For 25 years in Invercargill at the south end of New Zealand, Burt Munro (1899-1978) has been working on increasing the speed of his motorcycle, a 1920 Indian. He dreams of taking it to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see how fast it will go. By the early 1960s, heart disease threatens his life, so he mortgages his house and takes a boat to Los Angeles, buys an old car, builds a makeshift trailer, gets the Indian through customs, and heads for Utah. Along the way, people he meets are charmed by his open, direct friendliness. If he makes it to Bonneville, will they let an old guy on the flats with makeshift tires, no brakes, and no chute? And will the Indian actually respond?Written by
At a post-film question and answer session at the National Film Theatre, London, on February 20, 2006, Roger Donaldson said that four motorcycles were built for the shoot: two replica Indian Scouts for detail shots made by the late motorcycle engineer John Britten's firm, and two modified Ducatis for the running shots. He also said all four had difficulties on the salt flats, breaking down regularly, although the Ducatis reached one hundred fifty miles per hour for some shots. As for his own exploits, Donaldson admitted that the highest motorcycle speed he achieved was sixty-five miles per hour. See more »
When Burt Munro arrives at the Flamingo Hotel and is thumbing through his money to pay the cab fare, his dollar bill is clearly a Federal Reserve Note and not the silver certificate at the time. If it was important enough to show the scene, it should have been important enough to know and procure the right generation of currency. Federal Reserve Notes were not in existence until as the silver certificates were being retired, in the later 1960s. See more »
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A true story with a nice mix of emotion and motorcycles.
At a sneak preview of this movie in Burt Munro 's hometown - Invercargill, I noticed at the end that many of the men had moist eyes -not that the film is weepy or sycophantic in any way - it's simply inspirational.
The hero/underdog here is a social misfit, a self-confessed dirty old man but a lovable one. He loves the ladies and he loves speeding on his vintage Indian Scout "modified somewhat" along the open beach of Invercargill in Southern New Zealand. Beach bike racers still contest the Burt Munro Trophy on Oreti beach.
Burt's 1967 record at Bonneville still stands.
Anthony Hopkins manages the problematic Kiwi accent well to deliver a touching, funny and realistic depiction of Burt in his quest to be the fastest thing on two wheels. Sir Anthony said that it's the best thing he's ever done and it's hard to disagree based on his laconic and lovable portrayal.
Outstanding cameos by the likes of Annie Whittle and Diane Ladd simply add depth and verisimilitude to the film. Tim Shadbolt, well he definitely acted in the film...
Complete and convincing performances that warm the heart and show true humanity shining through.
The cinematography is clear and precise, the action scenes are mercifully free of special effects and Burt's kiwi innovation and guile win the day.
A new classic from Roger Donaldson.
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