Ride For Your Life

Robin Spry, 1967
9 min. 40 sec.

Ride For Your Life

AKA: "Mourir Champion"
Original Title Code : 105C 0166 086

Ride For Your Life

Cast & Credits

Directed by Robin Spry
Produced by John Kemeny
Photography: Georges Dufaux and Jean Roy, Maurice Picot, Ronnie Whitehouse, Réo Grégoire
Editing: Barrie Howells
Music: The Mothers Of Invention
Music Editing: Don Douglas
Sound Editing: Sidney Pearson
Rerecording: Ron Alexander, Roger Lamoureux


The Mothers' music was recorded during their long stay in Montreal, January 7-21, 1967.

Javier Marcote (December 28, 2010)

Mike Duff

Denis Griffin

I was reading "Necessity is..." on page 60 Don Preston talks about a documentary film called "Ride For Your Life". The MOI scored the music for this film.


Guess where I am going this afternoon?

[Later that day....]

I had the opportunity to watch, this afternoon, the 1967 documentary "Ride For Your Life". As mentioned by Don Preston in "Necessity is..." the music was performed by the MOI in the National Film Board of Canada studio in Montreal in 1967. The film is only 9 minutes long and it contains about 3 minutes of instrumental music. Most of it is background stuff (percussion, piano). But there is one piece that is about 1 minute long which sounds a lot like "Invocation and Ritual Dance..." on AF. I am going to phone the National Film Board on Monday to find out if it is possible to get a copy of the flick. I would be very surprised if it was available on video, it really doesn't have any commercial potential, but you never know.

A few years ago, the NFB transferred everything they had in the archives onto videodiscs. Now they have this place where you can go, pay $3/hour and watch any film you want. That is how I got to see the flick.

[This film can be viewed on site at the Cinérobothèque in Montreal]

Necessity is... by Billy James, p. 60

On one particular occasion the band went to Montreal at the invitation of the National Film Board of Canada where they were asked to do the score for a documentary film called Ride For Your Life. "It was about a bike racer and his family," Preston remembers. "We arrived at the complex; a very large brick building containing several sound stages, recording studio and remix facilities. I was very excited because two of my favorite filmakers worked there—Norman Mclauren and John Whitney (from the films we used to improvise to). McLauren pioneered animation using real people and objects. Many of his ideas were stolen and used in various films. Whitney pioneered the use of computers in animation. His son now owns a large firm in Hollywood, where computers are used for films like The last Starfigher. Anyway, we set up in the recording studio and they showed the film on a large screen. We watched it several times and then proceeded to improvise to it with Zappa giving the customary hand signals. We did two or three takes and then packed up our gear and left."

Later in 1990, when Bunk, Don and Jimmy Carl were touring as the Grandmothers they found out that this biker documentary had won first prize in a European film festival for short music films. They finally got a copy of the film and for the first time watched it on video, 23 years later!

National Film Board of Canada

A film about Mike Duff, a Canadian motorcycle racer, and the sport that almost killed him. After a near-fatal crash in Japan and extensive surgery and therapy, he returned to racing and two victories in Canada. In the film Duff explains that he will soon give up racing, which annually takes its toll of the lives of friends and competitors. First, however, his goal is a world championship.

Denis Griffin

The movie "Ride For Your Life" is available at the National Film Board of Canada in Montréal. for $19.95 (CAN$).

Like I mentioned on my February 24, 2001 post, the soundtrack of this 9min 38sec film was scored by the MOI at the NFB in 1967.

I have a copy of the movie, I got it today. Here is what you should know:

-It's less than 10 minutes.
-It's got about 4 minutes of improvised music and sound effects by The MOI.
-FZ & The MOI are NOT in the movie. Just the music.
-The movie is about Canadian motorcycle racer Mike Duff (crashes, surgery, family & racing)

Gio. Shanger (May 12, 2009)

New link to order, "Ride For Your Life" (NFB; 1966):


Additional informant: Marco Ricci

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This dog last modified: 2015-11-18