The Cannonball Run (1981) Poster

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What a pile-up....
Mister-615 August 1999
If you're looking for a movie loaded with cars, crashes, 1/8th of the Rat Pack, Adrienne Barbeau's best assets... oh yeah, and Burt Reynolds, look no further than "The Cannonball Run".

It was a hit back in 1981 and no wonder: Burt was on top of his game and we were all young and naive back then. Heck, I have a warm spot for all the rampant stupidity, myself.

All the better that Roger Moore plays a deft parody of his own James Bond persona, complete with an Aston Martin.

If you've seen this film way back when, no doubt you remember it with some fondness. Let's face it: it may not have been on par with films like "The Gumball Rally" or even "Death Race 2000", but in its own way and on its own terms, it works just fine.

A word of sage advice: if you watch this film, skip "Cannonball Run 2". It'll only ruin your good memories of the first. And if you didn't like the original, well....

Five stars. Plus one star extra for adding Jackie Chan for what adds up to mostly as a cameo as a karate-kicking racer. And a half star more for Adrienne Barbeau's fancy work with a jump suit zipper. Altogether, six and a half stars.

Wish she would have made it a seven.
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Burt & Company In Their Element
ccthemovieman-125 April 2006
Burt Reynolds made a fortune in this area with these goofy "chase" movies (this and Smoky and The Bandit plus all the sequels). They featured a an irreverent '70s attitude toward about anything decent with an emphasis on a sleazy atmosphere, all covered up with a lot of humor, and they worked. They worked because they were fast-moving generally fun movies to watch.....certainly not any great works of art.

Cannonball Run had an all-star cast of Reynolds, his good buddy Dom DeLuise, Farah Fawcettt, Jack Elan, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Farr, Jackie Chan, on and on....pretty amazing.

Reynolds, of course, was Mr. Cool/Mr. least in his eyes. Fawcett and Barbeau meant beauty and boobs whom all men - especially dimwitted cops which Hollywood loved to feature - drooled over. The Japanese were made to look stupid (this was pre-PC days) as were priests (nothing's changed there with filmmakers). The movie is filled with really profound statements such as, "Why do we take all these risks? Oh, just for the hell of it." Yes, words to live by.

Yet, as dumb as this movie can be at times, is does provide a lot of laughs and speaking of that, DeLuise's laugh always made everyone do the same. Sometimes the best part of these films were the outtakes at the end with DeLuise cracking up and Reynolds slapping him!
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one of my all-time favourites!!!!!!!
gotfong4 February 2006
Okay, realistically speaking, it is not "excellent" in the grand scope of cinema history...It has virtually no plot, for example. But it's hysterically funny and just makes you feel happy all over. Could it be Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin paired as drunken priests in a red Ferrari that makes it so great? Is it the doctor of mysterious origin ("Don't you EVER tell me where you found him!" who seldom needs more than his middle finger for an examination? Perhaps it's Mr Uh, Mr Uh,...Foyt! No, the greatest reason for watching this film is for the sheer joy of experiencing Dom Deluise in orange spandex saving the world...and don't forget! "Hamsters are a big responsibility!"
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Cannonball Run rules!!!
wolleks-112 June 2006
Captain Chaos, The Rat Pack, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis! Burt, Roger Moore, and! Some say this isn't a masterpiece, there are no digital effects or Oscar nominated performances. Please! It's just fun watching some of the greats who have passed on and some others who were in their prime having a blast doing a movie that makes little sense and that's just the way I like it. I promise you will laugh and you won't know why, but you won't care! Great movie for anyone who wants to have a beer with his friends and watch a funny, pointless, silly movie. Unfortunately, I also recommend Peter Jackson's King Kong for the same reasons.
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a fun filled race across the US
chvylvr808 March 2002
The Cannonball Run has been vilified by many critics over the years but I love this movie and have been watching it ever since I was little. This movie is what happens when a bunch of movie stars who just happen to be close friends in real life decide to make a movie just for fun. The plot is simple enough, race from one end of the country to the other for a million dollars and avoid the law on the way. The cast is jammed with big names and just about everyone in the movie that has a speaking part is a star of some stature. This movie is simply great fun and has a lot in common with the rest of director Hal Needham's films,i.e. Smokey and the Bandit. I can't really say that this film is full of great acting because the entire cast horses around through the whole movie. Jackie Chan makes his first appearance in a American movie with this film and both Hal Needham and writer Brock Yates have cameos. Don't expect a lot in the way of plot or acting or effects or anything like that and just enjoy the ride. The outtakes at the end of this and Cannonball Run II are hilarious and it makes it more fun for me anyway to know that this movie was just like a big meeting of old friends. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. are great as Blake and Fenderbaum respectively. Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise anchor this film (they're the main characters)and the give and take between these two make them one of the best comedy teams I have ever seen. Bottom Line: Buy this flick, drag it out every once in a while, and have fun watching it with family or friends. A truly fun movie to watch.
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Wildly entertaining comedy
jhaggardjr10 April 2000
"The Cannonball Run" is a wild and crazy ride of a comedy about an illegal cross-country auto race. This movie was the third time star Burt Reynolds teamed up with director Hal Needham. Before "Cannonball Run" they made the first two "Smokey and the Bandit" pictures, and afterwards they made "Stroker Ace" and "Cannonball Run II". "The Cannonball Run" and the original "Smokey and the Bandit" are my favorites. Made back when Reynolds was hitting box office gold, "The Cannonball Run" auto race begins in Connecticut and features the goofy all-star cast passing each other up until they get to their final destination, California. In addition to Burt Reynolds, the movie also stars Dom DeLuise as Reynolds partner, Roger Moore pretending to be himself, Farrah Fawcett as the woman Reynolds and DeLuise pick up at the beginning of the race, and two late great entertainers: Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as two phony priests driving a red Ferrari. All are involved in the race, and its a wild ride all the way to the finish. Adrienne Barbeau, Jackie Chan, Jamie Farr, Mel Tillis, and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw also star. Great fun.

