[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Cannonball_Run_9868.jpg]]

''The Cannonball Run'' is a 1981 film comedy directed by Hal Needham and starring Burt Reynolds, Creator/RogerMoore, Creator/DomDeLuise, Music/DeanMartin, Creator/SammyDavisJr, Creator/JackieChan, and Farrah Fawcett. It was produced by Hong Kong's Golden Harvest films. There were two sequels, 1984's ''Cannonball Run II'' and 1989's ''Speed Zone!'' (also known as ''Cannonball Fever'').

The movie is based on the ''Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash'', an actual cross-country outlaw road race from the Red Ball Garage in New York City (later Darien, CT) to the pier at Redondo Beach, California, just south of Los Angeles. Organized by automotive journalist and the movie's screenwriter Brock Yates. (Yates, replying to concerns about public safety after the first Cannonball: "Never once did we exceed 165 mph.")

The story follows race car driver J.J. [=McClure=] (Reynolds) and mild-mannered mechanic counterpart, Victor Prinzim ([=DeLuise=]); the latter has a would-be superhero alter ego, "Captain Chaos". Together, they participate in the Cannonball Run in an ambulance -- a heavily modified Dodge Tradesman van (which, incidentally, was the same vehicle driven by director Hal Needham during the last actual Cannonball.) They hire a doctor (well.. he owns a white coat, at least..) and kidnap an attractive IntrepidReporter to serve as a "patient" to help them evade the police during the race. Each of the other [[GangOfHats Teams Of Hats]] they race against has their own arsenal of gimmicks for both racing and characterization.

Nowadays considered a guilty pleasure at best, but popular enough in its day to gross $72 million and inspire the sequels. Ironically, 1976's totally unauthorized ''Film/TheGumballRally'' (also inspired by the Cannonball races) is a much better film even though, or perhaps because, no one involved in that film was actually involved in races themselves. Another unauthorized 1976 film, simply titled ''Cannonball'', reversed the direction of the race (California-to-New York) and added more of a CarFu element.

A remake is in the works, to be directed by GuyRitchie and financed by Creator/WarnerBros and GeneralMotors.

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!!''The Cannonball Run'' and its sequels contain examples of:

