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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
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Did You Know?


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


At the end when the cars reach their destination, Seymour arrives with the majority of the others in his Aston Martin. Later when the three other cars arrive, one of those is his Aston Martin. At this point he has already gotten out of his car. See more »


Mel: I can't see shit, can you?
Terry: No problem, son, no problem...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Outtakes are shown during the credits. See more »


Followed by Speed Zone (1989) See more »


Written by Ray Stevens (as R. Stevens)
Performed by Ray Stevens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Car chase mayhem which provides a few laughs and lots of mindless stunts and crashes.
12 January 2005 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

It's hard to believe it, but when this film was released back in 1981 Burt Reynolds was the world's no.1 box office movie star. In this totally mindless chase comedy, Reynolds is supported by a cast of high profile actors in extended guest roles, all of whom play entrants in a wacky coast-to-coast (illegal) car race. The film has little plot to speak of, just a series of stunts, crashes and broad comedy moments. Much of the time it misses its targets, but from time to time there are genuinely funny vignettes and laugh-out-loud one-liners. No-one could ever seriously place this film on their list of all-time classics, but it's not as bad as critics like Maltin have claimed.

Mechanic J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds) and his schizophrenic buddy Victor (Dom Deluise - who occasionally loses it and transforms into his deluded alter-ego Captain Chaos) enter a car race from New Jersey to California. Fellow entrants include a suave Englishman who thinks he's James Bond (Roger Moore); two con-men disguised as priests (Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr); a womanising sheik (Jamie Farr); a Subaru-driving Japanese stunt-man (Jackie Chan); and a couple of busty bimbos in a Lamborghini (Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman).

Scenes that work (e.g scenes that ARE funny) include J.J and Victor landing an aeroplane in a busy street to purchase more beer; the Japanese racers almost crashing because their driver is busy watching porn movies on the in-built TV; the Lamborghini babes repeatedly dodging speeding charges by flashing their (considerable) cleavage at the prosecuting cops; and any of the hilarious out-takes shown over the closing credits. Jack Elam also has some amusing scenes as a very unreliable doctor with a penchant for injecting anaesthetics into people's asses! In other parts, the film is less successful, with rather a lot of lazy performances and scenes that don't tickle the funny bone because they are too immature or just too stupid. The Cannonball Run is loud, broad fun, very easy to watch and even easier to forget!

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