Worlds Fastest Indian
Icon Home Entertainment DVD
Running Time 127 minutes
Okay, not strictly a film about cars – the ‘Indian’ in the title referring to the American motorcycle manufacturer – but this wonderful film is chock-a-block with classic cars and motorbikes from start to finish. The central story of this film is one mans quest for speed – the extraordinary New Zealander, Burt Munro – who during the 1960`s made ten visits to the world famous Bonneville Speed Week in Utah, USA and set three world speed records, with one of them still unbroken to this day!
British acting icon, Anthony Hopkins, plays Burt Munro with obvious relish and although Hopkins attempts at the New Zealand accent does seem to span several continents, you cannot help but like his portrayal of the charmingly eccentric and instantly likable Munro. How eccentric? In the 1960`s Munro was retired and actually living in his shed/garage located on a plot of land sandwiched into a typical housing estate in Invercargill, New Zealand when he was involved in his record attempts, and he regularly upset his neighbours with his early morning engine testing and late nights working on his bike.
Ah yes, his bike. The motorcycle in question wasn`t some development of the most powerful and modern bike available at the time, oh no, his bike was a 1920 Indian Scout. One that would have left the factory with a potential 55mph top speed from its 600cc engine and one that he continuously modified after purchasing new to eventually end up with an engine capacity of 900cc. The new barrels and pistons being cast by Munro in his shed and setting numerous speed records in New Zealand before realising his lifelong dream of running at Bonneville.
Set in 1963, the film`s storyline features Munro`s preparations and first trip to the Bonneville Speed Week, and is a composite of several of Munro`s visits. Obviously starting with his preparations in New Zealand, the film takes us on Munro`s journey to the states, landing in Los Angeles and having to deal with US Customs bureaucracy before purchasing a cheap car and scratch building a suitable trailer for the bike for his lengthy trip to Utah.
Meeting a number of characters along the way who he wins over with his direct but always genial approach, he eventually arrives at Bonneville only to find he should have pre-booked his entry and neither he nor the bike would be considered safe enough to run. After winning over the officials with the help of a number of the regular salt racers, Munro eventually gets his chance to run and sets a new record for his class at over 200mph! Munro was 68 years old, suffering a heart condition and running a 47 year-old machine at the time!
Maybe a little twee in places, this film is an endearing, emotional and heart-warming telling of one mans fortitude in pursuing his dream and all the better for its gentleness; this is one film you can sit and watch with the whole family of all ages and full of enough classic cars and bikes to keep us old-motor buffs very happy.
Fire up the DVD player on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy. Do not miss out on this one.
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