Top ten: Movie chase scenes

The car chase is one of the most commonly used action sequences in movies, but there is a world of difference between good and bad. We've tried to count down ten of the best, but in truth there were another twenty equally worthy of a place on the shortlist. Which ones do you think we missed?



10. Italian Job
The notorious Mini chase scene has worn a little thin with repetition, but there's no doubting the impact made by the diminutive British car in its day and no movie chase scene list is complete without the Italian Job's carefully orchestrated anarchy.


9. Smokey and the Bandit
It's hard to select a specific chase scene from the Bandit's collection, but the film's automotive charm is undeniable. Burt Reynolds' laid back bootlegger turned the black and gold Pontiac Trans Am into an icon as he runs blocker for 400 cases of Cools.



8. Grand Prix
Ok it's not strictly a chase scene, but if you're looking for wheel to wheel action, Grand Prix set the sixties benchmark. The classic Formula One cars may be Formula Three machines in drag, but that doesn't detract from the realism as director John Frankenheimer insisted everything be shot at race speeds.



7. Deathproof
Tarantino's ultra-violent tribute to grindhouse cinema is also an extended love letter to the American muscle car's place in movie history. The film features a couple of gruesomely brilliant scenes, but the final car chase is stylised automotive revenge at its best. However, in the interests of our younger readers we've only posted the trailer.


6. Quantam of Solace
Chase scenes are a staple of the Bond franchise, and three or four were worthy of a place in our top ten, but we opted for the Quantam of Solace opener. The Aston versus Alfa pursuit is a prime example of how slick editing can dramatically improve a car chase, but no one should doubt the scene's authenticity; two stunt drivers were seriously injured during shooting.


5. Vanishing Point
An amphetamine-addicted, Vietnam veteran takes an American muscle car on the metaphorical road to nowhere. Ignore the film's clumsy attempts at social commentary and savour the spectacle of Barry Newman tearing across the countryside in a white Dodge Challenger leaving cops and counterculture floundering in his wake.



4. Mad Max
Hugely underrated due to the costume dramas that followed it, the original Mad Max introduced itself to audiences with an extraordinarily deft chase scene. Mixing grit, black humour and dramatic tension, the sequence is good enough for Mel Gibson's feature debut to be upstaged by the V8 drumbeat of the MFP 'Interceptor'.


3. Ronin
For the Fast and Furious franchise, Ronin features the finest car chase scenes filmed in the last twenty years. The nitrous-fuelled Audi S8 received most of the attention following the movie's release, but we prefer the BMW versus Peugeot duel through Paris. The film used right-hand drive cars with the actors seated next to the stunt drivers mimicking their actions on fake steering wheels.


2. French Connection
Gene Hackman's furious pursuit of a subway train is justly famous for its kinetic pace. Of all the chase scenes on this list, the French Connection's abrasive sequence is the one that comes closest to the frantic momentum of a genuine pursuit.


1. Bullitt
Before anyone complains about a lack of originality in our top slot, watch the sequence again. Time has not diluted the sheer brilliance of Bullitt's ten minute masterclass. Thanks in large part to McQueen's abilities as a wheelman and a soundtrack supplied by the 1968 Ford Mustang GT and Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum, the high speed pursuit stands as the best car chase scene ever committed to celluloid.
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