*** (out of four)
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All-star madcap race to California
filmbuff-362 September 2000
This film is best summarized as a live action version of Wacky Races. Burt Reynolds leads on all star cast of freaky drivers competing in a no-holds-barred race competition called the Cannonball Run. The standouts in this film are Roger Moore who seems to enjoy spoofing his own James Bond character, Jackie Chan as a kung-fu foreign race champ, Jack Elam as the twisted doctor riding along in Burt's ambulance, and Jamie Farr as a mad sheik trying to show Islamic superiority by defeating his opponents.

This is not a movie to be taken seriously, especially with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. cruising around dressed up like priests. There are a lot of good stunts and chase scenes in this movie, as well as a long brawl towards the end with all the Cannonballers against a gang of bikers, led by Peter Fonda!

To quote the Brain Gremlin from Gremlins 2: "Check it out one time, won't you!" You won't be disappointed.
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A Funny Cross-Country Adventure
Rainey-Dawn21 October 2014
This movie is reminiscent of Smokey and the Bandit: We have Burt Reynolds, a cross-country run, car chases and wrecks, an-all star cast and cheesy funny comedy.

The bonus to The Cannonball Run is in fact the all-star cast which actually "made" this film work so well. They are all very funny in this film. If you like Smokey and the Bandit then you may enjoy The Cannonball Run as well - both are similar and quite fun to watch.

This is a great afternoon "popcorn" film - this is not the kind of film that provokes any deep thought - it's just pure fun comedy. All you have to do is kickback and enjoy! 8.5/10
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Good Car Movie
warvegeta20 October 2005
I like car movies, so I am somewhat prejudiced, but this was a good movie. It was original, it had funny moments, it had those seemingly standard car jumps and wrecks for a car movie. I will admit that it has flaws, like the story does not explain why the Cannonball Run was started, or how it jumps between characters is a bit confusing, but I can live with that. It has a Lambourghini, a Ferrari, a couple of Trans Ams, an Aston Martin, a Rolls, and many other cars, so I enjoyed it. It is a pretty good movie. I liked seeing the various cars competing and even though the movie is a bit predictable, and sometimes the actors' lines seem cheesy, it is an enjoyable movie for a gearhead, a racing fan, or just someone who likes cars.
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Classic 80's
teslacoil-5424512 February 2018
Is it a masterpiece? No. Does it offer a compelling plot? No. Is it just plain fun? Yes!