* AccidentalTruth: Mad Dog and Batman tell a motorcycle cop that their brakes have failed. When they attempt to stop, they discover their brakes really have failed.
* ActorAllusion: Roger Moore's entire role. Plus:
** "We could get a black Trans-Am. Nah, [[Film/SmokeyAndTheBandit it's been done]]."
** Not to mention Peter Fonda [[Film/EasyRider as a Hells Angel]].
* AdamWesting: Subverted with Roger Moore, in that he's playing a guy who ''thinks'' he's Roger Moore.
** Originally he was supposed to think he was Film/JamesBond, but they couldn't get the rights to use the character.
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: In the first movie, a gang of bikers start a brawl with the racers.
** They also show up in the sequel, where we see them harassing a family of Chinese-Americans selling produce alongside the highway. Jackie Chan shows up and politely asks them to stop. They decide to beat him up instead. [[OneManArmy Guess what happens next]].
* AllStarCast: So much so that the films received the same criticism that the ''OceansEleven'' movies did two decades later, namely that they were just an excuse for a bunch of stars to hang out and goof around on camera on the studio's dime, plot be damned.
* AmbulanceCut: After J.J. waves to some women while driving a motorboat, Victor tries to warn him about another boat ahead of them. After the trope plays, they get the idea to use an ambulance in the race.
* AmphibiousAutomobile: The car of JackieChan in the first sequel can operate like a submarine. Used to evade police.
* ArabOilSheikh
* AsianAndNerdy: Two characters, one played by JackieChan of all people, racing for the car company Subaru.
** In the first sequel, Jackie reprises his role, this time in a Mitsubishi that sort of [[ShoutOut closely resembles]] [[KnightRider K.I.T.T.]] in form and function.
* AssKickingPose: Subverted comically.
* AuthorAvatar: Technically, J.J. and Victor, the Transcon Medi-Vac drivers played by Burt Reynolds and Dom [=DeLuise=], represent Hal Needham (director, pilot of the real-life Transcon Medi-Vac) and Brock Yates (Cannonball Run inventor, script author, co-pilot of the real-life Transcon Medi-Vac).
* BadHabits: In the first film, one team is disguised as Catholic priests. In the second, two actresses playing nuns in ''The Sound of Music'' convince J.J. and Victor they're the real things so they can ride with them.
* BANGFlagGun
* TheBigRace
* BlindDriving: In the first film, the stock car shows up at the hotel with its hood flipped over its windshield.
-->'''Mel''': I can't see shit, can you?
-->'''Terry''': No problem. No problem.
-->''Drives into a swimming pool.''
* BrainsAndBrawn: Jackie Chan's character and his new partner for the sequel, Richard "[[Film/JamesBond Jaws]]" Kiel.
* ButtMonkey: Arthur J. Foyt
* TheCameo: Several.
* CaptainErsatz: Played straight during the movie (Captain Chaos... later, "Captain USA!"), but subverted during the ClosingCredits ("I always wanted to be CaptainAmerica!").
* CarMeetsHouse: Mad Dog and Batman park their truck in the lobby of the hotel in the first instance of of their 'no brakes' RunningGag.
* TheCastShowoff: Jackie Chan (still pretty much unknown in America when the film was made) gets to show off his kung fu skills in a random fight scene near the end.
* CelebrityParadox: Seymour Goldfarb's "hat"; he perpetually refers to himself as Roger Moore (implying a possible NapoleonDelusion), and his gimmicks are pure recycled Film/JamesBond.
** And even so, someone still mistakes him for [[ThoroughlyMistakenIdentity George Hamilton!]]
* CoolCar: Several, for various values of "cool". Such as the Lamborghini Countach
* CosmicDeadline: Particularly {{egregious}} in ''Cannonball Run II'', where the end of the actual ''race'' is only shown in a TravelMontage after the big fight scene that serves as the movie's climax.
* CreativeClosingCredits / HilariousOuttakes
-->'''DeanMartin''': These (SoundEffectBleep) bleeds?
* CreatorCameo: In the first movie, Brock Yates as the race organiser and Hal Needham appears as the ambulance EMT.
* TheDanza: Jackie Chan as...well, Jackie Chan.
** The first sequel features FrankSinatra AsHimself, the second one has Brooke Shields as herself.
** Played in a ''very'' interesting fashion with the guys in the stock car (played by Mel Tillis and Terry Bradshaw). In the first film, they're [[NoNameGiven not given names.]] In the second film, they are named Mel and Terry. The interesting part: 1)Terry has been recast (as the trope namer no less) and 2)he erroneously gives his name as Tony. (He's still listed as "Terry" in the closing credits.)
* DistractedByTheSexy: J.J. crashes his boat because he was distracted by bikini-clad women on another boat.
** Also the "hat" of the busty girls in the Lamborgini Countach in the first film. This is pretty much their default tactic until it fails on a female cop.
* DrFeelgood: Dr. Nikolas van Helsing is the habit of injecting himself (and anyone else who asks for it) with the unspecified contents of a hypodermic he always carries, which causes him to get a blissful grin and then pass out.
* DrivingIntoATruck: [[ImpliedTrope Implied]] to have happened (which is to say, we don't actually '''see''' it happening). JJ and Victor's car (dressed up like an ambulance) is stopped in line at a roadblock which is set up specifically to catch and arrest Cannonballers. While waiting in line JJ spots a semi with an empty flatbed. Cut to a shot of the semi & flatbed with some [[ObviousObjectCouldBeAnything large, ambulance-shaped object]] under a tarp. They sneak by the roadblock under there.
