Jump to: Spoilers (29)
Keanu Reeves breaking the glass on the bus door in the beginning of the movie was an accident, however it was left in the final cut.
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A Fox producer realized they might have a hit movie on their hands when he noticed that, during test screenings, audience members would walk backwards when they needed to go to the bathroom, so they would miss as little as possible.
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Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
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The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
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The film literally ran out of money before it was completed. When the film was first previewed for an audience, the subway scenes were animated storyboards. The audience loved them so much, the studio came up with the funds to shoot the scenes properly.
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There was an instance where a schoolboy saved the lives of a schoolbus full of kids, when the driver had a heart attack, by climbing on to the driver's lap, jumping on the brake pedal and pulling the bus to the side of the road. When asked later why he did it, he told them that he had seen "that bus movie". At half-time during an NFL game, there was a ceremony hailing the boy as a hero.
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The bus jump scene was not in the original script. Director Jan de Bont came up with the idea one day when he was driving around Los Angeles and noticed one section of the I-105 Freeway missing.
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The bus jump scene was done twice, as the bus landed too smoothly the first time. The bridge was actually there, but erased digitally.
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Keanu Reeves did approximately ninety percent of his own stunts.
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Renny Harlin and Quentin Tarantino were offered the chance to direct, but turned it down. Tarantino later named the film as one of his twenty favorite films since 1992.
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Keanu Reeves initially turned down the lead, as he found Graham Yost's original script to be too much like Die Hard (1988). He signed on after Jan de Bont brought in Joss Whedon to re-write the script.
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Jan de Bont cast Dennis Hopper because he didn't want a typical villain. He wanted Payne to be a regular guy who just snapped one day.
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Jan de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves get a sensible haircut as would befit a hard-working cop. 20th Century Fox executives were horrified when they saw the buzzcut he adopted for the film, going so far as to threaten postponing the film so he could grow his hair back.
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The watch Jack wears, a Casio G-Shock DW-5600C, had been discontinued by the time filming started. The company had to start making them again due to the film's success bringing about new demand.
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Joss Whedon re-wrote the script uncredited. According to Graham Yost, the credited writer, Whedon wrote most of its dialogue.
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Jan de Bont cast Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven after seeing him in Point Break (1991). He felt that the actor was "vulnerable on the screen. He's not threatening to men because he's not that bulky, and he looks great to women."
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Ten buses were used in the making of the film. Each one had two steering wheels, one for Sandra Bullock, the other for the stunt driver, which was more often than not, on the roof of the bus.
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For the bus jump sequence, a ramp was built. The bus was started from about one mile back, and accelerated towards the ramp. By the time it hit the ramp, it had reached a speed of 61 miles per hour. It traveled 109 feet, and its front wheels reached an altitude of twenty feet off the ground, which was higher than anyone had anticipated. Because of this, the cameras were not placed correctly, and the top front part of the bus goes out of the frame when the bus reaches the maximum point of the jump.
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A special bus was used for the bus jump scene. This bus was modified so that it could reach a speed of seventy miles per hour, and it was equipped with powerful shock absorbers. The driver's seat was moved back fifteen feet, so that if something went wrong, the driver wasn't ejected from the bus. The seat itself was a suspension mechanism between the ceiling and the bus floor to prevent the driver from suffering spinal compression on impact.
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The script was pitched to Paramount Studios which placed the movie in turnaround. They suggested to Graham Yost that his script, which called for the movie to end after everyone gets off the bus, had "too much bus" in it, implying that audiences would not go for a movie in which a bus is driving around for two hours. Yost then added the subway scenes, and the modified script was presented to 20th Century Fox, which agreed to film the movie.
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The shot of the the bus entering LAX while a plane takes off behind it took more than fifty takes.
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20th Century Fox executives weren't convinced that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film, insisting a big name actress should star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
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Whenever a highway scene needed to be re-shot, all the cars had to return to a starting mark. Jan de Bont said, "It was a logistical nightmare."
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The I-105 had recently been completed, but not opened at the time of production. The filmmakers were given all the time they needed to complete the freeway scenes, without the hassle of closing down an operating major freeway.
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The film was released one week before O.J. Simpson led Los Angeles police on a chase in a white Bronco after he was suspected of murder. After the Bronco chase, many audiences who saw the film in theaters noticed how closely scenes from the film resembled the real-life Bronco chase, including media coverage and aerial shots of Los Angeles freeways.
