Ready to spend some time with the King of Cool? Here is a "magnificent" chance to immerse yourself in all things McQueen!
Steve McQueen was an iconic actor and fearless racer who played some of the most memorable roles on the big screen. He was not one to back away from roles in films that featured non-stop action from start to finish. His skill at car and motorcycle racing as well as horseback riding easily translated into his films and added depth to his characters.
For instance, McQueen burning rubber in a green Ford Mustang kept fans on the edge of their seats through what is hailed as the movie industry's most epic car chase scene. That scene was so powerful and influential that it led Ford Motor Company to release a version of the car in 2001. Can you name the movie? Think fast - it's coming up in the quiz!
Apart from being an accomplished actor, McQueen also ran his own production company named Solar Productions. It enjoyed some success, with one film in particular garnering continued praise. We're hinting at that one about motorcycle racing, and we think you can you figure out which one it is!
You don't have to be as cool as Terrence Steven McQueen to ace this quiz, but channeling a little of his tough guy persona might help! Show us what you've got - take the quiz!
Before appearing in films, McQueen was a stage actor and even performed in a Broadway production. His career in films began in 1956 with minor parts, but his big break came 2 years later with “The Blob.” McQueen, whose real name is Terrence Stephen McQueen, is credited as Steven McQueen in this film.
"Bullitt" is one of McQueen’s most successful films. The car chase scene, which takes place through the streets of San Francisco, is widely acclaimed as one of the best ever in film. McQueen was an avid racer and is actually the one driving in some parts of the almost 11-minute scene.
"Never Love a Stranger" is a crime drama with John Drew Barrymore in the lead role as a crime boss. McQueen’s role in the film is as Martin Cabell, a young Jewish law student who later becomes district attorney.
Steve McQueen joins a lineup of “tough guys” in this 1960 Western film that has since become regarded as a classic. Other actors in the film include Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach. Just like McQueen, they went on to become highly acclaimed actors.
"The Cincinnati Kid” was released in October 1965 following January’s release of “Baby the Rain Must Fall.” McQueen’s co-stars in this film include the legendary Edward G. Robinson and Rip Torn, who was appearing in one of his very first films.
“The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery” retells the story of an actual failed attempt to rob the Southwest Bank in St. Louis, Missouri. McQueen’s role in the film is that of the getaway car driver, although names were changed in the film.
"Papillon” starred McQueen as the main character with Dustin Hoffman as his co-star. This successful 1973 film was remade under the same name in 2017 with Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek in the lead roles.
McQueen leads a star-studded list of actors in this World War II prisoner-of-war epic. Among the many accolades for this 1963 film is the fact that it was one of the year’s 20 highest grossing films. The top spot that year was taken by “Cleopatra,” which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
While McQueen has an unmistakable face, fans of the actor will not recognize him in "Dixie Dynamite" – except by his motorcycle riding skills, that is! He makes a brief appearance as one of the show’s stuntmen, riding his bike and wearing a helmet. It is said that McQueen, who was already tremendously famous, took the role to ease his boredom between films.
This 2015 documentary tells the story of how McQueen made a movie about one of his passions – racing. That film, “Le Mans,” was a box office failure. The documentary depicts McQueen’s struggle to make the film and also focuses on how his personal life affected the film’s production.
McQueen starred in two films with Sam Peckinpah as the director. Both films, “Junior Bonner” and “The Getaway,” were released in 1972. The films are usually contrasted, with reviewers pointing out the gentle, slow-paced nature of “Junior Bonner” as opposed to the fast-paced action and violence in “The Getaway.”
Comedian Jackie Gleason co-stars in this film, which sees McQueen playing a character quite opposite to the tough-guy roles he had become famous for. The movie was well received by critics but was a box office disappointment, having been released just 5 days after President John F. Kennedy was killed.
“The Getaway” is one of two films released in 1972 that pair McQueen with director Sam Peckinpah. This film proved to be much more of a box office success than “Junior Bonner,” which had been released 4 months earlier. In fact, “The Getaway” would go on to become one of the most acclaimed films for both McQueen and Peckinpah.
McQueen was the star of a very popular TV series, “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” when he was approached to appear in “The Magnificent Seven.” It is said that McQueen so much wanted to be a part of the film that he faked a car accident and subsequent injury to get time off from the series to film the movie.
McQueen is almost unrecognizable in his leading role as a Norwegian scientist named Thomas Stockmann. The film is based on a similarly titled famous play and sees McQueen acting outside of his usual action hero role. He would go on to make only 2 more films before his death in 1980.
McQueen had a great love of racing (cars and motorbikes), and he was very good at it. "Le Mans" was meant to help him share that passion with his fans, but the 1971 film about a 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race received negative reviews from critics and was a financial flop.
