Inspired by the epic pie fight staged by Laurel and Hardy in their short “Battle of the Century,” director Blake Edwards decided to throw the biggest pie fight of all time in The Great Race. The comedy about a cross-continental early 20th-century auto race between daredevils The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) and Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) takes a detour in a European kingdom called Carpania, where the rivalry blunders into a vast bakery.
According to Hollywood lore, the ensuing battle involved some 2,500 pies made with real fruit and custard, and it took three days to shoot. It runs for a good five minutes on screen, with Curtis remaining miraculously immaculate long after the rest of the cast looks like walking Jackson Pollock paintings. (Finally, Natalie Wood lands a good solid hit to Curtis’ face.) It may not be the funniest pie fight ever, but it’s surely the grandest.