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John McTiernan turned down the director job. Eventually, it was decided that a newcomer should direct, and the producers picked Jan de Bont, who had been in charge of cinematography for Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt for Red October (1990), two movies directed by McTiernan.
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For the bus jump sequence, the City of Los Angeles gave permission to shoot on the I-105 during the last month of its construction. This required the filming crew to be constantly on the move, depending on the location of the workers. It also created continuity problems, because the appearance of the set kept changing, as the construction crews would erect or tear down structures.
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Keanu Reeves was actually tethered to the bottom of the bus for parts of one scene.
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Stunt coordinator Tracy Bunting told Interview Magazine that this was "the most challenging" of her career, in particular the iconic "stroller full of cans" scene.
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Voted one of AFI's Top 100 Heart-Pounding Movies of all time: number 99.
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Although it was not part of the original screenplay, Keanu Reeves and Jan de Bont both agreed that miming gum chewing was an ingenious way to foreshadow Jack Traven's "gut feelings," thus exposing his thought processes to the audience. This revelation occurred after Keanu casually ad libbed this into one of the scene takes.
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Filming at the airport took around three weeks, and was made slightly difficult when a plane's engine was being tested, and it was extremely noisy.
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Keanu Reeves spent two months at Gold's Gym in Los Angeles to get in shape for the film.
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In early drafts of the script, the bus was supposed to circle around the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium, as opposed to LAX. However, the studio couldn't get the rights to film there.
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The plane cost $80,000.
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The picture on Harry's desk is that of Jan de Bont's wife Trish.
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The medal Jack and Harry receive for rescuing the elevator passengers is the Medal of Valor, the highest award given by the Los Angeles Police Department.
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The film was rumored to have been originally written with the intention that Jeff Bridges would play Jack and Ellen DeGeneres would play Annie. DeGeneres was apparently considered because the role of Annie was going to be a more comedic role that contrasted the serious role of Jack. DeGeneres denied being considered for the role in a 2015 Howard Stern interview, however.
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The film was originally supposed to be released in August 1994, as 20th Century Fox had concerns it would underperform at the box office. They also felt it would be a worthy action successor to True Lies (1994), which opened that July. However, test audiences reacted much more favorably than expected and Fox wanted something to provide adult action competition in comparison to the family-friendly The Flintstones (1994), which opened two weeks earlier. These factors led to the release date being moved up to June as their first movie of the summer season. In the end, Fox clearly made the right decision, as the film grossed $121 million in the U.S. and Canada and $350 million worldwide against a budget of $30 million.
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Glenn Plummer's driver's license was taken away two days before his scene was scheduled to be filmed.
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The birds flying through the gap in the freeway were digitally added visual effects.
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When the police were looking at police mugshots, the first photograph was of David MacMillan, who is a sound mixer on the film.
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There is a picture on the side of the bus of an ocean wave. It's easiest to see when the bus is circling the airport. That photograph was taken by Jan de Bont, for a campaign that was done for the American oceans, "Heal the Bay".
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The bus-jumping scene was shot at the junction of the Harbor (I-110) Freeway and the Century (I-105) Freeways. The artificial gap in the freeway was created digitally.
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During the entire two and a half weeks of filming the gap sequence, all lines and signage had to regularly be put in place and taken back out, multiple times a day.
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The crew underestimated the distance the bus would travel when filming the jump, and multiple cameras ended up destroyed as a result on the first take. Jan de Bont phoned Panavision and asked them to send any old cameras they had lying around, so long as they had an anamorphic lens, and promised they would be placed "much further back this time".
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According to Jan De Bont, Keanu Reeves wasn't used to playing a role requiring such extreme reactions.
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While making the film, Jeff Daniels thought it would not be successful. He reversed his opinion after seeing the finished product.
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The elevator shaft set was built with four fully-functioning elevators, and was five stories high.
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Paramount optioned the script first in 1992, but did not proceed with it.
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When Jan de Bont first got the script and found out it took place on a bus, he thought "that's going to be boring."
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Writer Graham Yost named the main character Jack Traven after B. Traven, writer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
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Jack's registration plate is "646 TEZ". "Tez" means fast in Hindi.
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In the original script, the bomb was triggered to go off when the bus goes over twenty miles per hour.
