The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)

The Fast and the Furious
Fast and the furious poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Cohen[1]
Screenplay by
Story by Gary Scott Thompson
Based on "Racer X"
by Ken Li
Produced by Neal H. Moritz
Cinematography Ericson Core
Edited by Peter Honess
Music by BT
Distributed by Universal Pictures[2]
Release date
  • June 22, 2001 (2001-06-22) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[3]
Language English
Budget $38 million[3]
Box office $207.3 million[3]

The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 action film directed by Rob Cohen from a screenplay by Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, and David Ayer, with the story credited to Thompson. It is the first installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, and Ted Levine. In the film, Brian O'Conner, an undercover cop, is tasked with discovering the identities of a group of automobile hijackers led by Dominic Toretto.

Preparations for The Fast and the Furious began after Cohen was introduced to illegal street racing in May 1998,[citation needed] with the screenplay originally developed by Thompson and Bergquist; Walker and Diesel were cast in late 1999, and Diesel contributed to script rewrites with Ayer as the rest of the cast was finalized.[4] The production attended illegal street races, and is notable for its inclusion of street racers. After setting an initial release date for March 2001, principal photography began in July 2000 and lasted until that October,[5] with filming locations including Los Angeles and southern California.[6]

The Fast and the Furious was theatrically released in the United States on June 22, 2001, by Universal Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom praised the performances of Walker and Diesel and the action sequences,[7][8] but criticism for its storyline and the ending.[9] The film grossed over $200 million worldwide, becoming the 19th highest-grossing film of 2001. It launched a franchise starting with the sequel film 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), which then led to an industry of tie-in products, including video games, amusement park attractions, and spin-off works, and merchandise including toys and clothing. The Fast and the Furious was reissued in a limited release in June 2016, to commemorate its fifteenth anniversary.[3]


On a deserted highway, a heist crew driving three modified Honda Civics assault a truck carrying electronic goods, steal its cargo, and escape into the night. The following day, a joint Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and FBI task force sends LAPD officer Brian O'Conner undercover to locate the crew. He begins his investigation at Toretto's Market and flirts with its owner Mia, sister of the infamous street racer Dominic Toretto, while Dominic sits in the back office reading a newspaper. Dominic's crew, Vince, Leon, Jesse, and his girlfriend Letty, arrives. Vince, who has a crush on Mia, starts a fight with Brian until Dominic intervenes.

That night, Brian brings a modified 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse to an illegal street race, hoping to find a lead on the heist crew. Dominic arrives in his Mazda RX-7 and initiates a drag race between himself, Brian and two other drivers. Lacking funds, Brian is forced to wager his car. Dominic wins the race after Brian's car malfunctions, but the LAPD arrive before he can hand over his vehicle. Brian, in his car, helps Dominic escape, but they accidentally venture into the territory of Dominic's old racing rival, gang leader Johnny Tran and his cousin Lance Nguyen, who destroy Brian's vehicle. Dominic reiterates that Brian still owes him a "10 second car".

Brian brings a damaged 1994 Toyota Supra to Dominic's garage as a replacement. Dominic and his crew begin the long process of restoring the vehicle, and Brian starts dating Mia. He also begins investigating Tran, convinced that he is the mastermind behind the truck hijackings. While investigating one garage at night, Brian is discovered by Dominic and Vince. Brian convinces them that he is researching his opponents' vehicles for the upcoming desert Race Wars. Together, the trio investigate Tran's garage, discovering a large quantity of electronic goods.

Brian reports the discovery to his superiors and Tran and Lance are arrested. The electronics are proved to have been purchased legally, and Brian is forced to confront his suspicion that Dominic is the true mastermind. Brian is given 36 hours to find the heist crew, as the truckers are now arming themselves to defend against the hijackings. The following day, Dominic and Brian attend Race Wars. There, Jesse wagers his father's MK3 Volkswagen Jetta against Tran in his Honda S2000, but flees with the car after he loses. Tran demands Dominic recover the vehicle.

That night, Brian witnesses Dominic and his crew leaving and realizes they are the hijackers. He reveals his true identity to Mia and convinces her to help him find the crew. Dominic, Letty, Vince, and Leon attack a semi-trailer truck, intending it to be their final heist. The armed driver shoots Vince and runs Letty off the road. Brian arrives with Mia and rescues Vince. He is forced to reveal his identity to call in emergency medical care to save Vince. Dominic, Mia and the rest of the crew leave before the authorities can arrive.

Some time later, Brian arrives at Dominic's house to apprehend him as he is getting his father's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T out of the garage. He demands Brian leave, since he is not running, but is going to rescue Jesse who has no one else to look after him. Instead Jesse arrives at his house and pleads for protection. Tran and Lance ride by on motorbikes and shoot Jesse dead. Brian and Dominic give chase in their separate vehicles, finding and killing Tran and injuring Lance. Brian then pursues Dominic, with them both eventually acquiescing to a quarter-mile drag race. The pair barely cross a railroad before a train passes, which ends the race in a draw, but Dominic crashes his car into a truck. Instead of arresting him, Brian gives Dominic the keys to his own car, asserting that he still owes him a 10-second car from their first race. Dominic leaves in the Supra as Brian walks away.

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


Paul Walker (left) in 2009, Vin Diesel in 2013, and Michelle Rodriguez in 2018

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. Musician and rapper Ja Rule and car tuner R.J. de Vera also act as Edwin and Danny, fellow drivers at the drag race who race against Dominic and Brian. 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; Moritz plays an unnamed driver of a black Ferrari F355 convertible who is given a challenge by Brian, while Cohen plays a Pizza Hut delivery man.



