Slower than a Speeding Bullitt

Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968)

San Francisco Police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) finds himself personally asked by Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) to baby-sit for the weekend Johnny Ross, a Chicago mobster who has agreed to give evidence at a US Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime. With his team Bullitt takes the job but after Ross is killed and one of his men is seriously injured he quickly suspects that either Chalmers or Ross himself had told someone where he was being hidden and now Bullitt is going to get to the truth and get his man no matter what.

Have we, as a movie loving population, become so spoilt by what cinema has to offer now that it is getting increasingly harder to be impressed by those older movies which some hold in high regard. I say this because I reckon maybe 20 years ago when I watched an older movie from the 70s or earlier I would often be impressed but now when I approach one of these older movies which audiences have proclaimed classics I am often left unmoved by them. And yes this is what I experienced when I watched "Bullitt" for the first time as whilst a well made movie I was at a loss as to what made it special.

Jacqueline Bisset in Bullitt (1968)

Let me elaborate on this; the story to "Bullitt" is basically Frank trying to get to the bottom of how someone found where the witness was being hold and who is trying to kill him all the time dealing with an ambitious politician who may be behind it but also wants Bullitt's badge. Now there are some twists but this is not the most amazing storyline and whilst the story ticks over it still feels like a movie which is padded out with some scenes, such as one featuring a band playing at a restaurant, having no real point.

What that means for me is that "Bullitt" comes down to the acting and the action and whilst there is one okay car chase scene I can't say the actions did much for me at all. So that leaves the acting and whilst there are other faces such as Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset "Bullitt" is the Steve McQueen show. But this isn't the charismatic McQueen I like but more a case of him trying to be a man of few words but menacing looks and sadly it wasn't for me. In truth McQueen playing things silently, standing in rooms just looking around and at people was not for me and contributed to that feeling that some scenes have no real purpose.

What this all boils down to is that "Bullitt" is not a bad movie but for me is not the classic which many herald it as being. For me this is a movie which suffers due to its almost silent character's nature and scenes which add nothing but padding.

Movie Recommendations

The Thomas Crown Affair

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Bored with his formulaic life, Boston Tycoon Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen - ...

The Hunter

The Hunter (1980)

In many ways Ralph "Papa" Thorson (Steve McQueen - The Towering Inferno) wa ...

The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno (1974)

At the launch party for a newly developed 138 storey skyscraper, a short ci ...

Nevada Smith

Nevada Smith (1966)

After finding his mother and father brutally murdered, young and naive Max ...

The Great Escape

The Great Escape (1963)

In 1943, the Germans have created a new maximum security POW camp known as ...

The War Lover

The War Lover (1962)

The year is 1943 and ace pilot Buzz Rickson (Steve McQueen - The Magnificen ...

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

In "The Magnificent Seven" Yul Brynner stars as Chris, one of seven men who ...

Never So Few

Never So Few (1959)

With his skilled group of O.S.S. operatives Captain Tom Reynolds (Frank Sin ...

The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery

The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)

George Fowler (Steve McQueen - The Towering Inferno), wanting to make a fre ...

The Blob

The Blob (1958)

Having taken Jane (Aneta Corsaut) up to the make out point under the preten ...


Papillon (1973)

Having been sentenced to life for murder, Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen), ...

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry (1971)

As a serial killer known as Scorpio (Andrew Robinson - Cobra) tries to hold ...


Winning (1969)

Frank Capua (Paul Newman) is a rising star on the race track and behind his ...


Coogan's Bluff (1968)

Having got on the wrong side of his superior, Arizona deputy sheriff Coogan ...

Nobody Runs Forever

Nobody Runs Forever (1968)

Australian policeman Scobie Malone (Rod Taylor - The Glass Bottom Boat) is ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS