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The Cannonball Run (1981)

PG | | Action, Comedy, Sport | 19 June 1981 (USA)
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Subaru Driver #1
Chief Biker
A. F. Foyt
Subaru Driver #2


This comedy film brings Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and an all-star cast to the starting line of the ultimate auto race, a madcap cross-country scramble that roars full-speed ahead. This action-comedy was inspired by an actual event: the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an anything goes, all-stops-out - and very much illegal - competition that has grown to legendary proportions within the last ten years. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You'll root for them all...but you'll never guess who wins.


Action | Comedy | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

19 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cannonball Trophy  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$59,900,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The ambulance used in the movie is the actual ambulance that Hal Needham and Brock Yates souped up and raced in the real Cannonball Run. It had been modified with a HEMI engine that made it go up to 145 mph and was equipped with four gas filler holes so that the required 90 gallons could be pumped quickly. Needham and Yates didn't actually win the race (the transmission blew in Palm Springs) so Needham kept it in storage for several years until the time came to make this film. After the movie, he gave it to a church charity which raised a good deal of money auctioning it off. See more »


During the final race to the finish after the fight with the bikers, JJ and Victor pass the Rolls Royce twice, once just as Victor becomes Captain Chaos, and once just as they enter the city. See more »


[J.J. and Victor are pulled over by two priests in a red Ferrari]
Victor Prinsi: Nice car, Father!
Jamie Blake: Thank you, asshole.
See more »

Crazy Credits

An animated car drives around the 20th Century Fox logo, hiding out in the zero. It is chased by a police car, which crashes into one of the searchlights. The sequence ends with Burt Reynold's trademark laugh. See more »


Referenced in The Golden Girls: Ladies of the Evening (1986) See more »


Beauty's Theme
Written by John Durrill (as J. Durrill), Al Capps (as A. Capps), Cliff Crofford (as C. Crofford) and Snuff Garrett (as S. Garrett)
Performed by Al Capps
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Fun and the Funniest.
2 January 2004 | by (Bristol, CT) – See all my reviews

Long before movies like The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Biker Boyz and Torque tried to make street racing so damn serious, there was this awesome, fun street racing comedy.

Burt Reynolds (way too angry as J.J. Mclure) and Dom DeLuise headline this ensemble cast, the best to note are Jamie Farr--who nearly steals the movie as an Arab Sheik, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as an unscrupulous duo disguised as priests, and Roger Moore parodying his 007 stint. DeLuise is once again the best performer of the bunch, shining through with his usual charm and wit, especially as Capt. Chaos. Unfortunately, we also have to endure endless supporting characters like Bert Convy and Terry Bradshaw. But at least Rick Aviles and Jackie Chan are the best of those. Jackie even gets the spotlight, barely breaking a sweat fighting against Peter Fonda's biker gang.

I'd be damned to neglect the phenomenal Adrienne Barbeau as one of two Lamborghini babes showing their cleavage. Seeing her scenes reminds us that there is a God, and she made Farrah Fawcett look like a scarecrow.

Oh, yeah, that fight scene between the Cannonballers and the gang was actually pretty neat. Other standout action scenes include a plane landing in the street in order for Victor (DeLuise) to buy beer. Capt. Chaos in the home stretch of the race. Plenty of cars speeding on the pavement, not as stylized as the first Smokey and the Bandit or even the other aforementioned movies, but they're still loud, obnoxious and wacky.

The film could be better on the technical side, especially with certain voice-over dubbing and editing. Hal Needham flatly directed it, with zero style or substance. His emphasis was more on the comedy, and that's what matters here. But as usual, the outtakes are a riot.

I consider this movie to be fun and funny, I liked it as a child, and it's worth repeated watching. DA-DAN-DUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!

24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Cannonball Run Remake?!?! teegeyoung
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