Another title in the era of entertainment that was best described as "Fast cars, fast crashes, and fast women". The era that produced such films as Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy, and the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. The era that was pointed more at the blue-collar working class than the white-collar office class or the critic.

It certainly wouldn't hold up to Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, or any other masterpiece, but it isn't trying to be that. It's just trying to be a fast, fun film that loads of people can enjoy.

Instead of a 5-star wine with a 5-star steak in a 5-star restaurant, this film's more of a greasy burger and fries in a roadside dinor. They both cannot be equaled objectively, but they're both 10/10 stars in their own right.

If I could represent the height of American film, I might choose Casablanca, Citizen Kane, or Ben-Hur. If I could choose a film to show the height of American freedom, to show somebody who wasn't American what American freedom and liberty feels like, I'd choose The Cannonball Run.
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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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Pure fun
Woodyanders7 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A diverse array of colorful eccentric folks participate in a wild and illegal cross country road race. Director Hal Needham, working from a brash script by Brock Yates, relates the simple and hugely enjoyable story at a constant zippy pace, maintains an utterly engaging breezy'n'easy loopy tone throughout, and stages the thrilling vehicular carnage with his trademark rip-roaring brio. Moreover, the all-star cast have a ball with the wacky material: Burt Reynolds effortlessly projects his customary amiable charm and plays beautifully well with Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett looks positively radiant and brings a sweetly daffy appeal to her character, Roger Moore gleefully sends up his own slick'n'suave James Bond persona, legendary Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. display a marvelously loose and natural chemistry as a pair of bogus priests, Jackie Chan provides American audiences with an early demonstration of his considerable martial arts prowess, Jamie Farr joyfully devours the scenery as a madcap sheik, Mel Tillis works uproarious wonders with his stutter, and Jack Elam almost steals the entire goofy show with his inspired off-the-wall portrayal of a creepy'n'kooky doctor of dubious pedigree. George Furth also hits the prissy bull's eye as the uptight killjoy nerd determined to stop the big race. Better still, luscious babes Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman show off loads of tasty cleavage while Valerie Perrine has a witty uncredited cameo as a sexy state trooper. Why, we even have neat bits by such familiar individuals as Bianca Jagger, John Fiedler, and Peter Fonda and Robert Tessier as a couple of belligerent rough'n'rowdy bikers. Cool rocking theme song by Ray Stevens, too. The good-natured sensibility ensures that this picture never becomes too crude or offensive. A total blast.
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One of the funniest movies I have seen!
OllieSuave-00726 January 2015
The Cannonball Run is a comedy where a group of adventurers, played by an all-star cast including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Jackie Chan and Michael Hui, participate in a cross-country car race and will resort do nefarious tricks to win.

A friend of mine told me that this is a plot-less nonsensical comedy, which isn't something I am a big fan of. However, this turned out to be one of the funniest movies I have seen. While there is really no basic plot to the movie except for the wild car race theme and while there is nonsensical stuff, Hal Needham's direction really made this movie an attention grabber from start to finish, from the car racing at light speed at the beginning to the all-star fight scene toward the end.

Seeing each of the characters' physical comedy and quick humor as they compete in the race is what makes this movie entertaining. Burt Reynold's calm and collected demeanor as he cracks his jokes and his facial expressions toward the weirdness and oddball events that take place are humorous, and his frustrating partnership with the superhero-wannabe Dom DeLuise is fun to watch. Roger Moore did a great job in spoofing his James Bond character, bringing with him his suave charm, refined British accent and his acidic wit. Jackie Chan and Michael Hui brought with them their classic Hong Kong-style comedy humor, quick wit, fast-talking and martial arts action. Rounding up all the physical comedy are some evident but harmless political puns and ethnic stereotypes.

It's just interesting seeing all these well-known legends in a wild comedy; it's screwball stuff, but they aren't done childishly or overboard. Filled with surprises, it is a really fun movie; I just wished that there was a little more action scenes and also comedic stuff from Roger Moore, Jackie Chan and Michael Hui. And, I would have liked to see the other Cannonballers emphasized more. But, I still highly recommend it!

