The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan, who, before kicking the bucket, cryptically tells the assembled drivers that he's buried a fortune in stolen loot, under the Big W. All of the motorists set out to find the fortune.Written by
When Jonathan Winters backed the truck into the water tower, it actually fell too soon, before the truck actually hit it. To compensate, special effects split the screen and slowed down the side with the water tower so that the fall would coincide with the hit. See more »
When Smiler's car crashes, it breaks through the wooden guardrail and sails off a ramp-like protruding rock escarpment. When the bystanders go down to the crash site, the broken guardrail section has moved 15 yards past the escarpment, allowing the men to descend more easily to Smiler's body. A subsequent shot of the road confirms that the guardrail in front of the escarpment is intact. See more »
The opening credits are a sequence of gags all related to a globe of the world. See more »
Using most of the footage included in the extended version released in 1991 on VHS and laserdisc, as well as newly found footage (some with foreign subtitles or without audio), still photos or additional audio (such as the police calls run during the intermission), the 197-minute reconstruction by film preservationist Robert Harris (included in the 2013 Criterion blu-ray release) is the closest rendition of the original 202-minute roadshow presentation that we are ever likely to see. About 5 minutes of roadshow material in any format (live action footage, still photos, or audio) remains lost, presumably forever. See more »
I never planned to write a review for this movie, until I took a stroll through the user comments, and was shocked at all the people who think it is.... God help us... overrated. No way. If anything, it is UNDERrated. I see people complaining about the endless shouting, the over the top slapstick, the brashness, the loudness, the length. I can only conclude that these people are a bunch of humorless dorks.
First of all, you can't just sit down to watch a three hour movie without knowing what you're in for. This is not your typical comedy--this is an EPIC comedy, the first of its kind, that inspired other such epics as "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" and "The Great Race" (which happens to be my favorite comedy--in fact, I'd like to say it's the better movie, but props go to this one for inventing the genre). And I can't speak for everyone else, but this movie leaves me laughing from start to finish.
Yes, it is very long, but it NEVER has a dull moment. Even if the amazing car stunts aren't particularly funny, you can't tell me they aren't wildly entertaining. I have yet to see an action movie with better car chases than these. And yes, the slapstick is ridiculously over the top, although I can't see how that's a problem (the gas station scene is one of the funniest in movie history, in my opinion). But underneath all the slapstick and shouting, holding the whole movie together, is that incredibly cynical message. It is a movie about kind, decent folks turning into law-breaking lunatics and ruining their lives for the sake of money. The subplot with Spencer Tracey realizing his entire life has been a waste, and then ruining what life he has left, is one of the most tragic story lines I have seen. But it's also pretty darn funny.
All the critics need to lighten up and see this for the absurd, delirious, hysterical farce it is.
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