Highly influential 1968 cop movie set in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco. SteveMcQueen stars as the eponymous Lt. Frank Bullitt, a TV dinner-eating, workaday CowboyCop (in fact, the UrExample of this trope) who goes after the [[TheMafia Mafia]] hit men who killed a witness he was protecting.
Best known for a legendary, nearly ten-minute-long ChaseScene in which [=McQueen=], largely eschewing stunt men, famously drove a [[CoolCar certain green Mustang]] all over San Francisco in pursuit of two bad guys in a black Dodge Charger. Also one of the first chase scenes filmed with cars at full speed instead of using sped-up film as a cheat.
!!This film provides examples of:
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: Bullitt and Cathy talking about how he might be getting too callous about violence in his job.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness: The book ''Mute Witness'' describes Frank Bullitt as a cop who "eats a lot of ice cream and never solves a case". The rights were originally secured for a movie to star Creator/SpencerTracy, who more closely resembled the book's version of the character.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: The path of the chase scene jumps all over San Francisco, primarily around Russian Hill, Potrero Hill, and San Bruno Mountain.
* CameraAbuse: Early in the chase, the Charger hits a car, and then suddenly the Charger and skid marks are missing. As shown in the "making of" feature, it had smashed through the camera.
* ChaseScene: Boy howdy. Hell, it [[TropeCodifier set the standard]] for the modern filmed car chase as we know it.
* CoolCar: Bullitt's Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback (ask a gearhead if they can recite that if you need proof) has become so iconic that Ford has released two Mustang Bullitt editions over the years. Also, the black Dodge Charger R/T driven by the hitmen.
** Said black Charger R/T was not only so much faster than the Mustang that the crew had to remove two of its spark plugs and install thin tires from a base Charger to slow it down, but it survived the repeated jumping and abuse of the chase scene filming with ease, while the Mustang needed constant repairs. Cool car indeed.
*** Specifically, there were two of both cars, but only one of the Chargers was an R/T. Afterwards, one Mustang had to be destroyed for liability purposes, and the other was sold to a production crew member, and disappeared sometime after [=McQueen's=] death.[[note]] At one point the oil pan on one was ripped open during a rather hard downhill scene, spewing smoke and oil everywhere; you can see it if you watch carefully.[[/note]] The R/T Charger was sold to [[http://www.ponysite.de/charger_welch.htm Arnold Welch]], the non-R/T was sold back to the Chrysler dealership, repainted yellow [[HonestJohnsDealership and sold to an unsuspecting customer]] (the same thing happened with ''Film/VanishingPoint'').
** Bullitt's girlfriend Cathy has a snazzy yellow Porsche 356.
* CowboyCop: Regarded as the [[TropeMakers Trope Maker]], also a fine example of an UnbuiltTrope as things don't turn out quite how we'd expect.
** Glenn Ford in ''Film/TheBigHeat'' is kind of a CowboyCop, but more along the lines of TheUnfettered working for a hopelessly corrupt police force. Bullitt is probably the first pure example.
** Bullitt was told to guard the wrong man, so he uses that man's shooting to trap his killers while embarrassing the district attorney who sent him to guard the wrong man, tracks the right man down to the airport and prevents his escape from justice with the millions of dollars he stole. The only thing that Bullitt screwed up is when he went to arrest the right man, he couldn't prevent the suspect from fleeing back into the airport and initiating a gunfight with security and Delgado. That leads to Johnny taking some lead instead of testifying.
* DaChief: Captain Bennett. Unlike most examples of the character type, he's a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who gives Bullitt freedom to run the investigation in his own way, and takes the cop's side against Senator Chalmers.
** Subverted with Captain Baker, who spends most of the movie with his head up Chalmers' ass.
* DiesWideOpen: Dorothy Rennick, found strangled.
* FakingTheDead[=/=]DeadPersonImpersonation: As it turns out, the real [[spoiler:Johnny Ross]] was playing just about everyone in order to escape scot-free by faking his own death.
* FilmNoir: One of the better Post-Classic ones out there.
* GoodCopBadCop: Bullitt and Delgetti use this on a reluctant witness at one point.
* TheHunterBecomesTheHunted: The car chase begins with Bullitt deliberately drawing out his would-be killers, then quickly losing them and ending up behind them.
* IkeaWeaponry: The assassins' Winchester shotgun.
* IncrediblyObviousTail: The chase scene starts with this.
* TheInformant: Eddy, who Bullitt meets with at a cafe.
* TheMafia: The bad guys in the film. Referred to by Chalmers as "The Organization".
* MeaningfulName: Bullitt does, indeed, end up using his gun.
* OutDamnedSpot: The ending. Bullitt stands in his bathroom washing his hands and pondering just how badly he's screwed things up.
** Or just how much his girlfriend Cathy is right about how callous he is about the violence he faces on the job. Note that the last shot is a closeup of his holstered gun and spare rounds.
* PrecisionFStrike: Made even more effective because this was the first major film to use this word:
-->'''Senator Chalmers:''' Frank, we must all compromise.
* ProductPlacement: Ford Motor Company paid for Bullitt to drive a Ford Mustang in the chase scene. As noted elsewhere on this page, they reaped huge dividends. Originally, the chase car was to be a Ford Galaxie sedan, but the suspension required too much modification.
* PyrrhicVictory: [[spoiler:Bullitt finds everyone responsible for the death of the witness, and clears the department of the charge that their negligence led to his death. However, all the criminals responsible end up dead--and with them, any chance of bringing the rest of the Mafia to justice.]]
* SexyShirtSwitch: Cathy looks good in Bullitt's shirt.
* ShallowLoveInterest: Jacqueline Bissett, as Bullitt's girlfriend Cathy, does two things in the movie. First, she looks very very pretty. Second, she has one scene where she guilt-trips Bullitt about getting too callous about his work. That's it.
* SleazyPolitician: Chalmers. In fact he's so sleazy that he's almost a RedHerring. Especially in the scene where he attempts to bribe Bennett into ordering Bullitt to turn Ross over... while Bennett and his family are going into church.
* SloMoBigAir: During the chase scene.
* TheStoolPigeon: Johnny Ross, a mobster who embezzled money from the mob, then cut a deal with Senator Chalmers to testify against the mob in exchange for immunity and witness protection.
* WhatTheHellHero: Cathy gives Bullitt a mild one when she inadvertently sees his cool and business-like attitude towards the scene of a brutal murder. Tellingly, he doesn't disagree with her assessment.
* WitnessProtection: The movie starts with Bullitt on this detail.