The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)

The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 crime action adventure film directed by Rob Cohen and written by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. 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, Ted Levine, and Matt Schulze. The Fast and the Furious follows Brian O'Conner (Walker), an undercover cop tasked with discovering the identities of a group of unknown automobile hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel).

The Fast and the Furious
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]

The Fast and the Furious was released in the United States on June 22, 2001. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews, with praise directed at Walker and Diesel's performance, and the film's action sequences,[8][9] but criticism for 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 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, ordering his regular tuna on white, no crust, and flirting with its owner Mia, sister of infamous street racer Dominic Toretto, while Dominic ostensibly 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, attacks O'Conner until Dominic intervenes.

That night, O'Conner 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, O'Conner and two other drivers. Lacking funds, Brian is forced to wager his car. Dominic wins the race after O'Conner's car malfunctions, but the LAPD arrive before he can hand over his vehicle. O'Conner, 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 O'Conner's vehicle. Later, Dominic reiterates that O'Conner still owes him a car. The two then walk back to Dominic's house together, where an altercation between Vince, who is upset that Brian is at the house, and Dominic breaks out.

O'Conner 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 O'Conner starts dating Mia. He also begins investigating Tran, convinced that he is the mastermind behind the truck hijackings. While investigating one garage at night, O'Conner is discovered by Dominic and Vince who demand an explanation. O'Conner 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.

O'Conner reports the discovery to his superiors and Tran and Lance are arrested. The raid fails however when the electronics are proved to have been purchased legally. O'Conner is forced to confront his suspicion that Dominic is the true mastermind. O'Conner 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 Volkswagen Jetta against Tran in his Honda S2000, but flees with the car after he loses. Tran demands Dominic recover the vehicle, and accuses him of reporting him to the police. Enraged, Dominic attacks Tran.

Later that night, O'Conner witnesses Dominic and his crew leaving and realizes that 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. O'Conner arrives with Mia, and 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, O'Conner arrives at Dominic's house to apprehend him as he is reversing his father's 1970 Dodge Charger R/T out of the garage. Jesse arrives, pleading for protection. Tran and Lance ride by on motorbikes and shoot Jesse for reneging on their bet. O'Conner and Dominic give chase in their separate vehicles, finding and killing Tran and 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. O'Conner gives the keys to his own car to Dominic, asserting that he still owes him a car. Dominic escapes in the Supra as O'Conner walks away.

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


Paul Walker (left) in 2009, Vin Diesel in 2013, and Michelle Rodriguez in 2018
  • Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner:
    An LAPD officer sent undercover to infiltrate a crew of hijackers. Mia's love interest.
  • Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto:
    Leader of the heist crew and a professional street racer. He was banned from professional racing after a violent retaliatory attack on the man who accidentally killed Dominic's father.
  • Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz:
    A member of Dominic's crew and his girlfriend.
  • Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto:
    Dominic's sister and owner of the Toretto general store. Brian's love interest.
  • Rick Yune as Johnny Tran:
    A Vietnamese gang leader and rival of Dominic.
  • Chad Lindberg as Jesse:
    A member of Dominic's crew. Highly intelligent with maths, algebra, and in computing, but he suffers from Attention deficit disorder.
  • Johnny Strong as Leon:
    A member of Dominic's crew
  • Matt Schulze as Vince:
    A member of Dominic's crew and his childhood friend. He harbors an unrequited love for Mia.

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; Neal plays an unnamed driver of a black Ferrari F355 convertible who is given a challenge by Brian while Rob plays a pizza delivery man.



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[11] 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.[12] 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.[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. 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 Diesel, who had to be convinced to take the role even though he had only played supporting roles up to that point.[5]


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).[14] 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. [15]


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.[16]

Home media

The Fast and the Furious was released on DVD on January 2, 2002.[17] More than 5.5 million units were sold by April 2002.[18] 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 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."[19] On Metacritic, the film has score of 58 out of 100 based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+, on a scale from A to F.[21]

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."[22] 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."[23] 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."[8]

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."[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.[10]


Award Category Nominee Result
AFI AwardCinematographer of the YearEricson CoreNominated
ALMA AwardOutstanding Song in a Motion Picture SoundtrackThe Fast and the Furious for the song "Put It On Me"Nominated
ASCAP AwardMost Performed Songs from Motion PicturesCaddillac Tah for the song "Put It On Me"Won
Black ReelTheatrical - Best ActorVin DieselNominated
BMI Film Music AwardBTWon
Golden TrailerBest ActionThe Fast and the FuriousNominated
Hollywood Breakthrough AwardBreakthrough Male PerformancePaul WalkerWon
Golden Reel Award (Motion Picture Sound Editors)Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature FilmBruce 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 FilmBruce 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 AwardBest On-Screen TeamVin Diesel
Paul Walker
Best MovieThe Fast and the FuriousNominated
Best Male PerformanceVin DieselNominated
Breakthrough Male PerformancePaul WalkerNominated
Best Action SequenceThe Fast and the FuriousNominated
Stinkers AwardMost Intrusive Musical ScoreWon
Taurus AwardBest DrivingMatt Johnston
Mike Justus
Debbie Evans
Tim Trella
Christopher J. Tuck
Kevin Scott (semi driver)
Best Work With a VehicleChristopher J. Tuck
Mike Justus
Best Stunt by a Stunt WomanDebbie EvansWon
Best Stunt by a Stunt ManChristopher J. Tuck
Tim Trella
Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director: Feature FilmMic RodgersWon
Best Work With a VehicleJimmy N. RobertsNominated
Hardest HitMike JustusNominated


Racing Champions released diecast metal replicas of the film's cars in different scales from 1/18 to 1/64.[27] RadioShack sold ZipZaps micro RC versions of the cars in 2002.[28] 1/24 scale plastic model kits of the hero cars were manufactured by AMT Ertl.[29]

See also


  1. "Furious". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  2. "The Fast and the Furious". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  3. "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 (June 22, 2001). "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 May 4, 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. Zakarin, Jordan (March 26, 2015). "Meet the Writer Who Made 'The Fast and the Furious' Possible". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  12. Interview found on the original DVD release
  13. "Roger Corman: How I Made 400 Films, Mentored Coppola and Ended Up Fighting in Court for My Fortune". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  14. "Fast and the Furious, The : Production Notes". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  15. Gibbs, Jamie. "How many cars has the Fast and Furious franchise destroyed?". Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  16. "The Fast and the Furious-Box Office Mojo".
  17. "DVD Sales are Fast and Furious". January 8, 2002. Archived from the original on January 22, 2002. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  18. 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.
  19. "The Fast and the Furious". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media.
  20. "The Fast and the Furious Reviews-Metacritic".
  21. FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE (2001) CinemaScore
  22. McCarthy, Todd (June 21, 2001). "The Fast and the Furious". Variety.
  23. "Entertainment News - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  24. " - Car hoods rev up in 'Fast and Furious'". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  25. "The Fast and the Furious". June 22, 2001. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  26. The Washington Post – Fast Leaving Logic in the Dust
  27. Racing Champions Ertl Company Press Release Archived 2004-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  28. "Micro RC Cars: Mods - RadioShack ZipZaps - These Zaps Zip From Radio Shack". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  29. AMT Ertl – The Fast and the Furious Archived 2004-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
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