Film & Television

My Top 10 Movie car chases

By Marcus MacLeod

Everyone loves a good car chase in a film, it can add excitement, tension and good old fashioned eye candy at times.

I’ve pulled together some of my favourites for your viewing pleasure (Quite good these interactive reads, aren’t they?).

While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea and you may not agree with my list, it’s just MY top 10, so don’t be sad if yours didn’t make the cut.

So without further ado her is My Top 10 Movie car chases

(warning, contains naughty words)

Number : 10 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

This Movie Franchise exposed an underworld of car modifying and street racing and captured the imagination of millions in doing so. In this installment we see more of a race than a chase but the exotic coloured Japanese cars showed the world something they had never seen …since the last one.

A bit of light hearted fun really as elaborate special effects and fanciful events are on show here. After all a Nissan (Taxi) Skyline beating a Toyota Supra due to it being supposedly more robust…. come on!

(the bridge jump is unquestionable however)

Number 9: The Italian Job (1969)

These Loveable wee cars have had a resurgence in popularity in recent times leading to a remake in 2003, but for most the original with Michael Caine remains the better of the two films, and from watching the clip it’s not hard to see why.

With breathtaking precision driving at close proximity to one another through, over, round and under buildings, The Italian Job really thinks outside the box. Did that car really just go down an internal stair case there!?

Number 8: Drive (2011)

Just to show that you can still make a great car chase without mass destruction, Drive’s cat and mouse take on the police chase cliché is a refreshing tension building thrill ride.

The mysterious get-away driver, only refered to as “kid” played by Hollywood heart throb and former Disney Club actor Ryan Gosling, really made people sit up and take notice of him after his charismatic performance in this fantastic film. Notably Eva Mendez.

With a few car chases in this movie to choose from, I prefer this one, It builds up and when he gets caught in the helicopter searchlight and he hits the throttle, it’s a great moment.


Number 7: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

In this long awaited return as the Terminator, Arnie manages to top the Chase scene from Terminator 2 in this chaotic scene of destruction climaxing n a fight between a fire engine and a heavy crane on wheels.

The way the arm swings out and destroys stuff is the real highlight.

Number 6: Short Time (1990)

Machine guns! …..all-RIGHT!!!

When Seattle detective Burt Simpson is told he has two weeks to live due to a medical mix-up after a routine health check, he finds out that his family will not be entitled to his pension if he dies of natural causes. They can only get benefits if he is killed in the line of duty. For the remainder of the movie, he takes greater and greater risks in the hopes that a suspect ends up killing him.

This leads to a full on car chase with a man possessed behind the wheel. The guys in the get away car get more than they bargain for as Burt isn’t interested in stopping them, he just wants to die while appearing to stop them; regularly taunting them, pointing to his face shouting “right here!”.

Comedy aside, the car chase is really good, you genuinely believe the person driving the car is trying to die. A pretty hard stunt to sell and find a buyer. Also pretty sick to be laughing at when you think about it.

Number 5: Bad boys II (2003)

Two things come to mind when you think of this this film, one being Will Smiths annoying overacting and the other is… in fact that’s pretty much it. It does however have a unique car chase involving a car transporter throwing its cars at a Ferrari.

More modern movies like this one use quite a lot of CGI at times, and therefore have not featured as highly up the list as some of the “older” ones have. This is to reflect the achievement of actually producing what you see for real.

Number 4: Deathproof (2007)

This 50% of the Grindhouse instalment from Quentin Tarantino Has became a bit of a modern day cult classic. In his usual openly influenced style he creates an enjoyable chase scene that is a tip of the cap to some movies on this list and some that are not, most noticeably Vanishing Point.

Stunt man Mike (Kirt Russel) really gets whats coming to him by a bunch of revenge driven girls who he terrorises in his supposedly “Death Proof” stunt prepped car, who turn the tables on him and show no mercy.


Number 3: Ronin (1998)

Shot in the narrow streets of Paris this chase scene is a real assault on the senses, with cars being rammed off the road and bursting into flames, and the number of cars on the road is pretty impressive when you think they all had to be choreographed. It has a gritty quality to it with no Hollywood sunshine or exotic cars to dazzle you with, Just speed and aggression. Lovely.

(Look out for Robert De Niro’s face as he is driving, it’s so expressive you can tell whats coming next!….)

Number 2: Bullitt (1968)

Many Peoples number one, and a close contender for myself, but sometimes its nice to have something you didn’t expect in the top spot.

What can you say about this chase, it’s so cool for a start, the american muscle car battle of the green Mustang and the black Charger is a classic big boy battle.

As if the sounds from these two monsters going at it weren’t enough, the choreography of the driving tops it off. This one really raised he bar for all others after it. The jumping cars through the steep streets of San Fransisco is as iconic as it is wonderful.

The build up before the chase starts is one of my favourite parts, partly because i love the low rich sound of the engine grumble that fires out of the cars as they are driving about before the foot goes down. Enjoy.

Number 1: To Live and Die n LA (1985)

For those of you who have never seen this film, you will be glad you read this article as now you know to watch it, and if you have ever played Grand theft Auto: Vice City you will notice that everything from the characters to the music and plot was taken from this film, right down to the neon credits in the intro. So you may actually want to go watch it now as reading this gives away the plot, or just skip the blurb and watch the video. For The rest of you reading, im sure you’ll agree that the chase scene in this film is both exciting and unexpected.

The chase takes place after 2 secret service agents Chance (William Petersen – the guy with the beard from CSI) and Vukoich (John Pankow) intercept what they believe to be an illegal diamond deal. Their plan is to rob the buyer of his money in order to front some serious buy money for the counterfeiting case they are working on after their department wont stump up enough money to run a convincing sting operation on the counter fitter, Masters (William Dafoe). who killed Chances partner, who only had a few days to retire and coined the phrase “I’m too old for this shit!”, sorry Sgt Murtagh.

This plan to rip off the diamond guy really does ruin the boys day … get this… the diamond buyer they rob is actually a undercover policeman and to make matters worse, the watching agency running the diamond sting operation tries to help him by firing on the two men only for the undercover cop to be shot and killed in the cross fire. Chance and Vukoich take off at speed and the chase begins.

What i love about this scene is how neither the two agents nor the undercover police realise who each other are (at this point it has not been reviled who the diamond buyer really was), leading to the two men and us the viewer wondering where all these guys are coming from as more and more cars and gunmen jump out of nowhere at times surprising us along the way and creating a sense of genuine tension as you go along for the ride with them. The close up shots really show the stress in the eyeballs and face and I remember feeling slightly stressed the first time I saw it.

Some choices on this list are influenced by technical production, visuals, and a down right cool factor. This scene is chosen for all of them plus the idea and execution of it. This chase scene changes the pace of the film and really gets things heated up. Great stuff, the film is an under rated master piece… and a deserved spot at number 1, im my opinion.

Thanks to the guys and girls at for their input.


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