Bullitt (1968) Poster



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  • Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen), Sergeant Delgetti (Don Gordon), and Detective Carl Stanton (Carl Reindel) of the San Francisco Police Department are charged by ambitious politician Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) (who is holding a Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime in two days) with guarding Johnny Ross (Pat Renella), the key witness against Johnny's mobster brother Pete Ross (Vic Tayback). When Johnny's hotel room is broken into and both he and Stanton are shot, Chalmers seems more interested in placing blame on Bullitt's negligence. When Johnny later dies, Bullitt (with the help of Johnny's doctor) decides to hide his body in an attempt to find out who murdered him. Edit

  • Bullitt is based on Mute Witness (1963) by American writer Robert L. Fish [1912-1981]. The novel was adapted for the film by screenwriters Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner. Edit

  • "A Song for Cathy" composed by Lalo Schifrin. Edit

  • Yes. It's at the corner of Taylor and Clay Streets in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco. The building where Bullitt lives is right across Clay St at the same intersection. Also, the address given for the Daniels Hotel and the phone number of Coffee Cantata are real places, too. The interior of the store doesn't resemble the one shown in the movie, things have changed since the film was shot in 1967. Edit

  • Bullitt contrived to keep his death secret because he feared Chalmers, who had no interest in finding the killers, would, through his obvious influence with SFPD brass, have any investigation quashed. Chalmers' only interest was in the publicity from the Senate hearings which, with his key witness dead, would either not occur or be only negative. Edit

  • Granted, all the hotel clerk said is "Sunshine Cab". Bullitt then left the hotel and immediately found the cab driver (Robert Duvall) at the Car Wash. Viewers who have noted this "plot hole" explain it in two ways; (1) Delgetti or Bullitt phoned or went (offscreen) to the cab company to check their records, or (2) the cab driver was assigned to that area and was known to Bullitt. Edit

  • From phone records. The cab driver informs Bullitt that Ross made two calls from a certain phone booth, the second one being long distance (as "He put in a lot of change"). From phone records, Bullitt learns that Ross called Dorothy Simmons person-to-person at the Thunderbolt Motel in San Mateo nine hours before Ross was murdered. In her luggage, Bullitt finds thousands of dollars in traveler's checks issued to Albert Renick and Dorothy Renick as well as travel brochures to Rome, Italy, but no airplane tickets or passports. It's at this point that Bullitt starts putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Edit

  • The chase began because the hitmen had been following Bullitt in hopes that he would lead them to Johnny Ross so that they could finish the job. However, during the first part of the chase, when they're driving at normal city speeds, Bullitt tricks them into passing him in order to see their faces. Now that Bullitt can identify at least one of them, they may have decided to kill him, but after Bullitt outmaneuvered them, they were simply trying to get away. Edit

  • Actually, the car chase was out of sequence moving in seconds from one end of the city to another. Places they pass in the chase include Russian Hill, Bernal Heights, Marina Blvd near Crissy Fields, Potero Hill. John McLaren Park, and ends on Highway 1. It's said that they wanted to perform the chase across the Golden Gate Bridge but couldn't get permission. There are several interactive maps on the web showing the actual routes the chase followed. Edit

  • For two reasons: (1) to kill Dorothy Renick, and (2) to retrieve the passports and airline tickets so that he could get out of the country under a false identity. Edit

  • When he finds the traveler's checks in Dorothy's luggage, Bullitt requests a copy of their passport applications from the Immigration Department in Chicago. At Ross' autopsy, it's noted by the coroner that Ross has multiple surgical scars to his face. When the passport photos come through, Bullitt realizes that the man Chalmers sent him to guard, the man who was shot in the hotel room, was actually used car salesman Albert Renick, surgically altered to look like Johnny Ross, and he concludes that Renick was set up by Ross to take the fall. Unconfirmed Pan American airline tickets to Rome in the Renicks' names are located at the San Francisco airport, so Bullitt and Delgetti go in search of Ross, standing near the gate, waiting for him to board the flight, but Ross doesn't show. On a hunch, Bullitt phones Passenger Service to see whether Renick might have changed his tickets and learns that he was just reassigned to a departing flight to London. Bullitt calls Flight Control and requests that the flight return to the gate. He and Delgetti rush to that gate, and Bullitt boards the flight while the passengers are being made to debark and wait in the departure lounge. He spots Ross at the back of the plane. Knowing that he's been caught, Ross dashes for a tail exit, jumps off the plane, and leads Bullitt on a foot chase over the tarmac. Ross pulls out a gun and shoots at Bullitt then runs back into the terminal where he is eventually caught between two glass doors and shot by Bullitt. Chalmers, who has been waiting at the airport to take custody of his key witness, sees the shooting go down. Bullitt returns to his apartment to find Cathy (Jacqueline Bisset) asleep. He puts down his gun and washes his hands. Edit

  • Up until 1967, aircraft hijackings were still relatively rare, having averaged only one per year since 1958. A passenger could board a flight carrying a gun, and nobody would be any the wiser (incomprehensible today). So, it was still easy to bring a weapon onto an airplane when this movie was filmed in 1968. It wasn't until 5 January, 1973, that the Federal Aviation Administration started requiring airports screen passengers and carry-on baggage for obvious weapons and explosives. Edit

  • Viewers who have liked the chase scene in Bullitt recommend starting with Robbery (1967) (1967), a dramatization of the Great Train Robbery and directed by Peter Yates, who also directed Bullitt. Following Bullitt, the number of movies with good chase scenes proliferated. Some of the recommended ones include: Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) (1970), The French Connection (1971) (1971), Vanishing Point (1971) (1971), Shaft's Big Score! (1972) (1972), What's Up, Doc? (1972) (1972), which spoofs the chase from Bullitt, Cleopatra Jones (1973) (1973), Live and Let Die (1973) (1973), where the chase takes place in boats, The Seven-Ups (1973) (1973), which reuses the Bullitt soundtrack during a similar chase scene, Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) (1974), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) (1974), Truck Turner (1974) (1974), Smokey and the Bandit (1977) (1977), and The Driver (1978) (1978). Edit



The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

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