In San Francisco, “Bullitt” is a cult classic. Why? Well, the 1968 cop film is not known for its plot, acting, or memorable lines—not even so much as a “Do you feel lucky, punk?” or “A man’s got to know his own limitations,” or, to go back a ways and up several levels in class, “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

“Bullitt” featured one of the most attractive stars of the day, Steve McQueen, to keep you watching. But the reason people remember it is the car scene. No one, before or since, has ever driven the streets of San Francisco the way McQueen and an ill-fated bad guy did in the extended chase—it goes on and on and on—that features cars vaulting down hills and and careering through many other (much-changed) San Francisco locations.

We mention it at all because of the news that Peter Yates, who directed the film, has passed away. (Yates should be better remembered, in our humble opinion, for the cycling/coming-of-age classic “Breaking Away.“)

Here’s Yates’s San Francisco masterpiece, if you’ve got 11 minutes:

Peter Yates, Director of ‘Bullitt’ and ‘Breaking Away,’ Dies 10 January,2011Dan Brekke


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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