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Bullitt (1968)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 1

Steve McQueen is cool as ice in this thrilling police procedural that also happens to contain the arguably greatest car chase ever.

83

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

Steve McQueen is cool as ice in this thrilling police procedural that also happens to contain the arguably greatest car chase ever.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 38,927

My Rating

Movie Info

Robert L. Pike's crime novel Mute Witness makes the transition to the big screen in this film from director Peter Yates. In one of his most famous roles, Steve McQueen stars as tough-guy police detective Frank Bullitt. The story begins with Bullitt assigned to a seemingly routine detail, protecting mafia informant Johnny Ross (Pat Renella), who is scheduled to testify against his Mob cronies before a Senate subcommittee in San Francisco. But when a pair of hitmen ambush their secret location,

Nov 18, 1997

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (1) | DVD (19)

Good scripting and excellent direction by Peter Yates maintain deliberately low-key but mounting suspense.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There isn't much here, and what there is is awfully easy.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (15)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The action sequences are brilliant, done without trickery in real locations (including a great car chase which spawned a thousand imitations) to lend an extraordinary sense of immediacy to the shenanigans and gunfights.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even though the story almost makes no sense and the Oscar-winning editing has several illogical cuts, Bullitt is an exquisitely satisfying motion picture, particularly if there is still an adolescent boy lodged somewhere in your psyche.

June 21, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

McQueen is great in Bullitt, and the movie is great, because director Peter Yates understands the McQueen image and works within it. He winds up with about the best action movie of recent years.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A terrific movie, just right for Steve McQueen -- fast, well acted, written the way people talk.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A low key, tough guy cop thriller, Bullitt does not go over the top with its action sequences and stays away from the usual cop movie clichés, lifting the bar in regards to how cop movies should be made.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Bullitt takes a rather simple nugget of a story and turns it into a crime classic through the expert use of location footage, editing, music, mood and timing, not to mention the laconic, stoic performance of ultra-cool star Steve McQueen.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Surprisingly austere and very much of its time, Bullitt is a lot less fun and a lot more impressive than you might expect.

May 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Expert chase film, breathless and modern, that sent McQueen to the top of the box office heap.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Apart from the classic chase scene, there many other pleasures to be had in this stylish policier, one that changed considerably the entire vocabulary of Hollywood's action-thrillers.

February 7, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Menos focado na trama e mais nos procedimentos de seu protagonista, Bullitt busca o realismo constantemente, criando um personagem não apenas crível, mas complexo.

November 17, 2005
Cinema em Cena

A not-very-good movie redeemed by a car chase for the ages.

August 29, 2005
Flipside Movie Emporium

Stlick, stylish and ineffably cool, this was perhaps McQueen's defining role. Also mention goes to the uncreditied star of the film; San Francisco.

July 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

If there is any one of his many movie roles that best exemplifies the McQueen persona, it would have to be this one.

May 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

It's more than just that great car chase. The whole film is gritty, down-to-earth and enjoyable.

February 26, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Steve McQueen is nevertheless very impressive in his role.

February 23, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

For all of the talk about its legendary car chase through the streets of San Francisco -- and it is justified -- Bullitt idles far tool long in the slow lane when it should be blowing by the minivans and the carpoolers.

October 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Classic McQueen. He's a badass and that car chase still holds up.

July 14, 2003
About.com

One of the cinema's very best car-chase sequences -- set amid the hilly, windy San Francisco streets -- caps this quintessential Steve McQueen policier.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Bullitt

If you were a kid in the 80s, you can rest assured your dad or grandad was parked in front of the tv on a sunday afternoon. Because if it wasn't football or baseball season, then right after wrestling, the local channel would air either one of the many classic John Wayne movies or "Bullitt", starring Steve McQueen. It has that kind of reputation. But, and 'sssh, don't tell anybody' this has a lot more going for it than the average brain-dead Jason Statham movie. Granted, there isn't a whole lot to McQueen's character, but the movie that surrounds him is enthralling and clever.