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There are three different ads on the bus, and they are as follows (with their slogans): The Great L.A. Zoo - "Good Vibrations"; Heal the Bay - "Leave your children something to remember you by"; and Santa Monica Bank - "Money Isn't Everything. (Yeah, Right.)"
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It was Sandra Bullock's idea to get out of the Alan Ruck situation by feigning a gum emergency and switching seats.
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Sandra Bullock was previously in a movie called The Thing Called Love (1993), which was River Phoenix's last completed film before his death. Phoenix was Keanu Reeves' best friend.
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When Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) says "Be prepared. That's the Boy Scouts' marching song", he is quoting the opening line to "Be Prepared", a song by Tom Lehrer.
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A pre-stardom Halle Berry turned down the role of Annie, without regret, even though the movie became a huge hit. She said, "It would not have done for me what it did for Sandra Bullock. I would've just been the black bus driver."
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Technically the body count is 14 - all aircraft being towed have at least one person on the flight deck.
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The opening credits sequence descending down an elevator shaft was created with a thirty-five-foot miniature laying horizontally.
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While filming Demolition Man (1993), Rob Schneider befriended Sandra Bullock. Upon hearing the premise of her follow-up project, Schneider incorrectly dismissed what he called "this bus movie" as something that wouldn't succeed at the box office.
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Keanu Reeves wasn't all that interested in starring in an action movie, so Jan De Bont had to convince him that it would be fun, by telling Reeves he'd be allowed to do as many of his own stunts as possible on Speed. The filmmaker credits Reeves' willingness to do more stunts with the film's success as it's clear that the cast is enmeshed in the action. "Of course, you have to be really careful because then they want to do everything themselves, which of course you can't let them do." De Bont said.
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Various actors were offered the role of Jack Traven and reportedly turned it down: Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Michael Keaton, Christopher Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Viggo Mortensen, Chuck Norris, Brad Pitt, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck, Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, John Travolta, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Bruce Willis.
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When Jack and Harry find Howard in the freight elevator, and Jack says, "Will the mystery guest please sign in", he is quoting What's My Line? (1950).
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Michael J. Coo is a Key Grip on this movie, and is the cop in the second photograph of police mugshots. The name on the file reads Michael Coo.
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Jack carries a ln S&W 5904 9mm handgun in his plainclothes, but uses a 1911 during his SWAT duties. While the movie leads viewers to believe that Jack and Harry are partners in some other line of police work, in reality, all members of LAPD SWAT are engaged in SWAT duties full-time. SWAT members deploy for hostage rescue, barricaded suspects, bomb threats, high risk prisoner transfers, riots, active shooters, high risk warrants and raids, dignitary protection, and other unconventional, high-risk tasks. Additionally, the S&W 5904 might be one Traven carries for concealed personal protection when off duty.
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The sequence where the bus exits the freeway and hits several cars on its way down the ramp actually saw the bus stop every twenty-five feet or so "because it didn't have enough power." They obviously couldn't actually keep the bus going over fifty mph so it often came down to camera tricks, movement, and speeds.
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When Dennis Hopper blows up the batch of explosives, he says, "Don't fuck with daddy." Hopper's character also liked being referred to as "daddy" in Blue Velvet (1986).
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The police helicopter used by the Captain (or Lieutenant) in the movie is a McDonnell-Douglas NOTAR, #N599DB. It spent several years thereafter in operation as C-FCPS, Calgary, Alberta, Canada's police helicopter "HAWC 1". It was retired, and sold to a private citizen in late 2006.
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The earrings that Annie sports are melted-down badges of Sigma Pi fraternity. Sandra Bullock was a little sister at the fraternity's East Carolina University chapter.
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Rosanna Arquette, Joan Cusack, Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brooke Shields, Halle Berry, Madonna, Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson and Debra Winger were considered for the role of Annie Porter.
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Jack drives a 1968 Ford Bronco.
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When the subway car crashes into Hollywood Blvd, there is a marquee sign for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In Twister (1996), another film directed by Jan De Bont, the audience is watching The Shining (1980) during the F4 twister at the drive-in. Both films referenced were directed by Stanley Kubrick.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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Jan De Bont remains a big, big fan of miniatures. "If you do it right it looks so incredibly real, something you can never never duplicate [with] computer effects." he stated.
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After the success of White Men Can't Jump (1992), Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson were considered to play Jack Traven, but turned it down and did a similar movie called Money Train (1995) a year after, with a score also composed by Mark Mancina.
