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The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)

The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American-German crime action film directed by Rob Cohen and written by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. It is the first installment in The Fast and the Furious franchise. It was released in the United States on June 22, 2001. The Fast and the Furious follows Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), an undercover cop tasked with discovering the identities of a group of unknown automobile hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel).

The Fast and the Furious
Fast and the furious poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Cohen[1]
Produced byNeal H. Moritz
Screenplay by
Story byGary Scott Thompson
Music byBT
CinematographyEricson Core
Edited byPeter Honess
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[2]
Release date
  • June 22, 2001 (2001-06-22) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[3]
Budget$38 million[3]
Box office$207.3 million[3]

Development for The Fast and the Furious arose after Cohen read a Vibe magazine article in 1998 titled "Racer X", which detailed the illegal street racing circuit operating within New York City.[4] After contacting producer Neal H. Moritz, Moritz was able to present the script to Universal Studios, who greenlit The Fast and the Furious in 2000.[5] Walker was the first actor to sign onto the project, while Diesel initially had to be persuaded to participate in the film, accepting after proposing several script changes.[6]

Principal photography began in Los Angeles in July 2000, with the majority of filming being done on location in Los Angeles and southern California, which ended in October 2000.[7]

Upon release, The Fast and the Furious was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide. It received generally positive reviews, with praise directed at both Walker and Diesel's performance, and the film's action sequences.[8][9] However, some were critical of parts of the storyline and the ending.[10] It was later re-released on June 22, 2016, to commemorate the film's fifteenth anniversary.[3]

The Fast and the Furious soon launched a media franchise and a series of seven sequels, starting with 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003.



On the docks outside Los Angeles, a truck is loaded with electronics, and a dockside worker notifies an anonymous person about the shipment. On the road, the truck is approached by three modified Honda Civics with green underglow. The perpetrators then proceed to harpoon and board the truck, knock out the driver, and corral the semi allowing them to heist the electronics and escape into the night.

The next day, undercover LAPD officer Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is assigned to find the gang responsible for the crimes. While visiting Toretto's Market, he flirts with the shop's owner Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), the sister of notorious street racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Dominic's team, which consists of his friends Vince (Matt Schulze), Leon (Johnny Strong), Jesse (Chad Lindberg), and his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), arrive. Vince, who has a crush on Mia, engages in a rough struggle with Brian, which Dominic is forced to break up.

Later that night during a street racing gathering, Brian arrives in his modified Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Dominic arrives in his Mazda RX-7. Dominic organizes a drag race with himself, Brian, and two other drivers. Brian, out of cash, wagers the pink slip for his car. During the race, Brian damages the intake manifold on his engine, handing the victory to Dominic. But as Brian prepares to hand over his car, the LAPD arrives, forcing everyone to flee. Dominic parks his car in a garage to limit suspicions by walking home, but is immediately spotted by a police cruiser. Brian arrives and saves him from the cops. The duo unknowingly venture into the territory of Dominic's old racing rival, gang leader Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and his cousin, Lance Nguyen (Reggie Lee). After confronting Brian and Dominic, Tran and Lance destroy Brian's car. Afterwards, Dominic reminds Brian that he owes him a car as a price for losing the race.

Brian goes to Dominic's garage, where he brings a totaled Toyota Supra as a replacement for the Eclipse. As Dominic and his crew begin the process of repairing the car, Brian begins dating Mia. Brian investigates Tran, convinced that he is responsible for the truck hijackings. One night during an investigation of a garage, he is cornered by Vince and Dominic, who demand an explanation. Brian lies about checking the cars of his rivals for the upcoming Race Wars, a street racing event in the desert. Brian, Vince, and Dominic then check out Tran's garage, and while there, Brian notices a large shipment of electronics in the garage.

