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Vanishing Point
     

Vanishing Point

4.5 11
Director: Richard Sarafian,

Cast: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger

 

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Richard Sarafian directed this minimalist chase film, starring Barry Newman as ex-marine, ex-race car driver and cop named Kowalski. He drives into Denver to deliver a car and pick up another vehicle to drive to San Francisco. To make the fifteen-hour drive to San Francisco bearable he pops a load of pep pills and drives off. Almost immediately, he is told to pull

Overview

Richard Sarafian directed this minimalist chase film, starring Barry Newman as ex-marine, ex-race car driver and cop named Kowalski. He drives into Denver to deliver a car and pick up another vehicle to drive to San Francisco. To make the fifteen-hour drive to San Francisco bearable he pops a load of pep pills and drives off. Almost immediately, he is told to pull over by the police, but Kowalski refuses to stop. Ignoring the cops, a police chase ensues. Egging Kowalski on is a blind black disc jockey, Super Soul (Cleavon Little), who announces his comings and goings on his local radio show, praising Kowalski to the skies as "the last American to whom speed means freedom of the soul." Super Soul's hype makes Kowalski a media sensation and Kowalski fans mount up -- as do the police cars chasing him -- as he races against time to deliver both the car and himself to his San Francisco destination.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The late 1960s and early '70s had no shortage of symbolically charged road movies, and if Vanishing Point isn't quite the same caliber as Two Lane Blacktop or as culturally significant as Easy Rider, in its best moments it comes close. A huge drive-in hit, the film turns its modest budget to its advantage, making a virtue out of its plot's simplicity, and in the process becoming a beautiful example of the now-vanished B-movie avant garde. As Barry Newman's benzedrine-powered drive from Denver to San Francisco progresses, it becomes less about getting a job done than an almost allegorical journey toward death, a sort of Pilgrim's Progress for a time of post-Woodstock disillusionment. Director Richard Sarafian stages the near-constant chase scenes hypnotically, aided by the expert cinematography of John A. Alonzo, and he gracefully incorporates flashbacks to Newman's past life, explaining a bit more of what's brought him to his present state. Elsewhere, sequences featuring hipster D.J. "Super Soul" Cleavon Little makes the counter-cultural relevance of Newman's desperate journey clear. If anything, a little too clear: Vanishing Point's greatest flaw may be its tendency to overstate its case. Is it really necessary for Little to refer to Newman as the "last American hero" and "the last beautiful free soul on this planet"? Does Little really need to be nearly-killed by a racist mob to make clear what's at stake? Also puzzling is an archaic scene in which Newman battles a pair of stereotypically gay bandits. But even with such moments, Vanishing Point still works beautifully, aided by Newman's quiet, beautifully understated performance: his world-weary expression and grizzled visage make it nearly impossible to romanticize his trip, and equally difficult not to sympathize.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/09/2013
UPC:
9345228001448
Original Release:
1971
Source:
Imports
Sales rank:
24,200

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Barry Newman Kowalski
Cleavon Little Super Soul
Dean Jagger Prospector
Victoria Medlin Vera
Paul Koslo Young Cop
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends J Hovah's Singers
Charlotte Rampling Hitchhiker (UK version)
John Amos Super Soul's radio engineer
Rita Coolidge Singer
Robert Donner Older Cop
Anthony James First male hitchhiker
Arthur Malet Second male hitchhiker
Owen Bush Communications Officer
Gilda Texter Nude Rider
Karl Swenson Clerk At Delivery Agency
Severn Darden J. Hovah
Lee Weaver Jake
Cherie Foster 1st Girl
Tom Reese Sheriff
Timothy Scott Angel
Valerie Kairys Girls

Technical Credits
Richard Sarafian Director
Del Acevedo Makeup
John A. Alonzo Cinematographer
Stefan Arnsten Editor
Jimmy Bowen Score Composer
Guillermo Cain Screenwriter
Pete Carpenter Score Composer
Glen L. Daniels Set Decoration/Design
Louie Elias Stunts
Richard Glassman Asst. Director
Malcolm Hart Original Story
Carey Loftin Stunts
Michael Pearson Executive Producer
Norman Spencer Producer
Jerry Wunderlich Set Decoration/Design

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Vanishing Point 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My headline says it all. I don't claim to know a lot about cars, but I think I understand the mentality, or at least the idealization of it. Man, machine, mission. This is the tripod of a whole bunch of movies, but that and even the anti-hero message of the Nixon/Vietnam era don't glare so brightly and senselessly in this movie. MAYBE the guest appearances but nearly every cultural stereotype of the decade plays on the nerves. But the movie doesn't ask too many blatant questions, and keeps just shy of offering answers. Like the man, the movie moves. It can't stop to explain every single motivation and every choice. Maybe that makes it simple, and maybe it cloaks that simplicity in a mountain of subtext. I guess it's a rare driving movie that makes you think these things - All love to Gumball Rally, but I wasn't really questioning the meaning of life and what choices are really ours to make in that movie. Wonderful performances from the main cast, and some interesting supporting performances. In the end, definately worth the watch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting until the end
Guest More than 1 year ago
klovaski a cross country car deliver flores a dodge charger from denver to san fran. he keeps in touch with a blind d.j and discovers many suprises on the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This car chase movie was mentioned in the later part of Tarantino's Movie. During the scene in the Diner, When Zoe Bell said, she want to ride a vintage Dodge Challenger from the 70s flick. I luck out and found the video at a B&N with a video department. For a 70s Movie. I like it! Even though it didn't have a happy ending. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, I would!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Any man will love this film especially if you drove fast before radar. The premise of the film actually is about a bet and men needing to win. Then there is race with the E-type and while Barry wins, he stops to make sure the other guy is OK, which is how men compete. If you have ever outrun the cops, just once, then your mind will melt into this character. The ending and the racism are shocking enough to keep it real. This film is always next to my player just in case I need a 90 min escape.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
watch this movie if you like car chases.never a dull moment in this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After Bullitt and before Fast and Furious, this is a MUST SEE for car buffs or those who just love a darn good car chase. Barry Newman is one swift character who does not say much (mostly watchs his review mirror) . I remember seeing this movie when it first came out, slightly after Dodge introduced the Dodge Challenger. Boy oh Boy I couldnt think of a better Chrysler Muscle car promo then this movie. The timing was uncanny. Mopar fans and heck, even Chevy and Ford Fans will like this movie. The ending I must say was flat out dumb, what the hell was this guy thinking but then again, would you actually believe Rocky would survive his punchs and get up.. It only Hollywood!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vanishing Point has a cult following for its well directed car chase sequences. It is known as one of the best made of the car chase movies of the late 60's and early 70's. Two of those include Bullit and the original Gone In 60 Seconds. This movie was not a box office hit when it came out in 1971. It usually played to young audiences in Drive In theaters across the country. It's story was not so much about a lone driver and the car chase across the west, but a glimpse at a part of America few people ever saw. As Kowalski hurdles his way across the desert, out driving and out running the police in his Dodge Challenger. He encounters the often unseen world of odd early 70's counter cultures, religions, and social outcasts. Each of those connecting with him and his plight. We are given a wild ride through the underbelly of a turbulent time in 20th century America. This is what sets it apart from the rest of the car chase movies. Watch it the first time and enjoy the high speed driving. Watch it the second time for the story that is woven into the chase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im watching this movie on Speedvision right now. If it was on DVD I'd be ordering it. The entire movie is a car chase. It has Cleavon Little (the dude from Blazing Saddles) and that makes it even better. Check this movie out!