The World's Fastest Indian

Synopsis: For 25 years in Invercargill at the south end of New Zealand, Burt Munro (1899-1978) has been working on increasing the speed of his motorcycle, a 1920 Indian. He dreams of taking it to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see how fast it will go. By the early 1960s, heart disease threatens his life, so he mortgages his house and takes a boat to Los Angeles, buys an old car, builds a makeshift trailer, gets the Indian through customs, and heads for Utah. Along the way, people he meets are charmed by his open, direct friendliness. If he makes it to Bonneville, will they let an old guy on the flats with makeshift tires, no brakes, and no chute? And will the Indian actually respond?
Director(s): Roger Donaldson
Production: Magnolia Distribution
  10 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
127 min


























Burt. Shut that

bloody thing up.

Do you know what time

it is? Burt!

Burt! You stupid old bastard!

What do you think

you're doing?

Sorry George,

what did you say?

Do you know what time it is?

I'm sorry, I've got a heck

of a lot to get done today.

And you know what they say.

"The early bird catches the worm".

Well, if you do this again,

one more time, I'm calling the cops.

And how about

mowing your lawns?

Is a bloody disgrace

to the neighborhood.

Oh, alright.

Hi, kid.

Here we are, the...

perfect recipe...

two of Chevy...

one of Ford.

I think those '36 Chevy pistons...

must have a touch of titanium

or something in them.

They come up real good,

you know.

Hey the kettle's boiling.

Make yourself useful,

make some tea.

Can we have a biscuit too?

- What?

- Can I have a Gingernut?

Yeah, you know where they are,

help yourself.

Now you stay over there,

stay there.

- Right.

- What are you doing for Christmas, Burt?

Christmas? I don't know.


Are you angling

for a present or something?

- No, I wondered if you were going away.

- No...

no time for Christmas, lad.

Got a lot of work to do.

I only managed twenty seven

test runs this year.

You know, twenty four on the beach

and three on the road.

All illegal like.

I was going a bit over the speed limit,

I'll have to admit.

- How fast were you going?

- I don't know, I haven't a clue.

Thas why I have to get up

to Bonneville.

Found out how fast she will go.

Now, there you go.

Got to get the piston out

of the mould...

and Bob's your uncle.

Right, this is...

the last part

of the operation now.

To chill the metal.

It heat treats it.

Right, watch yourself.

Thas where I got the water

for the kettle from.

Well, you know, it gives the tea

a nice tang of titanium, doesn't it?

Now this bloke,

he once asked me...

"How do you heat treat your pistons?"

And I said:
"I don't, mate"...

I just, you know, bung them

in cold water and Bob's your uncle".

And he said:

"Well, thas the heat treatment"...

and he just laughed and

shook his head and walked away like.

Well, look this could be

the perfect piston.

It blooming well ought to be,

I've made hundreds of them.

Look at them all up there,

all blown to smithereens.

- You made all those?

- Yeah, I did. Look perfect.

Beautiful, no inclusions see?

Now Tommy, does your mother have

a carving knife I could borrow?

Carving knife? Yeah?


I need a good sharp knife.

Hang on.

- Thomas, what are you up to?

- Nothing, Mum.

Can I have some bread

and peanut butter?

Ok, but make sure you put everything

away when you've finished.

Sorry about that.


- Don't forget the wood.

- No, Mum.


I hope to get as much...

rubber off as possible.

It has to be perfectly bald,

like that, you see.

- Why's that?

- Well, at high speed...

the centrifugal force...

expands the tyre and...

it rubs against

the frame of the bike.

Have to be careful not to cut

through the cords though.

- Why do you pee on your lemon tree?

- What?

Why do you pee on your

lemon tree?

- Who says I do that?

- Mum says she sees you...

every morning and

she goes on and on about it.

Does she?

Well, is good for it. You shouldn't

waste anything in this world, sonny.

- Well, I'd better be off home.

- Alright then.

Mum gets a bit cross if

I stay over here too long.

She does.

- Are you finished with the knife?

- Not yet, I'll drop it by later.

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Roger Donaldson

Roger Lindsey Donaldson (born 15 November 1945) is an Australian-born New Zealand film director, producer and writer whose films include The World's Fastest Indian (2005), acclaimed 1981 relationship drama Smash Palace, and a run of titles shot in the United States, including the Kevin Costner films No Way Out (1987) and Thirteen Days (2000), and the 1997 disaster film Dante's Peak. He has worked twice with actors Kevin Costner, Pierce Brosnan, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Madsen. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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