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The black helicopter used by Mac was a McDonnell-Douglas NoTar helicopter. NoTar stands for No Tail Rotor.
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Line producer Ian Bryce was driving the vehicle used to tow the large airplane at the airport.
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A stunt driver controlled the bus from the second row of seats for some scenes.
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Jan De Bont preference when it comes to effects (both visual and stunts) is to include the actors in the shot. He mentions the bus exploding over Keanu Reeves' shoulder, the reflection of fire in the phone booth, the out of focus flames behind Dennis Hopper. "Whatever happens, you get the sense that there's more in the shot than the effect."
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Sandra Bullock plays opposite a character named Jack in at least three movies. Jack Traven here, Jack Devlin in The Net (1995), and Jack Callahan in While You Were Sleeping (1995).
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In the screenplay, Howard Payne's name was Howard Fisk.
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Dennis Hopper later played a similar villain using bombs and committing terrorist actions in the 2001 film Ticker and on the TV show 24.
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According to composer Mark Mancina, Michael Kamen was the studio's choice of composer, but Jan de Bont wanted Mancina to score the film.
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It was Dennis Hopper's idea to stick his fingers in Jeff Daniels' nose to lift him up, and while Jan De Bont worried it would look silly he agreed after trying it and discovering it's actually pretty painful.
Jan De Bont says sharp-eyed viewers will spot "hidden" cameras during some of the bus action as they often only had single takes and had cameras in cars, trucks, and elsewhere.
The bus number is 2525. 25+25=50, and 50 mph is the level the bus needs to stay above to prevent the bomb from exploding.
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After nearly three decades as a cinematographer on films like Die Hard (1988) and Basic Instinct (1992), Jan De Bont decided he wanted to take a shot at directing. "Quite often when I worked with other directors I felt like 'Oh my god I would have done this different,' and at one point it became a frustration for me."
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Jan de Bont and Andrzej Bartkowiak are best known for their cinematography, in this case de Bont was the director and Bartkowiak was the cinematographer. Both are also from Europe; Netherlands and Poland respectively.
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The film's script was originally meant to be a vehicle for Jeff Speakman, as part of a three-movie deal for Paramount that fell through.
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This movie represents the reinvention of the 1970's disaster film. The formula is similar to that of the Airport films, where something renders the pilot incapacitated, leaving it up to one of the flight attendants to pilot and land the plane with the help of mission control. More specific disaster films with similar plotlines set on a bus and a train, respectively, are 1976's satirical The Big Bus and 1985's Runaway Train.
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The MD520N police helicopter has no conventional tail rotor. Instead, there is a internal blower which directs air out of a variable opening port at the rear left of the tail boom. Exhaust port pressure is also directed to the left to assist in the anti-torque function. This arrangement makes the aircraft safer to fly near trees and other tight spaces.
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Jack Traven and Harry Temple also use Heckler & Koch HK94A3 collapsing stock civilian guns with 16" barrels chopped and converted to resemble MP5A3s, fitted with Surefire light dedicated forends when responding to an incident near the beginning of the film. They can be noted as HK94s instead of MP5A3s because of the lack of barrel lugs, a push-pin set, and the lack of a paddle magazine release behind the magazine.
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Jan De Bont helped shape the elevator scene based, in part, on his own experience being stuck in an elevator while filming Die Hard at the Fox Plaza building in Los Angeles. They were stuck hanging at the 40th floor and had to be rescued by the fire department through the rooftop hatch.
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Gang violence in LA was at a high in the mid 90s, and Jan De Bont recalls how they would hear not-too distant gunshots nearby during production.
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Jan De Bont views the title track during the credits as a prologue of sorts to the entire score. "All the themes in the movie, every single one, is represented," he says while complimenting Mark Mancina's work.
The scene where the injured driver is helped off the bus to the waiting cops sees Jan De Bont comment about a change he wishes he made. "One of the things that I wish I would have done in this particular scene, I wish I would have had everybody try to storm to the front and try to get off, so that you really get more sense of the urgency."
Jan De Bont was given the opportunity to add back any deleted scenes of his choice, but he declined. There aren't really much in the way of completed scenes that didn't already make the cut, in part because Speed was storyboarded so rigidly that there was no excess filmed.
