There is really no better time for a movie marathon than the June Gloom of summer, and with the season in full swing, some are likely heading off on a holiday jaunt, while others are just simply enjoying some quiet time at home. For those planning on a long weekend stay cation sometime over the course of the next four months, we have compiled a list of movies with the best car chases of all time, because if you're not heading out on the road sometime this summer for vacation, why not curl up on the couch and watch others tear after each other on the cinematic roadways? Check out our list of the top 13 cinematic car chases of all time!
Widely considered the best cinematic car chase sequence of all time, Popeye Doyle's (Gene Hackman) high-speed New York City pursuit in The French Connection is simply stunning. Director William Friedkin's genius has never been on display more than in this classic scene that helped set the bar for every movie car chase that followed.
While Ronin is a largely forgettable film as a whole, this 10-minute car chase scene through the streets of Paris is easily one of the best in movie history. Robert De Niro's Sam and Jean Reno's Vincent give chase when Natascha McElhone (Deidre), Stellan Skarsgård (Gregor) and Jonathan Pryce (Seamus O'Rourke) get away with an important package. Directed with flawless precision by John Frankenheimer, Ronin's car chase will stand out as one of the best ever for ages to come.
Sure, you can be disappointed in The Matrix Reloaded all you want, but even if you were let down by the sequel, there is no denying that the highway chase sequence is pure cinematic car chase gold. The Wachowski's were truly at the top of their directorial game in this scene, that may be one of the most jaw-droppingly stunning scenes they've ever directed. I'd pay good money to watch this scene on the big screen one more time, even if it meant having to sit through the rest of the movie.
I wasn't the biggest fan of Bad Boys II when it hit theaters 12 years ago, but the car-dropping Miami chase sequence is truly phenomenal. Sure, it's littered with crap-tastic dialogue throughout (like the rest of the movie), but this 10-minute scene is surely worthy of inclusion on any best car chase scene list. This might be the best scene Michael Bay has ever directed.
While die-hard fans keep waiting for the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted, which we haven't heard about any movement on in years, fans can still enjoy this unique and innovative car chase scene. My jaw still drops every time I see Angelina Jolie scoop up James McAvoy in her Dodge Viper, and this scene even features some of the bullet-bending trickery that made the movie so noteworthy in the first place.
Possibly the most destructive scene on this list, The Blues Brothers' epic chase through a mall surely stands out as one of the best of all time, as Jake (John Belushi) and Ellwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) casually mention all the different stores they pass while driving through. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the classic Blues Brothers song is playing as this awesome chase unfolds.
Featuring Steve McQueen in possibly his best role ever, Bullitt showcases an incredible car chase through the hilly streets of San Francisco, directed to perfection by Peter Yates. It seems that Steve McQueen did most of his own driving in this iconic scene, which makes it that much more impressive.
While it's not exactly a "chase scene" per se, the final scene of Vanishing Point is truly iconic and still talked about to this day. The music group Audioslave even paid homage to the film in their music video for "Show Me How to Live." It's a truly fascinating end to a phenomenal cult classic that needs to be more recognized for its brilliance.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a movie that opens so wonderfully as the brilliant chase sequence in Hal Needham's The Cannonball Run. Gorgeously shot and directed, the cop car Camaro's futile chase of a black Lamborghini Countach brilliantly sets the tone for what would go on to be a true classic.
Another classic from the inimitable William Friedkin, To Live and Die in L.A. features a fantastic chase scene that is just as spectacular as the iconic The French Connection sequence. While the movie isn't nearly as prolific as The French Connection, the car chase is truly superb.
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but the man sure does know how to direct a thrilling chase scene. This is the second Michael Bay movie to make it on the list, and also the second chase filmed in San Francisco, where Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) commandeers a Ferrari to chase down John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), who uses his massive Hummer H1 to leave a path of destruction in his wake.
While it certainly may be the "weakest" movie in the trilogy, The Bourne Identity not only introduces us to the memory-impaired spy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), but gives us another thrilling Paris chase scene that is just as good as Ronin. What makes the scene even more impressive is the fact that Bourne is able to evade his captors while driving a tiny French car.
13 Any Car Scene In Mad Max: Fury Road
If you haven't seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, what are you waiting for? If you have seen the movie you'll know that almost the entire movie takes place on the road, with a treasure trove of unique and monstrous vehicles that are truly a sight to behold. The massive speaker truck, complete with a onsie-wearing, flamethrowing guitarist is a symbol for the enormity of director George Miller's vision for this apocalyptic world, and the epic scope itself.
That wraps it up for our 13 most epic car chases in movie history. Are there some that you think we left off the list? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to me on Twitter at @GallagherMW.