''The Cannonball Run'' is a 1981 film comedy directed by Hal Needham and starring Creator/BurtReynolds, 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 Creator/GuyRitchie and financed by Creator/WarnerBros and General Motors.

!!''The Cannonball Run'' contains examples of:

* AccidentalPervert: Not really accidental, but J.J. takes revenge on Blake and Fenderbaum by telling a cop that they are a pair of flashers dressed as priests, because they think it's kinkier dressed as priests. This leads to Blake and Fenderbaum getting arrested.
* 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.
* AdamWesting:
** Subverted with Creator/RogerMoore, 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.
** Played straight with Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis, who play over the top versions of themselves.
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: A gang of bikers start a brawl with the racers.
* TheAlcoholic: Jimmy Blake (played by Dean Martin). The race organizer describes him as being more juiced-up than his Ferrari.
* 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.
%%* ArabOilSheikh
* AsianAndNerdy: Two characters, one played by Creator/JackieChan of all people, racing for the car company Subaru.
%%* 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: Blaked and Fenderbaum are disguised as Catholic priests.
* BANGFlagGun: Seymour Goldfarb pulls this prank on his mother.
%%* TheBigRace
* BlindDriving: 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.''
* BluffingTheAuthorities: J.J. and Victor do the race in an ambulance and try to convince a pair of New Jersey state troopers that Pamela is a patient they have to transport to California. However, they failed to anticipate one of the troopers' questions. Good thing they brought a doctor. [[note]] In case you're wondering, the question was "If she's that sick, why didn't you fly her?" The doctor explains that Pamela has a rare lung infection that will kill her if the plane is pressurized. [[/note]]
%%* 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 ComicBook/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.
* 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.
* CreatorCameo: Writer of the film Brock Yates appears as the race organizer and the director Hal Needham appears as the ambulance EMT.
* DistractedByTheSexy:
** J.J. crashes his boat because he was distracted by bikini-clad women on another boat.
** Also the "hat" of the [[IHaveBoobsYouMustObey busty girls]] in the Lamborghini Countach. 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.
** The good doctor was a proctologist, so he'd want his patients to be ''reeeeeeaaaaaalllly'' "relaxed".
* 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, 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
* FakingEngineTrouble: Mad Dog and Batman tell a motorcycle cop that their brakes have failed so he wil clear a path for them and they don't have to slow down. A few seconds later, they discover their brakes actually have failed as they are speeding towards a railway crossing with a train on it.
* FeedbackRule: With a delay. When Mr. Foyt takes the stand at the Friends of Nature meeting, the microphone behaves itself, then it feeds back in the middle of his speech.
* AFoggyDayInLondonTown: Seymour Goldfarb (Roger Moore) says this when his car starts filling up with smoke after using the smoke screen and oil slick to get the pursuing police cars off his tail.
* {{Gonk}}: Creator/JackElam's Doctor Van Helsing, in all his cross-eyed "glory".
* TheGoodCaptain: Victor's superhero alter ego 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
* IgnoreTheFanservice: What happens when the girls in the Lamborghini are stopped by a female trooper.
-->"Well hello, hot pants. I don't suppose you've got a driver's licence tucked away there now do you?"
* 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.
* NapoleonDelusion: Seymour Goldfarb, Jr. thinks that he is Roger Moore.
* NightVisionGoggles: Another fine product of Subaru.
* NoodleIncident: The story of how Victor found Van Helsing.
-->J.J.: I'm sure that doctor's a very sweet man, basically. But don't you ever tell me where you found him. Ever.
* OilSlick: Seymour uses one to ditch a pursuing police car.
* OverDrive: The "afterburner" of Creator/JackieChan's car.
* PhoneBooth: Arthur J. Foyt is trapped inside a phone booth by a vehicle that has backed itself in front of the door and couldn't get himself out. He tries to slide underneath the opening at the bottom of the booth, but apparently gets stuck.
%%* 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.
* {{Retirony}}: According to J.J, his father died two days before he was supposed to retire.
* TheRival: Martin and Davis' characters to J.J. and Victor.
* 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 ''Film/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
* SuperPoweredEvilSide: Subverted. Captain Chaos has no real super powers but he is a serious badass. He's also not evil but definitely lives up to his name and [[spoiler:has a streak of StupidGood that winds up costing Victor and J.J. the race]].
* 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.
%%* 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.
* YouDoNotWantToKnow: More like ''I'' Do Not Want To Know: J.J. explicitly forbids Victor from ''ever'' telling him where he found the revolting physician he recruits to "staff" their pseudo-ambulance. Several times.

