This joyous romp of a musical was loosely based on the novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by none other than James Bond creator himself, Ian Fleming. It stars Dick Van Dyke as eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts and Sally Ann Howes as a very engaging 'Truly Scrumptious'. However, this only begins the list of famous names involved in the production.
Already well known for adapting Fleming's Bond novels to the silver screen, Albert (Cubby) Broccoli was inspired to create a movie version of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" when he was unexpectedly given Zborowski's original car. Broccoli's wife found it at a London auction and bought it for him as a gift.
Robert and Richard Sherman wrote the musical score for the movie and gained a third Academy award nomination for their work. They had previously won two Academy awards for Mary Poppins. The Sherman brothers went on to write more musical scores than any other song writing team in history. The lyrics to the popular title song can be viewed here - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lyrics.
This was perhaps one of Helpmann's most famous roles. Children all over the world were terrified by the sinister character he portrayed (a creation of Roald Dahl's) and many adults continue to be haunted by him!! The Child Catcher has been named one of the scariest characters ever to be brought on screen and made it to number 37 on Channel 4's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
Actor turned movie director Jefferies is actually a year younger than Dick Van Dyke and had to apply lots of prosthetic make-up in this movie to make himself look older.
Benny Hill is perhaps most famous for "The Benny Hill Show" made up of comedy sketches so it is unusual to find him in a dramatic role.
Barbara Windsor best known for Eastenders and the Carry On Films makes a brief appearance as the wife of Arthur Mullard (the man subjected to Pott's hair cutting machine).
Phil Collins claims that he was one of the children who stormed the castle at the end of the movie but was edited out because of a large and unsightly bandage covering a cyst that he had!
Truly Scrumptious drives a yellow Humber 1909 in the movie. The number plate of this car was "CUB 1" a nod to producer "Cubby" Broccoli.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car used in the movie, took seven months to build.
The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne all attended the movie premiere at the Odeon in Leicester Square. It was the first time that they had ever appeared together at a movie opening night.
The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie is 144 minutes in duration (2 hours 24 minutes) and was attacked by its critics for being over long. This did not stop it from becoming a childrens' classic!
Chitty Chitty Bang bang was filmed at a variety of different locations from Buckinghamshire and Beachy Head to Bavaria and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The famous Neuschwanstein castle, in Bavaria has been used for other movies such as "The Timekeeper", "Escape from Colditz" and "Ludwig". It is also a candidate to be part of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The windmill which was the Potts home in the movie is called "Cobstone mill" and is situated in Ibstone, Buckinghamshire.
In the book, Caractacus Potts was married. In the movie he is a widower and the character "Truly Scrumptious" is created to be his love interest.