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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:


This comedy film brings Burt Reynolds, Sir 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:






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Release Date:

19 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cannonball Trophy  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,765,654, 21 June 1981

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise are co-stars of All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989). See more »


In the road block scene, the unoccupied van's engine revs up as it accelerates towards the police car. In order for this to happen, someone would need to be pushing down on the gas pedal. See more »


Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing: I'm Nikolas Van Helsing, professor of proctology and other related tendencies. A graduate of the University of Rangoon. And assorted night classes at the Knoxville Tennessee school of faith healing.
J.J. McClure: You may be a little over qualified for this job.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Outtakes are shown during the credits. See more »


Referenced in Requiem for a Dream (2000) See more »


Just for the Hell of It
Written by Ray Stevens (as R. Stevens)
Performed by Ray Stevens
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Burt & Company In Their Element
25 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

Burt Reynolds made a fortune in this area with these goofy "chase" movies (this and Smoky and The Bandit plus all the sequels). They featured a an irreverent '70s attitude toward about anything decent with an emphasis on a sleazy atmosphere, all covered up with a lot of humor, and they worked. They worked because they were fast-moving generally fun movies to watch.....certainly not any great works of art.

Cannonball Run had an all-star cast of Reynolds, his good buddy Dom DeLuise, Farah Fawcettt, Jack Elan, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Farr, Jackie Chan, on and on....pretty amazing.

Reynolds, of course, was Mr. Cool/Mr. Macho.....at least in his eyes. Fawcett and Barbeau meant beauty and boobs whom all men - especially dimwitted cops which Hollywood loved to feature - drooled over. The Japanese were made to look stupid (this was pre-PC days) as were priests (nothing's changed there with filmmakers). The movie is filled with really profound statements such as, "Why do we take all these risks? Oh, just for the hell of it." Yes, words to live by.

Yet, as dumb as this movie can be at times, is does provide a lot of laughs and speaking of that, DeLuise's laugh always made everyone do the same. Sometimes the best part of these films were the outtakes at the end with DeLuise cracking up and Reynolds slapping him!

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