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Character: Annie Potter
Release Date: June 10, 1994
Director: Jan de Bont
Writer: Grahan Yost
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Co-starring: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Daniels
Get ready for the rush hour
Jack Traven is a young S.W.A.T cop in the Los Angeles police department. One morning Jack witnesses a bus explode and Jack receives a phone call from Howard Payne, a retired Atlanta bomb squad explosives expert gone bad, Payne has wired a passenger bus to explode, where if the bus speeds at 50 miles per hour the bomb is armed, if the bus slows down and drops below 50 miles per hour the bus will explode. Payne demands $3-millions dollars and Jack or any of the passengers tries to get off the bus, he will detonate the bomb. Managing to get on the bus, Jack with help of one of the passengers, Annie who is driving the bus when the driver is injured, tries to keep the passengers alive and guide the bus through the traffic, and keep the bus speeding at 50 miles per hour, as the S.W.A.T team and Jack’s partner, explosives expert Harry Temple set to discover Payne’s location and find a way to disarm the bomb before the bomb explodes when the bus runs out of gas.
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Trivia & Facts
The film was originally written with the intention that Jeff Bridges would play Jack and Ellen DeGeneres would play Annie. DeGeneres was initially chosen because the role of Annie was going to be a comedic role opposite the serious role of Jack.
Filmed on location on LA’s 105 freeway before it was opened to the public.
The film literally ran out of money before it was completed. When the film was first previewed for an audience, the subway scenes were animated story boards. The audience loved them so much, the studio came up with the funds to shoot the scenes properly.
The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
20th Century Fox were not convinced to begin with that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film and insisted on a big name actress to star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
Glenn Close, Barbara Hershey, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Kay Lenz, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Kathleen Turner, Debra Winger, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Emma Thompson, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Daryl Hannah, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Jodie Foster, Tatum O’Neal, Bridget Fonda, Marisa Tomei, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Cameron Diaz and Alyssa Milano all turned down the role of Annie.
Sandra Bullock was paid $600,000 for her work in the film.
Jack: It’s a game. If he gets the money he wins, if the bus blows up he wins.
Annie: What if you win?
Jack: Then tomorrow we’ll play another one.
Annie: But I’m not available to drive tomorrow. Busy.
Ortiz: Just keep it steady.
Annie: Oh, thanks for the tip, Ortiz.
Stephens: First time in LA.
Annie: Oh no, I live here.
Stephens: No, mine. Oh thats just funny, you heard me wrong. Nah, im sightseeing.
Annie: Oh, really?
Stephens: Yeah. I hate to use the word ‘tourist’ but it’s not like I can hide it…
Annie: Not really.
Stephens: [sigh] Did you know it took me three hours to get here from the airport? I got so lost. LA’s one big place, but I guess you don’t notice, seeing as you live here. Im such a yokel, there I said it!
Annie: Oh jeez. You know what? I got gum on my seat, GUM!
[sits on a different bus seat nearer the front – now we know what trouble THAT gets her into… ]
Jack: He’s the asshole, Annie, the guy who puts us here. Remember that, ok?
Annie: Big asshole.
Annie: So you’re a cop, right?
Jack: That’s right.
Annie: Well, I should probably tell you that I’m taking the bus because I had my driver’s license revoked.
Jack: What for?
Annie: What is that smell?
Jack: It’s gas.
Annie: We’re leaking gas?
Jack: We are now.
Annie: What, you thought you needed another challenge or something?
[after surviving the bus explosion]
Annie: You’re not going to get mushy on me, are you?
Jack: Maybe. I might.
Annie: I hope not, ’cause you know, relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last.
Jack: Oh yeah?
Annie: Yeah, I’ve done extensive study on this.
Annie: Hey! Get your ass behind the yellow line.
Annie: There’s gum on my seat… GUM!
Jack: I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.
Annie: OK. We’ll have to base it on sex then.
Jack: Whatever you say, ma’am.
Speed was released on June 10, 1994 in 2,138 theaters and debuted at the number one position, grossing $14.5 million on its opening weekend. It went on to gross $121.3 million domestically and $229.2 million internationally for a worldwide total of $350.5 million.
Speed was a critical and a commercial success. On the review website Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 41 reviews, and an average rating of 7.6/10. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, “Films like Speed belong to the genre I call Bruised Forearm Movies, because you’re always grabbing the arm of the person sitting next to you. Done wrong, they seem like tired replays of old chase cliches. Done well, they’re fun. Done as well as Speed, they generate a kind of manic exhilaration”. In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers wrote, “Action flicks are usually written off as a debased genre, unless, of course, they work. And Speed works like a charm. It’s a reminder of how much movie escapism can still stir us when it’s dished out with this kind of dazzle”. Hal Hinson, in his review for The Washington Post, praised Sandra Bullock’s performance: “The only performer to stand out is Sandra Bullock as Annie … If it weren’t for the smart-funny twist she gives to her lines — they’re the best in the film — the air on that bus would have been stifling … she emerges as a slightly softer version of the Linda Hamilton-Sigourney Weaver heroines: capable, independent, but still irresistibly vulnerable”. In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “Mr. Hopper finds nice new ways to convey crazy menace with each new role. Certainly he’s the most colorful figure in a film that wastes no time on character development or personality”. Entertainment Weekly gave the film an “A” rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, “It’s a pleasure to be in the hands of an action filmmaker who respects the audience. De Bont’s craftsmanship is so supple that even the triple ending feels justified, like the cataclysmic final stage of a Sega death match”. Time magazine’s Richard Schickel wrote, “The movie has two virtues essential to good pop thrillers. First, it plugs uncomplicatedly into lurking anxieties — in this case the ones we brush aside when we daily surrender ourselves to mass transit in a world where the loonies are everywhere”.
Entertainment Weekly magazine’s Owen Gleiberman ranked Speed as the eighth best film of 1994. The magazine also ranked the film eighth on their “The Best Rock-’em, Sock-’em Movies of the Past 25 Years” list. Speed also ranks 451 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time”. The film was also placed at #99 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, detailing the 100 “most heart-pounding” American movies of all time.
In November 1994, Fox Video released Speed on VHS and laserdisc formats for the very first time. Rental and video sales did very well and helped the film’s domestic gross. The original VHS cassette was only available in standard format at the time and in 1996 Fox Video re-released a VHS version of the film in widescreen allowing the viewer to see the film in a similar format to its theatrical release. In 1998, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released Speed on DVD for the very first time. The DVD was in a widescreen format but other than the film’s theatrical trailer the DVD contained no extras aside from the film. In 2002, Fox released a special collector’s edition of the film with many extras and a remastered format of the film. Fox re-released this edition several times throughout the years with different covering and finally in November 2006 Speed was released on a Blu-ray Disc format with over five hours of special features.
In 1995, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing, winning the latter two. Also Sandra Bullock won 3 MTV Movie Awards for Speed.
1. Billy Idol – “Speed”
2. The Plimsouls – “A Million Miles Away”
3. Gin Blossoms – “Soul Deep”
4. Cracker – “Let’s Go for a Drive”
5. Blues Traveler – “Go Outside and Drive”
6. Ric Ocasek – “Crash”
7. Pat Benatar – “Rescue Me”
8. Rod Stewart – “Hard Road”
9. Carnival Strippers – “Cot”
10. Gary Numan – “Cars (’93 Sprint Remix)”
11. Saint Etienne – “Like a Motorway”
12. Kiss – “Mr. Speed”