It's fast, funny, outrageously illegal - and the granddaddy of the cross-country speed spectacles that have raced across movie screens in the past two generations. Put your pedal to the metal for The Gumball Rally. New Yor... more »k City is the starting point and this supersonic contest ends 2,900 miles later in Los Angeles. In between, director Chuck Bail (coordinator of many classic movie stunt sequences) and a crew of actors and stuntpersons treat you to a truly breakneck road comedy. Gary Busey plays a daredevil in a 600-horsepower Camaro. Raul Julia portrays an Italian Grand Prix champ who's also an incurable romantic in a fast Ferrari. Michael Sarrazin as the race's crafty, overconfident organizer pilots a classic Cobra. Ready, set, zoom!« less
The best cross country race movie.....by a country mile !!
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 10/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1933, legendary motorcyle rider and cross country driver Erwin G. "Cannonball" Baker crossed the United States from coast to coast in approximately 54 hours driving a Graham-Page Model 57 Blue Streak 8...an amazing feat of driving. Nearly, 40 years later in the early 1970's, "Car & Driver" magazine editor Brock Yates started the "Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash" in his honor. These events were the inspiration for a slew of films including the highly enjoyable, "The Gumball Rally", (released in 1976) and the bigger budgeted, but inferior production, "The Cannonball Run" (released in 1981). Both were both primarily action oriented "car chase"comedies, however "Gumball" underplays it's humour with a lesser known cast, thus delivering an overall better film than the Hal Needham directed "Cannonball Run" By far and away "The Gumball Rally", is one of the best car chase films ever made with a jaw dropping collection of performance automobiles from all around the world. Car afficianado's will drool over the line up of exotic cars....an AC Shelby Cobra, Ferrari Daytona, Porsche 911, Chevy Camaro, Jaguar E-Type, GM Corvette, Kawasaki motorbike, Mercedes Roadster to name but a few. Each team seeking to out race the other's hurtling from New York to Long Beach, California.
Apart from the superb line up of cars, a fun and breezy cast really maintain the fine balance between the unique cars and the actors.
The opening sequence with the near deserted early morning streets of New York awoken by the thunder of finely tuned engines is brilliant...., as is the final showdown as the racers approach the Queen Mary in Los Angeles.
Lead actor's Raul Julia (driving the Ferrari with Tim McIntire) & Michael Sarrazin (driving the Shelby Cobra with Nicholas Pryor) shine in this comic escapade and character actor Norman Burton is wonderful as the bumbling cop, Lieutenant Roscoe trying to stop the cross country madness.
( Tragically, actor Tim McIntire died at age 42 from heart failure, possibly brought about by his alleged drug/alcohol addiction. Steven Keats (Kandinsky) died from an apparent suicide at age 49, and Normann Burton died in a car accident aged 80 ! )
It's great to finally have "The Gumball Rally" officially released on DVD, however it's fairly dissapointing that the disc has "zero" in the way of extras. Would have been nice to have some commentary from cast or crew, or some behind the scenes on the making of the film.
So buckle up your seat belts, start your engines, and hang on and enjoy pure petroleum based entertainment.......And remember the first rule of Italian driving..." What's a-behind me is not important "."
Forget "Cannonball Run" -- this was first and best
Maureen Sheridan | Rockaway, NJ USA | 04/15/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Of the "let's break the law and have some fun while we do it" genre, this is one of the best. The writing, the acting and the production was witty, funny, and still holds up nearly 30 years later.So where, oh where, oh WHERE, is the DVD? Another reviewer said it for all of us when he quoted Raul Julia's character-defining line from the early part of the film: "What is behind me...is not important." And so it goes with VHS...over, behind us, end of story...Bring ON the DVD!Customers are standing by..."
"To internal combustion and wind in the face."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In terms of films featuring illegal cross-country racing, I've always considered The Gumball Rally to be the grandpappy to all others that followed, including Cannonball (1976), The Cannonball Run (1981), Cannonball Run II (1984), and Speed Zone! (1989). While I've enjoyed some of these other films, they were never able to reproduce that which made The Gumball Rally such a favorite within the genre, in my opinion. Produced, co-written, and directed by Charles Bail ("CHiPs", "Knight Rider"), the film features a slew of actors including Michael Sarrazin (The Groundstar Conspiracy), Norman Burton (Diamonds Are Forever), Gary `Mr. Head Injury' Busey (D.C. Cab, Silver Bullet), John Durren (Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw), Tim McIntire (Brubaker, Fast-Walking), Susan Flannery ("Days of Our Lives"), J. Pat O'Malley (Alice in Wonderland), Joanne Nail (Switchblade Sisters), Nicholas Pryor (Airplane!, Risky Business), Lázaro Pérez (The Mambo Kings), Tricia O'Neil (Piranha Part Two: The Spawning), and Harvey Jason (The Specialist), as Lapchick the Mad Hungarian.
