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|The World's Fastest Indian
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Avg. Customer Rating: (based on 58 reviews)
Sales Rank: 3
Director: Roger Donaldson
Format: Color, Widescreen, Ntsc
Language: English (Original Language)
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Running Time: 127 minutes
Number Of Items: 1
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Shipping Weight (lbs): 0.1
Dimensions (in): 7.4 x 5.4 x 0.6
Release Date: June 13, 2006 (New: Last 30 Days)
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A movie that exudes affection and goodwill, The World's Fastest Indian is an unabashed mash note to a lovely character from New Zealand's recent past. Burt Munro, played by Anthony Hopkins, is a cantankerous Kiwi with an obsession: he's been tinkering with his 1920s-era Indian brand motorcycle for years, pushing it to ever-faster speeds. It's the 1960s, and Burt has the utterly mad idea of taking the bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, site of world records for speed racing. The movie takes a while to get to the journey--and then the journey takes a while--but the genial atmosphere prevails. (People of a certain age, for whom the word "Bonneville" evokes pleasant associations with hotrods and world-speed records, will not be disappointed in the film's location shooting, or its sense of awe.) Hopkins is not quite on-the-money casting for the jovial, happy-go-lucky Munro, and his accent wavers, but he nails the emotional scenes and the fascination with speed. Smaller bits are well-filled by Diane Ladd and Christopher Lawford (son of Peter), who looks uncannily of the era. New Zealand director Roger Donaldson doesn't take any chances here, but the story clearly means something to him, and that sense of commitment carries the film through its sleepier moments. --Robert Horton
Customer Reviews: Read 53 more reviews...
Beautiful, but there's something that bothers me. June 26, 2006
0 out of 2 found this review helpful
The movie is beautiful. The depiction of New Zealand, the early stages of road-rage in LA, the barren salt flats, and the earnestness of a man obsessed with a single goal all combine to form a beautiful movie.
Unfortunately, it's the depiction of simple-minded earnestness that bugs me as well. Burt Munro is show as a country bumpkin without a real plan. Maybe going through the lines was Hopkin's way of getting the accent, but it drives me nuts the way he has Munro explaining his life story to absolutly everyone. This man was a soldier in WWI. He knows about cities! He knows how to drive, for crying out loud--he shouldn't need a lesson from a side character.
The message here seems to be that everyone will bend over backwards to help out a simpleton. And you don't need a plan--just be a happy sheep and everyone will help you out and make room to accomodate you. No need to plan ahead. Weren't the 60's a lovely time? Someone with the mechanical genius of Munro and the experience of a war veteran should be much more worldly than depicted here. The naivete of his time in Los Angeles is painful to watch.
The movie does pay off, however, once they arrive in Utah, with glorious footage of the Indian racing along.
How the world used to be... June 26, 2006
Anthony Hopkins is a great actor. What I believe about him is that he has mastered the art of acting. When I watch him in a movie I forget that he acts. And in this movie even more so since he plays a real person.
The movie's value is that it really encourages you to follow your dreams and fulfil them. Burt Munro not only did he make it, but after the first time, he made it nine more times as the end credits show! And this is a still standing record.
Besides that the movie shows how the world used to be so that Burt Munro could fulfil his dream. Characters that Burt Munro met on his way were simple, understanding, having a fellow feeling, honest, hospitable, tolerant, ready to extend a helping hand and above all flexible enough to "bend" some rules so that a dream can come true. Check all these things in all the characters throughout the movie.
A very entairtaining movie with great subtle humour and some great things that Anthony Hopkins says throughout the movie. Ta-ta.
A genuine crowd pleaser in the best sense of the word! June 26, 2006
The World's Fastest Indian is a fictionalized account of Burt Munro (Hopkins) from Invercargill, New Zealand, who personally modified his old 1920s Indian Scout 45 motorcycle into a 200 mph record-breaking machine. The film follows his journey to the United States where he broke the world land speed record for motorcycles with engines less than 1000cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1960s.
Anthony Hopkins brings a grizzled optimism to the role. Despite the various obstacles that are put in his path, Burt perseveres with a boundless sense of wonderment but it doesn't feel like a one-dimensional performance. On the contrary, it feels very heartfelt and quite moving once Burt gets close to realizing his dream.
