Bullitt ★★★★½

The car chase is overrated. I dunno, maybe I just don’t like cars. 

But the film Famous For Its Car Chase has so much more to offer. So many little details make this film come alive, from the paramedics propping a shooting victim’s stretcher upright to get down a narrow flophouse elevator, to the unbearable wait for a crucial proto-fax to be printed very slowly. 

San Francisco gave the production more freedom than any movie before or since, and they make beautiful use of it. If the hospital and airport sequences feel especially real, it’s because the mayor was so eager to attract Hollywood production that they shut down the real things for filming. Few movies have ever captured the look and feel of a city so well. 

Finally, for a famous mass entertainment blockbuster, I was shocked how challenging the story was. It’s slightly easier to follow than TINKER, TAILOR but made $120M adjusted for inflation. Amazing.

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