Michael Sarrazin is Michael Bannon, corporate bigwig in a candy company. As the film opens, we see Bannon in a boardroom in New York, looking, well, bored (there's probably a joke in there somewhere)...he cuts the meeting short, makes a phone call, utters a single word, "Gumball", which sets off a chain reaction of sorts as the word is spread to select individuals throughout the country. The significance? Bannon has just initiated a illegal, no-holds-barred, cross country race where the only prize is the satisfaction of being the best...that and a huge, honking trophy filled with gumballs. Drivers come to New York from all parts (Bannon's main competition Smitty, played by McIntire, goes so far as to import a famous, Italian racer named Franco Bertollini, played by Julia), to make preparations for the race...but they're not the only ones interested, as a California police lieutenant named Roscoe (Burton) also gets wind of the competition, and arrives on the scene. Apparently he's got a score to settle, particularly with Smitty and Bannon, the two organizers, as Roscoe's past attempts to foil the race have failed miserably. With a revving of finely tuned engines, a squealing of tires, and the smell of burnt rubber and exhaust fumes permeating the cool, early morning air, the race begins! Which team will take the honors of being the first to reach the Pacific Ocean in this hi-octane, cross-country free for all? You might be surprised...or maybe not...it doesn't really matter, as the real fun is getting there...
One of the things this film has is a whole lot of boss cars including a Cobra, Ferrari, Corvette, Camaro, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes, and even a souped-up boogie van...I'm no motorhead, so I couldn't give you the actual models of the vehicles, but my personal favorite was the Cobra, driven by Bannon, with Smitty's Ferrari is definitely a close second. The movie is filled with wacky characters, the wackiest being Lapchick the Mad Hungarian, the only lone participant (all the others were in teams of two) on a Kawasaki motorcycle. He was the main comic relief in the film, generally getting into outrageous accidents, but always coming back for more, sort of like the Wile E. Coyote character in the Road Runner cartoons. Of all the colorful characters, I think Gary Busey's was my favorite, as a member of the team driving the Camaro, the other being Ace Preston aka Mr. Guts, played by Durren, both of whom were professional stunt drivers, normally found putting on shows in the south. I really didn't get a sense Busey had to act too hard to create his slightly psychotic `wild hillbilly' character, one that'd let out a rebel yell at the drop of a hat. I also really liked Raul Julia as the amorous Italian driver...was he a stereotype? Maybe, but he was still funny, and fun to watch. Overall the story is very simple, and the characters even more so, and in another film that might be negative, but here it's all about the cars, all of which were driven by the actors themselves, and director Bail (whose primary profession was that of a stunt man) seemed to know this...I'd say probably 90% of the film is dedicated towards the display of pure, unadulterated (no sped up footage here) speed, as the cars zip towards their final destination, highlighted with stationary shots, in front of and behind shots, high above and way down low shots, and even a few trick shots. My favorite scene in the film is right before the race starts, and all the cars are in the garage, engines revving and raring to go...there's a real, honest to goodness sense of excitement and anticipation present, something that emanates from the production naturally, rather than produced by artificial means. Another aspect I liked was the fact there were no goofy, evil characters, bent on winning through devious means like sabotaging the other vehicles. There was a healthy sense of competition within the group, but they felt like a tight knit bunch, the kind that would provide assistance to each other, if in need. The `us against them' attitude was fostered strongly throughout as Lieutenant Roscoe continually tried to capture them. All in all this is a really fun, silly, crazy movie with some generally lame, good natured gags, a whole lot of speed, and the heart to match.
Warner Brothers provides an excellent widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic transfer here. I thought the picture was very sharp, and showed only one or two very minor blemishes. The one disappointing element was the Dolby Digital mono audio...it did come through clearly, but it would have been cool had they re-mastered the audio in stereo given this was a racing film featuring exceptional cars, each vehicle having its own, distinct sound. As far as special features go, there isn't much, only a theatrical trailer for the film. I was a little surprised there wasn't more, given the influence the movie had towards future productions in a similar vein, but, at the very least, I'm happy to see this film finally released onto DVD, as the wait seemed unnecessarily long.
If I learned anything from this film it's that late model Corvettes seem to have a structural weakness that causes them to split in half about mid-chassis if they take a slight jump...also, did any one else think Tricia O'Neil, who played the character of Angie, sporting an American flag bikini top, had it going on? I think I saluted her more than once... "
cookieman108 | 08/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie contains the best video and audio sports car footage ever filmed. Also some of the coolest scenes: 1. Hearing the engines echo off NY City skyscrapers before you see the cars; 2. Ferrari/Cobra race through the LA River; 3. Using other cars as pylons while racing through the Midtown Tunnel. The Editors deserve a medal for keeping the actual engine sounds on the final recording - no overdubs. If you want to know what a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona or a Ford 427 Cobra sound like under full throttle, this is your movie."
Where's the DVD? My VHS is wearing out!
charlie bm | Norfolk, U.K. | 02/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favourite film of all time - no contest! I've watched it more times than I can remember as it is funny, action packed and with excellent characters. I must have been about 12 years old when I first watched it (I remember missing the very beginning because I had to go to the toilet and my mum told me what had happened and she said 'some man has just jumped into a swimming pool shouting "Gumball!"'). I am now 36 years old and there was so much that as a young kid I didn't appreciate that I now do and so the film just keeps getting better. An absolute classic..."