Director: Jan de Bont
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock
Plot: A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.
A Fox producer realized they might have a movie hit in their hands when he noticed that, during test screenings, audience members would walk backwards when they needed to go to the bathroom so they would miss as little as possible.
Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
Jan de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves get a sensible haircut as would befit a hard-working cop. 20th Century Fox were horrified when they saw the buzzcut that he adopted for the film, threatening to postpone the film to allow his hair to grow back.
Keanu Reeves breaking the glass on the bus door in the beginning of the movie was an accident, however it was left in the final cut.
The bus jump scene was not in the original script, director Jan de Bont came up with the idea one day when he was driving around Los Angeles and noticed one section of the I-105 freeway was missing.
Director Jan de Bont came up with the idea for the opening elevator sequence while working as a cinematographer on Die Hard (1988). While riding in an elevator in the building used as the skyscraper in that film, the elevator got stuck on the 40th floor, and de Bont had to climb out the escape hatch and jump onto another elevator to get out.
The watch Jack was wearing, the Casio G-Shock DW-5600C, had been discontinued when filming commenced. Due to the film's success, the watch was in popular demand and the company started making them again.
The script was pitched to Paramount Studios, which placed the movie on turnaround and suggested to writer Graham Yost that his script, which called for the movie to end after everyone gets off the bus, had "too much bus" in it, implying audiences would not go for a movie in which a bus is driving around for two hours. Yost then added the subway scenes, and the modified script was presented to Fox Studios, which agreed to film the movie.
The shot when the bus enters LAX and a plane is seen taking off right behind it, took more than 50 takes.
Jack's registration plate is '646 TEZ'. 'Tez' means speed in Hindi.
20th Century Fox were not convinced to begin with that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film and insisted on a big name actress to star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
Jack's sidekick, Harry, was originally to be played by Ed Harris and in this version was going to be revealed as the mad bomber. However, when Ed Harris opted out, and Jeff Daniels signed, the producers felt that the audience would not accept the sudden twist in character so Harry was kept as a good guy throughout and the mad bomber written as a separate character. The idea of the hero's friend and sidekick being the villain was later used in Broken Arrow (1996), also written by Graham Yost.
The plane destroyed by the exploding bus has the logo "Pacific Courier Freight" on its side. This same name is on the truck used by the terrorists in Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) - an in joke by production designer Jackson De Govia.
According to script doctor Joss Whedon, the Alan Ruck character (Stephens) was originally written as an abrasive lawyer, who gets his comeuppance in an unexpected death scene. Whedon re-wrote him as the sympathetic, dull-witted tourist of the final version, but kept the death scene, intending to give it more emotional impact. His character changes were kept, but the death was written out.
A "deleted scene" sees Jack shooting Howard Payne in the neck, just after he'd shot his partner in the leg at the beginning of the film. Later in the film, you can see the oval scar on Payne's neck caused by the deleted shooting.