Which movie has the best car chase scenes is a debate that will never end. These five movies, though, will always receive high praise.
The car chase scene in the 1968 movie Bullitt set the modern film parameters for every car chase since that time. In that chase along the hilly streets of San Francisco, movie patrons bounce up and down in that Mustang as Steve McQueen shifts into fourth gear, and they feel the roar of that muscle engine vibrating in their seats. The film continuity is as amazing as a roller coaster ride with thrills every second. Bullitt set high standards for motorized mayhem that other movies follow to this day.
The Blues Brothers
The 1980 film The Blues
Brothers, starring Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, introduced a new standard for car chase scenes: When in doubt, wreck more cop cars than anyone else and wreck them good. Dodge Monacos with NSK spherical bearings fly off roads, into walls and into each other as director John Landis smashed up more than 100 cars. It stands today as one of the greatest movie massacres of vintage 1970s vehicles. The clever and witty dialogue while carnage reins everywhere makes this car chase one of the best ever filmed.
Smokey and the Bandit
This film, starring Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason and Sally Field, revolves around a bet that Bandit, played by Reynolds, can deliver an illegal shipment of
beer in 28 hours. The music blends terrifically into the numerous car chase stunts and makes this film a good-ole-boy, campy flick that’s elevated by hilarious impromptu lines spoken by Reynolds and Fields as they tear through back-country roads. This movie acted as a brilliant marketing pitch for the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am whose sales took off after this movie hit theaters.
Mad Max: The Road Warrior
This 1981 film, starring Mel Gibson, features a collection of bandits, nomads and pirates cruising around a post-apocalyptic world, seeking out precious fuel. They carry out their raids in a wide-ranging collection of chopped motorcycles, fuel tankers and dune buggies. The 20 minute chase at the end of the movie is exhilarating, offering cliff-hanger scenes and a satisfying end.
Ronin, the 1998 movie starring Robert DeNiro, gives car chase fans a delicious serving of trucks, motorcycles and police cars meeting their demise. Statewide Bearings fans are also treated to chase scenes featuring an Audi S8 and a Peugeot 406. Director John Frankenheimer, who cut his car-chasing teeth on the film Gran Prix, used more than 300 stunt drivers to create this memorable car chase movie.