Meet Jim Douglas, a down-on-his-luck race car driver who lives in an old run-down fire house in San Francisco with his friend Tennessee Steinmetz, a occasional drunk mechanic. One day, Jim goes to a luxury car dealer and sees a strange Volkswagen Beetle with a unusual problem: it tends to drive on its own, as if it were sentient. The little Bug follows Jim home but Jim believes that the owner of the car dealership, Peter Thorndyke, is playing a trick on him. Jim decides to try out the car, and experiences its magical nature, fahrvergnügen, if you will, for himself. Jim repairs the little car and Tennessee names the him "Herbie". Behind the wheel of Herbie, Jim becomes more successful in racing. Thorndyke wants Herbie back, but Jim refuses and Thorndyke decides to race against him. Thorndyke sabotages Herbie before a big race known as the "El Dorado" - an obvious parody of the then-new "Baja 1000" race in Mexico. Jim and Tennessee along with Thorndyke's former assistant (and ...Written by
Over 20 different VW beetles were used in the making of the film, each one being modified for various tasks. For the racing scenes the standard 40 horse power VW 1200cc engine was nowhere near powerful enough to make Herbie look like a believable race car. To overcome this problem "Herbie number 2" was modified by the famous VW tuner EMPI and fitted with a 90 horse power 1600cc, twin carburetor Porsche flat-4 engine from a Porsche 356 "Super 90". This version of Herbie was capable of around 115mph and used in most of the racing scenes. This car also featured several other upgrades to suspension and braking and has an obvious wider track and wheels to some of the other cars featuring in the film. Herbie number 2 still exists with his original Porsche 356 engine and is located in England. See more »
When Tennessee is hanging out of Herbie over a cliff, the number 53 is missing from Herbie's passenger door. See more »
I'd like another shot at that prize money. Okay for next Sunday?
No, Jim, it ain't okay.
Now, look, Bice, I know...
No, *you* look. All my drivers are eighteen, nineteen... You're too old for these kid sports. You're liable to get hurt in there.
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At the end of the end credits, the words "The End" turn into an animated bug which drives away from the screen. See more »
When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'U' rating. All cuts were waived in 1986 when the film was re-rated with a 'U' certificate for home video. See more »
What if things really do have an inner life? What if the machines we take for granted as being under our control have an essence, a life force, a soul that needs only to be cultivated to be brought out into the open?
Mystic-minded hippie-type Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett) argues that this is the case when his roommate, down-on-his-luck race driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) acquires a Volkswagen Beetle that frequently refuses to comply with its driver's demands. Tennessee claims that the car is alive, and names it Herbie. Jim doesn't believe this for a second, but that doesn't stop him from using the car's unusual speed to bring success to his previously undistinguished racing career. Meanwhile, Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson), the snobbish and hot-tempered owner of the dealership where Douglas bought the car, is having fits over Douglas' inexplicable winning streak. A race driver himself, Thorndyke becomes Jim's (and Herbie's) primary rival, resorting to increasingly sneaky tactics to prevail on the racetrack. Jim believes his own driving skill deserves the credit for his newfound success, but finally comes to believe the truth about Herbie in time for the final climactic race.
By far the funniest and best of Disney's Herbie series, The Love Bug is silly fun that's still smartly written enough to be fun for all ages. The special effects are somewhat dated and primitive, but they suffice. It's not easy to make a car show emotion, but here it's done with surprising effectiveness. It also doesn't hurt that as a car, the VW Bug has a lot of personality to start with. The human actors do well too; Dean Jones makes for a likeable hero, and Michele Lee the love interest. However, the real comic gold comes from Buddy Hackett as the offbeat Tennessee, who in Jim's words is `just in off a flying saucer,' and David Tomlinson as British rival Thorndyke, whose angry outbursts are deliciously over-the-top without crossing the fine line into obnoxious overacting.
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