6.9/10
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196 user 55 critic

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

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3:18 | Trailer
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 by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
2,462 ( 854)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 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

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It Was Just An Old Neglected Car. Who Could Have Guessed... See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even though it is never specified where Baron Bomburst's castle is, it is clearly inside Germanic Europe, because the locals wear Tracht, the official National Dress of Austria, and they are speaking German as their native language. The latter is very noticeable when the children are running through the streets and one of the men says "Kinder." Also, the real-life Bavaria-based Neuschwanstein Castle ("Mad Ludwig's castle") is the filming-location of Baron Bomburst's stronghold; the name "Vulgaria" is an obvious parody on the German province. See more »

Goofs

When they enter the shop floor, the windows are all closed. During the dog invasion, they're open. See more »

Quotes

Truly Scrumptious: [singing] How did this feeling start? This glow that feels, So warm inside, This sudden summer storm inside...
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Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in 1000 Ways to Die: Death on Arrival (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday
(uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
Performed by Gert Fröbe
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German | French | Latin

Release Date:

18 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,500,398
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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