Very up-to-date and just as exciting as the screenplay is the music Lalo Schifrin wrote for the film, which embeds the characters, places and events in a musical context. For example, "Bullitt": the metrically angular main theme portrays a mysterious, cool character who sums up a situation with keen alertness and then makes his attack with the speed of lightning.
Initially the music travels through easy-going Latin terrain. But gradually the rhythmic texture changes and takes a rougher path, with clicks, knocks and hammering. Legendary flute lines create a compensatory placidness with airy clouds floating above the sharp mix. A really special track is "Shifting Gears": here you can listen to Schifrin tuning the car, how he manipulates a jammed springy bossa to take on the sound of clean, smooth-running rock.