7.3/10
24,537
163 user 99 critic

Vanishing Point (1971)

During the 1970s, car delivery driver Kowalski delivers hot rods in record time but always runs into trouble with the highway cops.

Writers:

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (screenplay) (as Guillermo Cain), Malcolm Hart (from a story outline by)
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Popularity
4,181 ( 692)

On Disc

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Newman ... Kowalski
Cleavon Little ... Super Soul
Charlotte Rampling ... Hitch-Hiker (scenes deleted)
Dean Jagger ... Prospector
Victoria Medlin ... Vera Thornton
Paul Koslo ... Deputy Charlie Scott
Robert Donner ... Deputy Collins (as Bob Donner)
Timothy Scott ... Angel
Gilda Texter Gilda Texter ... Nude Rider
Anthony James ... First Male Hitchhiker
Arthur Malet ... Second Male Hitchhiker
Karl Swenson ... Sandy McKeese - Clerk at Delivery Agency
Severn Darden ... J. Hovah
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends Delaney & Bonnie & Friends ... J. Hovah's Singers
Lee Weaver ... Jake
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Storyline

Kowalski works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Francisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody. Along the way, Kowalski is guided by Supersoul - a blind DJ with a police radio scanner. Throw in lots of chase scenes, gay hitchhikers, a naked woman riding a motorbike, lots of Mopar and you've got a great cult hit from the early 70's. Written by Matthew

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Tighten your seat belt. You never had a trip like this before. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality/nudity and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carrera contra el destino See more »

Filming Locations:

Page, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,585,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,442,673, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cupid Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sarafian states on the commentary, that eight '70 Dodge Challenger R/T's were actually utilized during production and when filming had wrapped, only one Challenger R/T remained. See more »

Goofs

After the first motorcycle cop crashes, Kowalski flashes back to a motorcycle race. Two riders are shown crashing, and then one whom is assumed to be Kowalski. The rider is wearing a white jacket with black sleeves and a full face helmet, but after he crashes, he is shown getting up wearing an open helmet with goggles and a dark greenish-blue jacket with stripes. Curiously, the numbers are all the same, 28. See more »

Quotes

Charlie: What do you think he's done?
Collins: Don't know.
Charlie: Well, what do you think?
Collins: I think he's gonna hijack that car to Cuba, hahahaha.
Charlie: Don't be ridiculous!
Collins: Hell, Charley, I don' know! Maybe killed somebody! Maybe stole that big dude o' his! Maybe both.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Fox logo is shown without the fanfare making it one of the first times this has happened. See more »

Alternate Versions

When first released in Brazil, the movie had some scenes cut, reducing the running time to 99 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jay Leno's Garage: Rebels (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Got It Together
Composed by Mike Settle
Sung by Bobby Doyle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Interesting counter-culture movie that isn't strong enough to be a classic
9 November 2002 | by Aidan McGuinnessSee all my reviews

Plot? Ha! There's this guy driving real fast. He's Kowalski and he's a bit enigmatic. He's basically delivering a car to a customer and is trying to do it in a record time. He starts getting chased by cops and what ensues is a hectic counter-culture road race/chase movie across the US. Think `Easy Rider' with one man and a car.

Kowalski is naturally enigmatic. We don't know much about him and why he's taking these insane risks with his life and freedom. Gradually, over the course of the movie, we get to learn more about him through flashbacks and his interactions with the crazy kooky people he meets up. Yup, the country appears dotted with bizarre weirdoes, including naked bicycle chicks and snake capturing old men. Why? No idea, and it doesn't matter too much. This movie is a journey, with a stranger who we come to respect (although never really know), and we're along for the ride..

Acting's not up to much. Barry Newman, as Kowalski, looks the part - moody, and intense. He has very few lines, and that suits the character's obscure nature. The only real character of any other significance is Super Soul, a blind radio DJ mysteriously assisting Kowalski over the airwaves. He too is enigmatic - his motives unclear, etc. As such his acting seems to limit itself to dancing in his seat, flinging his arms about and yelling. Hmmm. In other movies that would earn my ridicule, but for some reason it works here.

The movie looks well. Yes, it's obviously rooted in early '70s counter-culture, but it has a very firm feel to it, a sense of identity (somewhat ironic, considering its meta-themes concerning the lone faceless individual). Director Richard S. Sarafian employs a variety of camera shots in the movie to keep the audience entertained throughout the choice. There's also an excellent soundtrack, which can only be labelled as `cool'. It perfectly matches the mood and temper of Kowalski. It's qualities like these that help disguise the flimsy nature of the movie.

`Vanishing Point' is `different'. It's enjoyable but alas it's also pretty substance less - pretty but with no real padding underneath. You can be driven along and admire the pretty pictures and sheer vibes it emanates, but you'll be left wanting if you seek any real depth. Still it's better than the over-rated `Easy Rider'. 7/10.


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