is a 1971 motion picture starring George Hamilton (actor) as motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel.<></>
The story is a biography of the famed motorcycle daredevil, who grew up in Butte, Montana. The film depicts Knievel lecting on major events in his life, particularly his relationship with his girlfriend/wife, Linda. The film opens with Knievel at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California. Knievel is speaking directly to the camera describing his upcoming daredevil motorcycle jump:
- Ladies and gentlemen, you have no idea how good it makes me feel to be here today. It is truly an honor to risk my life for you. An honor. Before I jump this motorcycle over these 19 cars — and I want you to know there's not a Volkswagen or a Datsun in the row — before I sail cleanly over that last truck, I want to tell you that last night a kid came up to me and he said, "Mr Knievel, are you crazy? That jump you're going to make is impossible, but I already have my tickets because I want to see you splatter." That's right, that's what he said. And I told that boy last night that nothing is impossible. Now they told Columbus to sail across the ocean was impossible. They told the settlers to live in a wild land was impossible. They told the Wright Brothers to fly was impossible. And they probably told Neil Armstrong a walk on the moon was impossible. They tell Evel Knievel to jump a motorcycle across the Grand Canyon is impossible, and they say that every day. A Roman General in the time of Caesar had the motto: "If it possible, it is done. If it is impossible, it will be done." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I live by.
Following his introduction, the story follows a flashback narrative through Knievel's life.
The film ends with Knievel successfully completing the jump at the Ontario Motor Speedway and riding off onto a dirt road which leads to the edge of Grand Canyon. (At the time of production, the real Evel Knievel was hyping a jump over the Grand Canyon.)
As the movie closes over the Grand Canyon, George Hamilton delivers a voice-over monologue in the Knievel character. In the monologue, he describes himself as the "last gladiator", which would later be used by the real Evel Knievel in his 1998 documentary, The Last of the Gladiators
Below is a transcript of the monologue from the movie:
Important people in this country, celebrities like myself — Elvis, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne — we have a responsibility. There are millions of people that look at our lives and it gives theirs some meaning. People come out from their jobs, most of which are meaningless to them, and they watch me jump 20 cars, maybe get splattered. It means something to them. They jump right alongside of me — they take the bars in their hands, and for one split second, they’re all daredevils. I am the last gladiator in the new Rome. I go into the arena and I compete against destruction and I win. And next week, I go out there and I do it again. And this time — civilization being what it is and all — we have very little choice about our life. The only thing really left to us is a choice about our death. And mine will be — glorious.
- George Hamilton (actor) as Evel Knievel
- Sue Lyon as Linda
- Bert Freed as Doc Kincaid
- Rod Cameron (actor) as Charlie Knesson
- Dub Taylor as Turquoise Smith
- Ron Masak as Pete
- Hal Baylor as The Sheriff
A script had been written by a writer, but George Hamilton was not happy with it. He offered to pay John Milius $5,000 to write some lines in the script. Milius says he went to Hamilton's home at Palm Springs to read the script "and it was terrible. So I threw the script in the pool and beat on it with an oar. And of course the script was waterlogged, so I just wrote another one. He later told me he knew that if I got down there with that script I'd write another one."
The motion picture has fallen out of copyright and is in the public domain. The most common version of the film (available on DVD and various streaming media) is from a faded 16 mm print. Scratches on both the audio and video track are easily detectable.
The music is conducted by Patrick Williams (composer). The title song, "I Do What I Please", is played throughout the film, including the opening and closing credits, and the montage of the real Evel Knievel's stunt riding.
Category:Films based on actual events
Category:1970s action thriller films
Category:Films directed by Marvin J. Chomsky