"Nevada Smith” was co-produced by McQueen’s company Solar Production. In it, McQueen portrays an Anglo-Indian young man named Max Sand (alias: Nevada Smith). Interestingly, McQueen appeared later that year in a film titled “The Sand Pebbles.”
“The Towering Inferno” is a suspense-filled drama with McQueen playing the hero alongside Paul Newman. Critics hailed the “The Towering Inferno” as one of the best disaster films at the time. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and went on to win three of them.
It was no secret that McQueen was not a fan of “The Honeymoon Machine.” It and “The Blob” were two of the films he publicly spoke about not being pleased with. Interestingly, McQueen was the second choice to play the lead role in “The Honeymoon Machine” – Cary Grant had turned down the role earlier.
“Tom Horn” was released in March 1980, and it was while he was filming this movie that McQueen’s fatal illness was discovered – malignant mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. McQueen would have only one other film released before his death in November 1980.
Fans of Steve McQueen will know this bit of trivia about his acting career: “Girl on the Run” was his first film! He goes uncredited and has no lines but can be seen in the background twice in this 1953 low-budget crime drama.
Natalie Wood earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of the love interest of McQueen’s character. She was similarly nominated for a Golden Globe, with McQueen also landing a nomination there for Best Actor.
The famous car chase scene in “Bullitt” lasts just 7 seconds short of 11 minutes. The chase takes viewers on a lightning-fast tour of San Francisco, but many people watching the movie might not realize that the route covered could not possibly be accomplished in real time.
McQueen appeared in two war films in 1962: the American film “Hell is for Heroes” and the British film “The War Lover.” Both films were shot in black and white, and they were released within 4 months of each other.
McQueen served as co-producer for this much-acclaimed 1971 documentary about motorcycle racing. The film shows off the talents of McQueen and other racers, but more importantly, it gives viewers a new perspective on motorcycle sports and the people who take part in them.
Child star Mitch Vogel is one of McQueen’s co-stars in this lighthearted drama. It was Vogel’s biggest role so far, and it earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
Well-known director Sam Peckinpah had originally been slated to direct “The Cincinnati Kid,” in which McQueen stars as the title character. Peckinpah was replaced, but he would go on to direct McQueen in two films in 1972: “Junior Bonner” and “The Getaway.”
McQueen acted in 29 films during his career, which ran from 1953’s “Girl on the Run” to 1980’s “The Hunter.” He died on November 7, 1980, just 3 months after the film’s release.
Charles Bronson is one of the co-stars in this 1963 film. It was the third time the two actors appeared together. They also starred in "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) and "Never So Few" (1959).
The 1966 film “Nevada Smith” is based on characters in a 1961 best-selling novel titled “The Carpetbaggers” by Harold Robbins. A film with the same name as the novel was released in 1964 and starred Alan Ladd as the character McQueen would portray 2 years later.
Some people consider “Somebody Up There Likes Me” to be McQueen’s first film. That’s because his appearance in “Girl on the Run” in 1952 was simply as a background extra in two scenes. He goes uncredited in both films.
Although it was a box office success, “The Getaway” received mostly negative reviews from critics when it was released in 1972. Over the years, however, film critics have had much kinder things to say about the film in general and about McQueen’s acting skills in it.
“Never So Few” would mark the first of four times that McQueen would work with director John Sturges. Their other films are “The Magnificent Seven” (1960), “The Great Escape” (1963) and 1971’s "Le Mans" (for which Sturges went uncredited).
By the time “The Towering Inferno” was released, McQueen had become one of the most successful and highly paid actors in Hollywood. It therefore came as a surprise to many that he decided to take a break from acting after this film, returning in 1978 with “An Enemy of the People.”
McQueen delivers a powerful performance in “The Sand Pebbles” as Jake Holman, a senior engineer on a US gunboat stationed in China in 1926. His acting is so impressive that it earned him the Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards. It would prove to be McQueen’s only run at an Oscar.
In “The War Lover,” McQueen portrays a bomber pilot fighting in World War II. Robert Wagner co-stars as McQueen’s co-pilot. The pair would not appear in a movie again until 1974’s “The Towering Inferno.”
“Baby the Rain Must Fall” features Lee Remick as the wife of McQueen's character. Upon its release, critics gave the films generally positive reviews and had some very kind words for the acting skill of both McQueen and Remick as well as for their on-screen chemistry.
"The Blob" was McQueen’s first film for which he was billed as the star. It was a success at the box office and has gone on to become a cult classic among fans of 1950s horror films.
McQueen starred in two films in 1968: “The Thomas Crown Affair,” which was released in June, and “Bullitt,” which hit theaters in October. Although “Bullitt” was by far the more successful of the two, “The Thomas Crown Affair” also turned a profit at the box office.
“The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery” is based on actual events that took place in 1956. The film made use of the actual locations where the incident occurred and even featured some of the real townspeople and law enforcement officials.