* DudleyDoRightStopsToHelp: [[spoiler:Costs [=McClure=]'s team the race in the first movie, when Captain Chaos turns away from the finish line to help rescue a random bystander's "baby"(pet dog) from drowning.]] Lampshaded.
* EjectionSeat
* EpicRace
* EveryCarIsAPinto
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: The second movie has an feisty orangutan as part of a team.
* {{Gonk}}: Jack Elam's Doctor Van Helsing, in all his "glory".
* TheGoodCaptain: Captain Chaos, oddly enough.
* HilariousOuttakes: Their use here inspired Jackie Chan to include them in all of his films (though of course, his outtakes tend to be rather less hilarious, focusing on the grisly results of stunts going wrong).
** Two outtakes seem to be more memorable 30 years later than the others... (1)J.J. and Victor standing next to the ambulance as Dom continually screws up his lines; and (2) one with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, disguised as priests, and some rosary beads.
--> '''Burt Reynolds''': I'm gonna take these rosary bleeds [sic] and stick them right up your nose.
--> '''Dean Martin''': These bleeds?
* HollywoodCB
* IKnowKarate: "I must warn you. I'm Roger Moore!"
* JewishMother: Seymour's mother.
* LogoJoke: The 20th Century Fox fanfare is interrupted by an animated car chase that knocks out the trademark searchlights.
* LovableRogue: J.J. [=McClure=], and most of the other characters as a whole.
* AMatchMadeInStockholm: Burt Reynolds kidnaps Farrah Fawcett.
* MetallicarSyndrome: Played with when a black Lamborghini tears past another competitor's car on its way to the finish line. The passed car's driver (Dean Martin) asks if it's in the race, and his co-driver (Sammy Davis Jr.) looks at him like he's an idiot before screaming for him to catch it.
** Likewise in the sequel, where two hot chicks in a Lamborghini are practicing for the Run by messing with the local cops. They even invested in a false paint job: after getting the local cops all worked up looking for a speeding Lamborghini of one color, they drop by a friendly construction site and have the fake paint washed off. Presto, now there's a DIFFERENT speeding Lamborghini with two hot chicks in it tearing around the local cops!
-->"If I tell you boys something, you boys won't think I've been drinking, will you? The white Lamborghini has vanished...but there's a RED one behind me--correction, PASSING ME, and it's got two great looking chicks in it!"
* MistakenForGay: The French airplane passenger in ''Speed Zone'' whose accent turns a simple offer of food ("You would like my peanuts?") into a risque proposition ("You would like my penis?")
* NapoleonDelusion: Seymour Goldfarb, Jr. thinks that he is Roger Moore.
* NightVisionGoggles: Another fine product of Subaru.
* OilSlick: Seymour uses one to ditch a pursuing police car.
** Used in the first sequel by JackieChan and Richard Kiel's character, but subverted such that they used it after [[AmphibiousAutomobile going underwater]] as a means of [[PlayingPossum playing dead]] (after releasing debris).
* OverDrive: The "afterburner" of JackieChan's car.
* PunchPunchPunchUhOh
* {{Ramprovisation}}: Mad Dog and Batman use a conveniently placed trailer to jump over a train after the brakes in their truck fail.
* RandomEventsPlot: Next time you watch this movie or others like it (''Gumball Rally'', ''Speed Zone''), compare the number of scenes that are about an illegal, cross-country road race with the number of scenes that just happen to take place during one.
* RepetitiveName: In the sequel:
-->'''Cannelloni''': When I passed the powers of the Don...to my son Don...making him...Don Don...
* {{Retirony}}: According to J.J, his father died two days before he was supposed to retire.
* RightHandCat: Don Cannelloni has one in the second film. It dies on him and gets replaced.
-->This cat is dead. Get me a new cat.
* ''RobotChicken'': A segment parodied the movie, featuring the voices of Burt Reynolds and the Late Dom [=DeLuise=].
* RunningGag: Every time Seymour appears, he is wearing a different tuxedo and is accompanied by a different girl.
* ScrewTheRulesImBeautiful: The hat of one of the teams, a pair of [[SpyCatsuit be-jumpsuited]] LovelyAngels who rely on IHaveBoobsYouMustObey to evade speeding tickets (or to get whatever else they need during the race).
** Falls flat on its face when the LovelyAngels are pulled over by a WPC - IgnoreTheFanservice is invoked instead.
* SpiritualSuccessor: The movie has the same star and same director as ''SmokeyAndTheBandit''.
* StutterStop: Singer Mel Tillis, playing Terry Bradshaw's partner in the race, actually has to sing some of his lines just to get them past his stutter.
* SuperheroesWearCapes
* ThematicThemeTune: Performed by Music/RayStevens.
* ThoroughlyMistakenIdentity: One of Seymour's girls thinks he's George Hamilton.
* TrainEscape
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory - many, many examples. Landing an airplane on a city street to buy beer? A famous stunt by Curtis Turner. The fake ambulance? Actually used in a real Cannonball. They even used the same van in the film.
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: Doesn't work when you're pulled over by a FairCop.
** Catherine Bach's character plays it straight in the first sequel to persuade a tow truck driver to go with her team after she and her partner hijack his pickup.
* WackyRacing
* WeaponizedCar: Seymour's Aston-Martin.
* WrenchWhack: In the brawl with the bikers, J.J. punches a huge biker in the face several times to no effect in a PunchPunchPunchUhOh moment. The biker mockingly points to the other side of his jaw and suggests J.J. try there. J.J. says "Thanks" and immediately smacks the biker across the face with a spanner.

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