If you’re a fan of car chases in movies, you might have heard of The Seven-Ups, a 1973 action film directed by Philip D’Antoni. While the movie might not be as famous as Bullitt or The French Connection, it features one of the most memorable car chase sequences of the 1970s, thanks to the expertise of legendary stuntman Bill Hickman. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Hickman’s work on The Seven-Ups, and why this chase scene is still talked about by movie fans today.

The Players: Scheider, Hickman, and Summers

The Seven-Ups stars Roy Scheider as Buddy Manucci, a detective in the NYPD’s Major Crimes Unit. Throughout the movie, Buddy and his team are investigating a series of kidnappings involving the “seven-ups,” a group of criminals who demand a seven-year sentence or more to justify their crimes. While the plot of the movie might be forgettable, the car chase scene is anything but.

Driving the car being chased by Scheider is none other than Bill Hickman, a veteran stuntman and driver who had worked on some of the most iconic car chase scenes in cinema history. Hickman had previously worked with D’Antoni on Bullitt and The French Connection, and his skills behind the wheel were second to none. However, for The Seven-Ups, Hickman brought in a friend and fellow stuntman, Jerry Summers, to double for Scheider in some of the more dangerous stunts.

The Chase: Bouncing Down the Gradients

The car chase in The Seven-Ups is reminiscent of the one in Bullitt, which is no surprise considering both movies were produced by D’Antoni and featured Hickman behind the wheel. In both chases, the cars bounce down the gradients of a major city, with the camera capturing every tire-busting slide and close call. In The Seven-Ups, the chase takes place in uptown New York, with Hickman’s 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville pursued by Scheider’s Pontiac Ventura.

What makes the chase scene so memorable is its gritty realism and the danger of each stunt. Hickman and Summers put their lives on the line to capture the perfect shot, and it shows on screen. There is almost no dialogue during the chase, as the camera focuses on the nervous faces of the actors behind the wheel. The sound of the engines, the screeching of the tires, and the crashes of metal against metal are all the soundtrack the audience needs.

Behind the Scenes: The Real Danger

While the chase scene in The Seven-Ups is thrilling to watch, it’s important to remember that it was incredibly dangerous to film. In the behind-the-scenes featurette of the 2006 DVD, viewers can see Hickman co-ordinating the chase from the street, where he was just as much at risk as the actors in the cars. One particularly memorable moment occurs when a stuntman in a parked car opens his door, only to have Hickman’s vehicle take it completely off its hinges. The force of the impact could have easily killed the camera team that was set up just yards away.

The End: An Homage to Jayne Mansfield

The end of the chase scene in The Seven-Ups is a nod to the death of Jayne Mansfield, a famous actress who died in a car accident in 1967. In the movie, one of the cars smashes into the back of an eighteen-wheel truck, peeling off its roof like a tin of sardines. It’s a shocking end to a thrilling ride, and it cements the chase scene

The car chase in The Seven-Ups is a perfect example of what makes a great action sequence in a movie. It’s exciting, dangerous, and expertly choreographed, thanks to the talents of Bill Hickman and his team. While the movie might not be remembered for much else, the car chase scene is still talked about by movie fans today, nearly 50 years after it was first released. If you’re a fan of action movies or car chases, The Seven-Ups is definitely worth checking out.