Viva Knievel! (1977)

PG | 104 mins | Adventure | 3 June 1977

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Producer:

Stan Hough

Cinematographer:

Fred Jackman

Editor:

Harold F. Kress

Production Designer:

Ward Preston

Production Company:

Metropolitan Theatres Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

DV production charts between 2 Jul 1976 and 17 Sep 1976 listed the production company as Irwin Allen Productions. However, production-related materials in the AMPAS library files and onscreen credits only credited Metropolitan Theatres Corp. A 9 Jun 1976 DV brief reported Irwin Allen would serve as “supervising producer,” but he is not credited onscreen.
       A 2 Jun 1976 DV news item stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 15 Jun 1976. A 16 Jun 1976 Long Beach, CA, Independent Press-Telegram classified advertisement called for background actors to work at a Long Beach War Memorial Stadium shoot on 25 Jun 1976 for “two or three days.” A 30 Aug 1976 Newsweek article, published during production, estimated the film’s budget at $4 million.
       According to a 17 Oct 1976 Parade news item, motorcycle jumper P. T. Love doubled for Evel Knievel and performed the most dangerous jumps in the film.
       The 2 Jun 1977 DV review declared that Knievel leaped “over a mountain of blazing clichés and a cavernous plot, somehow landing upright to the predictable cheers of his legion of ... More Less

DV production charts between 2 Jul 1976 and 17 Sep 1976 listed the production company as Irwin Allen Productions. However, production-related materials in the AMPAS library files and onscreen credits only credited Metropolitan Theatres Corp. A 9 Jun 1976 DV brief reported Irwin Allen would serve as “supervising producer,” but he is not credited onscreen.
       A 2 Jun 1976 DV news item stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 15 Jun 1976. A 16 Jun 1976 Long Beach, CA, Independent Press-Telegram classified advertisement called for background actors to work at a Long Beach War Memorial Stadium shoot on 25 Jun 1976 for “two or three days.” A 30 Aug 1976 Newsweek article, published during production, estimated the film’s budget at $4 million.
       According to a 17 Oct 1976 Parade news item, motorcycle jumper P. T. Love doubled for Evel Knievel and performed the most dangerous jumps in the film.
       The 2 Jun 1977 DV review declared that Knievel leaped “over a mountain of blazing clichés and a cavernous plot, somehow landing upright to the predictable cheers of his legion of fans.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
[Long Beach, CA] Independent Press-Telegram
16 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1976.
---
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1977
p. 2, 7.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jul 1977
p. 11.
New York Times
28 Jul 1977
p. 17.
Newsweek
30 Aug 1976.
---
Variety
8 Jun 1977
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Sherrill C. Corwin production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Supv prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Prod mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec asst to prod
Post prod supv
Casting
Loc mgr
Asst to exec prod
Asst to exec prod
Unit pub
Dial coach
Prod services and equip by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Ramp supv
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Seconds to Live
Release Date:
3 June 1977
Premiere Information:
Albuquerque, NM opening: 3 June 1977
Los Angeles opening: 15 July 1977
New York opening: 27 July 1977
Production Date:
began 15 June 1976 in Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 June 1977
Copyright Number:
PA4160
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel visits a boys’ orphanage in the middle of the night, delivering gifts and chocolate for Sister Charity. Later, Evel’s crew prepares for a jump at a stadium in Long Beach, California, as his mentor, Will Atkins, and promoter, Ben Andrews, argue about safety issues. When Evel arrives, he warns Will to behave himself. Meanwhile, a helicopter lands on the field, bringing a photographer, Kate Morgan, who informs Evel that she is there to photograph him in case it is his last jump. In private, Ben calls Will an alcoholic, but Evel defends his mentor and demands that Ben pay him the money he is owed for his previous jump. Elsewhere, another promoter, Stanley Millard, hires Evel’s rival and former protégé, Jessie Hammond, in a plot to lure Evel to Mexico. That night, Jessie drugs Will as he works on Evel’s motorcycles. When the old man slips into unconsciousness, Jessie photographs every detail of Evel’s bikes and trailer. In the morning, Evel chides Will for drinking and is surprised to see Jessie, who says he has a proposal. Before they can talk, Kate arrives, and Evel challenges her to ride on the back of his bike. Evel performs wheelies and drives Kate down the stadium steps, but he fails to impress the young woman. Will’s estranged ten-year-old son, Tommy, whom he has never met, arrives unexpectedly carrying a scrapbook of his father’s accomplishments as a motorcycle jumper, but Will shows little interest in the boy. Later, Will cries as he looks through the scrapbook. On Millard’s behalf, Jessie offers Evel $500,000 to do five jumps in Mexico, but Evel declines, citing a prior commitment to Ben. ... +


Motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel visits a boys’ orphanage in the middle of the night, delivering gifts and chocolate for Sister Charity. Later, Evel’s crew prepares for a jump at a stadium in Long Beach, California, as his mentor, Will Atkins, and promoter, Ben Andrews, argue about safety issues. When Evel arrives, he warns Will to behave himself. Meanwhile, a helicopter lands on the field, bringing a photographer, Kate Morgan, who informs Evel that she is there to photograph him in case it is his last jump. In private, Ben calls Will an alcoholic, but Evel defends his mentor and demands that Ben pay him the money he is owed for his previous jump. Elsewhere, another promoter, Stanley Millard, hires Evel’s rival and former protégé, Jessie Hammond, in a plot to lure Evel to Mexico. That night, Jessie drugs Will as he works on Evel’s motorcycles. When the old man slips into unconsciousness, Jessie photographs every detail of Evel’s bikes and trailer. In the morning, Evel chides Will for drinking and is surprised to see Jessie, who says he has a proposal. Before they can talk, Kate arrives, and Evel challenges her to ride on the back of his bike. Evel performs wheelies and drives Kate down the stadium steps, but he fails to impress the young woman. Will’s estranged ten-year-old son, Tommy, whom he has never met, arrives unexpectedly carrying a scrapbook of his father’s accomplishments as a motorcycle jumper, but Will shows little interest in the boy. Later, Will cries as he looks through the scrapbook. On Millard’s behalf, Jessie offers Evel $500,000 to do five jumps in Mexico, but Evel declines, citing a prior commitment to Ben. At the stadium, Evel attempts a world record jump over open cages filled with lions and tigers. He crash lands, but insists on addressing the crowd and announces that they have probably just witnessed his final jump. In the hospital, however, Evel changes his mind and considers Millard’s offer. Kate visits Evel before leaving for South America to cover a revolution. When she learns of his decision to continue jumping, she drives to Mexico with Will, chastising him along the way for withholding affection from Tommy. Later, Evel gives Tommy a motorcycle and Will is angry. As the men argue, Evel admits that he arranged for Tommy to spend the summer with his father, but Kate intercedes, claiming that neither man is doing what is right for the boy. Meanwhile, Millard builds a replica of Evel’s trailer and reveals his plan to kill the daredevil, and then use the replica to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Will suspects Jessie is up to something and sneaks into his room, where he discovers the photographs Jessie took while Will was unconscious. However, Will is caught and Millard’s men drug the man, place him in a sanitarium, and attempt to convince Evel that his mentor is an addict. Millard shows Jessie a special motorcycle called the Strato-Cycle that he built in the event that something happens to Evel and Jessie must replace him. Meanwhile, Millard’s henchman, Barton, tests a remote control device that will blow up Evel’s tire at the moment he attempts the big jump. Evel sneaks into the sanitarium to see Will and learns of Millard’s plan, but he insists that Will stay in the hospital so as not to alert Millard of their suspicions. At the stadium, Evel promises Tommy that he will secure his father’s release once he completes the jump over a 150-foot pit of fire. Jessie overhears Millard and his right-hand man, Cortland, plotting Evel’s murder. Moments before Evel’s jump, Jessie informs him of Millard’s plans. Evel accuses Jessie of being high on drugs, but Jessie knocks him unconscious and replaces him for the jump. Barton detonates the tire as planned and Jessie is killed on impact. Millard calls the sanitarium and orders therapist Ralph Thompson to give Will the “complete treatment,” but Evel steals the Strato-Cycle and rescues his mentor. They then discover the duplicate trailer and see Millard and his men kidnap Kate and Tommy. When Millard orders his henchmen, Norman and Barton, to take Kate, the boy, and the trailer to the desert, Evel and Will follow on motorcycles. As Will pursues Millard and Cortland’s Porsche, Cortland shoots at him and he crashes down a hillside. As the trailer passes through a tunnel, Evel launches his motorcycle from an overpass and lands atop the moving vehicle. The daredevil disconnects a cable, causing the trailer’s brakes to lock and Norman to lose control and skid to a halt. After restraining Norman, Evel hides Kate and Tommy safely behind a hill. Back on his motorcycle, Evel locates the Porsche and leads Millard and Cortland on a chase through a small village. The Porsche plunges over a cliff and explodes, killing the two men. Will, unhurt after his crash, reunites with Tommy as Kate and Evel share a kiss. A week later, Evel successfully completes the fire jump before a packed stadium. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.