Best Movie Car Chase Scenes

With highly-anticipated movies coming this summer expect more jaw-dropping car chases to look forward to. There’s no shortage of epic ones already included in films spanning numerous genres, with the best car chase scenes often being the highlight of their beloved movies.

Cinema history has often been witness to car chases in its movies. With the use of practical effects, and with advancements in cinematography and filmmaking, car chases look more action-packed than ever.

However, it is the film’s crew that make these sequences what they are, from the director, the stunt coordinators, to the editor. Car chases, when well-shot and well-paced, have the potential to be memorable, even decades after the film’s release.

The Italian Job (2003)

Though the original “The Italian Job” had a great chase with Mini cars, it’s the 2003 reboot that really pushed the envelope.

The custom-made Mini Coopers featured in the scene in which Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Jason Statham race through underground Los Angeles had to be built with electric motors, as combustible engines aren’t allowed in the subway tunnels they shot in. And most of the actors did their own stunt driving.

‘Goldeneye’ (1995)

Goldeneye is known for being one of the best Bond films in the franchise and marks the first appearance of Pierce Brosnan as the titular character of James Bond. The film was the first Bond film to be released since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, along with the fall of the Soviet Union. Further, Judi Dench was cast as M, replacing Robert Brown, making her the very first M played by a woman in the series’ history.

Although various stunts were employed during the film’s production, the largest sequence in the film was the tank chase, which was driven by Brosnan’s Bond. In the scene, Bond is attempting to rescue Natalya (Izabella Scorupco), who has been kidnapped by Colonel Ouromov (John Gottfried). The chase took approximately six weeks to film. The chase was filmed partly on location in St. Petersburg in Russia, and in the backlot of Leavesden, a film studio. An actual tank was borrowed on loan and was retrofitted to prevent damage to the streets of St. Petersburg.

‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ (1991)

[Considered one of the best movies in the franchise, aside from the original movie itself, Terminator 2: Judgment Day saw the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton in their respective roles. In the film, a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator is sent with orders to protect John Connor (Edward Furlong) from the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), an advanced, shape-shifting Terminator. During one sequence of the film, the T-1000 advances on John who is attempting to flee on a bike.

Also in pursuit of John is the T-800 on a Harley-Davidson. Director James Cameron brings sheer intensity and excitement to the sequence that leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. As the T-1000 assertively smashes his truck through everything in his path, the T-800 swiftly follows from above on the highway, bringing a satisfying ending to the scene when the T-800 is able to rescue John.

‘Bullitt’ (1968)

Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen in his defining role, Robert Vaughn, and Jacqueline Bisset, features one of the best car chases in cinema history. Taking place in San Francisco, the film follows McQueen as Frank Bullitt who embarks on a nearly 11-minute car chase through the hilly streets of San Francisco. In the film, McQueen maneuvers a 1968 Mustang GT fastback as he is chased by two men driving a ’68 Dodge Charger.

The car chase took weeks to film, and completely revolutionized the standards of car chases in film. The scene excited and invigorated car enthusiasts as well as its general audience. Most notable is the fact that McQueen was behind the wheel of the Mustang GT for much of the filming, with stunt drivers used in other scenes.

Smokey and the Bandit” (1977)

Burt Reynolds became a 1970s icon thanks to this movie, in which he plays the wise-cracking moonshiner Bo “Bandit” Darville. And the movie itself became legendary thanks to his character jumping a defunct bridge with his Trans Am.

To pull off the stunt, the car was strapped with a booster rocket and the car was driven by the director of the movie, Hal Needham. He also happened to be Reynolds’ longtime stuntman.

‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (1974)

Though a remake was released in 2000 starring Angelina Jolie, Nicolas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, and Robert Duvall, the original film released in 1974 contained one of the most spectacular car chases seen on film. The film was produced with a large budget, but was incredibly ambitious with the car chase sequence.

