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Plot: San Francisco Police Lieutenant Bullitt's tasked by ambitious Walter Chalmers, to guard Johnny Ross, a Chicago mobster who's about to turn evidence against the organisation. Chalmers wants Ross' safety at all cost, or else Bullitt will pay the consequences. Written by Huggo Runtime: 114 min Release Date: 17 Oct 1968
The one that started it all... (by BroadswordCallinDannyBoy)
...from from rogue cops who make their own rules, to... rogue cops who seriously know how to put the pedal to the medal. Only Bogie and John Wayne were cinematic tough guys before Frank Bullitt came along, and it was Bullitt that inspired Dirty Harry and every rogue cop movie as a result. If you were looking for the first modern cop thriller, well here it is. Accept no substitutes. In today's over-blown and effects laden for better of for worse era, people often forget that all those films began with movies like this one.The story has Lieutenant Frank Bullitt receiving an assignment to <more>
protect a star witness in a high profile case that could bring down a powerful crime organization. Bullitt and his men take turns guarding the witness, but before long there is a hit and the witness is mortally wounded, and Bullitt takes the case into his own hands. The resulting mystery is both Grade-A Hollywood entertainment rare these days and a believable character portrait of a man engulfed by his work in a cruel world.Of course one cannot talk about his movie without mentioning the legendary car chase, which is one of the best out there, but is not the main part of the movie as many make it out to be. If you see this movie just for some pedal to the medal action you will be let down. The focus of the movie is on Bullitt and the car chase, while very exciting and fun to watch, is one of the many scenes that show Bullitt's near obsession to work. Unlike today's crap action movies there is no 37 car pile up, no cars flipping over simply because the bad guys are driving them.Also the finale of the film, a foot chase at an airport, has our hero firing two shots from his pistol and that is the only time he uses it in the movie. This film demonstrates that action is best when the result of a character's emotions and not a director's ambition to blow stuff up. Bullitt wants to get the bottom of the case, he wants to find out who's been following him around town and that is the result of the action scenes. In the end the film is a true classic and Frank Bullitt is a character to remember. 10/10Rated PG: violence though if it were released today, it probably would get a PG-13
Bullitt is an extraordinary film, memorable, powerful, and absolutely riveting. The plot has twists and turns that are believable and lack any pretense of being forced or artificial. Justly heralded for its tremendous car chase--a tribute to legendary driver Bill Hickman, arguably the finest of all motion picture drivers--the film as well captures the feel of gritty detective work in a form that has been copied frequently since, but rarely, if ever, equaled. The film is a delight as a period piece: the easy-going, already laid-back Bay area culture of the late 1960's and early 1970's, <more>
the tension between the cool, vaguely anti-establishment Bullitt and the straight-laced local officials and department heads that he finds himself compelled to work with. The other actors are themselves a superb supporting cast: old-timers like Simon Oakland, Norman Fell, an oily and vaguely Bobby Kennedy-ish Robert Vaughn, and Don Gordon as Bullitt's long-suffering but intensely loyal partner . But, as well, there are memorable newcomers: George Sanford Brown as an overworked doctor, Robert Duvall as a sharp taxi driver, and Jacqueline Bisset as Bullitt's trophy architect-girlfriend. Lalo Schifrin contributed a superb, memorable score--just the right mix of jazz and brass and percussion. And, of course, that glorious Mustang. . . .!!! Not to be missed!!!!!
McQueen was really the King of Cool. I have read many comments here about this film, and some say it is slow, some say it is an action thriller. Thrilling it is! Steve did not have to jabber in every scene to dominate this film. The car chase is unequaled to this day. How can anything on the road in later years compare to the "muscle cars" of the late 60s? But Steve was the star, make no mistake, and even though the dialogue was minimal, it was enough. Steve McQueen had that power on the screen. He remains one of Hollywood's best, even though he passed away over twenty years <more>
ago. We will not see the likes of him for many more years. Women loved him, men loved him too. If you have not seen many of his films, watch any you can. Watch him in Tom Horn 1980 , and Papillon 1973 . Try The Getaway 1972 , Junior Bonner 1972 and the humorous The Reivers 1969 . Of course, The Sand Pebbles 1966 , The Great Escape 1963 , and the ever classic The Magnificent Seven 1960 are among his most popular films. You never go wrong with any of these.
