The Cannonball Run Series: Revisited

Written by Tracy

If you want to re-live your 80s nostalgia, I might have a nightmare for you. In 1981, The Cannonball Run debut in theaters. It was panned by critics, but respected by the mass audience. It made $72 million in the box office and was the sixth highest-grossing movie that year.

It had an all-star cast, which was led by Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, and Roger Moore as himself. The movie was a slapstick comedy version of the actual Cannonball Run in the 1970s, where teams drive from New York to L.A. The movie also had Jackie Chan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin (as priests), Jaime Farr, Terry Bradshaw, and a host of random celebrities.

In 1984, The sequel, Cannonball Run II, came out and had a more star-studded cast with Tony Danza, Ricardo Montalban, Marilu Henner, Shirley MacLaine (yes, that Shirley MacLaine), Telly Savalas, Abe Vigoda, Sid Caesar, Charles Nelson Reilly, Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors, Joe Thesimann, Frank Sinatra, and others. The sequel didn’t live up to its predecessor and only made $30 million in the box office.

Cannonball Run has some relevance in cinema history:

  • It was the last movie with the Rat Pack together onscreen.
  • The blooper reels at the end of the credits that Director, Hal Needham, helped made it popular in which co-star, Jackie Chan, used it in his movies.
  • If you want to be noticed for terrible acting and a terrible movie, Cannonball Run was that movie. The original had one Razzie nomination for Farrah Fawcett for Worst Supporting Actress, and the sequel had eight Razzie nominations (and amazingly, no wins).

Why I’m writing about Cannonball Run series is…I have no idea. I just want to show you the one scene that made me dream I want to grow up to be Captain Chaos:



Cannonball Run isn’t a masterpiece. Hell, it was a crappy movie, but Captain Chaos flying from the roof of the house, made me dream I can save lives just by flying from someone else’s roof and crash to a crowd of people. Isn’t that cinema supposed to do? I need to dress up as Captain Chaos for Halloween one day.

For your viewing pleasure…

The original Cannonball Run:

The sequel (Ok, not really. Just Jackie Chan fighting everyone):

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