British director Peter Yates, four time Academy Award nominee for his work on Breaking Away and The Dresser and the helmer of the influential 1968 thriller Bullitt, has died in London after a long illness. He was 82.
His 1979 coming of age drama Breaking Away and his 1983 adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s stage play The Dresser each earned Yates Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Producer.
Hailed as one of the great action films of the 1960s, Bullitt featured Steve McQueen as a San Francisco police lieutenant on the trail of the killers of a man who was to testify before a Senate subcommittee on organized crime. In the film’s most memorable sequence embedded below, McQueen chases two hit men through the hilly streets of the city in a Mustang sports car. It has been regarded as one of the most influential action sequences in films.
Yates began his career directing several episodes of the British series The Saint which starred Roger Moore, before landing his first feature assignment, the lightweight musical Summer Holiday starring pop star Cliff Richards. He followed that up with 1967’s Robbery, a fictionalized recreation of a 1963 train robbery that netted it’s participants 2.6 million British pounds (approximately $4 million.)
Other films on Yates resume include the crime thriller The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (1973), the comedy Mother, Juggs And Speed (1976), the adventure The Deep (1977), the cult fantasy Krull (1983) and the romantic comedy The Year Of The Comet (1992).