Street People (1976) – ripper car movies

The hunting season has opened in the Naked City


When a crucifix jammed full of heroin is snatched from under the collective noses of the San Francisco Mafia, the local mob bosses immediately spring into action to find the gangsters responsible.

Suspicion quickly falls on one of their own: Sicilian expat Salvatore Francesco (Ivo Garrani), who organised the purchase and donation of said crucifix from his childhood village.

Salvatore pleads his innocence and engages his half-Italian, half-English lawyer nephew, Ulisse (Roger Moore), to track down the real culprits and clear his name.

Ulisse calls on the adventurous, jack-of-all-trades race-car driver and good friend Charlie (Stacy Keach) for help, and the pair begin skimming the seedy San Francisco underworld for traces of both the crooks and the multi-million-dollar drug shipment. When the pair come up empty-handed, Ulisse heads to his Sicilian hometown to shake the local tree, and returns with the names of three suspects who are soon located and tailed.

Luigi (Fausto Tozzi), the leader of the three, appreciates the finer things in life and is soon hocked up to all the wrong people, and makes extra-poor choices when he learns that his precious heroin payday is now too difficult to move. Ulisse and Charlie soon pounce and the three culprits meet an untimely demise, but all is not what it seems.

Someone is throwing various red herrings around the Mafia circles, resulting in Salvatore’s right-hand man, Pete (Luigi Casellato), being killed, along with head boss Continenza (Ennio Balbo) and his spunky missus Hannah (Loretta Persichetti).

The mystery comes to a head when it becomes apparent that Ulisse has some ulterior motives of his own.

Blur your eyes and you’re basically watching Roger Moore be James Bond in this film, albeit with more blood and gore than a usual Bond flick. His appearance, dialogue delivery and even this shooting stance are straight from his Bond playbook. However, it is Stacy Keach in the supporting role of Charlie who steals the show; cool, funny and a hit with the ladies, he pulls off the smooth 1970s charm like a boss.


“Pointless destruction of property” was one memorable criticism of Street People, though personally I’m cool with this – the car chases and wreck scenes are heavy duty and exciting, and the sight of a whale-like 1975 Thunderbird drifting at full opposite-lock is epic.

San Francisco’s hilly Taylor Street – made famous of course in 1968’s Bullitt – scores a workout, but the car and truck action is honestly where this flick starts and finishes. It is otherwise a confusing, disjointed film both in storyline and execution, while the soundtrack used for the childhood flashback scenes is embarrassingly creepy.


  • 1975 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 1975 Ford LTD
  • 1971 White Freightliner WFT
  • 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint
  • 1971 Fiat 124
  • 1969 Jaguar XK-E
  • 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood
  • 1965 Chevrolet Impala


  • Roger Moore
  • Stacy Keach
  • Ivo Garrani
  • Fausto Tozzi
  • Ennio Balbo
  • Loretta Persichetti
  • Romano Puppo
  • Peter Martell
  • Luigi Casellato

Maurizio Lucidi

Old-school motor-racing action, some very cool car and truck chases, and even a demolition derby-esque test drive!

A hotshot lawyer enlists the help of his good mate to find a missing heroin shipment for the San Francisco Mafia

DVD, Blu-ray, streaming

Cool flick fact:
Street People was a stop-gap film for the then-James Bond, Roger Moore (above), in between The Man with the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.