The Sweet Ride

The Sweet Ride is a 1968 American drama film with a few surfer/biker exploitation film elements. It stars Tony Franciosa, Michael Sarrazin and Jacqueline Bisset in an early starring role. The film also features Bob Denver in the role of Choo-Choo, a Beatnik piano-playing draft dodger. Sarrazin and Bisset were nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer, Male and Female respectively.

The Sweet Ride
Film poster
Directed byHarvey Hart
Produced byJoe Pasternak
Screenplay byTom Mankiewicz
Based onThe Sweet Ride by William Murray
StarringTony Franciosa
Michael Sarrazin
Jacqueline Bisset
Bob Denver
Michael Wilding
Michele Carey
Lara Lindsay
Norma Crane
Percy Rodriguez
Warren Stevens
Pat Buttram
Music byPete Rugolo
CinematographyRobert B. Hauser
Edited byPhilip W. Anderson
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 12, 1968 (1968-06-12)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.5 million (US/ Canada)[2][3]

The Sweet Ride was directed by Harvey Hart and written by Tom Mankiewicz, based on a 1967 novel of the same name by William Murray, a native of New York City, who had moved to southern California in 1966.


The story, told in flashbacks, concerns a middle-aged tennis bum (Franciosa) who shares a beach house with Sarrazin and Denver. Their carefree life becomes complicated, and later turns tragic, after they become involved with a mysterious young woman (Bisset) and a biker gang.

The San Francisco rock and roll band Moby Grape contributed to the soundtrack, and appeared, credited, in the film, performing the song "Never Again" in a Sunset Strip nightclub called the Tarantula. Other famous Sunset Strip locations include Gazzarri's and Scandia, as well as location filming in Malibu, according to reviews of the film.

Dusty Springfield sings "Sweet Ride" over the film's opening credits.



Jacqueline Bisset was cast on the basis of her short appearance in Two for the Road starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. By the time The Sweet Ride was released she had been cast in The Detective starring Frank Sinatra and Bullitt starring Steve McQueen.

Tom Mankiewicz, who wrote the screenplay, later said the problem with the film was "it tried to touch all the bases at once: drama, comedy, porn, dropouts, surfing, true love, a touch of perversion, and the general malaise of 1960s young people. Frankie and Annette it definitely wasn't."[4]

Mankiewicz also says producer Joe Pasternak had suffered a stroke shortly before filming which impacted his effectiveness.[5]

Box Office

According to Fox records the film required $3,950,000 in rentals to break even and by 11 December 1970 had made $2,600,000 so made a loss.[6]

Musical score and soundtrack

The Sweet Ride
Soundtrack album by
Label20th Century Fox
3198/S 4198
Pete Rugolo chronology
TV's Top Themes
The Sweet Ride

The score was composed, arranged and conducted by Pete Rugolo except the main title written by Lee Hazlewood and performed by Dusty Springfield with the soundtrack album released on the 20th Century Fox label.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores

The Allmusic review by Tony Wilds noted: "Rugolo hits many of the same areas that made several Lalo Schifrin soundtracks great, but unlike Schifrin, Rugolo lacks the killer pop instinct. It all sounds like soundtrack music (the average cut is only about two minutes long), and there's nothing here that hadn't been done better elsewhere, earlier.".[8]

Track listing

All compositions by Pete Rugolo except where noted.

  1. "Sweet Ride (Main Title)" (Lee Hazlewood) - - 2:02
  2. "Vicky Meets Danny"- 2:30
  3. "Collier's Riff" - 1:35
  4. "Come Bossa With Me" - 1:53
  5. "Thumper" - 1:20
  6. "My Name Is Mr. Clean" - 2:09
  7. "Lost Wages Brash" - 1:50
  8. "Turn Me On" - 3:08
  9. "Sock Me Choo Choo (Sweet Ride Theme)" (Lee Hazlewood) - 1:50
  10. "Bedroom Time" - 3:08
  11. "Where's The Melody" - 1:00
  12. "Swing Me Lightly" - 2:31



  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p255
  2. "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  3. Tom Lisanti, Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969, McFarland 2005, p343
  4. Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane, My Life as a Mankiewicz, University Press of Kentucky 2012 p 94
  5. Mankiewicz p 95
  6. Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 327.
  7. Edwards, D., Eyries, P. and Callahan, M. 20th Century Fox Album Discography, Part 2: TCM 3100/SFX 4100 Series accessed October 6, 2016
  8. Wilds, Tony. The Sweet Ride (Original Soundtrack) – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
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