10 Best Car Chases from Classic Movies
Sometimes you go to the movies to be intellectually challenged. Other times, you just want to see stuff explode. These high-octane flicks certainly aren’t what you’d call cerebral, but they boast the best car chases in film history.
1968’s Bullitt makes just about everyone’s list of great car chases. This titular cop was destined to be actor Steve McQueen’s most iconic role, and the heart-stopping chase through the busy streets of San Francisco remains one of the most amazing pieces of vehicular choreography ever captured on film.
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The French Connection (1971)
The French Connection is one of the most iconic movies of its time, renowned for its great performances (Gene Hackman won an Academy Award for Best Actor) and incredible storytelling. What many film buffs forget, however, is that this classic flick also includes one of the most incredible car chases ever put to film. Audiences seeing the film for the first time gasped when they saw that Pontiac TransAm go under the elevated train tracks—a stunt that impresses to this day.
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Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Smokey and the Bandit is the film that made the Pontiac TransAm famous and influenced a generation of drivers from coast to coast. Who could forget those classic chases in the iconic TransAm and the fun of watching Burt Reynolds outrun the clueless cops?
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The Blues Brothers (1980)
You might not equate a film about Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s Blues Brothers with car chases, but there are plenty to go around in this iconic movie. The scene at the mall is a fan favourite even decades after the film’s 1980 release.
The Road Warrior (1981)
This frightening yet fun look at a dystopian future has some of the most amazing car chases and explosions you’ll see. It’s also notable for the fact that it features a very young Mel Gibson, who has only 16 lines of dialogue throughout the entire movie, including (twice!), “I only came for the gasoline.”
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To Live and Die in LA (1985)
Los Angeles is known for its incredible car culture, so it is only fitting this iconic movie makes the list. Not only does the movie include a classic car chase but it provides some of the most remarkable cityscapes ever caught on film.
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This classic film finds star Robert DeNiro and company speeding through the busy streets of Paris at speeds approaching 100 mph. Throw in top-notch performances from the cast, a compelling storyline, and plenty of great shots of the City of Light, and you’ve got the perfect flick for a (not-so-quiet) night in.
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Older audiences may be aware of the 1974 original, but modern audiences tend to prefer the 2000 remake starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. The thrilling, sun-drenched chase through the streets as Memphis (Cage) evades police is one of the most exciting in recent memory.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
With its trademark shaky handheld camera and realistic stunts, the Jason Bourne franchise revolutionized the action movie genre. The series reached its highpoint, however, on the very first try. In a now classic car chase from The Bourne Identity, the titular spy and his sidekick evade police through the narrow streets of Paris—using only a 1989 Mini Mayfair.
An arthouse film masquerading as an action drama, Drive boasts one of the most realistic—and heart-stopping—car chases of all time. The opening scene of this cult classic follows an unnamed driver-for-hire (Ryan Gosling) as he evades police through night time Los Angeles with his criminal employers in the backseat. The kicker? The entire sequence is shot from the inside of the vehicle.
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