The best car chases, the greatest car chases, the best movie chases… Give it the title you want. I researched this matter exhaustively and below is a list of the greatest car chase scenes in movies that I could come up with.
The best car chase sequence of all time is the climax of 1980’s The Blues Brothers. Starring John Belushi and featuring the destruction of literally hundreds of vehicles, this movie should absolutely not be missed. Unfortunately, clips of the climactic chase (certainly not the only chase in the movie) are not to be found on YouTube. So, I would strongly advise you to rent the movie if you have not seen it. The chase sequence aside, it is still a great movie.
Fortunately, the next best chase scene of all time is available on YouTube. Ronin was a mediocre movie, but the car chase in it was spectacular:
Unlike the top two selections, the following car chases are not ranked in order of greatness. They are all great, otherwise they would not have made it onto this list of greatest car chases.
The Hidden – A Ferrari, 80s power metal, guns, a bank robbery, running down pedestrians – what more could you ask for?
Against All Odds – A great race in L.A. traffic between a Porsche and a Ferrari.
Get Carter – Nice power slides in a front-wheel drive.
Bullit – Steve McQueen’s car chase (in which he did all of his own driving – no stunt double for McQueen) through the streets of San Francisco is an absolute classic and is as great as ever.
The Road Warrior – I’m no fan of Mel Gibson, but I must give respect where it is due. The ending chase of The Road Warrior is brilliant and if you are disappointed after watching it, you have no pulse.
Bad Boys II – Again, not a movie I would normally endorse, but the car chase (and the sound of the Ferrari) is great.
Quantum of Solace – A great chase across Italy. I hesitate to use the word “realistic”, but this car chase does seem a tad more realistic than some of the others.
Short Time – A car chase where the pursuer literally has a death wish is a guaranteed recipe for a good chase.
Pure Danger – A delightful potpourri of destruction, intensity and non-stereotypical vehicles in this great car chase.
Running Scared – Good high-speed chase that makes unique use of available space
No Man’s Land – A classic 80s car chase involving a Porsche 911 versus a Chevrolet Camaro and a Lincoln Continental. Wait through the lull in action in the abandoned factory because the other side is worth it and remember that this involves no CGI.
Striking Distance – This one just gets better and better as it develops. Be patient with it.
The Seven-Ups – A savory classic with great sound and a surprise conclusion.
The Driver – Some great driving scenes in a great movie. I think this is the best scene.
Le Professional – No computer graphics, great backdrop in Paris.
C’it Un Rendezvous – It isn’t strictly a chase, but C’it un Rendezvous is the most amazing high-speed driving through a city I’ve ever seen. Director Claude Lelouch made this 9-minute film back in the 1970s. It features no special effects — just an F1 driver, driving at high-speed through the streets of Paris in a Ferrari. There are no edits — it is all one take! I’ve never seen anything like it. There is a brief clip of it on the website: http://www.rendezvousdvd.com/
The Bourne Supremacy – The car chase sequence in Moscow is one I would have liked to include on this list, but the producers of this movie are extremely vigilant about forcing any unmodified clips of the movie to be removed from YouTube. So, I’m afraid a clip of this chase cannot be included, but if you read this blog, you have likely seen the movie and know what I’m talking about.
SOME HONORABLE MENTIONS
To Live and Die in L.A. – a really good chase, but I didn’t think it was quite good enough to make it on the master list.
Smokey & The Bandit Series – essentially these entire movies consist of a car chase and they can be quite entertaining at times. Tough to pull individual scenes out of though and I’m not sure they merit “great car chase” status.
Duel – the 1970s movie where an anonymous truck chases a car. The whole movie is the chase and it is entertaining, but difficult to pull instances of greatness from.
Vanishing Point – the 1971 version. I don’t know how else to describe this other than as an almost spiritual car chase movie. I am partial to the scenes with Gilda Texter for obvious reasons, but also because an Ames Harris Neville Desert Water Bag (a product from the old family company) features prominently during this sequence. A movie that is certainly worth seeing, but one I struggled to pull “great” chase scenes from.
The French Connection – a great movie even if I didn’t think the car chase was quite good enough to qualify as “great”.
Gone in 60 Seconds – the 1974 version. Emphatically not the remake with Nicolas Cage.
Mad Max – although I very much enjoy some of the car chases in this movie such as the “Night Rider chase” or the various “revenge chases”, I simply don’t believe they merit “great car chase” status.