Daniel DiManna
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The Original ‘Fast & Furious’ You Didn’t Know About

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An old car in black and white
Not exactly the kind of car one associates with Fast & Furious, is it?
Photo: Pixabay via CC

The Fast & Furious franchise is a modern blockbuster juggernaut. Having kicked off back in 2001, the series has only continued to build steam over time. 20 years, nine films, and $5.8 billion later, Fast & Furious has no intention of slowing down; four more upcoming sequels/spinoffs are in development, and there’s even an animated TV series on the way. If you ask most fans where this extensive franchise began, they’d probably say 2001. However, they’d be wrong. The original Fast & Furious film came out all the way back in 1954. Don’t believe me? Keep reading, and prepare to have your mind blown.

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A look at the original ‘Fast & Furious’

It may sound crazy, but the first film to bear the Fast & Furious moniker was released a whopping 67 years ago. The film’s full title was The Fast and the Furious, which became the 2001 film’s title. While the original black-and-white film bears little visual or plot resemblance to the modern iteration of the franchise, there are plenty of connections to be made. As you might expect, both involve fast cars, racing, and criminals on the run.

The 1954 The Fast and the Furious tells the tale of Frank Webster, a truck driver who is framed for a murder he did not commit. After breaking out of jail, he takes a girl named Connie hostage and schemes a way to flee the country. His solution is to join a dangerous cross-border road race and then, after entering Mexico, flee to ultimate freedom. However, his growing relationship with Connie causes him to have second thoughts. Perhaps a life on the run isn’t worth the chance that he could return to jail, prove his innocence, and live free with the woman he loves.

Although largely forgotten today, the film is significant for being the second produced by prolific low-budget filmmaker Roger Corman. A legend among outside-the-box film aficionados, Corman has produced literally hundreds of movies since the 1950s, and is still working today in his 90s. So the next time you ride Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Studios, be sure and spare a thought for the great Roger Corman.

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If you’re interested in seeing the original Fast & Furious movie, you can actually watch it for free online thanks to its public domain status.