To say that Bullitt had a car chase scene is like saying Steve McQueen was a good actor. Both are arguably gross understatements. The history-making car chase from Bullitt is still considered the gold standard for which all such scenes are held to today.
McQueen hadn’t planned on a driving double– in fact, he firmly insisted on doing all the Mustang stunt driving himself. But that all quickly changed– while shooting an early scene (that can be seen in the film), he missed a turn pretty hard and nearly lost it. The studio exec’s immediately pulled the plug on McQueen’s plans and tapped professional stunt drivers with a little more practical experience and skill. As fate would have it, main driving duties were handed over to none other than McQueen’s good buddy (and auto and motorcycle racing legend) Bud Ekins.
The story behind the filming of this ground-breaking scene (I hate to say it) is more fascinating to me than the whole of the film itself. Read on for great behind the scenes details on how history was made in pulling-off this incredible piece of work– the likes of which had never been attempted before.