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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

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A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Director:

Ken Hughes

Writers:

Ian Fleming (novel), Roald Dahl (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,893 ( 431)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dick Van Dyke ... Caractacus Potts
Sally Ann Howes ... Truly Scrumptious
Lionel Jeffries ... Grandpa Potts
Gert Fröbe ... Baron Bomburst (as Gert Frobe)
Anna Quayle ... Baroness Bomburst
Benny Hill ... Toymaker
James Robertson Justice ... Lord Scrumptious
Robert Helpmann ... Child Catcher
Heather Ripley ... Jemima
Adrian Hall ... Jeremy
Barbara Windsor ... Blonde
Davy Kaye Davy Kaye ... Admiral
Alexander Doré Alexander Doré ... First Spy (as Alexander Dore)
Bernard Spear Bernard Spear ... Second Spy
Stanley Unwin Stanley Unwin ... Chancellor
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Storyline

An eccentric professor invents wacky machinery but can't seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it and resorts to skulduggery to get their hands on it. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Get a "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" Out of Life! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | French | Latin

Release Date:

18 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tschitti Tschitti Bäng Bäng See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dramatic Features,Warfield See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has a different story than the original book, by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. The screen story was a creation of children's-book author Roald Dahl, who had recently written the screen story of You Only Live Twice (1967), the first Bond film to deviate severely from the original Fleming book. Fleming's "Chitty" story was about the Potts family and their flying motorcar rescuing a French candy maker and his family from ordinary gangsters led by Joe the Monster. The story of "Vulgaria" is entirely a Dahl creation, full of his distinctive stock characters and situations. Dahl also came up with the character name Truly Scrumptious, which is possibly a tribute to Fleming's stock of female characters with names like Honey Ryder, Pussy Galore, and Kissy Suzuki. See more »

Goofs

In the scrap yard, Chitty's front wheel (and probably axle) are clearly damaged, which means it's not roadworthy. When Potts brings it home, it's undamaged and running freely on a tow. See more »

Quotes

Jemima: Please, Mr. Coggins! You can't sell our lovely car to that nasty man!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in a Sing-a-Long version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Foul Play (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

You Two
(uncredited)
Written by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
Performed by Dick Van Dyke, Heather Ripley, and Adrian Hall
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This is a timeless classic that out-Disneys Disney.
27 August 2006 | by giblinSee all my reviews

Plain and simply, this is one of the best family films ever made. The fact that someone other than Disney made the film seems to have blinded some pundits (e.g., Disney scholar and film critic Leonard Maltin) to its many and varied charms. For "Chitty," in fact, originated in the book by James Bond creator Ian Fleming and, horror of horrors, was produced outside Hollywood by Albert Broccoli, the man behind the successful Bond film series. Yet, a closer look at the credits reveals the presence of the same musical composers, the much-heralded Sherman Brothers and Irwin Kostal, who could do no wrong when they wrote for Disney, but somehow left their talent behind when they signed on with Mr. Broccoli. (Note Maltin's comment in his 2007 film guide that the film's score is "forgettable.") The same apparently happened with the choreographers Dee Dee Wood and Marc Breaux, who are universally acclaimed for their work on "Mary Poppins," but ignored, at least by Maltin, for the snappy and often elaborate routines in "Chitty." In fact, the songs, background music and dances here are as good or better than anything in Disney and often actually advance the plot, rather than grinding it to a halt in the more customary way. A case in point is Caractacus' "Old Bamboo" song and dance routine, which provides not only an instantly memorable tune (and dance), but also the financial means to save Chitty from the scrap heap. The cast itself is nothing short of superb, with American comic actor Dick Van Dyke wisely eschewing any attempt at an English accent, something many of us wish he had done a few years earlier in "Poppins." (In a 1998 appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell show, the self-effacing Mr. Van Dyke acknowledged his limitation in the area of English accents.) The actors playing the children are a genuine delight, charming and sincere without being cloying, while the supporting cast is filled with more marvelous British character actors than one can count, not the least of them being Lionel Jeffries (actually six months younger than Van Dyke, whose father he was playing) and comedy legend Benny Hill in a rare straight role. And if that's not enough, there's always the scene in which Goldfinger himself (German actor Gert Frobe) sings and dances! Then there is the simply stunning cinematography by Christopher Challis, the marvelous costumes by Joan Bridge and Elizabeth Haffenden, and the fantastic production design by Oscar-winning designer Ken Adam, whose high ceilings and sloping walls are instantly identifiable from such classics as "Goldfinger" and "Dr. Strangelove." And unlike "Poppins," which is inexplicably praised for its obvious studio recreations of London streets, this film actually goes on location--and then some, showcasing truly magnificent settings in southern England, France and Germany (including the fabulous, fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle). Maltin and others have complained about the film's special effects, calling them "the shoddiest ever." What they are talking about is the blue screen traveling matte shots in which the magical car was optically placed in front of separately-shot film of a sky background. And I agree that several of these shots are "obvious" to film students who know how they are achieved. But, again, look at what is overlooked. The car itself, which undergoes several conversions for air and sea travel, is an amazing mechanical special effect designed and built by John Stears. Stears, of course, won an Oscar for the SFX on "Thunderball" and would go on to win another for a little film called "Star Wars." But never mind, what could he know about special effects? Oh, did I mention that the screenplay was co-written by Roal Dahl, someone who just might have known a thing or two about children's stories. But enough. This film is truly scrumptious from the first frame to the last, a timeless delight for anyone but Hollywood film critics.


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