The Cannonball Run


I can hear you all laughing! But, The Cannonball Run starring Burt Reynolds is a film I grew up with. Released in 1981 and a massive Betamax hit in the Cooper household. I can still watch the Cannonball Run today and chortle along with a cast who were clearly having the time of their lives.

Reynolds was the number one box office draw for part of the 70s and 80s. His star quickly faded but in recent times he has proved himself to be a great actor. He was adept at comedy and drama alike (see Deliverance). His turn in Boogie Nights is the highlight of the picture.

Cannonball was directed by ex-stuntman Hal Needham who died recently. Another Needham/Reynolds picture that I also enjoy is the rarely seen Hooper. About a year ago I stayed up until 3am to catch Hooper on a rare showing on the BBC. It’s still great fun.

Cannonball also features Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin, who are very funny, but also clearly drunk for a large part of the film, they don’t make them like that anymore!

John Carpenter fans will also be pleased in seeing Adrienne Barbeau, and what attracted John to her in the first place! Farah Fawcett is also a delight. The film was made in the 80s and is almost as offensive as the Carry On saga seems now. However, they’re still playing Carry On movies on TV in 2015, and I expect the Cannonball Run will still be popular in another 20 years’ time.

It’s good fun, fast cars, hot girls and no CGI.

So, 81 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.