Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The most fantasmagorical musical entertainment in the history of everything!

Family Music Adventure
144 min     6.8     1968     United Kingdom


A hapless inventor finally finds success with a flying car, which a dictator from a foreign government sets out to take for himself.


John Chard wrote:
Fantasmagorical! Based on the novel written by James Bond creator Ian Flemming, this delightful fantasy charts the journey into the mysteriously childless world of Vulgaria by Caractacus Potts, his two children, Truly Scrumptious and super car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I think the main thing that makes this film work so well is that it has a little of everything to make a successful family movie. Catchy tunes at every turn, a fairy tale kingdom awash with colour, bonkers technology, and a little slice of wickedness involving class distinction. Split very much into two halves, Chitty at its core is really about forming a complete family. We are introduced to Caracatus (Dick Van Dyke) who is a single father, who is doing his best to raise his two children with moral fortitude. It's through the children's love of an old rusty car that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is born, and after pretty lady Truly Scrumptious (a gorgeous Sally Ann Howes) comes into their lives, all four of them enter the second half of the movie after having firmly capturing the audience's attention with a firming promise of a family in waiting. The second half of the picture then whisks us far away into fantasy territory. Vulagaria is ruled by crackers toy obsessive Baron Bomburst (Gert Fröbe in wonderful bacon sandwich mode), he has banned children, and naturally he has his sights set firmly on the magnificence that is Chitty Chitty. Bomburst sends out his child snatcher to nab Caracatus' kids in the hope of bargaining for the special car. The child snatcher played by Robert Helpman is as iconic as he is terrifying, wonky hat and pointy nose he lures children in with promises of sweets and treacle tarts, he thus became the invader of many a childs poor nightmares for sure. But this is a family film after all, and sure enough this splendid ride speeds to a joyous finale that is cloaked in colour and feel good eccentricity, yep, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang still works on repeat viewings. 8/10
CinemaSerf wrote:
This was never my favourite musical as child, but as I get older I think I appreciate it more. Sure, it has it's cheesy moments, but there is genuine chemistry between the characters on display here and coupled with some superbly catchy - and often poignant - lyrics from the Sherman twins, we are presented with a really quite enjoyable fable. The Potts family live in a dilapidated farmhouse. Grandfather (Lionel Jeffries); the well meaning but hopeless inventor of a father "Caractacus" (Dick Van Dyke) and the two children "Jeremy" (Adrian Hall) and "Jemima" (Heather Ripley). Luckily, one day the youngsters are nearly run over by "Truly" (Sally Ann Howes) the daughter of the wealthy confectioner "Lord Scrumptious" (James Robertson Justice). She might just be able to help the father make a few quid from her father with his sweets that double up as pan pipes. Meantime, the family manage to rescue an old rust bucket from the local garage, and lo and behold, enter our eponymous vehicle. It can drive, it can become an aeroplane, an hovercraft - indeed it can do just about everything bar make the tea. It's a must-have prize for the megalomaniac child-hater "Baron Bomburst" (Gert Fröbe - who really does enter into the spirit of the story), so the family must fight tooth and nail to stop their car, and themselves, falling into his malevolent hands. Ian Fleming demonstrates great imagination with this and Van Dyke shows off his varied skills well and engagingly. Howes over-cooks her singing at times, but the almost 2½ hours this story takes really does fly by. The Oscar winning "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"; the delightful "Hushabye Mountain"; "Me Ol' Bamboo" and Jeffries' enjoyable rendition of "Posh!" as he is gradually drowned in his outhouse all add bundles to this colourful and joyous series of well photographed escapades. Maybe it is wasted on youngsters? It certainly was on me!