a great piece of filmmaking. yates’ direction picks up where the graduate and other films of its time left off and runs with it. this is one of those auteur era films that paved way for the style that became so prevalent in the 70s. the way yates moves the camera, racks the zoom lens, cuts the film, etc. all are just so much more fresh and lively than the studio pictures of the time.
mcqueen is, of course, excellent. he’s the kind of hero who is easy to love because he’s capable and confident without being cocky or brash. robert vaughn does a great job as DA chalmers, the villain of the picture. without a formidable villain, mcqueen’s performance would have been lost, and would have brought the picture out of balance. great action films need great villains and even though vaughn isn’t the direct enemy of mcqueen’s, he is a major obstacle and the person the audience is rooting against most fervently.
naturally the car chase is among the best ever. this film paved the way for the french connection in many ways, but most of all because of the similar car chase scenes.
bullitt also has a certain throw back element to it. it harkens back to the noir detective films like call northside 777. one of the things i liked about it was the authentic locations and technological elements that were interwoven into the plot; both were elements call northside 777 used well.