11 January 2001 | aaronfenzi
A movie guaranteed to put hair on your chest!
Steve McQueen stars as Frank Bullitt, a tough San Francisco police lieutenant assigned to protect a mob witness. When the witness is gunned down, it is up to Bullitt to exact his own brand of justice, much to the dismay of Robert Vaughn, a smarmy congressman who wishes to further his political career by prosecuting organized crime. He holds Bullitt responsible for the death of his star witness, and it is up to the super cop to bring the killer down, while showing Vaughn that he is nothing but a gussied-up sissy-boy.
McQueen's performance in this all-time classic is the archetype for not only anyone who aspires to become an actor, but also for the proper way to live like a real man. Think about it. He disregards such nonsense as police procedure, he gets to drive a really cool car, and if that's not enough, Jacqueline Bisset worships the ground he walks on. As far as I'm concerned, this guy's the luckiest guy on earth!
As for the supporting cast, you could not have asked for a better one. The great Simon Oakland is perfect as Bullitt's sympathetic captain. Fans may remember Oakland as the psychologist at the end of "Psycho," in what may be the most brawny portrayal of a shrink in modern cinema. Robert Vaughn exudes the right amount of smarminess and stupidity associated with politicians. Norman Fell displays why he is one of the most underrated talents of this half-century in his portrayal of one of Vaughn's associates. Jacqueline Bisset shows up for window dressing as Bullitt's girlfriend. (Let's face it. If she were a "real-life" girlfriend, she would probably cry and nag McQueen all day, preventing him from engaging in really cool activities like speeding through the streets of San Francisco, chasing after lowlife scum.) And as a bonus, Robert Duvall appears briefly in the greatest portrayal of a cab driver of all time. (That is, of course, until Mr. T starred in "D.C. Cab.")
The movie wisely dispenses with such useless elements as plot and emotion. Instead, genius auteur Peter Yates allows McQueen to concentrate on looking intense and dealing with all the existential problems of any real man, such as how to ignore stupid politicians and treat them as if they are irrelevant.
Aside from the NECESSARY violence, there is nothing in this PG-rated film that any self-respecting parent would find objectionable. In fact, when my daughter can appreciate quality films, aside from the Barney collection, this will be the first of many required-viewing films for her, followed by "The Dirty Dozen," "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," and "Dirty Harry."