6.2/10
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The Cannonball Run (1981)

PG | | Action, Comedy, Sport | 19 June 1981 (USA)
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.

Director:

Hal Needham

Writer:

Brock Yates
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Popularity
3,513 ( 368)

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... J. J. McClure
Roger Moore ... Seymour
Farrah Fawcett ... Pamela
Dom DeLuise ... Victor Prinzim
Dean Martin ... Jamie Blake
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Fenderbaum
Jack Elam ... Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing
Adrienne Barbeau ... Marcie
Terry Bradshaw ... Terry
Jackie Chan ... Subaru Driver #1
Bert Convy ... Brad
Jamie Farr ... Sheik
Peter Fonda ... Chief Biker
George Furth ... A. F. Foyt
Michael Hui ... Subaru Driver #2
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Storyline

This comedy film brings Burt Reynolds, Sir Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and an all-star cast to the starting line of the ultimate auto race, a madcap cross-country scramble that roars full-speed ahead. This action-comedy was inspired by an actual event: the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an anything goes, all-stops-out, and very much illegal, competition that has grown to legendary proportions within the last ten years. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll root for them all...but you'll never guess who wins.

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Hong Kong

Language:

English | Cantonese | Japanese | Arabic

Release Date:

19 June 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cannonball Trophy See more »

Filming Locations:

St. Louis, Missouri, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,765,654, 21 June 1981

Gross USA:

$72,179,579
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Vehicles used in this movie: J.J. and Victor are driving a 1978 Dodge Sportsman. Seymour is driving a 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Blake and Fenderbaum are driving a 1977 Ferrari 308 GTS. Terry and Mel are driving a 1976 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna. Marcie and Jill are driving a 1980 Lamborghini Countach LP 400S. The Japanese team is driving a 1980 Subaru DL. The Sheik is driving a 1976 Rolls-Royce Shadow 1. Mad Dog and Batman are driving a 1980 GMC C-35 Pickup. Brad and Shakey are driving a Harley-Davidson Sportster. When Mr. Foyt shows up at the hotel, he's driving a 1972 Volvo 142. At the opening, Victor is driving a 1973 Honda Civic. The plane that J.J. and Victor are flying is a Maule M 5-235 Lunar Rocket. During the first appearance of Captain Chaos, he and J.J. are driving a 1969 Porsche 911. See more »

Goofs

At the end when the cars reach their destination, Seymour arrives with the majority of the others in his Aston Martin. Later when the three other cars arrive, one of those is his Aston Martin. At this point he has already gotten out of his car. See more »

Quotes

Fenderbaum: [noticing Blake acting oddly at bar] What is it?
Jamie Blake: Look at the chicks! Boy, if we were Methodists, what a shot we could have had of getting laid right here.
[guy at bar overhearing spits his drink out]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Outtakes are shown during the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

A 1981 laserdisc version from CBS/Fox replaces strong language with "tamer versions" of the words (darn for damn, heck for hell, etc.), although all later laserdisc reissues have the unedited film as does the 1997 HBO VHS. See more »

Connections

Spoofs Cannonball! (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Beauty's Theme
Written by John Durrill (as J. Durrill), Al Capps (as A. Capps), Cliff Crofford (as C. Crofford) and Snuff Garrett (as S. Garrett)
Performed by Al Capps
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A live-action wacky races movie

Seeing people get away with some of the most ridiculous actions in comedic fashion is always tantalizing. How do they get away with such foolishness? That doesn't happen in the real world as often as this. If only I (as in the viewer) could be that crazy with no problems. This is exactly what this live-action version of Boomerang's Wacky Races (1968) is. It's a movie where rules don't apply to main characters as well as physics, gags and mindset. The movie just can't be taken on a literal level; otherwise, the viewer will not enjoy it.

Joining director Hal Needham in this racecar comedy is veteran actor Burt Reynolds who has also completed several projects in the past with him; so it's no surprise they are in this project either. Co-starring Reynolds is a slew of other well-known actors, singers and models. Playing Reynolds right hand companion is Dom DeLuise who also has an alter ego whom no one seems to understand of how he shows up and exits. Together they ride in an ambulance as a disguise to help them win the race. Accompanying them is their doctor played by Jack Elam who was cast perfectly because of his unmoving left eye. To name a few more, Farrah Fawcett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Jackie Chan and even Roger Moore (who pretends he's Roger Moore) all play funny characters.

This is the real strong point to this movie; it's an ensemble cast and if you're a viewer who likes seeing movies with lots of star power, this is one of them to see. The story however, written by Brock Yates isn't anything special. The plot is about a bunch of wacky racers doing what they can to win and really that's all this movie needed. It does give a back-story to Reynolds' character and DeLuise's alter ego but it's nothing to be real interested in. As for the comedy parts of the writing, that is a slight bit stronger than the story itself. However, that also doesn't mean every joke was funny. There were some places there just were not funny enough when it should have been.

Each actor has their own thing going for them and it's because of that, that they all don't rely on the same thing to make a joke. Again, my favorite was Jack Elam playing the doctor. God he was a laugh! And surprisingly, the score provided by Al Capps did a decent job as well. His tunes may have not been longer than a good 30 seconds, but it did evoke the right feeling of the movie, which was lightheartedness. One thing that did bug me was how politically incorrect and sexist everything was though. I understand that it this time it wasn't taken seriously and I also understand that this is partially what helps make the film effective in a comedic sense but unfortunately, in today's age, it can be offensive to some who are closed minded individuals.

There isn't a story to fall back on which can leave some people feeling empty. But if you're looking for a film with a lot of star power, fast vehicles and various sparks of clever comedy, then this goofy car race just may hit the spot.


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