Grade B+
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Car chase mayhem which provides a few laughs and lots of mindless stunts and crashes.
barnabyrudge12 January 2005
It's hard to believe it, but when this film was released back in 1981 Burt Reynolds was the world's no.1 box office movie star. In this totally mindless chase comedy, Reynolds is supported by a cast of high profile actors in extended guest roles, all of whom play entrants in a wacky coast-to-coast (illegal) car race. The film has little plot to speak of, just a series of stunts, crashes and broad comedy moments. Much of the time it misses its targets, but from time to time there are genuinely funny vignettes and laugh-out-loud one-liners. No-one could ever seriously place this film on their list of all-time classics, but it's not as bad as critics like Maltin have claimed.

Mechanic J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds) and his schizophrenic buddy Victor (Dom Deluise - who occasionally loses it and transforms into his deluded alter-ego Captain Chaos) enter a car race from New Jersey to California. Fellow entrants include a suave Englishman who thinks he's James Bond (Roger Moore); two con-men disguised as priests (Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr); a womanising sheik (Jamie Farr); a Subaru-driving Japanese stunt-man (Jackie Chan); and a couple of busty bimbos in a Lamborghini (Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman).

Scenes that work (e.g scenes that ARE funny) include J.J and Victor landing an aeroplane in a busy street to purchase more beer; the Japanese racers almost crashing because their driver is busy watching porn movies on the in-built TV; the Lamborghini babes repeatedly dodging speeding charges by flashing their (considerable) cleavage at the prosecuting cops; and any of the hilarious out-takes shown over the closing credits. Jack Elam also has some amusing scenes as a very unreliable doctor with a penchant for injecting anaesthetics into people's asses! In other parts, the film is less successful, with rather a lot of lazy performances and scenes that don't tickle the funny bone because they are too immature or just too stupid. The Cannonball Run is loud, broad fun, very easy to watch and even easier to forget!
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First rate stars at a car chase caper in which all-assorted drivers dash at highly illegal race
ma-cortes29 March 2010
An unusual assortment of pilots converge for a cross country automobile race where breaking the rules and chaotic car chases are part of the game , and everybody competing for a grand prize in less than legal rally. In the car race participates the protagonists, McClure( amiable Burt Reynolds in similar role to 'Smokey and the Bandit' films) and his sidekick schizophrenic Victor (Dom Deluise who turn in moments into Captain Chaos) disguising themselves as paramedics, a duo posing as priests(the Rat-Pack ,Sammy Davis, Dean Martin) , two Chinese (a racer Jackie Chan and engineer Michael Hui), two Lamborghini sexpot babes (Adrienne Barbeau, Tara) and of course Roger Moore in a James Bond character-alike and several others. Along the way they elude police , crash into road-blocks, and meet-up with a number of roles.

This race chase caper is full of witless comedy with tongue in cheek, noisy action, Kung-Fu fighting, gratuitous star cameos and many other things. This nutty film with extraordinary star-studded cast achieved a huge Box-office hit, one of 1981's top grosser, in spite of its brief amusing moments and ridiculous, embarrassing situations. Most interesting for plethora of cameos as Peter Fonda, Valerie Perrine, Jamie Farr, Jack Elam and many others . At the end there are out-takes such popular and usual subsequently. It's followed by a languid sequel, less than illustrious its predecessor, with similar actors and artist equipment , adding more explosive girls as Marilu Henner, Catherine Bach and Susan Anton, furthermore more Rat Pack as Frank Sinatra and Shirley McLaine. Booth of them were badly directed by the ex-stunt Hal Needham. Other films dealing with mindless cross-country wheel spinning , are the following : ¨Cannoball(1976)¨ by Paul Bartel with Robert Carradine, Mary Wonorov , Joe Dante ,¨Death race 2000¨ again by Paul Bartel with David Carradine, Silvester Stallone, Simone Griffith ¨Gumball rally(1976) ¨by Chuck Bail with Michael Sarrazin Gary Busey and Raul Julia, among them.
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102 Octaine hilarity
buzznzipp199517 March 2007
Starring Burt Reynolds and company. I couldn't agree more that Burt is at the top of his game. He had the best 'laugh', in Cannon Ball Run. Whenever J.J. and Victor ( Reynolds and Delouise ) would get into it and be crackin' -up, everyone else would too. Now here is the original, we are all on strike (The actors) and this is where we are gonna hang out and party while being in this movie! The actor's strike, what an uprising! This is one of those non ' Politically correct.' you gotta love this one, type of movie. Jackie Chan in his early days before many knew who or even what he was....talented. From Roger Moore, playing himself, (no identity crisis there) you gotta love him, to the tree loving-Farrah Fawcett and her new beau, the 'Wild Bull' marching on Washington D.C. to ban the sale of colored toilet paper, due to irritation!

