Stanley Scorsese’s review published on Letterboxd:
Guys I have been on a roll with every action movie since the beginning of May and they’ve been pretty damn enjoyable, except for Without Remorse. But I went back to the year of 1968 to find an older and memorable title. And it was absolutely incredible!
Bullitt is about a San Francisco detective who does whatever it takes to find the people responsible who killed his protected witness.
This movie was so enjoyable and entertaining I wonder why I had put it on hold for some time! And from what I heard, it was the mother (or father) of all action movies! There were 3 popular actors who were known for playing these memorable macho characters; Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson and the late great Steve McQueen. Especially in a time where we were at war against Vietnam, the hippies were involved in political movements, and music was all about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! What a time to be alive, am I right?
Steve McQueen plays Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco detective who’s been assigned to watch a man in a witness protection program. But after his witness it killed, Frank must do what it takes to find the villains and serve them justice. Robert Vaughn plays Walter Chalmers, a San Francisco politician who hires Bullitt to guard the witness so he can expose organized crime in a subcommittee for the Senate. And then you also have Simon Oakland, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall, Pat Renella and Felice Orlandi as the co-stars.
This is actually the first Steve McQueen movie I’ve sat down and watched. I couldn’t get into his The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, and The Thomas Crown Affair, but I do admire those who love his films. And maybe one day I will sit down and watch them. His acting isn’t Oscar worthy or made for the Oscars, but it’s the absolute best kind of acting where it’s not over the top or lacking. It’s just the right amount that showcases what he was good at! God rest Steve McQueen.
Peter Yates is the director of Bullitt. He’s also directed The Deep, Breaking Away and Krull. He was a director coming from jolly old England and this was a surprise for someone like him to capture one of the most memorable car chases in film history! The film was produced by Philip D’Antoni, the man who produced William Friedkin’s classic crime thriller The French Connection and directed an underrated and under appreciated crime thriller The Seven-Ups. Yates and D’Antoni did a great job of directing and producing this intense, entertaining, and enjoyable hell ride!
I’ve streamed Bullitt on HBO Max after seeing that it would be gone sometime in the month of May, but I will definitely buy it on Blu-ray and add it to my collection! This was such a good movie and I can say that this is more than just action sequences and car chases. This is really an interesting and kick-ass movie that tells an original story. If you are a fan of action movies, I highly recommend checking this out on HBO Max before it’s gone. But if you’re hooked into buying it after I explained it, then by all means, go out and buy it!
I’m giving Bullitt 5 stars!