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4 of the Greatest Car Chases in Movie History

Car chases in movies are incredibly exhilarating because of the high speeds and surprising thrills that are commonly present in these scenes. 

While many action films include at least one car chase to raise the stakes, just a few in cinematic history have stood the test of time and serve as the gold standard against which you judge all other car chases. Here are four of the greatest car chases in movie history that are the apex of the genre.

Bullitt
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset (Actors)

Bullitt (1968)

Many critics believe Steve McQueen’s Bullitt has the greatest car chase of all time, and you can’t overstate its influence on all future chase scenes. It was the most realistic depiction of a car chase during a time when these scenes were primarily used for comic effect.

Featuring the 1968 Ford Mustang GT, this has become one of the most iconic movie representations of Ford vehicles ever. There’s no dialogue during the 11-minute sequence—just two drivers trying to outwit each other on the road.

The Blues Brothers
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James B. Brown (Actors)

Blues Brothers (1980)

While Bullitt showed that car chases could be serious, Blues Brothers showed that you can still inject comedy into these scenes while staying true to the action. As scores of patrol vehicles pursue them, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd race through the labyrinthine heart of downtown Chicago in a 1974 Dodge Monaco, otherwise known as the “Bluesmobile.”

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In probably the most famous moment of the film, the two Blues Brothers escape during the crescendo of the chase, as scores of squad cars pile up on top of one other.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (4K Ultra HD)
  • Mad Max Fury Road (4K UltraHD)
  • Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult (Actors)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

While it is a newer film compared to the others on this list, nearly the entire runtime of Mad Max: Fury Road is devoted to a race through a dystopian wasteland that became instantly iconic after its debut.

While there are technically two extended car chase sequences, they’re both equally thrilling rides featuring masked men on bungee cords wailing on a guitar and a cool as a cucumber Charlize Theron making a beeline for freedom.

The French Connection
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider (Actors)

The French Connection (1971)

The car chase in The French Connection is undoubtedly the most dangerous ever put to film, but the payoff was worth it in the end. They did much of the pursuit on busy streets filled with real-life traffic as the producers failed to secure the proper permits to shut down many of the roads they filmed on.

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The result is a terrifying, stunt-filled thriller filmed with reckless abandon that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat throughout the sequence.

When looking through four of the greatest car chases in movie history, it’s clear why critics and audiences alike can’t get enough of these scenes. When done correctly, they enable you to live vicariously through some of the most stressful situations any person could be subjected to while also allowing you to feel what it’s like to disregard the rules of the road.

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