But the best being, all the speed hungry degenerates looking to qualify and get into the race. The major major running cross-country from sea to shining sea, in the shortest amount of time. The cast is heavily-packed with old-school 'giants', that came together and made the race more fun altogether. Two priests in a Ferrari 308. An English agent in an Astin Martin. A big man and a suave guy with a crazy-eyed doctor in an ambulance, along with a female -hostage passenger from an auto wreck, to an all female team in a black Lamborgini, that can get to a sailing pace of 220 miles per hour! Whoa. A Japanese racing team with night scope glasses and a rocket powered Subaru. This band of un-policed road-range nuts are out in full force and flying down the highway!! If you catch a glimpse I'm sure it will be accompanied by a deranged smile. Forget Jimmy Carter and sky-rocketing gas prices, this feature delivers more laughs per mile than a hybrid gets good mileage

In the whole simple plot-based laugh road rally, this is a fun and intoxicated comedy for the undiscriminating comedy viewer. The fun and hilarity is infectious!! The actors, since being in the middle of the actor's strike, had time to hang out and through-out the movie you see the uninhibited lunacy that putting all these personalities together, with a lot of alcohol will do. Then at the end credits its role 'Bloopers' more enjoyment with the ones who couldn't keep their lines straight! This is a staple comedic kill the 55' mile per hour speed limit and blow away the other racer out and out good time! A classic for decades to come. Sheer madness, but all in good company!

Recommended, oh yeah... ()***()
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Pure and simple fun. And lots of it.
weathermanfr15 September 2017
Well, I am anything but a movie expert. I can barely recall movie titles and actor names. Watched this movie almost by accident. However, after watching this movie, I realized that I like this kind of comedy. Pure comedy with no limits, no political correctness, no seriousness. With today's standards, it may be a little immature humor, but sometimes, that's exactly what you want to watch.

I am a man that doesn't laugh often. I may smile, I may have a good time, but I don't laugh out loud. Well, during The Cannonball Run, I laughed out so loud, I never imagined I could. So many scenes had such an unexpected turn, that made me laugh with tears.

What's not to laugh about? Most actors are unique characters. Their roles are bright, alive, active. Something that I haven't seen in a comedy for years. The story is simple, but filled with so many nice details along the way. Funny men, beautiful women. A loud movie. Actually and metaphorically loud. But as with everything in life, in order to enjoy a movie, you need to empty your mind, and let the movie speak to you.

I give this movie ten stars, because it was an honest direct comedy, that made me laugh out loud and keep many scenes running in my head for hours. Exaclty what I expect from a comedy.
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Watch This Movie
stephengarner-8956020 July 2017
I First Saw This Film On Holiday In Scotland And AM Glad I Did Because This Film Is A Classic Even The Cannon Ball Run 2 IS Good But Not A Classic And The Third One Only Has On Cheeky But Funny Moment In It Now The All Star Cast Work So Well Together But Burt And Dom Are Just Wonderful Together And Woke Up A Double Act Like All The Good Double Acts Of The Past And The Rest Of The Cast Like Sammy And Dean Work Very Well The Fight Scene Is Good And The Outtakes At The End Is Very Funny So See This Film

Thank You
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And I was SO sure that this was a good film.
BA_Harrison28 November 2007
The Cannonball Run, an all-star caper about a bunch of ne'er-do-wells competing in a trans-American road race, is one of those films that I have had fond memories of ever since seeing it on its original release. So re-watching this film after many years was going to be a real treat—or at least I thought so. Isn't it funny how time affects your memory?

