Bullitt ★★★★★

"You sell whatever you want, but don't sell it here tonight."

Bullitt is gritty, exciting, with a clever plot, Lalo Schifrin's perfect jazz tune to accompany the film and 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. It's an example of filmmaking at its best.

The story has Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) receiving an assignment to 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 this film without mentioning the legendary car chase, which is one of the best out there, but is not the main part of the film as many make it out to be. If you see this film just for some pedal to the medal action you will be let down. The focus of the film 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 film. 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 Lt. Frank Bullitt is a character to remember.

The entire cast is wonderful: Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen), Detective "Dell" Delgetti (Don Gordon), Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn), Captain Sam Bennett (Simon Oakland), Johnny Ross (Pat Renella), Cathy (Jacqueline Bisset) and Weissberg (Robert Duvall) complete the big name cast, but this is Steve McQueen's film all the way because he was the "King of Cool".

Overall, Bullitt is a dark, suspenseful masterpiece from Peter Yates and the film showcases why Steve McQueen was the "King of Cool".

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