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The Cannonball Run (1981)

PG | | Action, Comedy, Sport | 19 June 1981 (USA)
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4:37 | Clip
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.

Director:

Hal Needham

Writer:

Brock Yates
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Popularity
2,940 ( 90)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... J. J. McClure
Roger Moore ... Seymour
Farrah Fawcett ... Pamela
Dom DeLuise ... Victor Prinzim
Dean Martin ... Jamie Blake
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Fenderbaum
Jack Elam ... Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing
Adrienne Barbeau ... Marcie
Terry Bradshaw ... Terry
Jackie Chan ... Subaru Driver #1
Bert Convy ... Brad
Jamie Farr ... Sheik
Peter Fonda ... Chief Biker
George Furth ... A. F. Foyt
Michael Hui ... Subaru Driver #2
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Storyline

This comedy movie brings Burt Reynolds, Sir Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and an all-star cast to the starting line of the ultimate auto race, a madcap cross-country scramble that roars full-speed ahead. This action-comedy was inspired by an actual event: the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an anything goes, all-stops-out, and very much illegal, competition that has grown to legendary proportions within the last ten years. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll root for them all...but you'll never guess who wins.

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Hong Kong

Language:

English | Cantonese | Japanese | Arabic

Release Date:

19 June 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cannonball Trophy See more »

Filming Locations:

St. Louis, Missouri, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,765,654, 21 June 1981

Gross USA:

$72,179,579

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$72,179,579
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jackie Chan and Michael Hui appeared in Rob-B-Hood (2006). See more »

Goofs

Even though the beginning of the race makes a blatant point of explaining that racers are scored by time, not order of arrival at the finish line, the ending seems to suggest the contrary. Since time is the main factor, any racer who started after the Lamborghini team should still have been able to check-in and beat them. Instead, everyone fights over being the first one to clock in, and the instant she checks in, everyone else simply gives up. See more »

Quotes

Mad Dog: [Batman tries to beat up a biker] Hold it! You'll never last five minutes in a New York Subway
Mad Dog: [Mad Dog whacks the biker across the knee with a board and then on the back, knocking him down] Now *that?s* the way it's done!
See more »

Crazy Credits

An animated car drives around the 20th Century Fox logo, hiding out in the zero. It is chased by a police car, which crashes into one of the searchlights. The sequence ends with Burt Reynold's trademark laugh. See more »

Alternate Versions

For some reason, the video version dubs over some of the language heard in the big screen and pay channel versions. For example, when Bert Convay asks Peter Fonda what he wants, Fonda answers "Your ass" in the original, but is heard to say "You're asking me?" on the video version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Castle: Sucker Punch (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Beauty's Theme
Written by John Durrill (as J. Durrill), Al Capps (as A. Capps), Cliff Crofford (as C. Crofford) and Snuff Garrett (as S. Garrett)
Performed by Al Capps
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A live-action wacky races movie

Seeing people get away with some of the most ridiculous actions in comedic fashion is always tantalizing. How do they get away with such foolishness? That doesn't happen in the real world as often as this. If only I (as in the viewer) could be that crazy with no problems. This is exactly what this live-action version of Boomerang's Wacky Races (1968) is. It's a movie where rules don't apply to main characters as well as physics, gags and mindset. The movie just can't be taken on a literal level; otherwise, the viewer will not enjoy it.

Joining director Hal Needham in this racecar comedy is veteran actor Burt Reynolds who has also completed several projects in the past with him; so it's no surprise they are in this project either. Co-starring Reynolds is a slew of other well-known actors, singers and models. Playing Reynolds right hand companion is Dom DeLuise who also has an alter ego whom no one seems to understand of how he shows up and exits. Together they ride in an ambulance as a disguise to help them win the race. Accompanying them is their doctor played by Jack Elam who was cast perfectly because of his unmoving left eye. To name a few more, Farrah Fawcett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Jackie Chan and even Roger Moore (who pretends he's Roger Moore) all play funny characters.

This is the real strong point to this movie; it's an ensemble cast and if you're a viewer who likes seeing movies with lots of star power, this is one of them to see. The story however, written by Brock Yates isn't anything special. The plot is about a bunch of wacky racers doing what they can to win and really that's all this movie needed. It does give a back-story to Reynolds' character and DeLuise's alter ego but it's nothing to be real interested in. As for the comedy parts of the writing, that is a slight bit stronger than the story itself. However, that also doesn't mean every joke was funny. There were some places there just were not funny enough when it should have been.

Each actor has their own thing going for them and it's because of that, that they all don't rely on the same thing to make a joke. Again, my favorite was Jack Elam playing the doctor. God he was a laugh! And surprisingly, the score provided by Al Capps did a decent job as well. His tunes may have not been longer than a good 30 seconds, but it did evoke the right feeling of the movie, which was lightheartedness. One thing that did bug me was how politically incorrect and sexist everything was though. I understand that it this time it wasn't taken seriously and I also understand that this is partially what helps make the film effective in a comedic sense but unfortunately, in today's age, it can be offensive to some who are closed minded individuals.

There isn't a story to fall back on which can leave some people feeling empty. But if you're looking for a film with a lot of star power, fast vehicles and various sparks of clever comedy, then this goofy car race just may hit the spot.


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