Brian reports the batch of electronics to his superiors, and they arrest Tran and Lance. The raid turns out to be a bust, however, as it turns out the electronics had been purchased legally, and despite his doubts, Brian is now forced to assume that Dominic is the actual coordinator of the truck heists. Brian's superiors then give him just 36 hours to find the perpetrators, as the truckers are now arming themselves to defend against hijackings.

The next day, with the Supra restored, Dominic invites Brian to Race Wars, and he tells them that they will talk after Brian has proven himself. At Race Wars, Jesse wagers his father's Volkswagen Jetta to Tran, but flees with the car after he loses. Tran confronts Dominic to claim the car, and accuses him of reporting him to the police. Outraged, Dominic attacks Tran. Later that night, Brian notices the crew leaving, and realizes that Dominic and his crew are the hijackers. He then reveals his true identity to Mia, who is infuriated, but Brian compels her to reveal the location of the vehicles and aid him in his plans.

Meanwhile, Dominic, Letty, Vince, and Leon prepare to hijack a semi-trailer truck, which is also to be their last heist. However, the truck driver is armed, and Vince becomes trapped on the side of the truck and shot by the driver, while the driver causes Letty to be run off the road. Brian soon arrives with Mia, who commandeers the Supra while Brian rescues Vince. When Dominic arrives, Brian is forced to blow his cover and call for a medical evacuation to rescue Vince. Dominic leaves with Mia and the rest of the crew after Vince is saved.

Brian arrives at Dominic's house, and sees him pull his father's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T out of the garage. Brian confronts Dominic regarding Jesse's whereabouts, pushing him to seek police assistance. Jesse soon arrives, apologizing for his actions, and pleads for protection against Tran and Lance. He is then killed in a drive-by shooting by Tran and Lance. Dominic and Brian pursue them, with Dominic ramming Lance's bike off the road before Brian shoots Tran, who totals his bike into a curb. Brian then sees and pursues Dominic, culminating in a quarter-mile drag race. The race ends as they barely manage to cross a railroad crossing before a train passes by, but Dominic violently crashes into a semi-truck. Instead of arresting Dominic, Brian gives him the keys to his own car, telling him he still owes him a ten-second car; Dominic is then able to escape. Brian then walks away, now a fugitive.

In the post-credits scene, Dominic is seen driving through Baja California, in a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.


  • Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, a Los Angeles Police Department officer who is sent undercover by a joint LAPD-FBI task force to infiltrate the crew of truck hijackers to earn his detective's badge. He works undercover at The Racer's Edge, a chop shop owned by a police informant, to connect with the street racing scene and find out more about the crews. He bonds with Dom after saving him from getting arrested. Brian drives a 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and an orange 1995[11] Toyota Supra. In the process he also develops a romantic relationship with Dom's sister Mia, and a rivalry with Dom's best friend Vince.
  • Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, a professional street racer and leader of the hijackers. He lives with his sister Mia and fronts as a legitimate mechanic providing tune ups and repairs. The Toretto family business is both a repair shop and a general store. His father was a stock car driver, who was accidentally killed during a race by fellow driver Kenny Linder. In retaliation, Dominic violently attacked Linder leaving him crippled and unable to drive again. Dom served two years in Lompoc and received a lifetime ban from professional racetracks. Dominic becomes a street racer and starts hijacking with his crew, where he is both the operational leader and lead driver. He has a custom-built 1970 Dodge Charger that he inherited from his dad and which remains parked in the Toretto garage. The Charger is unused because of his fear of the vehicle's raw power. He daily drives a Red Mazda RX-7 and is the car he mainly uses for street races.
  • Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz, Dom's girlfriend and part of the crew. Letty lived down the block from Dom and the two became romantically involved at 16. Letty is street-smart and a skilled mechanic and driver, using her skills as one of the drivers during hijackings. She drives a dark-faded red 1997 Nissan 240SX.
  • Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, Dom's sister. Although aware of Dom's criminal activities, she is not part of the crew. She runs a general store where the crew usually meets, and is Brian's love interest, unaware that he is a police officer. Mia is sad that her brother is a criminal, and wishes that he would reform his ways. Mia is also a skilled driver and drives an aqua-blue 1994 Acura Integra.
  • Rick Yune as Johnny Tran, Dominic's main rival and Vietnamese gang leader of the Little Saigon crew. He is initially Brian's prime suspect in the hijacking case. Tran usually drives motorcycles with his cousin Lance, and uses a Honda S2000 for competition at Race Wars. Tran comes from a very wealthy family, and has only minor offences on his criminal record. Tran shoots Jesse at the very end, and is subsequently shot by Brian.
  • Chad Lindberg as Jesse, Dominic's friend and part of the crew. He grew up on the streets and he was brought into the crew by Leon. Jesse's father is an old friend of Dom, who is serving time in jail. Although he is brilliant in math and algebra, Jesse suffers from ADD, which resulted in him dropping out of high school. A computer expert, Jesse also participates in hijackings as a driver. Jesse races in his white 1995 Volkswagen Jetta. He is shot by Tran when he fails to pay the debt he owed Tran following a pink slip race wager made to him at Race Wars.
  • Johnny Strong as Leon, Dominic's friend and part of the crew. He grew up with Vince and serves as an attacker during the hijacking, usually pulling out windshields of trucks to create safe passage for Vince. He drives a yellow 1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33. After the heist, it is suggested that he left L.A.
  • Matt Schulze as Vince, Dominic's childhood friend and part of the crew. He grew up with Dom and Leon. He has a crush on Dom's sister Mia, though she does not reciprocate, and forms a rivalry with Brian due to Mia's romantic interest in him as well as Dom and Brian's developing friendship. He also suspects that Brian is a police officer. Vince drives a blue 1999 Nissan Maxima. During the course of the crew's final hijacking, they encounter an armed truck driver who grazes Vince with a shotgun blast, wounding him. It is implied that Vince escapes from the hospital and flees to South America, settling in Rio de Janeiro.

The central cast is rounded out by Ted Levine and Thom Barry as Tanner and Bilkins respectively, members of the team that organized the investigation to place Brian undercover. Noel Gugliemi appears as Hector, the organizer of the drag race. Musicians Ja Rule and R.J. de Vera also act as Edwin and Danny, fellow drivers at the drag race. Vyto Ruginis plays Harry, an informant and owner of The Racer's Edge. Reggie Lee portrays Lance Nguyen, Tran's cousin, and right-hand man. Neal H. Moritz and Rob Cohen both appear in cameos.


Development and filmingEdit

Director Rob Cohen was inspired to make this film after reading a 1998 Vibe magazine article called "Racer X" about street racing in New York City[12] and watching an actual illegal street race at night in Los Angeles. The film's original title was Redline before it was changed to The Fast and The Furious.[13] Roger Corman licensed the title rights of his 1955 film The Fast and the Furious to Universal so that the title could be used on this project; both films were about racing.[14]

Producer Neal H. Moritz, who had previously worked with Paul Walker on the film The Skulls (2000), gave the actor a script and offered him the role of Brian O'Conner. Originally, the studio told the producers they would green-light the film if they could get Timothy Olyphant to play the role of Dom Toretto. Olyphant, who had starred in the previous year's car-themed blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds, declined the role, however. Moritz instead suggested Diesel, who had to be convinced to take the role even though he had only played supporting roles up to that point.[15]

The film was shot in various locations within Los Angeles and parts of southern California, from July to October 2000. Key locations included Dodger Stadium (on the opening scene where Brian tests his Eclipse on the parking lot), Angelino Heights, Silver Lake and Echo Park (the neighborhoods around Toretto's home), as well as Little Saigon (where Tran destroys the Eclipse) and the San Bernardino International Airport (the venue for Race Wars, which attracted over 1,500 import car owners and enthusiasts).[16] The entire last rig heist scene was filmed along Domenigoni Parkway on the southern side of San Jacinto/Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley near Diamond Valley Lake.