The bus jump over the "missing" piece of the raised freeway was the most expensive shot in the film due both to the digital effects and the stunt work. There's no actual gap meaning it was created via visual fx, and Jan De Bont had them add birds where the gap is to help complete the illusion. He was also told that the bus would only go fifteen feet or so, despite being a stripped down model, so he set most of his cameras accordingly to catch the landing. In reality, the bus jumped over and past the cameras having more than doubled the expected distance. It landed on and destroyed one camera set further back while a second was able to capture the landing.
The script originally had the bus head to Dodgers Stadium where it would circle around in the parking lot, but De Bont thought that would be "so boring" and changed it to LAX.
Jan De Bont is a huge Stanley Kubrick fan and tries to include a nod to the filmmaker in all of his movies. Here it's a literal reference as they crash in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre where they're showing a re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Singer Phil Collins was considered for the villain role before Dennis Hopper was cast.
At one point, while noticing Annie's sweater, Jack says that the Arizona Wildcats have a good football team. While the University of Arizona had a good football team while the movie was being made, it is far better known as a basketball school.
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In March 2018, during the evening-morning of the 1 hour clock change between Greenwich Mean Time aka UTC and BST aka Irish Summer Time, Ireland's RTE One television channel ran this movie without any advertisements. RTE usually shows ads throughout their entire schedule year round, apart from Christmas Day where movies are shown free of commercial breaks. RTE either had no advertisers booking slots as the audience would be very low during the late night/early morning, or they were having timing issues with the automatic program playout system due to the time change.
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Graham Yost was inspired by the car chase in Counterfeit World: Making 'to Live and Die in L.A.' (2003).
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The cell phone used by Dennis Hopper's character Howard Payne is a Pioneer PCH-600, which was manufactured by Motorola in 1992 (based upon the DynaTAC platform) for Pioneer Electronics.
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Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) keep M1911A1 pistols with (early made "Laser Products") Surefire 310R (Reeves) and 610R (Daniels) flashlights as their sidearms in the film. Even though the LAPD standard issue sidearm for patrol officers were in 9mm caliber, LAPD SWAT had always used .45 M1911 models as their sidearm. These 1911 models varied differently for each user, many of which where handguns originally confiscated from criminals and tricked out by the department "gun cage jockey" who would turn the guns into tactical weapons. These were also the first guns to be fitted with frame mounted flashlights. After deciding to have the department issue these guns so the officers wouldn't have to buy them, they tested several models until they decided upon the Kimber Custom TLE II as their sidearms. Since this film is before the issue of these guns, the 1911s can be any type of model. According to the armorers who worked on this film, the 1911s in the film were both 1911A1s and 9mm Colt Series 70s.
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Near the end, Howard Payne uses a nickel plated Heckler & Koch SP89 made to look like an MP5K by adding the MP5K foregrip and converting it to full-auto. It can be noted as an SP89 instead of an MP5K due to the lack of a paddle magazine release behind the magazine and lack of a push-pin lower receiver. According to the movie armorers, the filmmakers paid in advance for the armorers to send out the gun to be nickel plated. The weapon stayed Satin nickel until after 2001 when it was converted back to live fire, he also uses a Mossberg 500A Mariner fitted with a pistol grip with the barrel sawed down to 16".
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The number plate of bus 2525 is CA 539724.
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Brief shots of the headsign of the bus display "33 Downtown via Freeway". The 33 is actually a local LA Metro (LACMTA) line between Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles via Venice Boulevard. The Santa Monica Blue Bus express line between Santa Monica and downtown is the 10, which operates via I-10.
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When Jan De Bont was first given Graham Yost's script for Speed it came with a warning that "it was about a bus." De Bont thought it would be boring, but he was happily proven wrong as the script immediately filled his head with images.
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"I had to cast the bus as much as I had to cast the actors," Jan De Bont said which led him to an older model Santa Monica line bus.
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The film was parodied in a Fat Sweaty Coppers sketch in the 1996 Christmas special of The Fast Show (1994). In it, John Thomson's character attempts to get on a double-decker bus that has been rigged to explode if the bus's speed drops below five miles per hour.
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Jack keeps a Smith & Wesson 6904 as his off-duty sidearm in the film. This gun was built as a concealable 12 shot version of the 5904 model, with a 3.5" barrel and a bobbed hammer.
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Richard Grieco was offered the role of Jack but turned it down. Grieco had been turning down a majority of roles early in the 90s between what he thought were proper career moves and avoiding typecasting after his role on 21 Jump Street as a police officer. Grieco said this was the one movie he had regretted turning down.
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The fictional Santa Monica Inter City Bus line uses the same model of GM TGH-53__A (second generation "GM New Look") bus, a near identical paint scheme, and streets served, by the Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines (now Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus). BBB provides only one route, Rapid 10, which uses Interstate 10, the freeway seen in the first 45 minutes. Though identified as I-10, filming occurred on the then under construction Interstate 105.
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Ray draws a nickel Smith & Wesson Model 36 with Pachmayr grips on Jack when he first gets on the bus.
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The bulk of the freeway action was filmed on an unfinished freeway stretch in LA. All of the cars, on both sides, are production cars under their control. "It was a major choreography every time."
They used a total of thirteen busses standing in for the main one. Some were designed for exterior shots, others for interiors, some to house a hidden stunt driver, and more. One version, dubbed "the Popemobile," featured a plexiglass front which allowed cameras clear access to film characters by the steering wheel.
Dennis Hopper and Glenn Plummer also worked together in Colors (1988). Hopper directed Plummer in that film.
This is the second movie that Keanu Reeves has played a cop after Point Break (1991).
It was once erroneously reported that British singer Phil Collins was offered the role of Howard Payne. However this is false. Collins was never considered for a role in this film.
Was parodied to hilarious effect in the Father Ted episode Father Ted: Speed 3 (1998), where a milk float is rigged with a bomb that will explode if the float's speed goes below 4mph. The episode was so named because the writers wanted to come up with a worse "sequel" than Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997).
Italian censorship visa # 89752 delivered on 29 September 1994.
Payne saying "Don't f*** with daddy!" when he blows the elevator's emergency brake is a nod to Dennis Hopper's earlier movie Blue Velvet (1986) which he played the movie's main antagonist Frank Booth, which in a scene from that movie, his character tells Isabella Rossellini's character Dorothy to call him daddy, not baby.
The guard's death at the beginning of the movie was the only scene that was cut when the movie premiered for the first time on Kiwi television in 1997.
There is a real person named Howard Payne who works on elevators; he and another guy named Deviant Ollam run a firm called The Core Group.
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Richard Schiff (train operator) and Thomas Rosales Jr. (Vinnie) would go on to co-star in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). As with this movie, the two share no scenes.
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Jack refers to Ortiz as Gigantor (1964). This is likely a reference to the TV series by that name, where a young boy named Jimmy Sparks commands the title robot. First episode date: October 20, 1963.
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Released theatrically the same day as City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994). Beth Grant, who plays Helen in this film, also appears in City Slickers II as Lois.
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Jan de Bont came up with the idea for the opening elevator sequence while working as a cinematographer on Die Hard (1988). While riding in an elevator in the building used as the skyscraper in that film, the elevator got stuck on the fortieth floor, and de Bont had to climb out the escape hatch and jump onto another elevator to get out.
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The subway train that comes crashing up onto Hollywood Boulevard at the ending was actually a bus decked out to look like a subway train.
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The producers paid the owners of Payne's house $5,000 to blow it up. They also rebuilt it for them after filming.
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The Los Angeles airport would not allow any explosions to take place to avoid frightening travelers. The explosion scene that takes place when the bus collides with the airplane was filmed in Mojave, California.
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Jack's sidekick Harry was originally to be played by Ed Harris, and in this version was going to be revealed as the mad bomber. However, when Harris opted out, and Jeff Daniels signed on, the producers felt that the audience would not accept the sudden twist in character, so Harry was kept as a good guy throughout, and the mad bomber written as a separate character. The idea of the hero's friend and sidekick being the villain was later used in Broken Arrow (1996), also written by Graham Yost.
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The plane destroyed by the exploding bus has the logo "Pacific Courier Freight" on its side. This same name is on the truck used by the terrorists in Die Hard (1988) - an in-joke by production designer Jackson De Govia. Jan de Bont was cinematographer for Die Hard.
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According to Joss Whedon, the character of Stephens (Alan Ruck) was originally written as an abrasive lawyer, who gets his comeuppance in an unexpected death scene. Whedon re-wrote him as the sympathetic, dull-witted tourist of the final version, but kept the death scene, intending to give it more emotional impact. His character changes were kept, but the death was written out and the character was kept alive.
