Vanishing Point

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"It's the maximum trip... at maximum speed."
  • R
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 7.2  (30,304)
  • 61

Vanishing Point is a 1971 road movie starring Barry Newman as Kowalski, an ex-cop and Vietnam veteran turned car delivery driver. He is tasked with delivering a white 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in record time. Kowalski has a reputation for being a skilled driver and his boss promises to give him his car as a reward if he can deliver this vehicle on time.

The film begins with Kowalski speeding through the desert in the Challenger, trying to outrun the police. He has a radio dispatcher who tries to help him evade the law, but Kowalski soon realizes that he is being chased for more than just a traffic violation. As he enters the state of Nevada, Kowalski becomes a symbol of rebellion for the counterculture movement of the 1970s.

Throughout his journey, Kowalski encounters a variety of characters, both friendly and hostile, including a biker gang, a nude female motorcyclist, a hippie couple, and a gay hitchhiker. Along the way, he picks up a blind African American disc jockey, Super Soul (played by Cleavon Little), who becomes his ally and guide during his final run to San Francisco.

As the pursuit continues, Kowalski begins to experience flashbacks of his time in the Vietnam War, and as a police officer, which seem to be driving him to push the car to its limit. The intense chase through the streets and highways of California ultimately leads Kowalski to a final confrontation and a hauntingly beautiful ending.

Vanishing Point is both a thrill ride and a thoughtful commentary on American society in the early 1970s. The film is known for its iconic muscle car, intense chase scenes, and a rock and roll soundtrack featuring songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Mountain, and The Who. It also explores themes of rebellion, individualism, and the search for freedom in a restrictive society.

The film's cinematography is notable for its use of long takes, stunning scenery, and creative camera angles. Director Richard C. Sarafian employs handheld cameras, rear projection techniques, and split screens to create a sense of urgency and tension throughout the film.

Vanishing Point has become a cult classic over the years and has been referenced in various movies, television shows, and music videos. Its influence can be seen in other car chase films such as Bullitt, The French Connection, and Gone in 60 Seconds. The film embodies the spirit of the counterculture movement and stands as a testament to the power of individualism and rebellion.

In conclusion, Vanishing Point is a gripping and visually stunning film that continues to captivate audiences today. Its themes of rebellion, individualism, and freedom make it not only a product of its time but a timeless classic that will continue to inspire future generations.

Vanishing Point
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (30,304)
  • Metascore