Instead of the laugh-a-minute, stunt-packed classic that I recall enjoying immensely as a kid, I was shocked to find that the film is in fact a rather tedious, poorly directed, mostly laugh-free effort saddled with mundane action. Apart from some stunning cars, and a few stunning women, The Cannonball Run actually has little to recommend it.

Not nearly exciting enough (the car stunts are limited to a few unremarkable jumps, skids and crashes), nor funny enough (the desperate non-PC humour making light of schizophrenia, drink driving, stammering, abduction, racial differences, the law, and drug and alcohol abuse), director Hal Needham's chaotic comedy rarely gets into gear, and repeatedly stalls when it does.

With an improvised feel to every facet of the film, The Cannonball Run gives the impression that much of it was made on the fly. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that Needham got his cast, crew and cars together first, and worried about the finer details (like a script) once the shoot had begun. The director and his Hollywood pals probably had a blast making the film, and I would like to say that the sense of fun is infectious. But it isn't.

To be fair, a few moments did manage to make me smile—Jackie Chan kicking biker ass, Adrienne Barbeau's cleavage, Jack Elam as a drunken proctologist—but the majority of the film left me massively disappointed.

The Cannonball Run gets a star for the kung fu, one for the babes, one more for the freaky doctor, plus a bonus star purely for nostalgia's sake. A not-so-grand total of 4 out of 10.
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Sickening unfunny - a stain on the medium of film
mrusis22 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was looking for a good 'car' movie at the video store when this caught my eye. The cast, writer and concept promised so much.

I am disgusted.

This movie makes me want to break things in my revulsion.

I utterly hate it.

A car chase comedy without jokes or car chases (or even any cars travelling at high speed, all that is done with sped-up camera work) is pointless. When it is executed this badly it could make impressionable types suicidal.

The only reason I got the whole way through was the paralysing horror of the film rooted me to the couch. I was awestruck at the ineptitude of the humour and directing.

For a movie about a cross country car race (an inherently exciting idea, I think) the plot revolves almost entirely around people sitting about in dingy gas stations and car-parks talking about racing.

The humour is so broad and poorly written you could plant a flag on it and claim it as sovereign territory of laziness.

This film made me angry, it made me hate, it fills me with rage. Show it to the Hulk and his shade of green would be so dark it'd be black.

The only thing that could have made this worse is CGI.

I am too enraged at the hideous abortion of a film that this is to write anymore. I am going out now to buy a copy and then I will torture it.

The worst abuse ever committed to any media be it prose, poetry, film or music.
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"You know what I like best about trees?"
utgard1426 February 2014
"All-star" comedy about assorted characters competing in a cross-country race. The main stars are Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. But the cast is full of Burt's friends, as well as the likes of Roger Moore, Jackie Chan, Peter Fonda, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Of those, only Roger Moore is fun. The best part of the film is Adrienne "Boom Boom" Barbeau's cleavage. I also love the Valerie Perrine cameo. Farrah Fawcett is Burt's love interest and her nipples are erect throughout the whole movie. She wears no bra, of course, which she was known for back then. Every time they have a tender scene, Farrah's headlights are on bright and you can't help but giggle or drool or a combination of the two. Her tree fascination is pretty cute stuff, though.

It's painfully unfunny at times, especially when DeLuise is doing his thing. His thing, by the way, is being the unfunniest person on the planet. I know Burt thought he was hilarious. I also know Burt had a drug problem back then that no doubt colored his judgment. It does get better as it goes along but never rises above passable. Also worth mentioning is that several of the participants in this race drink (a lot) and drive. Doubtful that would happen today in a frivolous movie like this. I guess this is one case of times changing for the better.
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Quite fun but very, very basic stuff
bob the moo10 August 2002
A rich Sheik organises an illegal cross country race in order to bring together the best drivers from all over the world. The drivers all race over several days to be the first to collect the finish line by fair means or foul.

This was set at the high of the days when car chase/car crash movies were all the rage with Smokey and the Bandit et al. So to complain that this movie doesn't make sense or is only really brainless eye candy is to miss the point. Yes – the plot makes no sense – why didn't those cars with two drivers just work shifts while the other's slept etc, also some of the vehicles are clearly not in the same league as the others (but still keep up!). However it's still funny and amusing in a really brain dead way and it's quite fun to watch while sitting in neutral!

