The World's Fastest Indian [DVD]
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Adventure based on a true story starring Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins. Burt Munro (Hopkins) was a man who never let the dreams of youth fade. After a lifetime of perfecting his classic 1920s Indian Scout motorcycle, Munro set out at the age of 68 to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah with only a shoestring budget. With all the odds against him, he set a new land speed record and captured the spirit of his times.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Academy Award® winner, Anthony Hopkins stars as Burt Munro, a man who never let the dreams of youth fade.
In the late 1960's, after a lifetime of perfecting his classic INDIAN MOTORCYCLE, Burt Munro sets off from the bottom of the world, Invercargill, New Zealand, to clock his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. With all odds against him, Burt puts his irrepressible kiwi spirit to the test, braving the new world on a shoestring budget. Burt's quest culminates in an unlikely conclusion and remains legendary within the motorcycle community to this day.
Cast: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Antony Starr, Craig Hall, Jim Bowman, Alison Bruce, Phoebe Falconer, Charles Pierard, Barry Ryan, Bill Richardson, Mick Rose, Tony Wilson, Todd Emerson, Mark Ruka, Campbell Cooley, James Gaylyn, Latham Gaines, Steve O'Neill, Dan Moody, Carlos Lacamara, Noelle Lee Kaine, Chris Williams (Tina), Kristen Marie Jensen, Paul Rodriguez, Charles Halford, Mark Kolodziej Jr., Morgan Lund, Bill Osborne, Patrick John Flueger, Christopher Lawford, Brian Neal Clark, Kyle Shearing, Alex Cunningham, Aaron Geange, Dallas Ryan, Andrew Tree, Jarn Hayes, Glen Ridd, Jeremy Holmes, Jeff Manson, Tony Morris, John Sievwright, Craig Hubber, Peter Skerrett, Morgan Bickley, Roger Chilton, David Goodall, Alex Gonzales (uncredited), Joseph Daniel Hamilton (uncredited), Jim Jepson (uncredited), Aaron Justesen (uncredited), Thomas McMinn (uncredited), Grant Lee Peterson (uncredited), Aaron Radl (uncredited), Joe Ries (uncredited), J. Owen Rogers (uncredited), Tim Sabuco (uncredited) and Jimmy Stevens (uncredited)
Director: Roger Donaldson
Producers: Barrie M. Osborne, Charles Hannah, Don Schain, Gary Hannam, John J. Kelly, Masaharu Inaba, Megumi Fukasawa, Murray Francis, Roger Donaldson and Satoru Iseki
Screenplay: Roger Donaldson
Composer: J. Peter Robinson
Cinematography: David Gribble
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Running Time: 127 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: A highly-personal film for writer/director Roger Donaldson, the unpromisingly-entitled ‘The World's Fastest Indian’ tells the story of Burt Munro [1899 – 1978], a New Zealander who in the 1960s after his retirement, takes to rebuilding an old motorcycle and ends up setting all sorts of land speed records. It seems a very unlikely project for Roger Donaldson and indeed Sir Anthony Hopkins, who plays the lead, given his mostly action-based past, but has got simply incredibly reviews and ranks as one of the best-reviewed films in several years.
Burt Munro [Sir Anthony Hopkins] attempts to break the world land speed record for bikes with engines less than 1000 cc on his 1920 Indian Scout. Determined old Kiwi coot, Burt Munro decides that the 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle he's been tinkering with for the last 20 years is about ready for the big leagues. With the help of his neighbours, most of whom think he's insane, but he scrapes together enough money to sail to the USA. Once there, he goes about making his way to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats to compete for the world land speed record.
‘The World's Fastest Indian’ is a very engaging film, if occasionally very sentimental, which is nothing wrong in that, but this film is very character driven in the study of one man's will to succeed. If Sir Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Burt Munro is as accurate as some have claimed, especially according to the IMDb web site in telling us that his performance was so on-the-nail and it reduced Burt Munro's surviving relatives to tears when they visited the film set and then the land speed record breaker was arguably one of the most determined individuals to ever walk the face of the earth.
The film was something of a labour of love for its director and writer Roger Donaldson who apparently took 20 years to bring Burt Munro's story to the screen. While the film is set in 1967, in historical terms it plays more like an amalgamation of the many trips Burt Munro made out to Utah's Bonneville Flats and the first of these was in 1957. While many of the events which take place in the film actually happened, including his terrible crash. But his appearance in the publication “Popular Mechanics” and they even had a whip round with “Speed Week” to help him out of his financial. Purists are also urged to overlook the rather liberal attitude the film has towards portraying historical facts and chief among the inaccuracies is that while it's true that Burt Munro set numerous world records, he never set one of 201 mph as he does in the film.
The film makes much of Burt Munro's cavalier attitude toward his infirmities: an enlarged prostate that forces him to urinate frequently in unlikely places; partial deafness; and angina attacks, for which he stuffs fistfuls of pills down his throat when pain strikes. Yet in his late 60's, which he looks older, Burt Munro is still an enthusiastic lover who beds two mature women and leaves satisfied glows on their faces. One of them, when observed leaving his house in the morning, cracks: "What are you staring at? Dirty old men need love, too." Little boys look up to Burt. So do auto mechanics. Even his New Zealand neighbours, whom he annoys by revving up his engine in the early morning and by refusing to mow his lawn when pressed, he pours gasoline on it and sets it on fire, forgive his eccentricities. Burt Munro has his own extreme response to the adage that old age is not for sissies. "Danger is the spice of life," he declares. Of racing his bike, he says, "You live more in five minutes than most people live in a lifetime."
The 1920 Indian Twin Scout motorcycle that Burt Munro rides to glory is really his sidekick in a man-machine buddy film. Burt Munro frequently talks to the vehicle, a red, rocket-shaped automotive relic that has no brakes, has to be pushed to get moving and overheats and wobbles dangerously at peak speeds.
Sir Anthony Hopkins plays New Zealand folk hero and land speed record breaker Burt Munroe, Aaron Murphy plays his pre-adolescent sidekick Tom and Annie Whittle plays Burt Munro's love-interest, Fran. To test his limits at the Bonneville Salt Flats is Burt's lifelong dream. He scrapes up the money to sail from New Zealand to California, where he has upbeat encounters with everyone he meets. Tina [Chris Williams], a warm-hearted transvestite motel clerk who works the night shift at the seedy motel on the Sunset Strip where he stays, oozes sweetness. Fernando [Paul Rodriguez], a slick used-car salesman from whom he buys a beat-up old car to drive to Utah, offers him a job. A fresh-faced soldier [Patrick Flueger] on leave from Vietnam rhapsodises over Agent Orange. A wise old American Indian gives him shelter for the night. Together these good-hearted people make up one of the rosiest cross-sections of American types ever put on the screen. But as anyone who lived through the Vietnam era can attest, America was not Happyland, and there's not a hippie in sight.
Upon reaching the Utah racing ground, Burt encounters seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The official registration date was months earlier, and his motorcycle has none of the required safety features. But with the help of Jim Moffet [Chris Lawford], a friendly biker with a chipmunk grin who's on good terms with the officials, the rules are bent, and Burt Munro is allowed to race.
The climactic scene, in which he guns his vehicle to the astounding speed of 201 miles an hour while his fellow racers watch with scepticism that turns to awe and then to euphoria, is the same winner's sequence we've seen a hundred times before. If the film's pushing of the usual feel-good buttons is shameless, it doesn't go as wildly overboard as it might have. But in the end when the final credits roll up the screen, you get a warm glow of satisfaction that you have seen a film that gives you a warm glow of satisfaction.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The presentation is decent for the most part although some of the scenes set in the dark of Burt Munro's shed are thick with grain. It didn't stop me enjoying this unusual story. Although the MPEG-2 Blu-ray was an early release for the format, it's actually pretty good. The decision to change from the film's original aspect ratio was the choice of director Roger Donaldson.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is up to the task. It is particularly effective once the story reaches Bonneville Flats and we hear Burt Munro revving the engine to see what the Indian can achieve. The film is shot in such a way that you feel as if you're riding the bike, and the sound completes the effect.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Writer/Director Roger Donaldson: The commentary by Richard Donaldson is also enjoyable. He's got a pleasant voice, a charming demeanour, and he's got wall to wall stories including lots of little titbits about the real Burt Munro as well as his own experiences in America and how they found their way into the film. One neat fact was that they actually opened the film in Invercargill and he talks about the reaction of the people in the town. Richard Donaldson talks about how difficult it was to make things look fast in the sand flats where there was nothing to use around them as a speed reference. He also touches on making replica bikes, perfecting the script and some history that they were able to implement into the making of the film.
Special Feature Documentary: The Making of ‘The World's Fastest Indian’  [480i] [4:3] [45:25] Next special feature is "The Making of The World's Fastest Indian" where a second camera follows the cast and crew as they prepare and work on the film. There are sporadic bits of comments here as well but more or less this is a standard feature which isn't as enticing as Roger Donaldson's documentary.
