Don Siegel's exceptional bank heist movie stars Walter Matthau as a thief who accidentally steals from the mob, and goes on the run from their enforcer, played by Joe Don Baker (who was never, ever better). Their duel culminates in an unbelievable scene in which Matthau is in an airplane, Baker is in a car, and anything could happen next. It's an amazing finale to an underappreciated crime movie classic.
John Carpenter's adaptation of Stephen King's killer car coming of age novel puts a lot of emphasis on the characters, but features some amazing car stunts, including a dynamite sequence in which the Plymouth Fury chases down its victim and does unspeakably horrific things that no car should be able to do. Astounding imagery, especially when you remember that this was before CGI, and they actually had to do all that damage to a real car.
The otherwise forgettable buddy cop thriller The Corruptor pairs Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg, and tries to tackle police corruption. But the only thing it does 100% right is the incredibly violent centerpiece car chase. Our antiheroes are chasing the criminals down crowded city streets, everyone is irresponsibly opening fire in crowded areas, the collateral damage is distressing and the conclusion is a pulse-pounder.
One of the most unusual car chases ever filmed comes from Deja Vu, one of the most unusual time travel movies ever made. In the film, Denzel Washington investigates a terrorist attack by watching live footage taking place in the past, and he has to chase down the perpetrator in a high speed chase... several days ago, when traffic conditions were completely different. Okay, okay, it's hard to describe, but fantastic to watch.
The absolutely phenomenal thriller F/X stars Bryan Brown as a Hollywood special effects artist who gets framed for murder, and uses the tricks of his trade to find the evade the FBI and uncover a conspiracy. In one of the films many classic moments, our hero is in a car chase with the feds when the back of his van opens up, revealing his assistant, who throws every crazy SFX device they have at their pursuers. Thrillingly conceived, and excitingly filmed.
Everybody talks about The Cannonball Run. Everybody SHOULD be talking about The Gumball Rally, which did the same thing as The Cannonball Run five years earlier, without all the annoying parts that never worked. It's a cross-country chase with wacky duos vying for the prize, and it's fun as hell.
Scarlett Johansson is rapidly becoming omniscient so naturally Luc Besson puts her in the middle of a car chase in Lucy, an ambitious and bizarre sci-fi thriller with big ideas and an impressive vehicular centerpiece in which the heroine - who has never driven before - performs with total precision some unbelievable vehicular feats. "I'd rather be late than dead," her passenger says. "We never really die," she replies.
This slick but forgotten thriller stars a young Patrick Dempsey as a gambler with a bounty on his head, on the run from literally everybody in the city, including the corrupt cops. In the film's best sequence our hero is chased throughout a parking structure, desperately trying to turn the tables on the squad car that's just one swerve away from taking him down. What happens next is suspenseful as hell.
Everyone loves the first two Terminator movies, almost nobody loves the last two, but there are some who at least appreciate the things Terminator 3 did really well, like the absolutely phenomenal truck chase which plows through Los Angeles, doing unspeakable damage. Jonathan Mostow knows how to film the action so that you can feel the collateral impact, and the personal sense of danger. It's a kick-ass scene in an underappreciated film.
Not every great car chase is from an action movie. In the original, classic Toy Story our two heroes are left behind when their family movies away. Being toys, their options are limited, but they embark on a car chase anyway, desperate to get on the moving van. The explosive finale is exciting, yes, but more importantly, it's emotionally moving.
The Transformers movies quickly became unwieldy, but the first, generally coherent original has a lot of great action. This scene is - for a Transformers movie - relatively simple, but the idea of doing a car chase with cars that also become robots gives Michael Bay an opportunity to shift between action genres on a dime, from chase to fight, with an epic sense of scale. This is the Transformers movies at their best.
There's a great, unironic but very silly car chase at the beginning of 22 Jump Street, but the best one is in the second half, with our heroes on a golf cart shaped like a football helmet, and the film's budget so completely shot by that opening action sequence that the filmmakers can't afford to show us all the cool stuff they had storyboarded. It's one of the best meta jokes in one of the best meta movies ever made.
Before he became a blockbuster director, but after he won an Oscar for writing The Usual Suspects, Christopher McQuarrie wrote this twisting, turning, genre-subverting kidnapping thriller which features one of the best shootouts ever filmed, and one of the most unusual car chases. Our "heroes," who just kidnapped a pregnant woman, are on the run from deadly mercenaries... so they slow down, put the car in neutral, and get their pursuers to outthink themselves. It sounds strange but watch this fantastic, utterly unusual thriller for yourself, and you'll see how clever it is.
Synching a slew of dazzling car chase sequences with a belting soundtrack, Edgar Wright's Baby Driver takes the classic heist movie troupes and gives them a groovy twist, by, amazingly, reverse engineering the scenes to play out in time with the music. There are a myriad of car chase scenes to pick out here, but there's nothing quite like the movie's opener - a six minute epic soundtracked by an amped up, fiery Jon Spencer Blues Explosion rock and roll number that just oozes car chase out of every pore. Baby Driver is out now on Digital and this scene alone will convince you it's worth your time.