The Sweet Ride

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The Sweet Ride
The Sweet Ride FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Directed by Harvey Hart
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz
Based on The Sweet Ride by William Murray
Starring Tony Franciosa
Michael Sarrazin
Jacqueline Bisset
Bob Denver
Michael Wilding
Michele Carey
Lara Lindsay
Norma Crane
Percy Rodriguez
Warren Stevens
Pat Buttram
Music by Pete Rugolo
Cinematography Robert B. Hauser
Edited by Philip W. Anderson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 12, 1968 (1968-06-12)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,935,000[1]
Box office $1.5 million (US/ Canada)[2][3]

The Sweet Ride is an 1968 American counter-culture drama 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 was directed by Harvey Hart and written by Tom Mankiewicz, based on a 1967 novel of the same name by William Murray (d. March 2005), 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]


  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

External links[edit]