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Best car chases in the movies

Best movie car chasesThere's no doubt about it – nothing makes a movie more exciting or more dramatic than a good old car chase. Whether you're watching at home on the sofa with a mug of tea, or in your local cinema with an XL popcorn/coke combo deal, the noise and frantic nature that a car chase offers leaves viewers with short fingernails and a racing heartbeat.

But what exactly are the best car chases from over the years? Below is a list of our own personal favourites – be sure to let us know if we've missed out yours!

The Italian Job

Many would say The Italian Job was the best film of the sixties – and then some. Nothing symbolises a bank holiday like The Italian Job does – and Mini themselves are still yet to make a better advert for their cars. Watching Michael Caine dominate the Italians on the roads of Turin raises the pulse and leaves everyone wanting a Mini of their own. It's simply spectacular viewing.

The Cannonball Run

1981's The Cannonball Run is based on a good old American gumball rally, with some cracking scenery to boot. Roger Moore and Burt Reynolds are among the cast so it was surely always destined to be a successful movie. But it's the screeching, the low sunsets, and the downright brilliant 80's sports cars that make this car chase an exhilarating watch. Well worth catching on Netflix/Lovefilm/any other movie streaming service if you've not yet seen it.

The Driver

You could probably write an entire article about the different car chases in The Driver – there are that many to choose from. But we reckon the best chase in this 1978 hit is actually the very first one, in which Ryan O'Neal treats the night time streets of LA like a back garden Go Kart track: tearing them to pieces. It's one of those chases that gets better with age, thanks to the abundance of everything seventies, but the camera work is glorious, whatever year you're watching in.

Gone in 60 Seconds

No no, before you start, we're not talking Nicolas Cage in the mid-2000's remake. In the 1974 original HB Halicki, who was better known as the car crash king, stars in a film that he also directs. In total the film led to 93 cars being destroyed and it's the 40 minute long car chase that really grabs the viewers' attention, including a 30 foot flight through the air by a 1973 Ford Mustang. That particular scene lives long in the memory, so is impossible not to include in this list for that reason alone.

For Your Eyes Only

You couldn't possibly have a list of best car chases and not include at least one Bond film. In our humble opinion, the chase in For Your Eyes Only is the best of the lot. In 1981's Bond hit Roger Moore takes a clapped-out Citroen through stunning scenery, including along winding roads and over steep hills that the car has no right to go up. It's great viewing, made all the better by Bond being behind the wheel.

The French Connection

It’s a bit clichéd to say The French Connection is the best car chase in cinema history, but it's also a justified decision. While most car chases are filmed well away from the public, on closed streets or nowadays even in studios, The French Connection did something a bit different in 1971 – by being filmed in an open neighbourhood. It was Brooklyn, New York to be precise, when Gene Hackman set out on a speedy pursuit of an elevated train. We'd love to know what passers-by made of it!


published: 18/07/2014 16:04:59

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