The Green Helmet

The Green Helmet is a 1961 British film starring Bill Travers, Ed Begley and Sid James. The film is centred on a British motor racing team. It is based on a novel by Australian author Jon Cleary.

The Green Helmet
Directed byMichael Forlong
Produced byCharles F. Vetter
Written byJon Cleary
Based onnovel by Jon Cleary
StarringBill Travers
Ed Begley
Sid James
Music byKen Jones
CinematographyGeoffrey Faithfull
Edited byFrank Clarke
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 1961 (1961)
Box office$950,000[1]

Original novel

Cleary wrote the original novel in the 1950s. He had written a book about Australian politics, The Mayor's Nest, but his English publisher was worried it would not appeal to an international audience, and suggested a book on motor racing. Cleary and his wife had lived in Italy for a year and became familiar with the motor races there. He wrote it in Spain in twenty days at a chapter a day, and it became a best seller on its publication in 1957.[2]


Film rights were bought by MGM who hired Cleary to adapt his own novel. Although most of the movie was set in Italy, it was shot in Wales.[2] Sid James was cast as an Australian.



Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $375,000 in the US and $575,000 internationally, making a profit of $124,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Jon Cleary Interviewed by Stephen Vagg: Oral History at National Film and Sound Archive

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