*****SPOILERS****** Even though the movie "Bullitt" is known for it's legendary car chase scene, this in 1968 when everything was done for real not in a studio with computer enhanced imagery, the movie is also a very fine crime/drama straight out of todays headlines and has a very good and brainy plot too. Senator Walter Chalmers is holding a special Senate Commission on Organized Crime in America in San Francisco and has a very important witness Johnny Ross, Pat Renella, coming from Chicago to testify. Chalmers Wants to make sure that Ross is protected from the mob who beside <more>
testifying against it has also stolen $2,000,000.00 dollars from them and they want him dead and will go to any lengths to get him. Ross is assigned a unit from the SFPD headed by Let. Frank Bullitt, Steve McQueen, for around the clock protection at an undisclosed hotel. Just before Ross entered the hotel he made a number of Phone calls one was to a hotel in San Mateo Calif. Later back in his hotel room with Sgt. Stanton, Carl Reindel guarding him Ross slides open the lock on the door and just then two men enter the hotel room and blast both Ross and Sgt. Stanton away; at the hospital Sgt. Stanton survives but Ross dies on the operating table.Let. Bullitt wisely decides to keep Ross' death secret from Senator Chalmers as well as the media by having Ross' body put on ice in the hospital morgue, unidentified, under a John Doe. With Ross' death kept under cover Let. Bullitt checks out Ross' phone calls, before he entered the hotel room, and finds that the call to the San Mateo hotel was to a woman who registered under the named of Dorothy Simmons. With the Senate Commission hearing the next day Bullitt begins to realize that this dead hood Johnny Ross may not the person that he seems to be. As Let. Bullitt gets closer to the truth about the whole Ross business his life becomes endangered by the two killers, Paul Genge and Bill Hickman, who killed Johnny Ross in his hotel room. This sets the scene for the thrilling and exciting car chase that the movie is noted for. Setting him up for an ambush on a deserted San Francisco street Bullitt turns the tables on the killers by backtracking and then surprises and chases them into a hot corner. We have the two killers and Let. Bullitt flooring the gas peddle and tearing up the roads and highway in and around San Francisco and the Bay Area. The exciting car chase comes to an end when, after trying to shoot at Bullitt's car with a shotgun, the killers auto loses control and smashes into a gas station with both of the killers ending dead and burned to a crisp .Back at the police station Bullitt starts to check out the mysterious Mrs. Simmons, the woman who Ross called before he was killed, at her hotel room in San Mateo and finds her murdered. Looking at Mrs. Simmons' luggage Let. Bullitt and the police find out that she was really a Mrs. Renick and was scheduled to leave San Francisco ,with her husband Edward, on a plane trip to Italy? whats going on here? Checking Mrs.Renick aka Simmons husbands passport photo Bullitt realizes that Johnny Ross who was killed at the hotel room was really her husband Edward Renick a car dealer from Chicago with no mob connections. Renick must have been paid off by the real Johnny Ross, Felice Orlandi, to impersonate him with Ross taking Renick's passport and identity and checking out of the country and away from the law and the mob who were both looking for him! Ross must have also double-crossed both Renick and his wife by having them murdered. With the real Johnny Ross now heading for the San Francisco International Airport to make his getaway Let. Frank Bullitt is the only one who has a chance to stop him and as it gets closer for Ross' flight to take off for Italy the chances of him getting caught are getting slimmer by the minute. Terrific police/action/drama with an ending at the airport, thats as good as the great car chase seen earlier in the film, that left everyone gasping. Also good in the film is Jackie Bisset as Let. Frank Bullitt's girlfriend Cathy who had trouble accepting Frank's job as a policeman especially by seeing up front and personal, the murdered Mrs. Simmons/Renick, what that job did to him as well as what it was doing to her her by living with him.
There were so many great things about this film. You've got to love late 1960s cinematography. Contrary to being even a "typical" cop film of its day, many of the scenes here were shot in such a way as to convey a message to the viewer which goes beyond the plotline itself. The is an "urban" film--numerous scenes reflect the city and the mood of 1968 by occasionally commenting on racial issues of the day the black doctor who is asked to be replaced , and conspicuous shots of blacks, other minorities after Ross is shot at the hotel and hippies, porn shops on the <more>
corner, etc. I found the airport tarmac chase scene even better than the car chase, the dwarfing of the characters and deafening din by the jumbo Pan American 747s completely pulls the viewer in as if he or she is right there. There were some other great scenes which could almost stand alone, such as one in a restaurant where a jazz quartet with flute-nice 1960s touch is playing. It fades into the next scene in which Steve McQueen is laying in bed the next morning, reminiscing about the mood in that restaurant. Many people complain about the slowness of the film, and it is slow, and the use of such "pointless" scenes as the one in the restaurant, but I find this is one of the things that makes it so great. It conveys the complexity and mundaneness of everyday life. This is a refreshing contrast to hollywood films which are always action-packed and one-dimensional. This film is a pleasure to watch. You come away from it feeling like you have experienced many things, and you're not sure what all they are.
