Bullitt wrote the recipe for '70s cop movies - steely, downbeat authenticity and a big dollop of violence but its continuing appeal relies on Steve McQueen's phenomenal screen presence. Without him, it would merely be a solid police procedural with a confusing plot and a coolcar chase.

With his bruised eyes and paisley pyjamas, McQueen personifies the world-weary hero that thrillers have riffed on ever since, and his verbal duels with Robert Vaughn's oily politician are every bit as thrilling as his rubber-burning rampage through the streets of San Francisco. Lalo Schifrin's brooding, funky score adds an irresistible layer of retro cool to the deliberate lensing.

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