At the movies: Rewatching Ronin


In his college yearbook, filmmaker John Frankenheimer earned the title “Highway Menace.” He kept a customized Mercedes-Benz 600 SL convertible originally built for the sultan of Brunei in his garage, alongside an S-Class sedan, and Car and Driver editor Brock Yates deemed him a “quintessential car nut.” And like Ronin artist Jean-Pierre (Michael Lonsdale), Frankenheimer loved miniatures and had commissioned a Parisian model maker to create hundreds of super-detailed miniature cars, all Ferraris and Porsches in 1/43rd scale. Roger Ebert wrote of John Frankenheimer and his collection: “He had assembled and painted the cars himself, he said; watching his face, as the light bounced out from the display cases, I saw not a hobbyist but a dreamer for whom these perfect little cars represented an ideal world.” He knew every car’s story. It’s as if John Frankenheimer had been preparing his whole life to make the perfect car-chase film with Ronin, his love letter to racing and cars.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/03/23/rewatching-ronin


I went to a showing of Ronin a week ago Friday. The local shop G2 Motorsports had it for movie night. It was great to see it again. I still have my VHS copy somewhere, but haven’t been able to watch it in a while.


It should be noted that the car featured in the film was not just any E34 5-Series. The film’s star was the full Monty - a M5, Euro-spec, of course.


The BMW - thankfully - retired upside down and on fire. :slight_smile:


Probably the best movie car chase ever, thanks.


My daughter wanted to buy me a Hawaiian shirt for my birthday. No…get me a copy of Ronin, I requested. I am looking forward to seeing it next week.