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Cannonball 1976
Description: Coy "Cannonball" Buckman (David Carradine) and his blazing red Pontiac enter the Trans-America Grand Prix, an underground street race spanning the continent in which there are no rules, no speed limits and no heed for the law. En route, Buckman jockeys with an international ensemble of racers for a $100,000 purse. But there are none more necessary than Cade Redman (Bill McKinney), his direct tournament for a guaranteed spot on the elite Modern Motors racing team.
Released: 06 Jul 1976 Director: Paul Bartel Writers: Paul Bartel (screenplay), Don Simpson (screenplay) Actors: David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Gerrit Graham Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Thriller
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Cannonball Reviews:

The primary premise of Cannonball has been done few times - a diverse group of drivers compete in a cross-country race where anything goes. Sound familiar? Hal Nedham ripped the guts out of Cannonball for his Cannonball Run made five years later. The difference, though, is that while Cannonball is often funny with some nice action, Cannonball Run is often too over-the-top and unwatchable. It's too terrible that Bartel's film isn't as well known as Nedham's. While it will never be confused with Citizen Kane, Cannonball is a thrill-a-minute, cheese-filled nice time.Bartel's direction is one of the highlights of the movie. You would think that a 90+ minute film of watching vehicles race might receive boring. It's not. Bartel keeps things moving and there's never a dull moment. Bartel does a nice job of mixing race action, comedy, war scenes, and a tiny drama to make a well-balanced, enjoyable movie.As far as acting goes, David Carradine naturally stands out. He's a vehicle driving, butt kicking machine. Carradine is able to add a tiny authenticity to the film by doing a lot of his own driving. There are a couple of spinouts where you can now see that it's Carradine sitting behind the wheel.My largest complaint with Cannonball involves the spectacular pile-up at the end of the movie. It gets off to a nice begin with vehicles plowing into every another followed by explosion after explosion. The trouble is that it goes on for so long that it started to have a morbid feel to it. It bothered me that, as a viewer, I should only assume that there were folks supposedly driving those vehicles that were bursting into flames and I didn't see any survivors. I can only assume that everyone was burned to a crisp. Sure it's a tiny picky, but it bothered me.


Of all the films about cross country street races (Cannonball 1 and 2, Gumball Rally, et all) I everytime thought this was easy the best, even though you tend to hear about it the least. David Carradine is nice as the star driver, trying to reclaim some past glory and receive other shot at a racing career. And Dick Miller as his corrupt brother? Magnificent! Another Fresh Globe Pictures stars abound!Lots of nice cars, and vehicle action as well, especially the final chase between Carradine and the film's villain, driving a wicked Dodge Charger. Sure there's some terrible acting and some terrible direction, but as far as being a 70's car/B-flick, it ranks high. One interesting note - the very last photo shown in Fresh World's "Death Race 2000" was of an incompleted elevated highway street section, just like the type Carradine jumps his vehicle across during the large chase. You must purchase an old used video if you wanna see this one, which would be nice on a widescreen DVD. I now saw this in the theater and would love to see in widescreen again!


'Cannonball' is one of the least remembered of the short-lived but successful 1970s vehicle race/car ruin category begun by 'The Gumball Rally'. What really makes this one stand out is that it was directed by the late Paul Bartel (in between his immortal black comedy classics 'Death Race 2000' and 'Eating Raoul'), and details an impressive helping cast of cult actors and Bartel buddies. 'Death Race 2000's David Carradine once again stars, this time as "Cannonball" Buckman, an ex-con who desperately wants to victory the illegal Trans American street race. His older brother Benny (the legendary Dick Miller) gets him set up with a car, and bets enormous sums of cash on him, mainly with the eccentric but ruthless bookie and amateur songwriter Lester Marks (played by Bartel himself). If Cannonball loses Benny will enter into a globe of pain, so Benny tries any and each trick he can think of to ensure Cannonball's competitors lose. Cannonball's main tournament is the borderline psychotic Redman ('Deliverance's Bill McKinney), but the race also contains Cannonball's sidekick Zippo (Archie Hahn), his parole officer girlfriend (Veronica Hammel), a bus full of babes led by frequent Bartel co-star Mary Woronov, an aspiring country singer (Gerrit Graham), and surfer types Robert Carradine and Belinda Balaski. 1970s exploitation fanatics will recognize these actors, and few others that create appearances throughout this stupid but fun movie, and buffs will also spot different movie makers in cameos including Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese and Joe Dante. The entire thing is very incestuous and self-indulgent, but the cast looks like they're having a lot of fun. Maybe not as much as the viewer will, but it's still an entertaining ride if you kick back and have a beer or two when watching it.



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