How Well Do You Know the Movie Speed (1994)?


By: J. Reinoehl

6 Min Quiz

Image: 20th Century Fox Mark Gordon

About This Quiz

This movie came out in 1994, and it was an instant smash hit. Starring two young up-and-comers, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, "Speed" tells the story of a bus that has a bomb on board, that will go off if the speed of the bus drops below 50 miles an hour. It's a simple, high-concept action thriller, and it's terrific fun. 

As its Oscar tally shows, it's actually extremely well-made compared to many movies of this ilk. Coupled with its incredibly photogenic stars, it made a surefire recipe for a hit.

The plot is pretty simple: a cop named Jack has to stop a terrorist who has put a bomb on the bus. Unfortunately, he reaches the bus too late to prevent it from going over 50 miles an hour, which means now it has to stay at that speed. The movie then takes place almost entirely on the bus, which is filled with hostages. 

It's more than simply a 90-minute high-speed chase, though, as we get to know the characters on the bus and start to care about whether they'll make it out. Of course, it's Hollywood, so it pretty much turns out OK, but it's a wild ride to get there. How well do you remember it?

Who did Jack volunteer to disarm the first bomb?

“Sir, Harry volunteers to examine the device.” “Yeah, right.” –Jack and Harry


What was the first target the bomber attacked at the beginning of the movie?

The elevator shaft was actually a miniature, based on one in a real Los Angeles building. The miniature was about 35 feet long and the opening scene was shot with it lying horizontally.


What did Jack do to save Harry when he was a hostage?

“Shoot the hostage… Take her out of the equation. Go for the good wound, and he can’t get to the plane with her.” –Jack


How did Jack and Harry prevent the bomber from killing the elevator hostages?

The director actually got stuck in an elevator in the Fox Plaza building during the filming of "Die Hard." The fire department came to get them out, but they had to climb through the top and hop across elevators to get out.


How did Harry respond when Jack said, "Tell me again, Harry, why did I take this job?"

"Tell me again, Harry, why did I take this job?" "Oh, come on, thirty more years of this, you get a tiny pension and a cheap gold watch." –Jack and Harry


Immediately after the first bus blew up, how did the killer contact Jack?

The director looked around for a bus that he felt was interesting enough to be a main character. He decided the Santa Monica bus looked as if it had been around a while and was worthy of the role.


How fast did the bus have to go to keep the bomb from going off?

“Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up.”


What was the name of the bus driver who was injured?

All the cars on both side of the freeway were production cars. Some of the bus scenes were filmed on a freeway that was under construction, but others were on a set.


How much money did the bomber ask for the second time?

“This is about my money. This is about money due me, which I will collect: $3.7 million. It’s my nest egg, Jack.” –Howard Payne


How did Sam get shot?

They used 13 different buses to film the movie. To give a better sense of reality, the director made sure every ethnicity was represented as a passenger on the bus.


Finish the quote: "Yeah? Well, you know the last time I partied like that _____________________."

"Yeah? Well, you know the last time I partied like that, I woke up married. Huh, Vinnie?” –Bob


Who took over driving the bus after Sam was shot?

The actors never actually drove the bus, because the director knew they would not be able to drive and act. Instead, it was always a stunt driver.


Why was Annie’s driver’s license revoked?

"…I should probably tell you that I’m taking the bus because I had my driver’s license revoked." “What for?” “Speeding.” –Annie and Jack


Which actor portrayed Jack Traven?

Keanu Reeves (born September 2, 1964) was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He has also been in "The Matrix" and its sequels, "Point Break" and "John Wick."


What was unique about the timer on the bus bomb?

"[There’s] three triggers: One on the axle I can’t really see, a cellular remote… and a timer running off a wristwatch."


What game did Howard watch on television while keeping track of the events on the bus?

They had to film most of the action scenes ahead of time so they could play back the scenes on the bomber’s televisions when they shot his scenes. Some of the television anchors were really news anchors.


What did Howard Payne used to do for a living?

"Wait a minute. I want to look at the files for the last ten years… I wanna look at cops."


What was in the baby carriage the bus hit?

There were several scenes where the director wanted the actors to just react to what was happening and not read a script. Some of those include having Annie go crazy when she thinks she has hit a baby.


Finish the quote: "Sure they are [going to help us], they’re the police. Hey, your taxes are paying their salaries. If we die, _____________________."

"Sure they are [going to help us], they’re the police. Hey, your taxes are paying their salaries. If we die, they gotta take a pay cut.” --Stephens


Who played Howard Payne?

Dennis Hopper (May 17, 1936—May 29, 2010) was also in "Hoosiers," "Easy Rider" and "Apocalypse Now," as well as many other movies since 1954. A noted drug addict, Hopper was blacklisted throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a couple of months before his death from metastasized prostate cancer.


Which one passenger did Jack get permission to let off the bus?

“Okay, son. You can try and unload the driver.”


What happened when Helen tried to get off the bus after Sam?

The special effects people did not think they could get a bus on two wheels, but the director really wanted to have it, so they rigged a vehicle next to the bus to raise and lower it. Although the bus looks as if it is still going 50 mph, it was actually only going around the corner at about 7 mph.


What did Howard Payne keep calling Annie?

“You’re gonna pay me every dollar. Otherwise, you, the wildcat, and every innocent person on that bus are gonna end up just like your friend. You paying attention?” –Howard Payne


Finish the quote: "No, poor people are crazy, Jack. I’m ________."

"No, poor people are crazy. I’m eccentric." –Howard Payne


What was wrong with the freeway that was under construction?

"The aerial unit caught it about three miles ahead. There’s a section missing."


How did they get around the construction issue?

There weren’t really any deleted scenes, because every scene was choreographed so well it ended up in the movie. There were a few scenes that the director wanted to film but never did because of budget constraints.


Where did Jack have the bus go, to get away from the news helicopters?

“…He should be able to circle the runways and buy us some time. The choppers can’t fly in there; it’s restricted airspace." –Captain McMahon


Who played Annie?

Sandra Bullock (born July 26, 1964) has starred in many films and won an Academy Award for her role in "The Blind Side." She has two children, Louis, who was born in 2010, and Laila, who was born in 2012.


Why didn’t Howard like negotiators?

“I hate negotiators, Jack. They talk to you like they’re your best friend and they don’t even know ya.” –Howard Payne


Why did Jack get off the bus but promise to get back on?

Going under the bus on the cart was the most dangerous scene to film. The bus they used was one they created that was higher off the ground than a regular bus, so the cart would fit beneath it.


Instead of disarming the bomb, what did Jack do to make the situation more difficult?

"We’re leaking gas?” “We are now." –Annie and Jack


What happened when they went to Howard Payne’s house to apprehend him?

The director had two police officers with him at all times to ensure the actors were moving correctly with all equipment they needed to wear. One of the things he learned was that one cop always covers another.


Where did Howard Payne want them to drop the money?

"Now, you tell them that the drop point is Pershing Square. There’s a garbage can on the northeast corner." –Howard Payne


How did they get all of the people off the bus without the bomber knowing?

Moving from one bus to the next was actually not as dangerous as it looked. The difficulty was keeping both busses the same speed so the board would not fall off.


What was the number on the bus that was rigged to explode?

”Your concern is the bus, and don’t try to call—the radio’s down. Now, the number of the bus is 2525.” –Howard Payne


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