In a new feature for this this year, each month the Film & TV section will be creating lists of our favourite films and film moments with a different theme every time. This month, in honour of the release of Jason Bourne, we count down our top ten car chases of all time.
- Gone in 60 Seconds
While the film itself is as utterly diabolically awful as a film could possibly get, there is no denying that on the sheer scale of carnage alone this deserves to be on the list. When a film can boast a 40 minute car chase (which supposedly involved the destruction of around 100 cars during filming) it is at least doing something right… even if the acting is so wooden that Pinocchio could’ve done it and the script could’ve been written by a chimpanzee on a typewriter.
- Jack Reacher
This under-acknowledged action movie is finally and deservedly getting a sequel in a couple of months. One of the stand out scenes in this film was a stark car chase where Tom Cruise escapes in his American muscle car after finding out he’s been framed for murder. For this whole scene there is no dialogue and no music, only the diegetic sounds of the car engines and scraping metal which serves as a throwback to more old school car chases which were a bit less stylised than some of the bland car chases you see today.
- The Blues Brothers
A classic scene in this classic film sees the Blues Brothers wreak havoc and carnage in a shopping mall when they plough their Dodge right into it. All of this with a soul soundtrack playing over it makes this scene all the more memorable.
While they aren’t necessarily being chased in this film, it’s more of a race against time so it still deserves its place on this list. There are so many tense moments that could’ve been picked from this film, one of the most memorable and impressive is where the bus makes a 50ft jump over a bit of unfinished highway without ever dropping its speed below 50mph.
It would be wrong to have a list of car chases without including 007 somewhere and while some of you may think it blasphemous to not include a chase involving an Aston Martin, this is a very impressive car chase. Starting the film with a chase through the streets of Istanbul in a Land Rover before moving to the rooftops on a motorbike is certainly a bold way to open a film, but it just helps to solidify Skyfall as one of the best Bond movies of all time.
- Fast and Furious 7
While this series is full of impressive car chases, the seventh entry had some of the biggest yet. The one that was the biggest edge-of-your-seat moment though was when Dom and Brian escape from a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi by smashing through the building and soaring through the sky into another one and then through to the next. Perhaps not one for people who suffer from vertigo.
- The Bourne Identity
There are many great car chases in the Bourne franchise but this one from the first film is one of the best. It sees Bourne drive a Mini cooper through the streets of Paris before driving down a flight of stairs in order to evade his chasers. Yes, this has been done many times before but not as well as this. This car chase really shows up the remake of The Italian Job.
- 21 Jump Street
An unorthodox entry to this list, some may think, but the joy of this car chase is that it isn’t afraid to take the mick out of every other Hollywood car chase. Trying to escape from a biker gang on a freeway jammed with traffic, Jenko and Schmidt have to use the weapons at hand in the vehicles they commandeer which escalates from golf balls to a hand gun they find in the glove compartment of a pink VW Beetle. It’s made all the more hilarious by the potential explosions along the way.
This may be the most low-key car chase in this list but it is definitely one of the most effective… and it takes place in the first five minutes of the film. This chase really drives the story straight away by showing off The Driver’s skills as he slips away from the scene of a crime through dimly lit, grimy streets. All of this made all the more atmospheric by the pulsating soundtrack.
- Mad Max: Fury Road
This whole film is essentially a two hour long car chase but that is the real joy of this genre-defining movie. Whether it’s driving dune buggies through sand storms or oil tanks lorries across deserts, there is never a dull moment and it is made all the more impressive by the fact that the majority of it was done through practical effects rather than using CGI.
So, do you agree with this month’s list?