Bullitt Trailer (1968)

It is a Friday night in April 1968 in Chicago. Johnny Ross works with his brother Pete; both are involved with organized crime, and the mob is after Johnny Ross because he siphoned off $2 million of their money. Johnny escapes a mass of gunmen outside his office, then greets Pete in the garage of their office building. The two exchange brotherly greetings and go on their way - Johnny drives past yet another attempt on his life while Pete telephones his higher-up that Johnny escaped.

Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. A man goes to a hotel and asks the desk clerk for a message from Johnny Ross, and is surprised that no message is there. The man takes a cab and has the driver stop by a phone booth, where the man makes a pair of calls, one of them long-distance. At that point, Sgt. Don Delgetti of the SFPD awakens his partner, Detective Lt. Frank Bullitt, at his apartment. Bullitt has been trying to get some sleep after a case that stretched to 5 AM that morning and grumpily chats with his partner.

After showering and getting dressed, Frank Bullitt is driven by Delgetti and another policeman, Sgt. Carl Stanton, to the plush mansion of politician Walter Chalmers, who is entertaining a vast pool of guests at a function. Chalmers tells Frank of a star witness who will testify against the mob - Johnny Ross - and who needs protection through his appearence to testify on Monday morning. Chalmers clearly hopes to use Ross as well as Bullitt to the benefit of his political career, and leaves Frank and his two partners to guard Ross at the Hotel Daniels, a flophouse near an overpassing highway.

Frank, Delgetti, and Stanton meet the man who had inquired about a Johnny Ross letter, and the man is puzzled about Chalmers putting him up in this cheap hotel. After phoning his boss, Captain Samuel Bennett, Frank arranges three shifts to guard Ross, with Delgetti going first, then Stanton, then Bullitt. But at 1 AM the following morning Stanton gets a call from the Hotel Daniels front desk claiming that Chalmers and a friend want to see them. Stanton has the two men wait, then calls Frank, who realizes something is wrong and rushes to the Hotel Daniels. Stanton then notices the door to their room is unlocked, just as the two men - a 5' 10" white-haired shotgun killer and his back-up man - kick the door open and shoot both he and Ross.

Delgetti and ambulences arrive before Frank does, and Frank accompanies Stanton in the ambulence ride to the hospital, where the injured officer describes the gunman, identifies the gun brand (a Winchester pump-action shotgun), and relates that Ross unlocked the door, to the puzzlement of Frank.

Captain Bennett arrives at the hospital after getting a report on the hotel from the SFPD crime lab, and after getting what he can from Frank warns him that Chalmers is livid upon learning of this fiasco and will try to lay the blame on the department in general and Bullitt in particular. Bullitt for his part is ready when Chalmers arrives and questions him; Frank turns the table by inquiring about Chalmers' deal with Ross, but the oily politician vows to ruin Frank's career if Ross dies - even to the point of requesting a different doctor be assigned to Ross.

A white-haired man - the shotgun killer - appears at the hospital and asks a doctor about a friend of his with a gunshot wound; the doctor tells him that it might be the man on the second floor (Ross), then phones Bullitt. Frank has a policeman guard Ross' room, and when a nurse catches the shotgun killer untaping an icepick from his leg, Frank chases him through the hospital but he escapes.

More bad news arrives when Ross suddenly goes into respitory failure and dies. Frank tells the doctor not to confirm Ross' death, as Chalmers will ruin both of them plus the killers, upon knowing they've succeeded, will disappear; the doctor agrees to misplace Ross' files and Frank has Delgetti take Ross' body under the name John Doe to the coroner's office.

While Frank goes home to shower and get some rest, Chalmers, accompanied by a posse of assistants and police Captain Baker, arrives at the hospital and immediately demands to know Ross' location. He telephones Bullitt and gets the runaround, and tells Baker to punish Bullitt for this.

Frank and Delgetti, meanwhile, question the Hotel Daniels desk clerk who'd been slugged by the killers. They get a description of the cab Ross arrived in as well as a description of the driver; Frank deduces who drove Ross and rides with the cabbie in question and learns about Ross' phone calls. Frank telephones Eddy, an informant, and they arrange a meeting in an alley, where Eddy tells Frank about the mob's pursuit of Ross and what they're after him for.

Chalmers, meanwhile, intercepts Captain Bennett and serves him with a legal writ, duly witnessed by two of Chalmers' aides-de-camp, requiring Bennett to turn in Ross by Monday morning.

After being dropped off at his own car - a Ford Mustang - Frank notices that a black Dodge Charger has been following him around the city. He drives about some of the hilly side streets and eludes his pursuers enough to become the pursuer himself. The two mob assassins, realizing they've been outmaneuvered, make a break and a mad high-speed pursuit ensues through the hills of the city and eventually spilling onto a two-lane freeway. The shotgun man finally opens fire on Frank but Frank rams his Mustang into the Charger as they approach a gas station/repair shop; the Charger flies off the road, plows through the gas station, and explodes as pumps are sheared off, killing both gunmen.

Frank and Delgetti are now angrilly questioned by Bennett and Baker and Frank reveals Ross' death, and that a check of phone records shows that Ross called a woman, Dorothy Simmons, staying in a San Mateo hotel hours before his death. Bennett holds the legal writ until Monday morning, giving Frank one day to prove the two men killed in the gas station were Ross' killers. He is driven to the San Mateo hotel, but he finds the woman dead, and later a search of luggage reveals that she had a man with her and that both of them had books of travelers checks worth tens of thousands of dollars; moreover, the woman is not Dorothy Simmons but Dorothy Rennick, and the man she is with is her husband Albert.

Delgetti calls Chicago to fax passport information to the SFPD while Frank gets a fingerprint check on Ross at the cororner's office. The fax printout comes through and Bullitt shows that Chalmers had the wrong man the whole time. Frank and Delgetti now must comb the San Francisco Airport to find the real Ross while Chalmers, determined to take in the real Ross himself, follows.

2 min 52 sec


Posted On
November 19, 2009
Peter Yates

Robert L. Fish

Warner Bros Pictures

October 17, 1968
Steve McQueen
Robert Vaughn
Jacqueline Bisset
Don Gordon
Robert Duvall
Trailer Tracks
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