better than Senna. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Roger B
A very nice film about the dangers of Formula 1, with many reports in the first person. Not as high-profile as Rush, but equally interesting.Published 17 days ago by Alexandre L.