Let’s face it, most Hollywood car chases are hackneyed. When everything can be faked, the “wow” factor disappears. There’s the classic “frenzied extras scurry out of the way of cars pulled on wires crashing through glass storefronts” shot.
10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Here are really two ultra-cool car chases in T2. We’re not too picky. We’ll take the T-1000 hijacking a semi-rig and trying to mow down poor John Connor on his shabby dirt bike.
9. The French Connection (1971) – Starring: Gene Hackman
This is another perennial favorite on the lists of all-time movie car chases. The great thing about it is all the happy accidents. No, that car wasn’t really supposed to crash into Gene Hackman’s as he barrels under the elevated train in his Pontiac LeMans.
8. Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) – Starring: H.B. Halicki
The car chase you really want to see is from the original, captured in a 34-minute pile-up through the ports of Long Beach. All in all, 93 cars are sacrificed unto the altar of excellent movie car chases.
7. Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – Starring: Burt Reynolds
Throw in Sally Field as a bride on the run, Jerry Reed as beer smuggler the ‘Snowman’ and Jackie Gleason as good ‘ol boy Sheriff Buford T. Justice in hot pursuit, and you have the makings of one classic movie night with automotives, popcorn and a six pack.
6. Ronin (1998) – Starring: Robert De Niro
In a move to capture real authenticity—and a look of fear—from his stars Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone, Frankenheimer actually had them ride in the vehicles chasing each other at speeds from 75 to 100mph through the traffic-packed streets of Paris.
5. The Blues Brothers (1980) – Starring: John Belushi
The Blues Brothers are happy to abide. Featuring more wrecked black and white units than anything filmed before or since, the Brothers’ doozy of flight gives Illinois a new reputation, especially the Dixie Square Mall, where apparently drive-up service is more than welcomed.
4. Deathproof (2007) – Starring: Kurt Russell
Besides Kurt Russell’s hilarious turn as warped kill killer driver Stuntman Mike, the centerpiece in Deathproof is a jaw-dropping chase involving a 1969 Dodge Charger and a modified 1970 Dodge Challenger.
3. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) – Starring: William Petersen
William Petersen was a devil-may-care treasury agent in William Friedkin’s underrated ‘80s actioner. The chase in To Die goes down in infamy for one crazy-ass life-choice made by Petersen.
2. The Road Warrior (1981) – Starring: Mel Gibson
The Road Warrior climaxes with a 20-minute car chase involving a big rig, motor bikes, cop cars and all manner of re-tooled muscle cars. Throw in a gang of mohawked punks just arrived from a Motley Crue video shoot, and one tough-as-nails-looking Mel Gibson, and you’ve got a car chase and thrill ride that’s impossible to forget.
1. Bullitt (1968) – Starring: Steven McQueen
Consistently voted the best movie car chase by experts on and offline, this sequence just could not be more cool. Steve McQueen is on his A-game and then some as Lt. Frank Bullitt, who chases the baddies up, down, back and around through the winding streets of San Francisco. Four decades later, the chase and McQueen’s ’68 Ford Mustang are vintage steel.
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