McQueen plays "Frank Bullitt", a San Francisco police lieutenant who is put in charge of protecting a mob informant. It's a job he doesn't particularly want, and he especially doesn't like the smell of the way things are set up. His suspicions are confirmed when the witness and the cop on duty are both shot up in the hide out location. Who did the shooting and how did they know where to find him? Bullitt has only 48 hours to solve the crime before Chalmers pins everything on him and makes him the fall guy.

Steve McQueen personally hand-picked director Peter Yates after seeing another film Yates had done which featured an intense car chase. With Bullitt, the car chase is the centerpiece of the film. Set in the streets of San Francisco, it takes us through harrowing twists and turns and flying up and down hills. It's tense, fast and gritty. As intense as that car chase is, the rest of the film keeps up the pace, but the twists and turns come from following the plot. Bullitt isn't a complicated guy, but he knows that what he does and sees is disturbing to the average civilian.
April 10, 2013
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Steve McQueen is as attention-demanding and sauve as any James Bond, and Bullitt is a perfect showcase for the actor. With the famous car chase thats shows off the equally arresting camera work, the film has enough style and bravado to almost make up for the generic crime story.
January 7, 2013
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Bullitt is a slick, stylish thriller. Supported by a jazz-fueled score composed by Lalo "Mission: Impossible" Schifrin, and immaculate concentration on cinematography, the film works with much suspense, forty-four years later. It's also made up of a unusually intellectual foreground. We can admit to the ideal cop thriller having a certain style, but rarely is one realistic, let alone comprehensible. The screenplay, an adaptation of Mute Witness by Robert L. Fish (under the fictitious surname Pike), is so natural, we barely realize how commonly the story itself has appeared nowadays: a cop-Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen)-is focused on protecting a witness with important information, when all of a sudden the witness is murdered and his scopes shift toward searching for the killer. And let's suppose Bullitt isn't an inspiration to the countless novels, short stories, television shows, films, etc. that exhibit similar plots. It still does pretty damn well at bringing more excitement each minute. The climactic scene is only forgettable under the attainment of Alzheimer's disease. Not until Casino Royale was produced almost four decades later did a chase scene even come within sight of the stupendously featured sequence here. You could argue that since Casino Royale's chase is a rather free running parkour all over Madagascar, and Bullitt's is a high-octane automobile dash through the streets of San Francisco, the two don't even belong in the same league. After a few of the film's more dramatic scenes, the ending is reached. Only then is the suspense brought to its more than satisfying pinnacle. Let's place it up among the "baptismal shootings" in The Godfather, the "awards ceremony" in Star Wars, and the "missing Shape" in Halloween, as one of the greatest endings ever made. The only ways in which this ending differs from those are that it's far more subdued, and-somehow!-filmmakers haven't mistaken it as a notion to produce followups or remakes. It's the kind of film film that requires just an egg timer to record how quickly its legacy will disappear with the production of such unnecessary continuations.

before you watch the film, please read the rest at themoviefreakblog.com
September 3, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

The car chase is as great as advertised (an absolutely stunning achievement), but that's really about it. Contrary to what I've read, the plot is rather pedestrian, if not slightly illogical, and some of the "emotional scenes" are unmitigated failures. It's almost as if Yates spent all his energy mapping out the infamous car chase and neglected his directorial duties of molding his cast. Every character is one note without an ounce of depth. They want you to believe that Frank Bullitt is a cold, hardened man because of his job, and that the horribly conceived scene with his girlfriend revealing her fears about what is happening to his (and their) life is this greatly profound moment that binds all the thematic concerns together... I didn't buy any of it for a second.

In the end, Bullitt passes as a decent action/cop film, but is nowhere near as profound as it wants to be.
April 22, 2012
JonathanHutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

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Latest News on Bullitt

January 10, 2011:
Peter Yates: 1928-2011
Peter Yates, the Oscar-nominated director of films such as "Bullitt" and "Suspect," has passed away...
August 22, 2007:
Steve McQueen Returning to the Big Screen (Sort Of)
He was nicknamed "The King of Cool" during his Hollywood career, and even more than 25 years after...
July 6, 2007:
Brad Pitt to Remake "Bullitt"?
If he does, he better hire a good action director. The original "Bullitt" has one of the...

Foreign Titles

  • Bullitt (1968) (UK)
  • Bullitt (1968) (CA)
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