!!''Cannonball Run II'' contains examples of:

* ActionizedSequel: The film climaxes in a big brawl between the Cannonballers and the mobsters.
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: Bunch of bikers harass a family of Chinese-Americans selling produce alongside the highway. Creator/JackieChan shows up and politely asks them to stop. They decide to beat him up instead. [[OneManArmy Guess what happens next]].
* AmphibiousAutomobile: The tricked out car of Creator/JackieChan and Creator/RichardKiel can operate like a submarine. Used to evade police.
* AsianAndNerdy: Jackie reprises his role as an Asian competitor, this time in a Mitsubishi that sort of [[ShoutOut closely resembles]] [[Series/KnightRider K.I.T.T.]] in form and function.
* BadHabits: Two actresses playing nuns in a showing of ''Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic'' convince J.J. and Victor they're the real things so they can ride with them.
* BluffingTheAuthorities: J.J. and Victor masquerade as a pair of army men transporting contaminated material from a nuclear meltdown to Connecticut. They fail to convince the police officer who pulls them over and he decides to phone them in. The actresses dressed as nuns make him change his mind.
* BrainsAndBrawn: Jackie Chan's character and his new partner for the sequel, [[Creator/RichardKiel Richard]] "[[Film/JamesBond Jaws]]" [[Creator/RichardKiel Kiel]].
* CandidCameraPrank: Two state troopers played Don Knotts and Tim Conway pull over a speeding limousine; finding that it's being "driven" by an orangutan, they're convinced Allen Funt is hiding in the back somewhere and filming them for ''Series/CandidCamera''.
* TheCavalry: After The Sheik's rescuers are found out and surrounded by the mobsters at the Pinto Ranch, the rest of the Cannonballers arrive to help them out.
* ChairmanOfTheBrawl: While visiting Don Don about the money he owes him, Hymie expresses his frustrations by smashing a chair on his bigger henchman. It happens again when comes to visit the second time.
* CosmicDeadline: Particularly {{egregious}} in this film, as the end of the actual ''race'' is only shown in a TravelMontage after the big fight scene that serves as the movie's climax.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
-->'''Don Canneloni:''' In the past, the Canneloni family was the most powerful of the families. We controlled drugs, prostitution, extortion, prostitution, gambling...
-->'''Slim:''' Uh, you said "prostitution" twice.
-->'''Don Canneloni:''' Well, I like it.
* DisguisedInDrag: Victor, J.J. and Fenderbaum dress up as exotic dancers to get in to the ranch the race's kidnapped sponsor has been taken to.
* DoorJudo: Done for humor, a case of when the door isn't opened from the other side. When J.J. and company infiltrate the Pinto Ranch to rescue the ArabOilSheikh sponsor of the race and discover the room he's in, they decide to break the door down, which he, Victor and Vendebaum begin charging at. Problem is, Blake accidentally pushes the door open just as the former trio run right through it, and thus end up running through the room into the far end with a bonk.
* DynamicEntry: A variant happens during the big fight scene, Captain Chaos leaps from a high area down to a bunch of mooks crushing them under his weight and knocking most of them out cold.
* EnterStageWindow: Fenderbaum does this to Blake in a high rise hotel room. As his character is in the middle of trying to seduce a girl, he's not happy and shoves him out the window, only to be surprised when Sammy stands up unharmed (he's standing on a window washing platform).
-->"You are the tallest short man I've ever seen."
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: One team drives a limo that comes with a feisty orangutan as its fake driver.
* FlippingTheBird: The orangutan chauffeur gives one to an old lady one when she waves to him.
* Fiction500: The Sheik is is rich on oil that he can easily buy his way out of almost anything. At one point he's making a phone call to buy the supercarrier USS ''Nimitz''.
* HilariousOuttakes: Like with the previous film, the end credits are accompanied by these.
-->'''Captain Chaos''' (to Creator/FrankSinatra)''':''' Sir, the Cannonball is a race from Connecticut to your ass.
* HitchhikersLeg: The mobsters get The Sheik to stop his car so they can kidnap him by the simple expedient of having a showgirl open her blouse as he drives past.
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: Blake and Fenderbaum disguise themselves as cops (they still drive a ferrari, though).
* IntelligibleUnintelligible: The Cannonballers are shown to perfectly understand what Jackie is saying, even though he only speaks in Mandarin.
* MetallicarSyndrome: Used by the two hot chicks in a Lamborghini to their advantage when they 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!"
* OilSlick: Used by Creator/JackieChan and Creator/RichardKiel's character, but subverted such that they used it after [[AmphibiousAutomobile going underwater]] as a means of [[PlayingPossum playing dead]] (after releasing debris).
%%* RandomEventsPlot
* RepetitiveName:
-->'''Cannelloni:''' When I passed the powers of the Don...to my son Don...making him...Don Don....
* RightHandCat: Don Cannelloni has one. It dies on him and gets replaced.
-->"This cat is dead. Get me a new cat."
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: 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

