Thursday, 30 December 2010


Year: 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Screenplay: Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the novel Mute Witness by Robert L. Fish
Starring: Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, James Hagan, Robert Duvall
Running Time: 113 minutes
Genre: Crime, thriller, police, action

Summary: Tough San Francisco police lieutenant Frank Bullitt (McQueen) is requested by ambitious politician Walter Chalmers (Vaughn) to safeguard a witness over a weekend so that he can give a deposition to a Senate sub-committee about Organized Crime. However, the witness (Felice Orlandi) has stolen $2,000,000 from the Mob in Chicago and the gangsters are hot on his trail and will stop at nothing to get him.

Opinions: This film has become something of a classic now, with it's smooth jazzy theme music by Lalo Schifrin (surely a favourite of cocktail parties the world over), ice-cool central performance by Steve McQueen and now legendary car chase sequence it's almost a template of late sixties cool. The storyline is fairly predictable and contains few surprises. There are also several times where the pace lags severely, and the movie as a whole has not aged partcularly well, but there is much to enjoy. First of all the car chase sequence through the streets of San Francisco which is one of the most famous and influential car chases in the history of movies and is still stunning today. Then there are the performances, most notably Steve McQueen in one of his most iconic roles as the tough, cool and charismatic Bullitt. However, Robert Vaughn, best known as the suave secret agent Napoleon Solo in the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968), is impressive as the ambitious, slippery politician who involves Bullitt in his machinations.
While not the instant classic it's sometimes seen as, this is a good crime thriller with plenty of memorable action scenes, and not just the car chase, and features one of the most iconic actors of the 20th Century, Steve McQueen, in one of his best roles.

Steve McQueen in Bullitt

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