One of the all-time great and exciting police action thrillers (by Woodyanders)
Tough, laconic, no-nonsense Detective Frank Bullitt Steve McQueen in peak steely and assured form clashes with sleazy, opportunistic politician Walter Chalmers superbly played to smarmy, smooth-talking perfection by Robert Vaughn over the investigation of the shooting of the star witness in an upcoming mob trial. Director Peter Yates, working from a tight and terse script by Alan R. Trustman and Harry Kleiner, relates the gripping plot at a steady pace, places a welcome emphasis on stark realism, makes excellent use of the sunny San Francisco locations to further enhance said <more>
authenticity, and stages the rousing action set pieces with considerable skill and brio besides the now legendary amazing and exhilarating protracted car chase, there's also an equally stirring foot chase in a hospital and a heart-pounding climactic shoot-out on an airport runway . McQueen excels in his impressively stoic, reserved, and completely lived-in portrayal of the weary, yet shrewd and diligent Bullitt, who's an honest man struggling to keep his integrity and humanity despite his grim and thankless job. The supporting cast is likewise exceptional: Don Gordon as Bullitt's equally hard-nosed partner Delgetti, Jacqueline Bisset as Bullitt's classy, concerned girlfriend Cathy, Simon Oakland as the stern, but supportive Captain Bennet, and Georg Stanford Brown as the helpful Dr. Willard. Popping up in nifty small parts are Robert Duvall as cab driver Weissberg, Vic Tayback as hoodlum Pete Ross, and Just Tarr as slick informant Eddy. The investigation is shown with compellingly meticulous thoroughness and total plausibility. Better still, there's no silly humor or needless flashy razzle-dazzle to distract from the overall credibility of the plot and characters; the whole picture is done with admirable seriousness and a praiseworthy sense of consummate professionalism. Lalo Schifrin's groovy, jazzy, syncopated score ably pumps up the suspense without ever become distracting or excessive. William A. Fraker's gleaming, polished cinematography boasts a pretty bright look and several nice gliding pans. Essential viewing.
Modern directors should take note of the style. (by jd372)
What a change of pace this movie is as compared with its genre today. I'm no old fogey but would that modern directors become smart enough take several pages from its book.The Bullit character is a precursor of Dirty Harry but a bit more cerebral. Stylistically, the director sets the stage beautifully for McQueen's Bullit. The movie has a European feel director Peter Yates is a Brit and achieves its dark mood through quiet understatement. The musical score for instance. Today, music is overly used, overly loud and manipulative. i.e. in case you are not moved by this scene, here are <more>
a division of amplified violins to remind you to weep . In 'Bullit' the music is sparingly used and doesn't intrude at all. It complements the directorial style without setting the agenda.The feeling of reserved naturalism is achieved through editing and dialogue. There really aren't very many lines in the movie and when characters do speak they are very succinct. Notice the last 15-20 minutes of the movie, most of which takes place at the airport. Hardly a line in it. There is none of the chattiness so prevalent today especially post "Pulp Fiction" which is so tedious unless the script is tip-top, which is rare .Editing is, perhaps, its greatest strong point. The many long edits deserve equal credit with the dialogue in setting the low-key mood. The cinema verite dialogue of the airport scenes and, say, the scene where McQueen and Don Gordon search the trunk combined with the long cuts add greatly to understated feel while adding realism.And the performances are top notch. The spare script helps McQueen shine since the taciturn moodiness fits his persona to a tee. There are very fine performances from all of the supporting cast, from Don Gordon to Bisset to Fell to Duvall to Oakland. This is a great movie for watching faces. Note the expressions of the hit men during the chase scene just another example of this movie letting the little touches speak volumes .The chase scene certainly deserves its billing as one of the best in movie history. Recently, 'The Transporter' was lauded for its opening chase sequence. The one in 'Bullit' is a marvel compared. In 'The Transporter' sequence I'm not sure there is a cut that lasts more than three seconds. In 'Bullit' it is again the editing which sets it apart here. The long edits give you the feel of acceleration and deceleration, of tire smoke and gears, of wind and the roller coaster San Francisco streets. You are given the time to place yourself in the frame. In short, 'Bullit' uses real craftsmanship. Films like 'The Transporter' use hundreds of quick edits to mimic the danger and immediacy of 'Bullit' but it comes across as hot air, confusion instead of clarity. The two scenes are perfect set pieces of easy and hollow Mtv-style flash versus real directorial substance.
The late 1960s saw two classic, hard-boiled thrillers set in San Fransico; John Boorman's stylised 'Point Blank', and Peter Yates' 'Bullitt'. Calling your hero Bullitt might seem an unsubtle way to emphasise his macho qualities, but in fact Steve MacQueen plays him as a quiet man, not some wise-talking maverick: he does what he has to do, but takes no pleasure in his actions; and survives the roughness of his work not by becoming a monster, but simply by becoming a little less human. It's a believable portrait, and the film as a whole has a procedural feel: there <more>
are action scenes, but these are kept in their place in the overall design.Today, the film is most famous for its celebrated car chase, which makes excellent use, as indeed does the movie as a whole, of the bay area locations, but is not actually shot that excitingly: the conclusion at the airport is more original, though it roots the film in the time when it was permissible to take a loaded gun onto a plane. But overall this is still a classy film, dry, exciting and bleak, and among the very best films of its day. William Friedkin's brilliant 'The French Connection', made a short while afterwards, would appear to owe it a debt.
Steve McQueen was usually worth watching no matter what he was in, although he did a few stinkers like everyone else. This is not one of them; he's excellent here as an intense but low-key cop. It's a pretty solid police thriller which features a famous car-chase scene that supposedly set the standard or maybe it did at the time of release. What's interesting to note, according to a documentary on the DVD, is that McQueen did his own driving! No stuntman for him, even at 110 miles per hour through the streets. Speaking of streets, San Francisco always makes for an interesting <more>
local.Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon, Jacqueline Bissett, Simon Oakland and Robert Duvall complete the big-name cast, but this is McQueen's movie all the way.....and, for a film almost 40 years old, it's not very dated.