Deleted Scenes  [480i] [4:3] [4:06] Here you have 4 deleted scenes and they include Grantsville County Clinic; You Crazy or Something, Filler-Up and Be Happy The Way You Are.
Special Feature: The original Documentary: Burt Munro: Offerings to the God of Speed  [480i] [4:3] [27:30] Featuring historical footage of the real Burt Munro and directed by Roger Donaldson. This documentary was made in 1971 and was, as I said earlier, created by Roger Donaldson. Thought made years and years ago, the documentary was very well shot, and it still hits right at home. There are so many great quotes that Burt Munro said in the documentary that carried into "The World’s Fastest Indian." This in itself was absolutely fun and entertaining to see how closely Anthony Hopkins pulled off the accent and the life of Burt Munro. Probably my favourite quote that Burt Munro informs us is, "You can live more in 5 minutes in some of these events, then some people do in a lifetime." You can really get to know Burt Munro, and his passion for racing and speed. This was his life...his main reason to live. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Produced by Michael Scott-Smith and Roger Donaldson. Music by John Donaghue and Martin Hope. Cinematography by Geoff Steven, Mike Smith and Roger Donaldson.
Special Feature: Promotional Video: Southland: Burt's Hometown of Invercargill  [480i] [16:9] [2:55] This feature video was an interesting promo for Southland, Burt Munro’s Hometown of Invercargill. It is just a quiet soundtrack that follows some highlights of Southland. Lots of fun excursions like horseback riding, kayaking, and waterfalls. It makes you want to go and visit Burt Munro’s home town of Southland!
Soundtrack Promo: “The World’s Fastest Indian” CD Album Soundtrack, featuring the Original Score by Conductor J. Peter Robinson and Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony [Milan Records]
Blu-ray Trailers: ‘The Lost City’ [1080p] [16:9] [2:15]. ‘District B13’ [1080p] [16:9] [1:45]
Finally, a beautiful and spirited film about a simple man's desire to live his dream and ‘The World's Fastest Indian’ is without a doubt Dir Anthony Hopkins' strongest contribution to cinema in well over a decade. His impersonation of Burt Monroe is flawless. The Blu-ray package by Magnolia Pictures is of very high-quality presenting the film without any technical sacrifices or omissions. The supplemental materials on the other hand are just as impressive adding additional flavour to an already spectacular presentation. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
There are many reasons why this film is great. Firstly, the "true" story of Kiwi Burt Monro - one of life's innocents, dropping all and heading off to the Salt Lake flats, is really an inspiring and moving one. I suspect that the incidents that happened on his journey have been dreamt up for the film, but we can forgive them for it. As a racer myself, I recognised the atmosphere there is at an event, with all the signing on, scruitineering, the adrenalin, the people etc.
Secondly, the script is very good. Burt Monro has some wonderful one liners, and the many characters that greet him on his long journey are interesting and show us more about Monro's character each time. This is the kind of film where you know the ending, but it's the journey and the small details that make it a delight.
Thirdly, the locations are awesome. I love road movies that travel the beautiful locations of America, and here you get the fantastic vistas, but of course with Burt pounding through them on his motorbike. The direction and the music, the thematic material and the shot in the arm the film gives you is really something - and there's one final element to congratulate for it...
Anthony Hopkins. Since his big Hollywood break Hopkins was on a roll. Then he started drifting towards the typical Hollywood roles that didn't suit his talents. And in recent years his creditability was at it's lowest ever, thanks to rubbish like Instinct, MI:II and Bad Company. I assumed he'd given up 'acting' for the easy paycheck. However, in this film he delivers what is probably one of his best ever performances, easily his best since 1994. He totally inhabbits the character, and he does what he does best - SHOW us the character in the small moments, and not repeat mannerisms. According to Kiwis his accent is particularly good, which was always a challenge for Hopkins. Had this film had more fanfare upon release he would have easily gotten an Oscar nomination, without a doubt. If his career goes back to below par as it was before this, we can be glad at least that he gave us the character of Burt Monro.
The World's Fastest Indian will not appeal to the ultra-cynical of person, but it should be an entertaining and uplifting experience to those who are able to give it attention. The film's message is simple: Life doesn't have to be as bad as people make out. Honesty's good. Being genuine is good. To me, this film is both of those things.
I really do prefer true movies and this I Strongly believe to be one of the very Best of them out there, so good in fact I just had to buy it.
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