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Drama - Police

Bullitt (1968)


Duration 1h 54m Rating (UK) AA
Source of story Loosely based on a novel by Robert L. Pike
Director Peter Yates
Writers/Script Alan Trustman, Harry Kleiner
Starring Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jaqueline Bisset, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland, Joanna Cassidy

Elevator Pitch: Lieutant Bullitt is asked by a senator holding a hearing on organised crime to guard a mob informer who is scheduled to be a witness, at a secret location in San Francisco. Bullitt assigns the task to his suborinates, but the witness is killed and the detective guarding him seriously injured by an assassin wielding a shotgun. Sensing something is not right, Bullitt hides the body of the witness and waits for a maggot to emerge from the woodwork. He resists pressure to reveal the location of the witness and as he gets closer to the solution to the case finds himself being hunted.

Content:  No nudity or sex, but some smoking and drinking. A lot of arguing between Bullitt, the senator and the police captain. Time spent in the seedy hotel where the witness is hidden, ending up when he is killed with a shotgun. Bullitt interacts with his girlfriend who threatens to leave him. And then the car chase, which is pretty good, but as some have pointed out, not as spectacular as others in later years; but you’ve got to start somewhere.

A View: I had seen this film years ago, and recollected that while I had enjoyed the car chase, I had been unable to see the point of it. Watching it again, I still can’t see the point of it. The villains chase Bullitt and then Bullitt chases them. If he had wanted to face up to them all he had to do was not to run away; and the same for the villains. Robert Vaughn was a reluctant addition to the cast because he felt that there was not a sensible story. Well, him and me both; his character was threatening and unpleasant for almost no reason it seems. So honestly, only a view if you are a film buff, or want to see the origin of modern car chases.

Additional Info: The chase was carried out by a Mustng and a Dodge Charger. The stunt man who drove the Charger says that he had to lift off all the time to allow the Mustang to catch up.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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