Watch Out, We’re Mad (1974) – ripper car movies

It's up and at 'em!


A staple of 1980s post-Hey Hey It’s Saturday night-time TV movies, comic duo Terence Hill and Bud Spencer starred in 18 films together, the most popular of which were the Trinity series of ‘spaghetti’ Westerns – so named due to them being filmed in Italy. But 1974’s Watch Out, We’re Mad is my favourite of the lot.

First published in the February 2024 issue of Street Machine

This film centres around the friendship (and rivalry) between racers Kid (Hill) and Ben (Spencer), who gallantly battle one another in a rallycross race to win a brand-new Puma dune buggy. After tying for first place, the pair retire to Ben’s mechanical workshop to ponder a suitable challenge to decide which of them will become the buggy’s rightful owner.

However, their plans change when a group of local gangsters, headed by wannabee kingpin ‘The Boss’ (John Sharp) and his puppet master, the milk-swilling ‘Doctor’ (Donald Pleasence – famous as Bond villain Ernst Blofeld, who later inspired Dr Evil in the Austin Powers movies), destroy their new buggy while trying to shut down an adjacent amusement park.

The boys are none too happy about this, and make it their mission to not only have their dune buggy replaced, but thwart plans for The Boss to redevelop the amusement park into high-rise buildings and thus save the home and performing career of Kid’s new love interest, Liza (Patty Shepard).

The Boss soon learns that both Kid and Ben are tough customers who quickly dispose of all manner of stand-over tactics and attempts on their lives, and after turning the tables on the high-class hitman Paganini (Manuel de Blas), The Boss hits them where it hurts by assaulting Ben’s elderly mechanic and friend, Jeremias (Luis Barbero).

This is the last straw for the duo, who decide to tackle The Boss and his henchman head-on, unceremoniously destroying The Boss’s restaurant by driving a Ford Escort through it, drawing the feud to a close.

The pair are rewarded with a new dune buggy each as a truce gesture by The Boss, but after some figure-eight shenanigans leaves one of the new buggies in a sad state, the question of who will become the owner of the sole remaining buggy brings the film full circle.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

I’ve always found the Hill/Spencer movies to be a little odd due to their weird dubbed English-on-English voices, but Watch Out, We’re Mad is a fun step back in time to when film audiences craved a bit of slapstick comedy.

This style of humour has understandably dated and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments – Hill subtly joining the choir gets me every time – and the fantastic rallycross and dirt bike action, along with the fight scenes, make it worth your time.


  • Numerous Ford Mk1 Escorts
  • 1972 Puma dune buggy
  • 1969 Ford Mk1 Capri
  • 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood
  • 1966 Dodge Dart
  • 1960 Chevrolet Impala
  • 1966 Mercedes-Benz 200
  • 1973 Ossa E-73 Enduro 250
  • 1968 Ducati Scrambler
  • 1964 Sunbeam Alpine


  • Terence Hill
  • Bud Spencer
  • John Sharp
  • Donald Pleasence
  • Patty Shepard
  • Manuel de Blas
  • Luis Barbero


Marcello Fondato


Numerous Ford Escorts in some awesome rallycross action. One Esky even ‘redesigns’ a restaurant!


Two racing friends win equal share in a brand-new dune buggy, but when local gangsters destroy it, they fight to make them replace it


YouTube, DVD, Blu-ray


The Italian-built dune buggy in the film was the first model of nine VW-based kit cars built by the Puma company between the early 1970s and 1990s.