Prior to filming, both Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez did not have driver's licenses, so they took driving lessons during production. For the climactic race scene between Brian and Toretto, separate shots of both cars crossing the railroad and the train crossing the street were filmed, then composited together to give the illusion of the train narrowly missing the cars. A long steel rod was used as a ramp for Toretto's car to crash through the semi-truck and fly in mid-air.

An alternate ending titled "More than Furious" was filmed, in which Tanner drops Brian off at the Toretto home, where he encounters Mia packing, intending to move away. Brian reveals that he resigned from the LAPD, who let him go quietly, and that he wants another chance with her. When Mia tells him that it's not going to be that simple, Brian tells her that he's got time. This ending was released in the collection bundle DVD version.


The film's score was composed by music producer BT, mixing electronica with hip-hop and industrial influences. Two soundtracks were released for the film. The first one features mostly hip-hop and rap music. The second one, titled More Fast and Furious, features alternative metal, post-grunge and nu metal songs, as well as select tracks from BT's score.


Box officeEdit

The Fast and the Furious was released on June 22, 2001 in North America and ranked #1 at the box office, earning $40,089,015 during its opening weekend. Its widest release was 2,889 theaters. During its run, the film has made a domestic total of $144,533,925 along with a international total of $62,750,000 bringing its worldwide total of $207,283,925 on a budget of $38 million.[17]

Critical receptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating of 53% based on reviews from 147 critics and an average score of 5.4/10. The critical consensus reads: "Sleek and shiny on the surface, The Fast and the Furious recalls those cheesy teenage exploitation flicks of the 1950s."[18] On Metacritic, the film has score of 58 out of 100 based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[19] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+, on a scale from A to F.[20]

Todd McCarthy of Variety called the film "a gritty and gratifying cheap thrill, Rob Cohen's high-octane hot-car meller is a true rarity these days, a really good exploitationer, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed."[21][dead link] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "an action picture that's surprising in the complexity of its key characters and portents of tragedy."[22] Vin Diesel's portrayal of Dominic Torretto won praise, with Reece Pendleton of the Chicago Reader writing that "Diesel carries the movie with his unsettling mix of Zen-like tranquillity and barely controlled rage." [23]

Other reviews were more mixed. Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today gave the film 2​12 out of 4 stars, saying that Cohen "at least knows how to keep matters moving and the action sequences exciting."[24] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C, saying it "works hard to be exciting, but the movie scarcely lives up to its title."[25] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post gave the film a scathing review, calling it "Rebel Without a Cause without a cause. The Young and the Restless with gas fumes. The Quick and the Dead with skid marks."[26] Paul Clinton of CNN wrote that Cohen "created a high-octane, rubber-burning extravaganza" but he criticized the film for "plot holes you could drive the proverbial truck through" and an idiotic ending.[27]


