The Cannonball Run is a 1981 comedy film starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, and an all-star supporting cast. It was directed by Hal Needham, and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. One of 1981’s most successful films at the box office, it was followed by Cannonball Run II (1984), and Speed Zone!(1989). This and the 1984 sequel were the final film appearances of actor Dean Martin.
The film continued director Hal Needham’s tradition of showing bloopers during the closing credits (a practice he started with Smokey and the Bandit II). Jackie Chan says this inspired him to do the same at the end of most of his films.
The plot of a cross-country road race is based on an actual event, the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, organized by Brock Yates to protest the 55 mph speed limit then in effect in the U.S. The Cannonball was named for Erwin G. “Cannonball” Baker, who in the roaring 20’s rode his motorcycle across the country. Many of the characters are based on ruses developed by real Cannonball racers over the several years that the event was run.