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I watched this film on the BBC the other day, and am now going to buy the DVD, I loved it!!
This is based on a true story of New Zealander Burt Munro [1899 - 1978], and his dream of breaking the world land speed record on his 1920s motor bike.
Written and directed by Roger Donaldson (2005), he has managed to create one of the best feel good films of all time (in my opinion). Every step of Burt Munro's [Anthony Hopkins] 1960's journey to Bonneville Salt Flats (USA) sees him charming local folks with his direct but friendly attitude and acceptance. But is he going to be allowed to race when he gets there, after all the bike is 40 years old!
Anthony Hopkins is a dream to watch in this film, portraying Munro as an almost naive, eccentric yet intelligent man, hailing from a small New Zealand town, and all along the way you find your love and admiration for this man growing, and by the end are hoping he achieves his dream.
In summary I didn't think I'd like this film, but now I would recommend this movie to anyone who fancies a real heart warming, feel good film.
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"Tom: Aren't you scared you'll kill yourself if you crash?
"Burt Munro: No... You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime.
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The Worlds Fastest Indian, of course, was actually the Chicken Korma I had last night that didn't want to hang around, in and out quicker than Vanessa Feltz in a health shop! Officially, though, it's the 1920 Indian Scout motorbike that colorful speed freak Burt Munro attempted to break numerous land speed records on the Bourneville Salt Flats in Utah in the 1960s, this a delightful movie about his halcyon days. The achievement was extra special as the guy wash pushing 70 with a heart condition, never even leaving his native New Zealand until the trip. The records he set still stand today; the feat that impressive and courageous.
The real treat here is the wonderful performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins as the amiable New Zealander, his most engaging turn for a long time, seriously over-looked at the 2006 Oscars for this if you ask me, showing once again that he is a unique acting talent has been hyped for average ones that as it has been ignored for excellent performances like this. His preposterous Oscar for just 18 minutes of screen time in Silence of the Lambs will go down as one of the silliest in the Academies history, only Marisa Tomei`s for Best Supporting in My Cousin Vinny topping it. Hopkins can't do accents, of course, his NZ one atrocious here, but a great character actor and really captures the soul of the likeable Munroe and his colorful life. In fact you would love to buy both these guys a beer.
I really love good biopics like this, especially on people or events where you don't really know the back-story to. I was lucky enough not to know the story of Apollo 13 when I watched Ron Howard's brilliant film for the first and that's why it made such an astounding story and movie experience for me, comfortable in my top twenty films of all time. I just love 'based on true story movies' and how you get to marvel at those inspirational people and events. Yes they can go wrong, Will Smiths tedious self-indulgent bore,'The Pursuit of Happyness', an example of, but when done well like this they are great fun. Although I wouldn't put this in my top ten of that particular category I would say its well up there.
Anthony Hopkins ... Burt Munro
Iain Rea ... George
Tessa Mitchell ... Sarah
Aaron Murphy ... Tom
Tim Shadbolt ... Frank
Annie Whittle ... Fran
Greg Johnson ... Duncan
Antony Starr ... Jeff
Kate Sullivan ... Doris
Burt is a widower and spends most of his time in the shed tinkering with his beloved bike, determined to build a 1000cc that will reach 200mph on the Salt Flats, never been done before, his life's dream. He has his curmudgeonly routines, like weeing on his lemon tree every morning, but everyone knows him loves him and the ones that make the effort to know Burt will soon be charmed and beguiled by the gentleman engineer, especially the women, Burt as kind and decent as they come. His bike, on the other hand, is a less stable affair, the 1920 Indian Scout a home made affair, inquisitive schoolboy Tom (Aaron Murphy) the first to enquire what all the banging is about.
The two quickly click, George helpings him in the workshop, Burt an engineer by trade, teaching the kid the tricks of machining, like shaving the tires and using boot polish to make them slicker. There's nothing conventional about the bike and that's why Burt thinks it can do the record. But the big problem is how to get to Utah, three great oceans away in 1963, the decision to go hastened by the fact he has serious angina, meaning his years could be numbered if he doesn't slow down. But Burt, of course, has no intention of slowing down, the exact opposite intact, soon on a boat with his bike and working his passage as a cook hand, a second mortgage on the house to cover the adventure.
Burt is full of life and free of prejudice, the ideal guy for an American road trip, bemused but not judging his transvestite hotelier on his arrival in Los Angeles, shaking every cop and mechanics hand as he attempts to drive to Utah. The only tension mechanism on the film is his old ticker and will it hold out, his liking for the older lady not helping as the flats near, just about everyone willing to rally around and help Burt achieve his dream.