Hopkins is supported by a strong cast of character actors that include the likes of Diane Ladd who makes a welcome appearance as a kind lady that helps Burt along his way to Utah. Chris Lawford plays a fellow racer who uses his pull to get Burt into the competition and does such a great job in the role that you'd swear he really was a professional driver. The Shield's Walt Goggins also makes an appearance as one of the car enthusiasts who befriends Burt in Utah and it is nice to see him play such a different role.
The World's Fastest Indian swells in its national pride for New Zealand with scenes like the whole town, even the motorcycle gang that bested Burt, there to see the man off when he heads for the U.S. Fortunately, Donaldson plays it down in an understated way. The patriotism is there just not in your face. Burt's irrepressible enthusiasm mirrors the film's own which makes it something of anarchism in these jaded times. It evokes another biopic about an idealistic automotive dreamer, Tucker, Francis Ford Coppola's tribute to car manufacturer Preston Tucker. We need films like The World's Fastest Indian because they remind us of the innovative spirit and the persistence to realize one's dreams.
"Making of The World's Fastest Indian" takes a look at this year-in-the-making project. Cast and crew speak enthusiastically about the subject matter and Donaldson who has been obsessed with Burt and his achievements for many years.
There is an audio commentary by director Roger Donaldson. The director points out what in the movie is based on fact and what was fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Donaldson is not only an expert on Burt but also a motorcycle aficionado, delivering an extremely informative track.
There are four deleted scenes, including Munro's increasingly bad health that parallels the worsening condition of his car while heading for Utah.
In a really nice touch, Donaldson's 1971 documentary, "Burt Munro: Offerings to the God of Speed" is included. There is great footage of Burt in action and also of him telling some really good stories without a hint of ego. He comes across as a passionate man and watching this doc gives you an appreciation for how well Hopkins depicted him in the film.
Finally, there is "Southland: Burt's Hometown of Invercargill," an unabashed promotional ad of the beautiful-looking city that Burt hails from. This is strictly travelogue material intended to bolster their tourism.
Jameson Thottam with an Indian's Perspective (pun intended) on this Film June 26, 2006
1 out of 2 found this review helpful
Jameson Thottam with an Indian's Perspective (pun intended) on this Film
Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins), approaching his seventies, with a chronic heart problem, has followed a dream all his life - to break the world land speed record with his 1928 Indian (1000 cc) motorcycle. To do this, he has to raise the funds to take himself and his beloved Indian from New Zealand to the States; at Bonneville, Utah, on the vast salt plains Burt will compete against world class champs and vehicles.
With his savings, and the help of his small community, Burt crates his machine, has it loaded onto a dubious-looking vessel and works his passage to L.A. as ship's cook. Once in the US, he buys a second-hand car, rigs up a trailer and tows the Indian to his destination.
Following the Move **Jameson Thottam**
The movie follows Burt and his adventures across the US to Bonneville, encountering some weird and wonderful characters along the way (Tina, the transvestite who runs a tacky LA motel; Fernando - a oily, fast-talking Hispanic car salesman; Ada, a lonely but lusty widow; even a real Indian out in the desert.... Shades here of Croc Dundee). Once at his destination, Burt finds he has more obstacles to surmount, but as usual tackles them with his never-say-die philosophy.
How It's Done **Jameson Thottam**
When the movie opens, Burt is asleep in his shed, a rough concrete structure which houses him, his workshop and the Indian. To either side, there are neat gardens and homes, but Burt's place is the scene of blown gaskets and spare parts, a drum containing titanium-flavoured water (also used for tea!), the ground is covered with tall grass; in a corner droops a lemon tree which he `waters' daily, claiming that urine is great fertilizer!