The film follows an insurance investigator who is also a car thief. The plot involves the thief, who is given the task of stealing over 40 cars within five days. This ultimately leads into the car chase, which clocked in with a 40-minute driving sequence, the longest car chase in cinema history. The sense of danger the chase sequences create, along with the driving done by actor and director H.B. Halicki, makes this a thrilling car chase to remember.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road was the fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise and was directed by George Miller, who had previously directed the previous installments. Starring Tom Hardy in the titular role previously played by Mel Gibson in the original 1979 film, Fury Road also starred Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Hugh Keays-Byrne.

Fury Road is also most known for its car chase scene which was shot using mostly practical effects with real cars and stunts. In the climax of the car chase in the film, and the most dangerous stunt, the War Rig is wrecked by Hoult’s character, leading to the end of the climactic car chase.

‘Drive’ (2011)

Starring Ryan Gosling as the protagonist simply called Driver, Drive follows his gripping story as he goes from being a loner who’s a Hollywood stuntman by day and getaway driver by night to being involved in a dangerous heist. He soon finds himself having to protect his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son from the East Coast Italian Mafia.

The beginning of the mess with the mafia is marked by an epic car chase that starts after Irene’s husband is shot during a pawn shop robbery. What follows is a frantic chase between Gosling and a mysterious assailant who has been watching the events in the store unfold from a close distance.

‘Baby Driver’ (2017)

Baby Driver is a critically-acclaimed action movie centered on the titular protagonist (played by Ansel Elgort), a skilled getaway driver working for nefarious heist mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey). Baby doesn’t want to stick around for long, though, as he dreams of leaving his life of crime to be with his love interest and local waiter, Debora (Lily James).

Baby Driver is, of course, known for the incredible way it meshes music and action, as the protagonist has the perfect song for every action sequence. The best one is undoubtedly the intro scene, which shows Baby cool and collected during a high-pressure car chase with the police – the exciting sequence sets the tone for the entire film and is also the most memorable one in the film.

‘Nobody’ (2021)

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a family man growing tired of his mundane daily routines in Nobody. He finally finds a way to revisit a violent period from his past after two thieves break into his home and threaten his wife and son. Before long, Hutch is right in the middle of a deadly battle against a deadly drug lord.

After an intense confrontation with the Russian mafia and the drug lord who’s after him, Hutch gives them a chance to stop the fighting but is disappointed when the antagonist and his goons chase after him anyway. Set against Pat Benatar‘s “Heartbreaker,” the ensuing car chase is the perfect blend of showcasing the protagonist’s skills and the mafia’s incompetence, making it both thrilling and satisfying.

‘Nightcrawler’ (2014)

When Los Angeles local Louis “Lou” Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers a promising career as a cameraman, he leaves behind petty crime and delves into the world of nightcrawling. An unlikely collaboration with news director Nina (Rene Russo) inspires Lou to pursue increasingly dangerous activities for the sake of getting the perfect shot.

The enthralling car chase scene in Nightcrawler takes place towards the end of the movie, when Lou pushes the limits of his newfound profession and becomes directly involved in an ongoing crime. He, along with his young assistant, follow a police car as it pursues the suspects, with the chase soon culminating in a multiple-car collision. It’s dark, tense, and exhilarating all at once.

‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

The Dark Knight is a renowned superhero film that needs no introduction. The gritty movie revolves around Batman (Christian Bale) who allies with Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in an effort to end organized crime in Gotham. Their plans are complicated by the enigmatic evil mastermind known as the Joker (Heath Ledger).

Fans will already know the best chase scene in the film, which is made even more impressive by the fact that it used practical effects. As Dent is being transported an armored car, the Joker soon arrives in a truck with his goons and start shooting. Just as they’re about to fire an RPG, the Batmobile is seen jumping over another vehicle to take the hit. As if that sequence isn’t jaw-dropping enough, Batman immediately chases after the Joker in his Batcycle, which eventually leads to the iconic “hit me” scene in the middle of the city.

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