Award Category Nominee Result
AFI Award Cinematographer of the Year Ericson Core Nominated
ALMA Award Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack The Fast and the Furious Nominated
ASCAP Award Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures Caddillac Tah Won
Black Reel Theatrical - Best Actor Vin Diesel Nominated
BMI Film Music Award BT Won
Golden Trailer Best Action The Fast and the Furious Nominated
Hollywood Breakthrough Award Breakthrough Male Performance Paul Walker Won
Golden Reel Award (Motion Picture Sound Editors) Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film Bruce Stambler (supervising sound editor)
Jay Nierenberg (supervising sound editor)
Michael Dressel (supervising foley editor)
Steve Mann (sound editor)
Kim Secrist (sound editor)
Steve Nelson (sound editor)
Howard Neiman (sound editor)
Glenn Hoskinson (sound editor)
Tim Walston (sound effects designer)
Charles Deenen (sound effects designer)
Scott Curtis (foley editor)
Dan Yale (foley editor)
Golden Reel Award (Motion Picture Sound Editors) Best Sound Editing - Dialogue & ADR, Domestic Feature Film Bruce Stambler (supervising sound editor)
Jay Nierenberg (supervising sound editor)
Becky Sullivan (supervising dialogue editor/supervising adr editor)
Mildred Iatrou (dialogue editor)
Donald L. Warner Jr. (dialogue editor)
Robert Troy (dialogue editor)
Paul Curtis (dialogue editor)
William Dotson (dialogue editor)
Cathie Speakman (dialogue editor)
Nicholas Vincent Korda (adr editor)
Lee Lemont (adr editor)
MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Team Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
MTV Movie Award Best Movie The Fast and the Furious Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance Vin Diesel Nominated
MTV Movie Award Breakthrough Male Performance Paul Walker Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Action Sequence The Fast and the Furious Nominated
Taurus Award Best Driving Matt Johnston
Mike Justus
Debbie Evans
Tim Trella
Christopher J. Tuck
Kevin Scott (semi driver)
Taurus Award Best Work With a Vehicle Christopher J. Tuck
Mike Justus
Taurus Award Best Stunt by a Stunt Woman Debbie Evans Won
Taurus Award Best Stunt by a Stunt Man Christopher J. Tuck
Tim Trella
Taurus Award Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director: Feature Film Mic Rodgers Won
Taurus Award Best Work With a Vehicle Jimmy N. Roberts Nominated
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Mike Justus Nominated

Home videoEdit

The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002. A second DVD entitled the "Tricked Out Edition", released on June 3, 2003, featured The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious, a short film that set the tone to the film's sequel. An abridged version of the short film is also on the sequel's DVD release.


Racing Champions released diecast metal replicas of the film's cars in different scales from 1/18 to 1/64.[28] RadioShack sold ZipZaps micro RC versions of the cars in 2002.[29] 1/24 scale plastic model kits of the hero cars were manufactured by AMT Ertl.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Furious". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Fast and the Furious". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Fast and the Furious (2001)".
  4. ^ "Racer X, the story that inspired Fast & The Furious". Decibel Car.
  5. ^ Ross, Robyn (April 12, 2017). "Vin Diesel Almost Wasn't Dom in 'The Fast & the Furious'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Vin Diesel: 7 Things You Don't Know About Me". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  7. ^ Elvis Mitchell (2001-06-22). "Getaway Drivers, Take Note: This One's Made for You". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Pendleton, Reece. "The Fast and the Furious". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  9. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety.
  10. ^ CNN – Review: The Fast and the Furious Runs on Empty
  11. ^ "The Fast & Furious Supra Will Sell For More Than You Can Afford, Pal". Jalopnik. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  12. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (March 26, 2015). "Meet the Writer Who Made 'The Fast and the Furious' Possible". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Interview found on the original DVD release
  14. ^ "Roger Corman: How I Made 400 Films, Mentored Coppola and Ended Up Fighting in Court for My Fortune". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  15. ^ Ross, Robyn (April 12, 2017). "Vin Diesel Almost Wasn't Dom in 'The Fast & the Furious'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "Fast and the Furious, The : Production Notes". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  17. ^ "The Fast and the Furious-Box Office Mojo".
  18. ^ "The Fast and the Furious". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media.
  19. ^ "The Fast and the Furious Reviews-Metacritic".
  20. ^ FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE (2001) CinemaScore
  21. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety.
  22. ^ "Entertainment News - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  23. ^ Pendleton, Reece. "The Fast and the Furious". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  24. ^ " - Car hoods rev up in 'Fast and Furious'". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  25. ^ "The Fast and the Furious". 22 June 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  26. ^ The Washington Post – Fast Leaving Logic in the Dust
  27. ^ CNN – Review: The Fast and the Furious Runs on Empty
  28. ^ Racing Champions Ertl Company Press Release Archived 2004-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Micro RC Cars: Mods - RadioShack ZipZaps - These Zaps Zip From Radio Shack". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  30. ^ AMT Ertl – The Fast and the Furious Archived 2004-11-02 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit