LikeTelevision proudly presents - Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton as Evel Knievel and Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel. The movie originally aired as a made for TV movie in 1971 at the height of Evel Knievel's fame. While George Hamilton is an unlikely actor to play Evel, he does a decent job. And Sue Lyon, best known for her role as Lolita, the 16 year old vamp in Stanley Kubrick's classic take on the Vladmir Nabikoff novel - does a great job as Linda Knievel, wife and soulmate of the daredevil motorcycle hero. Much of the movie is filmed in Butte, Montana where Evel Knievel was born. Best of all - the film features some terrific archive footage of Evel Knievel, even the famed jump at Caesar's Palace, December 31, 1967 - which is one of the most spectacular wipeouts in his illustrious career as a daredevil motorcycle showman.
Directed by - Marvin J. Chomsky
(1971) - Color - 87 min
In addition to Sue Lyons - the movie has a bunch of other noteable actors including Walter Dub Taylor (best remembered as Cannonball in Westerns, and as father of C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) in Bonnie and Clyde. Rod Cameron plays an aging rodeo star Charlie Knesson. He was a pretty big star - till he divorced his wife and married her mother. Hmmm that might put a little strain on Christmas morning, don't you think? Yikes! Bert Freed plays Doc Kincaid and Ron Masak plays Evel Knievel's sidekick Pete. Cool Factoid - John Derek was asked to film the Caesar's Palace jump after ABC declined. Derek's wife, Linda Evans was operating the camera that took the famous footage of the remarkable wipeout.
Intro, color, opening credits etc. The movie opens with Evel Knievel getting ready to set a new record by jumping 19 cars in Ontario. We get a short soliliquy on Evel Knievel philosophy which is classic. Then - off to Butte, Montana for a dose of Bobby Knievel's childhood.
George Hamilton as Evel Knievel and Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel
George Hamilton as Evel Knievel in the classic white leather Elvis suit
Jumping through time and space - we learn more about his troubled times as a youth, his courtship of Linda, and then to the dressing room in Canada before he will jump 19 cars in front of 150,000 adoring fans.
Sue Lyon as Linda Knievel
More travels in time. Part three begins with the epic wipeout at the fountain in front Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Evel Knievel hits the front ramp and jumps the fountain. He clears it - no problem. YET. The problems begin when he tries to land and comes up a little short on the ramp. He spills over the front handlebars of his motorcycle and bounces off the pavement like a ragdoll. More flashback scenes plus some silliness at the hospital.
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Evel Knievel gives his motorcycle a tweek
We learn more about how Evel Knievel wins the heart of Linda. At first she wants no part of this biker hood, but over time she finds him very endearing. Check out all the great fashion statements from the 1960s and 1970s. HA!
Ron Masak as Pete
With each jump - Evel becomes more and more famous. His stunts get more and more crazy and he dreams of jumping over the Grand Canyon - but first, we flashback to the time he drove into the sorority house to kidnap Linda from college and get married. The final scenes feature his record breaking jump over 19 cars. Lots of fun.
Young Evel Knievel takes Linda for a ride
Dub Taylor as Turquoise Smith
Bert Freed as Doc Kincaid