Story of the scene: Bullitt (1968)
Friday 23 October 2009
Steve McQueen is in his 1968 GT Ford Mustang. The hit men are in their black 1968 Dodge Charger 440 R/T. What follows, through the streets of San Francisco, is the greatest car chase ever filmed.
McQueen plays Detective Frank Bullitt in this adaptation of Robert L Pike's novel Mute Witness. The car chase wasn't in the original script, written with Spencer Tracy in mind, before McQueen and producer Philip D'Antoni got hold of it. They changed the main character from a Boston-based, ice-cream eating policeman to McQueen's lean, mean detective. Then they hired the Brit Peter Yates to direct, on the basis of the car chase in his Robbery (1967).
McQueen, a speed-freak who raced semi-professionally, hired stuntman Bud Ekins (who also did the motorcycle jump in The Great Escape) for the most difficult bits, otherwise driving himself. Practice took place at the race track at Cotati, California, and the 10-minute sequence took two weeks to film. It might have been even more spectacular had the use of Golden Gate Bridge not been refused.
You can tell who's driving the Mustang by the position of the mirror – when it's visible, McQueen's behind the wheel; when not, Ekins.
Follow the scene with GPS tracking at: http://tinyurl.com/yfyuk8d
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Arts & Ents blogs
Dennis Hopper's lost sixties photo album found
What are the best first lines in fiction?
Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
Call The Midwife: Jessica Raine leaves in series three finale
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 3 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 4 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks