Steve McQueen’s movie, Bullitt, has become a cultural phenomenon for its iconic car chase scene that takes place on the streets of San Francisco. One of the most memorable parts of this scene is the high-speed chase featuring the iconic Ford Mustang GT 390. McQueen, who was known for his love of cars, made sure that the vehicle used in the movie was a car that he personally admired.
Despite the movie being released over 50 years ago, the Bullitt Mustang has continued to captivate car enthusiasts and movie lovers alike. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of the Ford Mustang GT 390, Steve McQueen’s love for cars, and the legacy of Bullitt and its impact on popular culture.
So, buckle up and get ready to discover everything there is to know about the iconic car that McQueen drove in Bullitt.
Introduction to Bullitt
Bullitt is an American crime thriller movie released in 196The movie is best known for its iconic car chase scene through the streets of San Francisco. The movie is named after its main character, Frank Bullitt, played by Steve McQueen. McQueen was a legendary actor and car enthusiast, and Bullitt is considered one of his most iconic roles.
Bullitt was directed by Peter Yates and written by Alan R. Trustman and Harry Kleiner. The movie tells the story of Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco police detective who is assigned to protect a witness who is set to testify against the mob. When the witness is killed, Bullitt decides to investigate the case on his own, leading to a thrilling car chase through the streets of San Francisco. Car chase enthusiasts still regard this scene as one of the greatest car chases ever filmed.
The movie also stars Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, and Robert Duvall. The film’s score was composed by Lalo Schifrin, and the theme song for the movie has become a classic. Bullitt was a commercial and critical success, earning over $42 million at the box office and receiving an Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Academy Award
The Plot of Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 action thriller movie that tells the story of a detective named Frank Bullitt who is tasked with protecting a key witness in a high-profile case.
The witness is eventually killed, and Bullitt sets out to uncover a conspiracy involving the mob and corrupt politicians.
The movie is known for its realistic portrayal of police work and for its iconic car chase scene, which features a Ford Mustang GT 390 and a Dodge Charger.
Bullitt is played by Steve McQueen, who was also a car enthusiast and insisted on doing his own driving stunts in the movie.
The plot of Bullitt is a thrilling ride from start to finish, with unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Whether you’re a fan of action movies or just love classic cars, Bullitt is a must-see film that has stood the test of time.
The Significance of Bullitt in Film History
The release of Bullitt in 1968 marked a significant moment in film history. The film, directed by Peter Yates and starring Steve McQueen, is known for its groundbreaking car chase scene, which has become one of the most iconic moments in movie history.
Bullitt’s influence can still be seen in modern films, with many directors citing it as an inspiration for their own work. The film’s realistic portrayal of violence and its gritty urban setting were also a departure from the glamour of many films of the era, paving the way for more realistic and hard-hitting films in the years that followed.
Furthermore, Bullitt is credited with popularizing the “police procedural” genre, which would go on to influence countless TV shows and films. Its impact on film history is undeniable, and it continues to be celebrated as a classic of its time.
The Iconic Car Chase Scene
The car chase scene in Bullitt is one of the most famous and influential in cinema history. The scene lasts for more than ten minutes and features Steve McQueen driving a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 at breakneck speeds through the hilly streets of San Francisco. The Mustang is pursued by a 1968 Dodge Charger driven by two hitmen. The chase is so intense that it almost feels like a character in the movie, and the editing and sound design make it a masterclass in action filmmaking.
One of the reasons the chase scene is so memorable is that it was filmed using real cars and real streets, with no special effects or green screen. McQueen was a skilled driver, and much of the driving in the scene was done by him, not a stunt double. The camera work is also impressive, with the cinematographer using a handheld camera to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
The car chase scene in Bullitt has been imitated, parodied, and paid homage to in countless movies and TV shows over the years. It is a true cinematic landmark, and one that continues to inspire filmmakers and thrill audiences to this day.
The Making of the Car Chase Scene
The car chase scene in Bullitt is considered one of the greatest car chases in movie history. It was a difficult and dangerous scene to shoot, with many challenges that had to be overcome. The scene took three weeks to film, and multiple cars were used in the process.
Steve McQueen was heavily involved in the making of the scene and did most of his own stunts. He spent months preparing for the scene and even practiced on the streets of San Francisco at night to get a feel for the car and the city.
The scene was filmed with multiple cameras and involved high-speed driving, jumps, and crashes. The crew had to obtain special permits from the city to film the scene, and they had to shut down multiple streets during filming. Despite the challenges, the scene came together perfectly, and it remains one of the most memorable moments in film history.
The Impact of the Car Chase Scene on Cinema
The car chase scene in Bullitt has had a significant impact on the way car chases are filmed in cinema. The scene’s influence can be seen in many action movies and TV shows, including The French Connection, The Driver, and The Bourne Identity.
The scene’s realism and intensity were groundbreaking for its time and set a new standard for car chases in movies. It was also one of the first times that the audience saw the car from the driver’s point of view, adding a new level of excitement and immersion.
The car chase scene has since become an iconic moment in film history and is often cited as one of the greatest car chases of all time. It has inspired countless filmmakers and continues to be a reference point for car chase scenes in modern cinema.
History of the Ford Mustang GT 390
The Ford Mustang is an iconic American car and has been in production since 196The Mustang GT 390 was introduced in 1967 as an upgraded version of the Mustang GT. It was a high-performance vehicle with a powerful V8 engine.
The Mustang GT 390 was a popular choice for car enthusiasts and became a symbol of the American muscle car era. It was featured in several movies and TV shows, including the 1968 film Bullitt.
Today, the Mustang GT 390 is a sought-after classic car and is still a popular choice for car collectors and enthusiasts. The car’s powerful engine, distinctive design, and iconic status have made it a legend in the automotive world.
The Design and Features of the Mustang GT 390
The Ford Mustang GT 390 was designed to appeal to car enthusiasts who wanted a powerful, fast, and stylish vehicle. Its sleek and sporty design was inspired by the classic muscle cars of the 1960s, with a long hood, short deck, and aggressive stance. The Mustang GT 390 also featured a number of performance upgrades, including a high-output 390 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 325 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque.
In addition to its powerful engine, the Mustang GT 390 also had a number of other features that set it apart from other vehicles of its time. These included an upgraded suspension system, larger brakes, and a dual exhaust system that provided a distinctive rumble. The Mustang GT 390 was also available with a range of optional extras, such as power steering, power brakes, and a limited-slip differential.
Overall, the Mustang GT 390 was a car that combined style and performance in a way that few other vehicles of its era could match. Its combination of power, handling, and distinctive design helped it become an icon of the muscle car era, and it remains popular with car enthusiasts today.
Steve McQueen and His Love for Cars
Steve McQueen, the iconic actor who played the role of Frank Bullitt in the movie Bullitt, was a car enthusiast in real life. He was known for his love for fast cars and motorcycles, and he even participated in motorsports events.
McQueen was the owner of several classic cars, including a Porsche 917, a Jaguar XKSS, and a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. He was also an accomplished race car driver and competed in several high-profile races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The cars that McQueen drove in his movies were often a reflection of his personal taste and style. He was involved in the selection and design of the cars used in many of his films, and his love for cars was evident in his performances.
McQueen’s Passion for Racing and Cars
Steve McQueen was not only an actor, but also a passionate car enthusiast and racing driver. He loved to drive fast cars and participated in several races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
McQueen’s love for cars was evident in his personal car collection, which included a Porsche 911, a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, and a Jaguar XK-SS. He even owned a Ford Mustang GT 390, which he famously drove in the movie Bullitt.
In addition to racing and collecting cars, McQueen also supported motorsports by sponsoring his own racing team and hosting the Steve McQueen Invitational, a charity event that raised money for the Boys Republic, a school for troubled youth.
McQueen’s passion for racing and cars inspired many, and his legacy lives on in the hearts of car enthusiasts and movie fans alike.
McQueen’s Relationship with the Bullitt Mustang
Steve McQueen’s passion for cars was not just limited to his movies; he was an avid car collector in real life too. McQueen was so enamored with the Ford Mustang GT 390 used in the film Bullitt that he tried to buy it from the studio after filming ended, but they refused to sell it to him.
Undeterred, McQueen eventually tracked down the original owner of the car, who had kept it in immaculate condition. He offered to buy it, but the owner refused to sell. However, McQueen’s persistence paid off, and he was able to convince the owner to sell the car to him after several years of negotiation.
Once he owned the Bullitt Mustang, McQueen drove it regularly on the streets of Los Angeles, and it quickly became one of his most prized possessions. In fact, he loved the car so much that he used it in the film Le Mans, and it also made appearances in other films and TV shows throughout the years.
After McQueen’s death in 1980, the Bullitt Mustang was sold to a new owner. It disappeared for several decades before resurfacing in 2018, restored to its original condition. Today, it remains one of the most iconic cars in film history and a symbol of Steve McQueen’s love for cars.
Restoration of the Bullitt Mustang
Discovery: In 2017, the Bullitt Mustang was rediscovered in a Mexican junkyard, where it had been hidden for over 30 years.
Restoration: The restoration process took over 2 years and involved meticulously recreating the iconic car to its original specifications.
Authenticity: The restoration team used original parts wherever possible and even went to great lengths to recreate the bullet holes from the film’s famous chase scene.
Debut: The restored Bullitt Mustang made its public debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where it was met with great fanfare from car enthusiasts and movie buffs alike.
The Rediscovery of the Bullitt Mustang
Lost and Found: After being sold to a Warner Bros employee, the Bullitt Mustang was lost for many years until it was found in a Mexican junkyard in 2017.
The Hunt: Finding the car was not an easy task. It took years of research, detective work, and even a trip to Mexico to confirm its authenticity.
Restoration: After being rediscovered, the Bullitt Mustang underwent a comprehensive restoration to bring it back to its original condition.
The Auction: In 2020, the restored Bullitt Mustang went up for auction and was sold for an impressive $3.74 million, solidifying its status as one of the most iconic cars in movie history.
The Restoration Process of the Bullitt Mustang
Disassembly: The first step in the restoration process was to disassemble the entire car, documenting every part as it was removed.
Restoration: Each part was then inspected and either refurbished, restored, or replaced with a period-correct replacement. The team worked to maintain as many original parts as possible, while also ensuring the car was roadworthy and safe to drive.
Reassembly: After each part had been restored, it was carefully reassembled, following the original factory specifications as closely as possible.
Testing and Tuning: Once reassembled, the car underwent extensive testing and tuning to ensure it was functioning correctly and performing at its best. The team also made sure the car met modern safety standards, such as installing seat belts and updating the brakes.
The Legacy of Bullitt and Its Impact on Pop Culture
Iconic: The Bullitt Mustang is a true icon of the automotive world, with its sleek lines and powerful engine capturing the hearts of car enthusiasts around the globe. Its popularity has led to countless tributes and homages in popular culture, from movies to video games.
Influence: The movie Bullitt was a huge influence on the action movie genre, setting a new standard for car chases that has yet to be surpassed. The Mustang itself has also been a major influence on the automotive industry, inspiring countless imitators and setting the standard for American muscle cars.
Continued Legacy: Even decades after the movie’s release, the Bullitt Mustang continues to inspire new generations of car enthusiasts. The recent restoration of the car and its appearance at various automotive events have kept the legend alive, ensuring that its impact on pop culture will be felt for many years to come.
Bullitt’s Influence on Car Culture
Iconic car chases have always been a staple of Hollywood movies, but few have had the lasting impact of Bullitt. The film’s chase scene through the streets of San Francisco is widely regarded as one of the greatest in cinema history, and has inspired countless car enthusiasts and filmmakers.
The popularity of the Mustang GT 390 soared after the movie’s release, and today, the “Bullitt” Mustang remains one of the most sought-after collector cars in the world. The car’s design and performance, coupled with its association with Steve McQueen and the movie, make it a truly legendary automobile.
Beyond its influence on car culture, Bullitt has also had a wider impact on popular culture. The movie’s raw, gritty realism and McQueen’s portrayal of a tough, no-nonsense cop became a defining characteristic of the era’s cinema. This influence can still be seen today, with many action movies taking cues from Bullitt’s iconic style.
The impact of Bullitt on car and popular culture cannot be overstated. Even today, more than 50 years after its release, the movie and its iconic Mustang continue to captivate audiences and inspire car enthusiasts around the world.
Bullitt’s Influence on Fashion and Style
Iconic fashion: The fashion choices in “Bullitt” have become iconic, from Steve McQueen’s turtlenecks and tweed jackets to Jacqueline Bisset’s classic trench coat. These styles have inspired fashion designers for decades.
Menswear: McQueen’s effortless style in “Bullitt” showcased a more rugged, masculine look that influenced men’s fashion in the 1960s and beyond. From shawl-collar cardigans to slim-cut suits, his style was both timeless and ahead of its time.
The power of accessories: The driving gloves and Persol sunglasses worn by McQueen in “Bullitt” became iconic accessories that are still popular today. The sunglasses, in particular, have become synonymous with McQueen’s cool style and are still in production today.
The Bullitt Mustang’s Significance and Value Today
Iconic: The Bullitt Mustang is one of the most iconic and recognizable cars in history. Its status as a cultural icon has only grown in the decades since the film’s release.
Value: The value of the Bullitt Mustang has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2018, one of the original cars used in the film sold for $3.74 million at auction, setting a new record for a Mustang sold at auction.
Rarity: Only two of the original cars used in the film are known to exist today, and both are considered priceless by collectors and enthusiasts. However, there have been several replicas and tribute cars made over the years, which can be purchased at a more affordable price.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the name of the iconic car driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt?
The car driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt is a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback, also known as the Bullitt Mustang. The car was highly modified for the film, and its iconic green paint job with black wheels and custom exhaust system helped make it a star of the movie.
How many Bullitt Mustangs were used in the filming of the movie?
Two Bullitt Mustangs were used in the filming of the movie. One was used for the majority of the chase scenes, while the other was a backup car. After filming, the hero car disappeared for decades, while the backup car was sold to a private owner.
What happened to the original Bullitt Mustang used in the film?
The original Bullitt Mustang used in the film was believed to be lost for many years until it was rediscovered in 201The car had been in the possession of a family in Nashville, Tennessee since the late 1970s and was kept in a garage for decades. The car was in rough condition but was still largely intact.
How much is the original Bullitt Mustang worth today?
The original Bullitt Mustang is considered one of the most valuable and iconic movie cars of all time. The car’s value is difficult to determine precisely, but it is estimated to be worth many millions of dollars. The car’s historical significance, rarity, and association with Steve McQueen all contribute to its value.
What is the legacy of the Bullitt Mustang and its impact on car culture?
The Bullitt Mustang has become an icon of American car culture and is widely regarded as one of the coolest and most desirable cars ever made. The car’s appearance in the movie Bullitt helped to popularize the Mustang and cement its status as a muscle car legend. Today, the Bullitt Mustang remains a symbol of American automotive design and innovation.