Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s Cannonball Run, The (1981)

Cannonball Run, The (1981)

The Cannonball Run is a mindlessly stupid film, described by critic Jeffrey Lyons as making Smokey and the Bandit look like Richard III.

Ostensibly about a cross-country motor race on public highways, this movie is a series of scrambled vignettes that would embarrass a high school camera class.


Burt and obese sidekick Dom DeLuise are racing in an ambulance with the kidnapped Farrah Fawcett tied to a stretcher with a junkie proctologist (Jack Elam) who does disgusting things to her with fingers and hypodermic needles.

Dean Martin, bloated and unsteady, and Sammy Davis Jr., emaciated and high as a kite, dress like priests in a red Ferrari. Bert Convy is on a motorcycle. Roger Moore is Seymour Goldfarb, an egomaniac heir to a girdle fortune who thinks he’s James Bond, in a Rolls.

Adrienne Barbeau is a tart who bribes the highway patrol out of speeding tickets by unzipping her purple satin combat fatigues. Molly Picon, Bianca Jagger, and Peter Fonda are a few of the “guest stars” unfortunate enough to be desperate enough for exposure to do anything.

Described as “the automotive equivalent of the Bay of Pigs“, The Cannonball Run has only one philosophy – “There’s not one state in the union that has the death penalty for speeding”.

Hal Needham, who also directed Smokey and the Bandit and Smokey and the Bandit II, is an ex-stuntman. That just about says it all.

A sequel – Cannonball Run II – followed in 1984.

JJ McClure
Burt Reynolds
Seymour Goldfarb
Roger Moore
Farrah Fawcett
Victor Prinzim
Dom Deluise
Jamie Blake
Dean Martin
Morris Fenderbaum
Sammy Davis Jr
Jack Elam
Adrienne Barbeau
Terry Bradshaw
Bert Convy
The Sheik
Jamie Farr
Sheik’s Sister
Bianca Jagger
Chief Biker
Peter Fonda
A.F. Foyt
George Furth
1st Subaru Driver
Jackie Chan
2nd Subaru Driver
Michael Hui Koon-Man
Mom Goldfarb
Molly Picon
The Greek
Jimmy Snyder
Mel Tillis
Mad Dog
Rick Aviles
Shakey Finch
Warren Berlinger
Tara Buckman
Norman Grabowski

Hal Needham