165 user 97 critic

Vanishing Point (1971)

During the 1970s, car delivery driver Kowalski delivers hot rods in record time but always runs into trouble with the highway cops.


(screenplay) (as Guillermo Cain), (from a story outline by)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Deputy Collins (as Bob Donner)
Gilda Texter ...
First Male Hitchhiker
Second Male Hitchhiker
J. Hovah
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends ...
J. Hovah's Singers
Cherie Foster ...
First Girl


Kowalski works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Francisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody. Along the way, Kowalski is guided by Supersoul - a blind DJ with a police radio scanner. Throw in lots of chase scenes, gay hitchhikers, a naked woman riding a motorbike, lots of Mopar and you've got a great cult hit from the early 70's. Written by Matthew

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Watch carefully because everything happens fast. The chase. The desert. The shack. The girl. The roadblock. The end. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality/nudity and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carrera contra el destino  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$1,585,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,442,673, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Richard C. Sarafian's original choice for the role of Kowalski was Gene Hackman, but the studio, 20th Century Fox, insisted on using Barry Newman if the movie was going to be made. See more »


After the first motorcycle cop crashes, Kowalski flashes back to a motorcycle race. Two riders are shown crashing, and then one whom is assumed to be Kowalski. The rider is wearing a white jacket with black sleeves and a full face helmet, but after he crashes, he is shown getting up wearing an open helmet with goggles and a dark greenish-blue jacket with stripes. Curiously, the numbers are all the same, 28. See more »


Hitchhiker: Patiently. That's the only way to wait for somebody.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Fox logo is shown without the fanfare making it one of the first times this has happened. See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


You Got to Believe
Composed by Delaney Bramlett
Sung by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
(Courtesy of Atlantic Records)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The road can work on your mind.
8 July 1999 | by See all my reviews

Kowalski transports cars across the western US in 1970. He gets a gig transporting a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T from Denver to San Francisco and sets out at maximum warp, stopping only for gas and strategy. He commits no crime outside of speeding, and fleeing the cops who are trying to stop him simply because he will not stop. He finds allies along the way, including an old prospector, a DJ named Super Soul, and a hippie who seems to me to be an alternate ending to the life of Peter Fonda's character Wyatt in "Easy Rider". He drives and drives and drives until he meets his destiny in a tiny town on the California-Nevada border at 10:04 AM on some unnamed Sunday.

Why? Is it because of his past; ex-cop, ex-racer, tragically bereaved? Is it because of the truckload of speed he takes at the beginning of the movie (draw your own metaphors between Kowalski's internal use of the noun and external use of the verb)?

Or is it the road, the infinite expanses of the Southwest, the silence, the freedom, the sound of the motor surging, the tires spinning, the wheels gobbling up and sitting out the black asphalt? Who knows? Kowalski seems indifferent as to why he drives, only that he must drive, must evade, must get to where he is going and will not - can not - be stopped.

Do yourself a favor. Rent the original, don't see the '97 made for TV movie (it has some high points, but it's like watching the '99 "Psycho" before seeing the Alfred Hitchcock original). In fact, rent this and "Two Lane Blacktop" from Monte Hellman, and "Mad Max" and/or "The Road Warrior". Watch all of them in as close to one sitting as you can get.

If after watching these movies, you don't understand how they're expressions of the same call to the open road, return them and give up. Not everyone was meant to hear it, just like not everyone has perfect pitch or the ability to wiggle their ears.

This movie drove me (pun intended) to take the handle kowalski and buy a Challenger of my own (flame red, 1973, you see the 1970 R/Ts are very hard to get).

It probably won't do the same for you, but if you've ever been driving down the open road and wondered what would happen if you _didn't_ get off at the next exchange, in fact if you never got off at all, then this film is for you.

And I hope the next ignoramus who compares this masterful film to "The Dukes of Hazzard" loses his brakes and plows into a line of parked Harleys outside some bar with a name like Whiskey Junction or the Dew Drop Inn.

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