Winning (film)

Winning is a 1969 American Panavision action drama sports film directed by James Goldstone and starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner. The film is about a racecar driver who aspires to win the Indianapolis 500. A number of racecar drivers and people associated with racing appear in the film, including Bobby Unser, Tony Hulman, Bobby Grim, Dan Gurney, Roger McCluskey, and Bruce Walkup.

Winning poster.jpg
Directed byJames Goldstone
Produced byJohn Foreman
Written byHoward Rodman
StarringPaul Newman
Joanne Woodward
Robert Wagner
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyRichard Moore
Edited byEdward A. Biery
Richard C. Meyer
Color processTechnicolor
Newman-Foreman Company
Jennings Lang
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 22, 1969 (1969-05-22) (New York City)
  • June 16, 1969 (1969-06-16) (United States)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$14,644,335[1]


Professional racecar driver Frank Capua (Paul Newman) meets divorcee Elora (Newman's real-life wife Joanne Woodward). After a whirlwind romance they are married. Charley (Richard Thomas), Elora's teenage son by her first husband, becomes very close to Frank, and helps him prepare his cars for his races. But Frank is so dedicated to his career that he neglects his wife, who has an affair with Frank's main rival on the race track, Luther Erding (Robert Wagner). Frank finds them in bed together and storms out. The couple separate, but Frank still sees Charley regularly. Frank's bitterness fuels his dedication to his work, and he becomes a much more aggressive driver. At the Indianapolis 500, Elora and Charley watch while Frank drives the race of his life and wins. After winning, Frank attends a victory party. He is uninterested when attractive women throw themselves at him, and he slips away. Luther finds Frank and apologizes to him for the affair, but Frank punches him. Frank visits Elora and tells her he wants to start again. Elora is unsure. The film ends with a freeze-frame as the two look uncertainly at each other.



During preparation for this film, Newman was trained for the motorsport by drivers Bob Sharp and Lake Underwood, at a race track high performance driving school—which sparked Newman's enthusiasm for the sport and led to his participation as a competitor in sports car racing during the remainder of his life. He would eventually launch the much successful Newman/Haas Racing with his longtime racing competitor and friend Carl Haas, winning more than 100 races and 8 Driver's Championships in IndyCar Series, although notably the team never won the 500.

The film includes footage taken at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the legendary 2.5 mile track. Most of the footage is from the 1968 race. The accident during the first green flag is from the 1966 race.


Box officeEdit

The film earned an estimated $6.2 million in rentals in North America.[2] It was the 16th most popular film at the US box office that year.[3]


Quentin Tarantino, when asked about his favorite race car films, was not a fan of Winning. "I’d rather saw my fingers off than sit through that again," he said.[4]


The film score was by Dave Grusin, and the original soundtrack album was issued on Decca Records.[5] The opening moments of the film's theme, "500 Miles," were used by WEWS-TV in Cleveland in the 1970s and 1980s as the theme for their Million Dollar Movie.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Winning, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
  3. ^ "The World's Top Twenty Films." Sunday Times [London, England] 27 Sept. 1970: 27. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. accessed 5 Apr. 2014
  4. ^ Nicholls, Adam Hay (August 21, 2013) "QUENTIN TARANTINO: MY FAVOURITE RACING MOVIES" F1 Social Diary. Archived from the original, accessed May 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Dave Grusin - Winning (Original Soundtrack. From Discogs. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  6. ^ "Winning" Main Theme on YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  7. ^ WEWS TV Cleveland Million Dollar Movie Open on YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-11.

External linksEdit