Bullitt (1968)

Bullitt (1968)
Bullitt (1968) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –

Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) is a police Lieutenant assigned to guard a mob witness in preparation for a Senate Subcommittee hearing.  While home from his shift, assassins break into the hotel room and shoot both the witness and Detective Stanton, who was filling in for Bullitt.  While neither one is killed outright, the witness later dies in hospital. Desperate to find the killers, Bullitt conceals the death, and ramps up an obsessive and very personal investigation.

A Toast

This police procedural drama from the late 60’s was massively influential, with a dark storyline, brutal violence, and cynical themes of dejection which gave the film grit.  Prior to Bullitt, most crime dramas focused on heroic cops and evil gangsters, or Robin Hood-like criminals.  This was the first time that the grey areas of crime and punishment were so heavily explored.  Themes developed in Bullitt directly influenced everything from the Dirty Harry, to The French Connection, to Heat and many other classics.

The movie is perhaps most well known for the unabashedly tense car chase, which is definitely a highlight.  (Steve McQueen did all of his own stunt driving), but this great sequence can often make the rest of the story, which is far lower key, easy to overlook.  The performances are solid, and Director Peter Yates’ direction keeps things moving at a steady pace.

Beer Two

The weakest part of the film however are the sequences involving Bullitt’s love-life.  The scenes starring Bullitt’s girlfriend Cathy (Jaqueline Bisset) drag the pacing of the film down, and seem to have been put in the film simply to have a female character.  While I’m not against having a strong female character in films, this subplot just doesn’t work well, and in fact is abandoned pretty unceremoniously near the end anyway.

 Not in this movie you can’t…


Slight flaws aside, this film is a solid piece of genre filmmaking.


Drinking Game

Bodycounter: drink for each death

Take a Drink: when Chalmers gets angry with Bullitt

Have a boilermaker: during the car-chase scene

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

One comment

  1. What is your favorite Steve McQueen movie? If I had to name my own it would probably by “The Sand Pebbles”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!