The cast are great (on paper) with a list of stars. However any comedy relying on Dom DeLuise and Reynolds is never going to be great! Fawcett and Barbeau are hotter than I've ever seen them anywhere else, and the film uses the whole `girls in catsuits' thing shamelessly well! The majority of the cast are really window dressing – Martin, Davis Jnr, Chan, Moore etc but all are OK – if you're happy with the film as a whole then performances are not really what you'll be looking for I guess.

The comedy is pretty lame – the outtakes are hilarious but really only show up how basic and lacking in spark the rest of the film is. The dumb action is good if you're in a veggie mood but really this is very basic. The star cast make up for some of the weakness and keep the interest but really the outtakes are the best bits.
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Watchable, but really stupid
Tito-824 March 1999
I'll confess that there were a few times when I laughed while watching this film, as much as I hate to admit that fact. Nevertheless, this film is about as brainless and plotless as major motion pictures can get. Most of the jokes land hard with a thud, and the racing scenes are standard at best. It is a mildly amusing distraction, but let's face it, you can do MUCH better than this if you're looking for a good time. Watch only if you have the need to see an enormous bunch of talent being pitifully wasted.
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The epitome of fast cars movies of the era!
kimpetersen197127 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Though the movie is so typical for it's time, I think it appeals to people of all ages; it's well scripted, the characters have personality in abundance, lots of fast cars and a coherent storyline, leaving little on the "missing"-list.

The chemistry between J. J. McClure (Reynolds) and Victor Prinzi (DeLuise), the two guys driving the Chevy stock car (Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis) and Jamie Blake (Dean Martin) and Morris Fenderbaum (Sammy Davis Jr.) is world class and part of what makes this movie great.

Also noteworthy appearances: Jack Elam (Doctor), Farrah Fawcett (Pamela), Roger More (Seymore), Jamie Farr (Sheik) and George Furth (A. J. Foyt)

I find it as enjoyable now as I did as a kid 31 years ago.

Update: this movie sold more ticket here in Denmark than movies like Inception, Shrek 2, Finding Nemo, Independence Day and Back To The Future!
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You are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place.
Spikeopath9 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Some scene moment spoilers follow.

A monster hit back on release in 1981, The Cannonball Run has a meagre rating of just 5.7 on the IMDb site and is home to some scathing reviews across the critical spectrum. Having just revisited the film for the first time since the 80s, I found to my surprise I was laughing heartily pretty much all the way through the damn thing

True enough there is enough cheese and over reliance on self parodies to stop it from being an across the board winner, but there's enough energy and excellently written comedy to make one understand why early 80s audiences were taken with it. In fact it very much feels like a 70s film in many ways, and I mean that in a good way, macho men and babes, speeding cars and Al Capps' music sit neatly with the look created by director Hal Needham. While clocking in at a brisk 95 minutes the film and its comedy doesn't out stay its welcome like the more popular ass numbing ensemble comedy picture that is It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Re-elect Sean "Kill A Commie" O' Scanlon.

Most of the cast send themselves up royally, and seem to be enjoying doing so. I haven't had time to look into the making of the film, but I would be saddened to find out it wasn't an harmonious set? From Roger Moore riffing his Bond persona-he's not George Hamilton you know-to Dino Martin playing a lecherous drunk priest!-so much for the knowing film fan to get on the fun side with.

Those priests weren't fathers, they were mothers!

Then there's great moments like Jackie Chan in his super computer car, and splitting his trousers , Burt Reynolds and Martin exchanging insults, Jack Elam's wired doctor, with that proctologist finger, the mother of punch ups led by Peter Fonda in biker mode, Captain Chaos, the best motorcycle wheelie ever, and of course the cars and the wonderfully staged stunt work. It's also very sexy, Reynolds, a bastion of manhood, Farrah Fawcett's legs, and Adrienne Barbeau as scrumptious as scrumptious can be. If there is indeed a God and he grants me entry to Heaven, I hope that early 80s Adrienne Barbeau is waiting for me at the gate!

Yeah I'm a fan. 8/10
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