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Peter Yates Gone

from The New York Times

Peter Yates, Filmmaker, Is Dead at 81

Peter Yates, right, on the set of “Bullitt” (1968) with Steve McQueen. Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, via Photofest


Peter Yates, a British-born director whose best-known films were well-observed tales of Americana, including the car-chase cop thriller “Bullitt” and the coming-of-age, bike-race comedy “Breaking Away,”died on Sunday in London. He was 81.

Mr. Yates’s reputation probably rests most securely on “Bullitt” (1968), his first American film — and indeed, on one particular scene, an extended car chase that instantly became a classic. The film stars Steve McQueen as a conscience-stricken lone-wolf San Francisco detective, and the chase begins with him behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang in a slow, cat-and-mouse pursuit of killers who were in a Dodge Charger. It escalates into high-speed screeches and thuds on city streets and ends in a fiery blast on a highway.

The chase, often paired in discussion with a New York City counterpart from William Friedkin’s “French Connection”, featured McQueen doing some of his own driving: a camera placed in the car and peering out the windshield registers the violent shifts in the driver’s perspective as the car bounds in chassis-challenging fashion over San Francisco’s famous hills.

[ click to read full obit at ]

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Editor

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