The Gumball Rally (1976)

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Released 15-Feb-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 102:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Charles Bail

Warner Home Video
Starring Michael Sarrazin
Norman Burton
Gary Busey
John Durren
Susan Flannery
Harvey Jason
Steven Keats
Tim McIntire
Joanne Nail
J. Pat O'Malley
Tricia O'Neil
Lázaro Pérez
Nicholas Pryor
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Dominic Frontiere
David Pomeranz

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Based (loosely) on an actual coast-to-coast illegal race, and born out of the mid-seventies fuel crisis and a US national 55MPH speed limit, The Gumball Rally celebrates freedom and cheekily pokes its tongue out at over-strict government legislation and lowest common denominator laws.

    Michael Bannon (Michael Sarrazin) is a bored executive. During a long meeting he makes a phone call, gives the code-word "gumball", and so begins the organisation of the annual "Gumball Rally". Telegrams and phone calls containing just the word "gumball" go out and people from all walks of life make their way to New York to participate in this illegal rally from New York to Long Beach, California. The prize is merely a gumball machine but the real lure is the chance to have a good time in exotic machinery.

    What follows is a cross country motorised Road-Runner and Coyote chase as the participants race each other and elude speed traps all the while pursued by Lieutenant Roscoe (Norman Burton), a Californian cop determined to stop the race and arrest the organisers.

    This is a film best described as "fun". The actors are clearly enjoying themselves, in particular Raul Julia, who plays his role as the lecherous Italian racing champion brought in as a ringer with obvious relish. The crashes are cartoon-like, and the cars look great. That's not to say you have to be a car nut to enjoy this movie. The list of entries - Ferrari Daytona, Mercedes-Benz 300SLR, Porsche 911 Targa, 427 Shelby Cobra and Chevrolet Camaro Z28 - will probably make this movie a must-see for lovers of classic cars, but even those who express no interest in cars should enjoy this harmless romp. It is, after all, a chase movie. The racers chase each other and the police chase the racers, and it's all done tongue firmly planted in cheek.

    The Gumball Rally was released in the same year as a similar film, Cannonball, and these were remade some 5 years later as the Burt Reynolds film Cannonball Run, which also spawned a couple of sequels. While the Cannonball Run series were essentially Burt Reynold's home movies with a host of his star mates in various cameo appearances, the cast of  The Gumball Rally were, at the time, relatively unknown. Perhaps because of this, The Gumball Rally is the best of this bunch.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Delivered in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced, this is a transfer not without flaws.

    A number of the earlier scenes are marred by film artefacts in the form of white specks flicking throughout scenes. Not bad to the point of unwatchable, but they are very distracting. These vanish as the movie progresses leaving a pretty clean second half of the film.

    Aliasing is present throughout the film and is particularly noticeable on car grilles and around windscreens.

    Aside from these, the transfer is sharp with well saturated colours and good shadow detail. An average transfer with some very noticeable flaws.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Dolby Digital 1.0. Hardly an audio track to get excited about but, hey, it was 1976 and stereo wasn't all that common in movies.

    Clear dialogue, well mixed and, given the limitations of the technology in 1976, an excellent soundtrack with nothing to complain about. While some may complain that it was not remixed into surround sound, I am glad they didn't and gave, instead, the original soundtrack. It fits with the look and feel of the movie and gives a more authentic back-to-the-seventies experience that is more than just the - for want of a better phrase - dress sense.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Not much in the way of extras to be found here. The menu is static with audio behind it, and a 2:18 theatrical trailer is the only extra.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 and Region 4 releases are essentially the same, with the differences limited to language and subtitle choices. Region 1 misses out on an Italian soundtrack and Czech, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, English for the Hearing Impaired and Italian for the Hearing Impaired subtitles. Region 4 misses out on French and Spanish subtitles.


    A good, fun movie that is great for a lazy veg-out in front of the TV. It won't over-tax your thinking but nicely wiles away 102 minutes. While not to everyone's taste, those that like this genre will find it entertaining, and isn't that what it's all about?

    Reasonable video that suffers from some artefacts.

    Basic, but clear, audio.

    No real extras to speak of.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596
SpeakersRichter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer

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