This is an excellent family film and very under-rated, one you won't be disappointed with. It's a classic feel good movie and can't possibly offend, one for all the clan. With a tender not trite ending I can see no reason why you guys wouldn't want to see this film. We all swallow the hype of the big movies (the Dark Knight and Quantum of Solace) and yet ignore little gems like this, the essence of true film making. Can anyone remember this being plugged anywhere?
Hopkins, with a chuckle in his throat and that mischievous glint in the eye, really nails Burt, a wonderful screen creation, warming your cockles like no other leading turn of late. Like the bike rickety bike roaring over the salt, director Roger Donaldson tries his hardest to steer the film away from careering into a corny, mushy wreck, Burt's angina injecting enough tension into proceedings, the question whether the bike will fall apart quicker than Burt when the vibrations shake them both to their very foundations the crux of the movie.
Not surprisingly this cleaned up at the 2006 New Zealand film Oscars, also nominated for the delightfully named 'Golden Seashell' award at the San Sebastian film festival. Its just one of those warm homely films that reinstalls your faith in the whole movie business. There's too much over-rated stuff out there, especially at this time of the year and the Worlds Fastest Indian is the type of movie that should be made, instead, honest entertaining film-making as it used to be. New Zealanders are such laidback folks you would be pushed to find anyone who doesn't like them or their beautiful country, and this movie is a great advert for that ethos and their way of life. The official word-of-mouth to watch this movie starts here!
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Imdb.com scores 8.0 out of 10.0 (15,671 votes)
RuN-TiMe 127 minutes
3 for £6 weekly deal at Blockbusters or £3 per week rental
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I was only giong to watch this movie because my dad asked me to . So, like any son would do, i grudgingly set about what I was asked to do - watch The World's Fastest Indian.
The movie started off quite pleasantly and I figured I was going to have such a bad time after all.
The movie took me by surprise - I really wasn't prepared to watch such a great movie... Anthony Hopkins is fabulous in this movie, and does a captivating job portraying Munro as the calm yet eccentric man obsessed with his motorcycle.
The movie shows how he makes a trip to America - a gritting journey which Munro faces with his as ever - calm demeanour.. The movie focuses on his charming personality and interactions with people - a story of endurance and triumph..!!!
So if you're looking for a feel-good, heartwarming true story that makes you smile with tears in your eyes, this film is for you.
And to think i almost decided not to watch the movie - what was I thinking ????
Go ahead, watch the movie - you'll love it !!!
Take the wonderful Sir Anthony Hopkins who is a fellow Welshman & we share the same birthday! Have him playing Burt Munro, a man who wants to ride his 1920's Indian Motorcycle faster than 200 mph on the Bonneville Saltflats.
He isn't a young man, in his 70's and his bike is rebuilt and held together with anything he can find. This is the story of his trip to America and across the country in his quest to ride his motorcycle to a land speed record for it's class.
This looks beautiful & is a real feel good film. You find yourself getting behind Burt & supporting him like everyone else at the Salt Flats. This is a true story but I would have liked to have known how many things in the film really are true (like the policeman letting him off after speeding in Nevada).
My only real gripe with the movie is the accent of the taxi driver who takes Burt to Hollywood, his accent comes and goes which annoyed me a little bit. Watch it with an open mind and be enthralled.
This film is based on the true story of Burt Munro, a man from a small rural New Zealand village, as he follows his life long dream of taking his home-tuned Indian motorcycle to the Bonneville Salt Flats in America, to attempt a world speed record.
Munro (played by Anthony Hopkins), is portrayed as a kind of home mechanic genius, who has hand built everything to perfection on his incredibly fast Indian, right down to forging pistons in his shed! He is a kind man, who while appearing slightly subdued and old fashioned, seems to be completely switched on. I think because of this not many people truely believe in him, and he gets a lot of stick for thinking his old motorcycle is any good.
If you don't like motorcycles, don't be put off. This is a heartwarming film about an old man living his dream, it's lighthearted, at times hilarious, and it never gets boring.
It portrays Munro's first time in America in a great way. From meeting cross-dressers, driving on the other side of the road, and building a trailer to take his motorcycle in the back of a used car lot. The great thing is that he's so much a matter-of-fact kind of guy that not much phases him, though the Americans find him rather strange.
There is plenty in this film to keep everyone entertained, it's a film of travel, of motor racing, of chasing dreams. This sort of film doesn't come around too often.
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