When you think of car chase movies, who springs to mind: Steve McQueen or Michael Caine? Gene Hackman or Burt Reynolds?
The majority of car chase movies tend to feature some serious A-list talent, but we’d like to focus more on the real stars of those scenes, the car. From McQueen’s super-tight Ford Mustang in “Bullitt” to the stripped-down Dodge Charger in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof”, these vehicles undoubtedly made the scenes what they were.
But which movie has the best car-chase scene in history? Well, we’ve pondered over hours of classic car chase footage to bring you the definitive 22 greatest car chase scenes of all time.
#22. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
An undercover cop infiltrates an underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers looking to bust a hijacking ring, and soon begins to question his loyalties when his new street racing friends become the prime suspects.
This cops and robbers street racer features cameos from ome seriously customized old-school cars including a Honda Civic, Toyota Supra and a Mazda RX7 — though if you look closely, a retro Dodge Charger too.
#21. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Daniel Craig’s second outing as the UK secret Agent has Bond pitting his Aston Martin DBS against two equally sleek Alfa Romeos as they chase along the banks of Lake Garda. Cue explosions, wreckage, and the usual Bond coolness.
#20. The Transporter (2002)
Jason Statham puts his BMW 7-series to the test as the cool calm wheelman extraordinaire Frank Martin. The French police are little match for Frank as he takes them on a jolly trip through the cramped boulevards of Cannes — mostly in reverse gear.
#19. Bad Boys II (2003)
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence do their best to avoid gun fire, flying cars and a runaway boat in this intense freeway chase sequence. Fun Fact: The Ferrari 550 Maranello used in this scene was owned by Director Michael Bay.
#18. Dark Knight (2008)
This awesome action sequence from The Dark Knight sees Batman up against armored trucks, bazookas and even helicoptors as he deals with Heath Ledgers chilling yet hilarious Joker.
#17. The Rock (1996)
Cage and Connery battle it out on the streets of San Francisco leaving a path of destruction and derailed trams in their wake.
Kid On Motorcycle: Hey man, you just f***ed up your Ferrari.
Stanley Goodspeed: It’s not mine.
#16. The Seven-Ups (1973)
This scene from classic 70s cop movie “The Seven-Ups” sees the NYC detective squad chase their way through the crowded city and out onto the country freeway. A must see movie really.
#15. Cannonball Run (1981)
A wild, illegal, and popular cross-country car is organized, and the eccentric entrants will do anything to win, including low-down, dirty tricks.
#14. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
This standout scene from Matrix Reloaded features 14 minutes of driving insanity made up of live-action footage, stop-motion effects and a whole host of ingenuous CGI that truly makes for a gripping 21st Century car chase.
#13. Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
What car chase list would be complete without a mention of the epic black 1977 Trans Am?
#12. Gone In 60 Seconds (1974)
The original Gone In 60 Seconds features a whopping 40 minutes of car chases, with this Mustang (Eleanor) verse police car chase definitely being a stand-out scene.
#11. The Italian Job (1969)
This scene from The Italian Job is arguably the most famous car chase ever filmed. With guest appearances from a Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Jaguar E-Type and the Mini Cooper S, you’ll be whistling the theme song for days.
#10. Mad Max II: The Road Warrior (1981)
This final chase scene puts Mad Max and his ragtag gang of gas station attendants against the leather clad minions of Lord Humungus. Epic destruction ensues.
#9. The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne series definitely offers some good car chase scenes to choose from, but for us, the first movie pips the rest as Bourne takes to the streets of Paris outrunning countless Police cars in an old banger of a Mini.
#8. Duel (1971)
Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut sees travelling salesman David Mann battling against a demonic 18 wheeler hell-bent on seeing the salesman crash to a fiery death.
#7. To Live and Die in L.A (1985)
To Live and Die in LA is centred around L.A. branch Secret Service Agent Chance who obsessively hunts for counterfeiter Rick Masters — the guy responsible for the murder of his former partner and mentor.
This freeway car persuit saw atleast 50 cars sacrificed for this car chase masterpiece.
#6. Vanishing Point (1971)
Kowalski works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Fransisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody.
#5. Death Proof (2007)
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a former Hollywood stunt race car driver who targets and kills women with his “death-proof” stunt car. Thanks to Quentin Tarantino we finally get to see a car chase involving a woman tied to the bonnet of a car. Seriously, awesome.
#4. Ronin (1998)
Robert De Niro plays an ex-CIA op who along with a few other intelligence agents are hired to seize a mysterious briefcase. This lengthy hunt weaves through the compacted streets of picturesque Nice, France, and includes one of the most dramatic and memorable car chase scenes of the last 20 years. Watch out for De Niro’s facial expressions, priceless.
#3. The Blues Brothers (1980)
This iconic scene from The Blues Brothers shows Jake and Elwood as they’re chased in a police car, by police cars through a shopping mall.
#2. Bullitt (1968)
In arguably his most famous role Steve McQueen is Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco detective working to solve the murder of a mob witness. Enjoy.
#1. The French Connection (1971)
William Friedkin’s gritty police drama portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. During the surveillance and eventual bust, Friedkin provides one of the most gripping and memorable car chase sequences ever filmed.
So, what did you make of our top 22? Think you can do better? Leave us a comment below and let us know what scenes are most deserving in your eyes!
In conclusion, car chase scenes have been a staple in action movies for decades. From the high-speed pursuit in “Bullitt” to the intense, multi-vehicle chase in “The French Connection,” these movies have left audiences on the edge of their seats. The art of creating a thrilling car chase scene is a testament to the creativity and technical skill of filmmakers, and these movies will forever be remembered as some of the greatest examples of this genre. Whether you’re a fan of classic car chases or the more modern, high-octane pursuits, these films will always be a thrilling ride.