Bullitt was an action-thriller movie released in 1968. Technically, Bullitt was the surname of Steve McQueen's character in the movie--Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, for completeness's sake. Other famous actors were Jacqueline Bisset cast as Cathy and Robert Duvall cast as Weissberg. The film was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Film Editing and losing Best Sound.
Lt. Bullitt is tasked with protecting an organized crime informant who is due to appear in court. When the informant gets dealt the business end of a shotgun, Bullitt sets out to find the killers and unravel the mystery. The highlight of the movie comes down to a 9 minute, 42 second car chase between Bullitt and the Bad Guys. Following the car chase, there's a lot of detective work and Saving the Day but most people watching the movie spent the remainder of the time reliving the car chase.
Every car oriented movie has some big chase involving explosions, special effects, helicopters, more special effects, frivolous tire smoke, gun play, additional special effects and justice. In recent years, there is also copious amounts of pushing glowing buttons with labels like "NOS," "N2O," "RICE JUICE" or something similar.
Not here. As the chase begins, the evil doers sneak up on Bullitt from behind and follow him for a brief period. Unfortunately, Bullitt's fastback Mustang disappears around a corner leaving the evil doers frustrated. As they slink off in their black Charger, Bullitt pulls up behind them because he's that badass. The race is on! They tear up and down the hills of San Francisco and out into the country side. In contrast to today's chase scenes, there is no music during the almost 10 minute stretch. Director Peter Yates cites the overwhelming engine noise as the reason for not including any music. For that reason alone, this car chase is great for the car lovers out there. I think the engine noise is the actual engine sound from the cars and not dubbed over or added in later which just brings the enthusiast that much closer to the driver's seat by every gear shift. Go check it out, you won't be disappointed. And if you are, just go rent The Sound of Fucking Music and don't come back.
This chase was shot over the course of two weeks across the city of San Fran, although they were not permitted to use the Golden Gate Bridge (tsk). Even though the Charger loses more hubcaps than it has wheels and even though Bullitt up shifts about 16 times, this sequence is what earned the Oscar for Best Editing. Oliver! stole off with Best Sound. Pfft, stupid musicals.
Lt. Frank Bullitt's car was a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 fastback, with four on the floor and a dark green paint job. The Evilmobile was a 1968 Dodge Charger with a 440 Magnum, as noted in a previous writeup. While this Mustang wasn't the end all in the world of 'stangs, it became a cult icon. So much so that 33 years later, Ford released a limited run of Bullitt Mustangs in 2001 with extra fixin's from the factory and retro styling down to the Bullitt paint job. The hell with wanting to grow up and be a movie star. I want to be such a badass movie star, they re-release the cars I drove three decades after the movie debuts and I'm dead and gone.
Steve McQueen was the fucking man in Bullitt. . . as Bullitt. Whatever. Not only did he participate in one of the best car chases ever put to film, he had the complete badass image down. He hunted the bad guys down with extreme prejudice. He disregarded his superior officers when needed. He got hot chicks. He probably could have taken on the legendary John Wayne--after all, McQueen did take lessons from Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, so I'm pretty sure no mortal born man or beast could kill him. Plus, he said "Bullshit."
For those of you that were just sperms and eggs back then, you may have not noticed that television didn't always look or sound like today's MTV. This was actually the first time a mainstream Hollywood movie used "bullshit" in the script. When the movie was screened at Radio City Music Hall, they actually edited the word out. Peter Yates says the head of Warner Brothers, Len Ford, explicitly told him to put it back. Yates did and it has been preserved for posterity.
They didn't call him the "King of Cool" for nothing.