!!''Speed Zone!'' contains examples of:

* ClipItsWings: This happens to a commuter plane the Van Sloans are using to get to Los Angeles before the other racers. Due to a very ill-conceived hijacking attempt, the plane ends up on the highway and shears its wings off after going under an overpass. The Van Sloans' solution: have the pilot "drive" the plane to L.A.
* DidntSeeThatComing: Chief Edsel's plan is to block off every highway leading into Los Angeles and send all traffic down one route, then catch the racers when they get to a roadblock. However, he doesn't count on 1)a hijacker attempting to take over a plane before it takes off, 2)subduing the hijacker resulting in the plane's wings and tail getting sheared off, and 3)a wealthy passenger (also a racer) bribing the pilot to "drive" the plane to Los Angeles...only to crash into the roadblock and shove it out of the way. To be fair though, who ''could'' have seen that coming?
* DrivingIntoATruck: The driver of the Countach calls for help to a trucker hauling a empty car carrier when being pursued by a state cop. The trucker agrees. With some fancy driving the speeder loses the cop by driving aboard the car carrier... or so he thinks. The driver unexpectedly gets a tap on his window, and the cop is there asking him for his license and registration. (Its implied that the cop has driven aboard the car carrier also.) The driver gets out of the ticket because the truck hasn't stopped, and they all cross a state line, so the cop is now out of his jurisdiction.
* EpicFail: Two of the Cannonball's entrants are flying to the finish line in a commuter jet, which is quickly hijacked. The hijacking is the Epic Fail in this case. First, the hijacker attempts to take over the plane before it takes off. Second, he fails to scare the passengers thoroughly since his announcement of their destination is met with requests for other places to be hijacked to. Third, the argument over a destination distracts him long enough for the crew to overpower him. Finally, the fight to subdue him distracts the crew long enough for the plane to roll out onto the highway and shear off its wings and tail by going under an overpass.
* GettingHotInHere: Charlie (Creator/JohnCandy) and Tiffany (Donna Dixon) are rammed by a vehicle that is pursuing them. This damages the car's cooling system and the engine starts overheating. Charlie cranks the car's heater up to full to pull heat off the engine while they escape. The interior heats up to the point where they both start stripping of their clothes: thereby providing both {{Fanservice}} and FanDisservice in the one scene.
* MistakenForGay: The French airplane passenger whose accent turns a simple offer of food ("You would like my peanuts?") into a risque proposition ("You would like my penis?")
* RacingTheTrain: There's a scene where Creator/JohnCandy's character tries to cross some railroad tracks, but is forced to stop before the train arrives. Then the police chasing him show up and he races the train in reverse in an attempt to beat it. When he gets to the second crossing, he ''just'' makes it.
* SavingTheOrphanage: Discussed. Charlie and Tiffany play a guessing game where one thinks up a celebrity and the other has to guess. It's Tiffany's turn.
-->'''Tiffany:''' She was the actress in that film where the woman was trying to save her farm.
-->'''Charlie:''' Ooh. That sure narrows it down.
-->'''Tiffany:''' What's that supposed to mean?
-->'''Charlie:''' Oh, there's only like nine hundred films where a woman is trying to save her farm or her house or her tree or her town.
* VandalismBackfire: Vic and Alec come upon the Lamborghini they raced a few scenes earlier at a convenience store. They spy on Flash and Valentino buying supplies, then plot revenge. Vic acts by ripping apart the Lamborghini with his hands. He's caused quite a bit of damage by the time Flash and Valentino leave the store. While Vic and Alec hide and watch, Flash and Valentino walk behind a row of cars, get into their actual Lamborghini, and drive off. Just after Vic and Alec realize what they've done, Michael Spinks (a well-known boxer) walks out of the store.
* VanityLicensePlate: The Van Sloans drove a Bentley with the license plate RICH KIDS. The character Vic tries to report the car and it goes something like this:
-->'''Vic:''' Uh, the license is as follows: R, I, C, H...uh, I think that spells "rich"..."KIDS"...with a K...for..."kids".