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The Cannonball Run

  • Created on Thursday, 03 August 2006 11:04
  • Written by Super User

The long distance race has been a longtime standard in the car movie genre. These types of movies follow a simple formula. They have a diverse group of people driving an even more diverse group of vehicles. Plus, there's usually an obsessed law enforcement officer or government official who is out to stop the race at all costs. Speed Zone, Gumball Rally, and Death Race 2000 are all good examples of the formula. But the pinnacle of the cross country race movie is The Cannonball Run.

The Cannonball Run is loosely based on the actual, illegal cross country race that was run a few times in the late seventies.A bunch of guys/girls got together to see who could get from one coast to the other in the shortest amount of time. The race involved everything from an Hot Rod Ambulance to Ferraris to Muscle Cars.

The film adaptation of the Cannonball Run contained what has become the standard cliche group of drivers.

  • You have the bored millionaire who is in the race just for fun.
  • The burnout ex-racecar/stunt driver who is out to prove he still has 'it'.
  • Comic Relief.
  • The down on his luck gambler that needs the money to get out of debt.
  • And there always happens to be a team of two beautiful women in a sports car who use their sex appeal to evade speeding tickets.

    That takes care of the drivers. Now we get to the important part, the cars. These movies all have a wide range of car types, so no matter what your tastes, there'll be something for you here.
  • A European Exotic is a must, preferably Italian(Ferrari, or Lamborghini)
  • The American muscle car has to make an appearance.
  • We can't leave out the TRUCK. Thats in all caps because the TRUCK is usually so big that it can barely fit on the highway.
  • A goofy/gimmick car filled with secret weapons. smoke screens, missiles, etc. is usually on hand. But the gimmicks usually backfire, putting the car out of the race.
  • And last, but not least, the fake police/emergency car.

    The Cannonball Run fits all of these criteria. The movie is so cliched that it somehow morphs into a great film. Unlike misfires like Speed Zone and Cannonball Run 2, the original Cannonball hit all the right notes. Burt Reynolds and Don DeLouise are funny and have great chemistry. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. almost steal the show. And even Terry Bradshaw gets a few laughs in. On top of that, the cars are fantastic. The legendary Lamborghini Countach is shown at speed. A Ferrari 308 (red of course) makes it's presence felt. And the dual gas tank Ambulance is a stroke of genius.  

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