Vanishing Point (1971)

R  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  13 March 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 20,653 users  
Reviews: 160 user | 88 critic

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), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Victoria Medlin ...
Deputy Charlie Scott
Deputy Collins (as Bob Donner)
Timothy Scott ...
Gilda Texter ...
Anthony James ...
First Male Hitchhiker
Second Male Hitchhiker
Sam - Clerk at Delivery Agency
Severn Darden ...
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


It's the maximum trip... at maximum speed. See more »


Action | 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)


SEK 880,385 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Sarafian on the commentary, he made the film on a budget of 1.3 million. Sarafian also admitted that he had surpassed the allotted budget by $80k due to executive producer Richard Zanuck taking a liking to the film. Zanuck then hired eight different teams of Dolby artists to bring a visceral aesthetic to the Challenger. In the end, Sarafian lost 2.5 points which he joked were "Vanishing Points!" See more »


After entering Nevada, Kowalski pulls off the road and there is not a car in sight behind him. When a close-up is shown of him inside the car, a vehicle can be seen passing by from behind. See more »


Sandy: Kowalski, and the keys for a sawed-off weekend. Well you're both welcome.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Remade as Vanishing Point (1997) See more »


Where Do We Go From Here
Composed by Mike Settle
Sung by Jimmy Walker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Eyes chasing Eyes
7 September 2009 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Gosh, I had forgotten how powerful this is.

Seeing it again is a real lesson on how certain cinematic language, if presented purely, transcends. And for a US-made movie, it is pretty pure.

If you do not know it, the primary narrative is essentially no narrative: a muscle car speeding across the desert chased by police, initially for speeding and ultimately just to exert power. This fellow is Kowalski, a name imported from a landmark film. He simply drives. It is his life now. We see flashbacks. Find he was a Medal of Honor winner in Vietnam, a star racer and then a cop. There's a backstory about his being a good cop and turning in some rotten apples, so by degrees we come to understand the moral landscape.

There is only one other character, a blind black disk jockey who is listened to by apparently everyone. Guided by his eavesdropping on police radio, and some psychic ability.

This was after "Easy Rider" and instead of bold men moving into a life, we have life chasing an honest man. Same ethic, could even have been the same man. But he knows himself. He knows he is a cinematic creature, someone to be observed and dreamed about. He knows he carries his world with him. Always borrowed.

You can see Malick here, the notion that the character sees us seeing him, that he knows he is fictional and knows we think him not. You can trace it to the female version in "Thelma and Louise," where they have their end only because they know someone will watch. Its not like "Cool Hand Luke," or "Bonnie and Clyde" at all where the man decides. That comes from the Hollywood western.

Its derived from the "Breathless" tradition.

A good third of this film is spent on the "audience," the rural townspeople. These parts are filmed in a documentary style, with — it seems — real people who have come to watch the filming, having heard on the radio from a borrowed soul. They look dumb and bored, clearly with nothing better to do than watch, just like us.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

30 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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