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A deleted scene sees Jack shooting Howard Payne in the neck, just after he'd shot his partner in the leg at the beginning of the film. Later in the film, you can see the oval scar on Payne's neck caused by the shooting.
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The scene where the bus smashes into an empty Boeing 707 being towed across the runway was actually filmed at the Mojave Airport. On the DVD commentary, Jan De Bont states it was "out in the desert on an old runway".
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There was originally a scene called "Officer Baker's failed rescue" in which a bomb squad officer called Baker was going to be lowered onto the bus from a helicopter only to have to pull up when a bridge gets in the way, where he meets an unfortunate end. This scene storyboard can be found on the Special Edition DVD, complete with optional commentary by Jan de Bont.
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In an earlier script, the bus driver Sam (Hawthorne James) had to be removed from the bus because he had suffered a heart attack, and not because he had been shot.
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The subway scenes were shot aboard the actual Los Angeles Metro Red Line. The same short stretch of track is often seen over and over, but most of the time the subway tunnel seen is real. The only subway scenes faked in the studio were the scenes with Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper fighting on top of the train and the final seconds before the crash.
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At least twelve different busses were used during the shooting of the movie: two for exterior shots; two that were blown up; two for interior shots; two for action sequences and "hitting things"; one for the jump sequence; one modified, so that it could ride on two wheels during the sharp right turn sequence; one slightly raised, so that a man on a mechanic car could fit underneath, for the sequence in which Jack Traven tries to deactivate the bomb; and one with an extended platform in front, so that a filming crew could shoot the driver from the front. The filming crew referred to this last bus as the "pope-mobile".
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Some of the shots of the subway train as it runs off the rails are of a miniature model.
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The name tag on Howard Payne's policeman's uniform reads "Fisk", which, in early versions of the script, was the character's name, Howard Fisk.
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All trains have what is sometimes known as a "dead man's switch". This would automatically slow the train down to a stop, provided the driver either stopped tapping a certain button within a set time frame, or released their grip on a trigger type mechanism whilst operating the vehicle. The shots fired at the train driver's cab obviously cause the emergency brake to fail, but the scene can then be inferred aa justifying why the "dead man's switch" system failed to deactivate the slow down and stopping procedure.
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Thirteen people are killed in the film: security guard, Bob the bus driver, Helen, Harry, several SWAT cops, the train operator, and Payne.
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All of the main characters who die in the movie have names starting with "H" (Harry Temple, Howard Payne, Helen), with the exception of "Bob" in the first bus bombing at the coffee shop.
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The prosthetic dummy head of Dennis Hopper was "too realistic" and looked grotesque as it got beheaded, so they went with the rear shot instead.
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Richard Schiff plays a train operator when Howard Payne kidnaps Annie and hijacks a subway train in a scene that somewhat resembles The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). Schiff would later go on to star in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1998), where he plays a fired MTA worker and hijacker.
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The bomb remote control unit Payne has during the subway sequence is also known as a "Dead Man's Switch". Payne was using his version of the device, wherein if his grip is released on the unit, the explosives would activate. This is the inverse of the standard use of a trains "Dead Man's Switch" which, as mentioned in another trivia entry, is a safety feature that can slow a train to a stop.
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Shortly after Annie takes over driving the bus, Jack asks if she can handle driving it. She replies "Oh sure, it's just like driving a really big Pinto!" Ford Pintos were recalled for exploding gas tanks when involved in a collision.
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The ad on the tail of the first bus that explodes says "Save the Clams." This was an advertisement for The Bank of Santa Monica.
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The subway car that comes crashing out of the tunnel was actually a bus dressed up to look like a subway car.
Harry's desk fittingly has a sign that says "Go ahead, make my day", which is the catch phrase of "Dirty" Harry Callahan in Sudden Impact (1983).
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"The bus needed an ending too," Jan De Bont said as each lead character needs an arc, so they bought an old freight plane for $80,000 and blew them up together.
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When Jack looks at his watch while on the pay phone for the time It is stuck in the alarm mode.
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When the bomber talks to Jack on the phone he says he has x amount of minutes. Jack looks at his watch. It is the alarm mode, not in regular mode.
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Harry tells Jack that when he retires from the LAPD in 30 years, he'll get a cheap gold watch. This foreshadows Payne's gold watch, which is revealed to have been given to him after being forced to retire from the Atlanta PD Bomb Squad.
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