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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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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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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:






| | |

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?


The names of the characters of Jill and Marcy are never mentioned in this film. In Cannonball Run II (1984), both actresses were replaced, and were called Jill and Marcy, which has been a matter of debate for many years, as to if Jill and Marcy from Cannonball Run II (1984) are even supposed to be the same characters from this movie, or if it's just to give the original two characters a name for crediting on movie media sites. See more »


The closing celebratory scene shows Burt Reynolds spitting champagne twice while Farrah Fawcett covers her head from spraying bottles. This scene is immediately repeated again from a camera boom panning out from a different angle. See more »


The Sheik: My driving is rivaled only by the lightning bolts from the heavens!
[thunder crashes]
Sheik's Sister: So you still intend to enter the race with the infidel Americans?
The Sheik: The Cannonball will fall to the forces of Islam!
[thunder crashes]
The Sheik: My dear sister! I swear it!
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 New York Ripper (1982) See more »


Written by Ray Stevens (as R. Stevens)
Performed by Ray Stevens
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

a fun filled race across the US
8 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

The Cannonball Run has been vilified by many critics over the years but I love this movie and have been watching it ever since I was little. This movie is what happens when a bunch of movie stars who just happen to be close friends in real life decide to make a movie just for fun. The plot is simple enough, race from one end of the country to the other for a million dollars and avoid the law on the way. The cast is jammed with big names and just about everyone in the movie that has a speaking part is a star of some stature. This movie is simply great fun and has a lot in common with the rest of director Hal Needham's films,i.e. Smokey and the Bandit. I can't really say that this film is full of great acting because the entire cast horses around through the whole movie. Jackie Chan makes his first appearance in a American movie with this film and both Hal Needham and writer Brock Yates have cameos. Don't expect a lot in the way of plot or acting or effects or anything like that and just enjoy the ride. The outtakes at the end of this and Cannonball Run II are hilarious and it makes it more fun for me anyway to know that this movie was just like a big meeting of old friends. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. are great as Blake and Fenderbaum respectively. Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise anchor this film (they're the main characters)and the give and take between these two make them one of the best comedy teams I have ever seen. Bottom Line: Buy this flick, drag it out every once in a while, and have fun watching it with family or friends. A truly fun movie to watch.

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