20 September 2013 4:10 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Director of the mystical road movie Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point was one of a crop of existential road movies in the early 1970s – the others included Two-Lane Blacktop and Electra Glide in Blue – which quickly gained cult status. Its director, Richard C Sarafian, who has died aged 83, never made another film that struck such a resounding chord with audiences, countercultural or otherwise. No matter: the appeal of Vanishing Point was enduring enough to make him a noted, even influential, figure. Quentin Tarantino thanked Sarafian in the closing credits of his own four-wheeled thriller, Death Proof (2007), and the Scottish band Primal Scream signalled their admiration for Vanishing Point by naming a 1997 album after the movie. "It's always been a favourite of the band," said the singer Bobby Gillespie. "We love the air of paranoia and speed-freak righteousness."

This 1971 film concerns the Vietnam veteran Kowalski (played by Barry Newman after the studio overruled Sarafian's first choice, »

- Ryan Gilbey

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