Another successful film came in 1968 with Bullitt, with an unprecedented (and endlessly imitated) auto chase through San Francisco, with Bud Ekins again doubling for some of the more hazardous work. Prior to that, McQueen earned his only Academy Award nomination for the 1966 film The Sand Pebbles. McQueen also appeared in 1973's Papillon, the 1971 car race drama Le Mans, and in The Getaway in 1972.
Rudy Butler: That's a walk-in bank. You don't have to be Dillinger for this one.
Carter 'Doc' McCoy: Dillinger got killed.
Rudy Butler: Not in a bank.
The smile, the eyes, the body, the angles - they were McQueen's tools. If they were all he'd had at his disposal, he might still have become a leading actor, maybe even a star. That he became an icon stemmed in part from his understanding of acting in general and screen acting in particular.
Thompson's script included a borderline-surrealistic ending from his novel featuring the kingdom of El Rey, a Mexican town filled with criminals. McQueen objected to the depressing ending and had Thompson replaced by screenwriter Walter Hill. Peckinpah read Hill's draft and the screenwriter remembered that he did not make many changes: "we made it nonperiod and we added a little more action".
Throughout his life, Sam Peckinpah was plagued by alcoholism, drug addiction, and, according to some, mental illness (possibly manic depression or paranoia). He was married three times. His personality reportedly often swung between a sweet, soft-spoken, artistic disposition and bouts of rage and violence during which he often verbally and physically abused himself and others. He was fascinated with guns and was known to shoot the mirrors in his house during his benders.
Peckinpah originally wanted actor Jack Palance to play the role of Rudy Butler but could not afford his salary. Impressed by his performance in Panic in Needle Park, Hill recommended Richard Bright. Bright had worked with McQueen 14 years before but he did not have the threatening physique that McQueen pictured for Butler because they were the same height. Peckinpah got along famously with Bright and cast him as the train station con man instead.
|Directed by||Sam Peckinpah|
|Produced by||Mitchell Brower|
|Written by||Walter Hill|
|Based on||The Getaway by|
|Starring||Steve McQueen||Ali MacGraw|
|Music by||Quincy Jones|
|Editing by||Robert L. Wolfe|
|Distributed by||National General Pictures|
|Release date(s)||December 13, 1972|
|Running time||122 minutes|
Video: The Getaway
Al Lettieri was brought to Peckinpah's attention by producer Albert Ruddy who was working with the actor on The Godfather. Like Peckinpah, Lettieri was a heavy drinker which caused problems during filming due to his unpredictable behavior.