Director Rob Cohen was inspired to make the film after reading a 1998 Vibe magazine article called "Racer X" about street racing in New York City[10] 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.[11] Roger Corman licensed the title rights of his 1954 film The Fast and the Furious to Universal so that the title could be used on this project; both films were about racing.[12] Writer David Ayer was brought into the project to help rework the script. Ayer changed it from the "mostly white and suburban story" set in New York to a diverse one set in Los Angeles.[13]

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. Eminem was offered the role, but turned it down to work in his own movie 8 Mile and Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale were also considered for the role.[14] Originally, the studio told the producers they would green-light the film if they could get Timothy Olyphant to play the role of Dominic Toretto. Olyphant, however, who had starred in the previous year's car-themed blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds, declined the role. Moritz instead suggested Vin Diesel, who had to be convinced to take the role even though he had only played supporting roles up to that point.[5] The role of Mia Toretto was originally written for Eliza Dushku, who turned down the role and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst and Natalie Portman auditioned for the role.[14]


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).[15] 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.

During the filming of the movie, seventy-eight cars were wrecked both on and off-screen. Out of the seventy-eight cars, three cars were shown being destroyed in the film's trailer alone. [16]


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 office

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 an international total of $62,750,000 bringing its worldwide total of $207,283,925 on a budget of $38 million.[17]

Home media

The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002.[18] More than 5.5 million units were sold by April 2002.[19] 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.


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Fast and the Furious has an approval rating of 54% based on 154 reviews, and an average rating of 5.40/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Sleek and shiny on the surface, The Fast and the Furious recalls those cheesy teenage exploitation flicks of the 1950s."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[22]

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."[23] 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."[24] 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."[7]

Other reviews were more mixed. Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today gave the film 212 out of 4 stars, saying that Cohen "at least knows how to keep matters moving and the action sequences exciting."[25] 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."[26] 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."[27] 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.[9]


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 for the song "Put It On Me" Nominated
ASCAP Award Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures Caddillac Tah for the song "Put It On Me" 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
Best Movie The Fast and the Furious Nominated
Best Male Performance Vin Diesel Nominated
Breakthrough Male Performance Paul Walker Nominated
Best Action Sequence The Fast and the Furious Nominated
Stinkers Award Most Intrusive Musical Score Won
Taurus Award Best Driving Matt Johnston
Mike Justus
Debbie Evans
Tim Trella
Christopher J. Tuck
Kevin Scott (semi driver)
Best Work With a Vehicle Christopher J. Tuck
Mike Justus
Best Stunt by a Stunt Woman Debbie Evans Won
Best Stunt by a Stunt Man Christopher J. Tuck
Tim Trella
Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director: Feature Film Mic Rodgers Won
Best Work With a Vehicle Jimmy N. Roberts Nominated
Hardest Hit Mike Justus Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Sleazebag Rick Yune Nominated
Choice Movie: Hissy Fit Vin Diesel Nominated
Choice Movie: Fight Scene Paul Walker vs. Rick Yune Nominated
Choice Summer Movie The Fast and the Furious Nominated


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]


  1. ^ a b c "Furious". British Film Institute. London. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Fast and the Furious". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Fast and the Furious (2000)".
  4. ^ "Vin Diesel: 7 Things You Don't Know About Me". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Ross, Robyn (April 12, 2017). "Vin Diesel Almost Wasn't Dom in 'The Fast & the Furious'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Elvis Mitchell (June 22, 2001). "Getaway Drivers, Take Note: This One's Made for You". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b Pendleton, Reece. "The Fast and the Furious". Chicago Reader. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety.
  9. ^ a b " – Review: 'Fast and Furious' runs on empty – June 22, 2001".
  10. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (March 26, 2015). "Meet the Writer Who Made 'The Fast and the Furious' Possible". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Interview found on the original DVD release
  12. ^ "Roger Corman: How I Made 400 Films, Mentored Coppola and Ended Up Fighting in Court for My Fortune". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "'Fast and Furious' Survived Because It's About Empowerment". Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  14. ^ a b "The remarkable evolution of the Fast and Furious movie franchise".
  15. ^ "Fast and the Furious, The : Production Notes". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  16. ^ Gibbs, Jamie. "How many cars has the Fast and Furious franchise destroyed?". Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Fast and the Furious". Box Office Mojo.
  18. ^ "DVD Sales are Fast and Furious". January 8, 2002. Archived from the original on January 22, 2002. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  19. ^ Wagner, Holly (April 24, 2002). "Universal Burns Rubber With 'The Fast and the Furious'". Archived from the original on April 26, 2002. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Fast and the Furious". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  21. ^ "The Fast and the Furious" – via
  22. ^ FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE (2001) CinemaScore
  23. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety. Archived from the original on September 14, 2012.
  24. ^ "Entertainment News – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  25. ^ " – Car hoods rev up in 'Fast and Furious'". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  26. ^ "The Fast and the Furious". June 22, 2001. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  27. ^ The Washington Post – Fast Leaving Logic in the Dust
  28. ^ "Racing Champions Ertl Company Press Release". Archived from the original on October 11, 2004.
  29. ^ "Micro RC Cars: Mods – RadioShack ZipZaps – These Zaps Zip From Radio Shack". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "AMT Ertl – The Fast and the Furious". Archived from the original on November 2, 2004.

External links