His young neighbour is fascinated by the Indian and the work that goes into it, and against his parents' wishes, is continually at Burt's side; even borrowing his mother's carving knife so Burt can peel off the tyre tread to render them faster (who cares about safety!). Gradually the other characters are introduced, Burt finds himself a girlfriend, the small community organizes a fund-raising dance, and finally the local bikie gang challenge him to a speed race (which he loses) on one of New Zealand's vast panoramic beaches; Burt's gentle nature, his enthusiasm and commitment to his cause win over all those who meet him; even the hostile bikies admit grudging admiration - when Burt heads off on his journey, the leader pulls level with the car and presses some "drink money" into his hand.
The Portrayal **Jameson Thottam**
Burt is portrayed as a down-to-earth guy, who opts for simplicity in his life - that way he can concentrate on what is really important: his bike. The fact that he is in his seventies in no way diminishes his enthusiasm or his belief that he can succeed. In addition, what some viewers might find unexpected is Burt's ability to win the women - after all, he is not particularly good looking, his clothing is usually grease-stained and he's certainly not wealthy. However, his sweet nature, combined with ingenuousness and a straightforward approach to life works its charm every time; even the hard-nosed sheriffs, cruising the endless desert highways, don't quite know what to make of him. In one scene, where Burt is resting in his car after a heart scare, two uniformed men pull up behind him and, hands on their guns, move cautiously over to the vehicle which is illegally parked on a curve. As can be expected, Burt talks them round!
Cinematography **Jameson Thottam**
The cinematography is out of this world, the vastness of the landscape underscoriing the scale of Burt's endeavour. From New Zealand's misty shores (shots which recall The Piano) to the US, across unending flat desert and finally to the blinding whiteness of the salt plain, the panoramas are impressive. Fashions, cars, and buildings reflect the era and those who love old-style American cars will enjoy seeing them here. Many of the racing vehicles however look quite modern and aerodynamic, making Burt's fish-shaped bike appear even more outmoded by comparison.
Directing **Jameson Thottam**
The directing is excellent, and there is a real sense of the natural, the characters, portrayed as ordinary folk having a freshness often lacking in typical Hollywood movies and the story, while extraordinary, is presented in very down-to earth fashion. Roger Donaldson, the director, is quoted as saying that "this could be an uplifting and inspirational story in the spirit of such films as ROCKY, BILLY ELLIOT and CHARIOTS OF FIRE". Anthony Hopkins has commented that in contrast to the "psychopaths and uptight people" which he was tired of playing, Burt was a "real winner of a guy".
Relationships **Jameson Thottam**
Apart from the main theme - participating in the speed trials - there are also those of relationships, as well as love and sex, and the unswerving belief in oneself. One of Burt's most significant characteristics is his refusal to allow age or ill health to deter him from his goal. When the doctor says that he must give up motor bike riding, he doesn't argue - just takes the pills and carries on.
It is rare these days, with all the emphasis on youth and good looks, to come across a story that deals with ageing characters and does so successfully. An inspirational story, presented without hype or sentiment,it leaves us wishing that we had known the man and been there to witness him realizing his dream.
Cast (some only) **Jameson Thottam**
Anthony Hopkins - Burt Munro
Saginaw Grant - Jake
Diane Ladd - Ada
Walton Goggins - Marty Dickerson
Christopher Lawford - Jim
Chris Williams - Tina
Paul Rodriguez - Fernando
Annie Whittle - Fran
Conclusion **Jameson Thottam**
As fiction, this story would be unusual enough, but the fact that it really happened makes it all the more amazing. Although I was not sure quite what to expect, I found that strong performances by the cast, good directing and lovely cinematography, plus some wonderfully humorous scenarios made it a highly enjoyable experience.
Director: Australian Roger Donaldson -Cocktail (1988), The Bounty (1984) and Thirteen Days (2000).
A fascinating look at a true "character" June 24, 2006
2 out of 2 found this review helpful
Before watching this movie I had barely heard of Burt Munro. "The World's Fastest Indian" brings him to life, and makes you root for this eccentric old man who just happens to be a mechanical genius with an "impossible" dream. It takes a bit too long to get Burt from Invercargill to the Bonneville Salt flats, but the journey is pleasant enough and we get to know a lot about Burt and his philosophy of life along the way. I can't quite give it 5 stars, but it's a solid 4+ and anyone who enjoys motor sports and/or biographies of slightly off-center people will enjoy it.