Bullitt ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

THX 04 | SvdW film reviews

Date Watched: Thursday, October. 7, 2021 | How I Watched: blu-ray on PlayStation 3


I was curious for this one for the longest time, because of its famous car chase. I love when action films have great car chases and this I should’ve been watched way sooner by me [even if I hadn’t had a big TV like I now have].

But I was left disappointed by it.

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

Bullitt is directed by Peter Yates. His directing is great. He knows how to work with his actors and how he uses locations is really impressive. The ballsy-ness of some the action sequences [the car chase, the whole airport sequence, etc.] in on-screen perfectly [safe for the opening credits which features some weighless-ness to the gunshots and characters sitting in the car – it looked like the opening credits for The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!). But I can’t praise his directing enough.

The screenplay by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner is fine. I’ve got to admit, I was a bit tired by the film due to its story. But let’s start with the positives. Bullitt is such an interesting character.

His character is a cop who isn’t the perfect moral superior, and this was a few years before Dirty Harry came out. He doesn’t follow the moral compass that he should, because of personal reasons, and this makes his character so interesting. But I think the film is such a drag because the story is so slow moving. The action sequences did catch my interest, but they’re barely a part of the plot.

Steve McQueen was the picture perfect choice for playing Bullitt. He did his own stunts, and the airplane stunt is frankly just impressive. Robert Vaughn is fine here as Chalmers. Jacqueline Bisset is really good (if rather brief) as Cathy. This also features one of the first movie roles by Robert Duvall. Scott Beach went uncredited for his performance [he best known for his voice performance as the Stormtrooper in A New Hope - which went uncredited as well]. The doctors shown in this are doctors in real life too.

The musical score by Lalo Schifrin is fantastic. He’s a great composer and his work always impressed me, and this one is no different. The cinematography by William A. Fraker really is great too. All the scenes are perfectly shot and captured. The editing by Frank P. Keller is great, but I have issues with the pacing throughout the film, because of its screenplay.

And because was made during the “The New Hollywood” era, this features blood and gore. The aftermath of the airplane sequence really shows so much things you would never see during the “Classical Hollywood” era. Props to the people who made the squibs/blood effects!

This is why I am going to give Bullitt 3½ out of 5 stars.

Watched via Warner Bros’ blu-ray in its original language (English) with Dutch subtitles.

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