8 classic movie car chases that still have you on the edge of your seat

8 classic movie car chases that still have you on the edge of your seat

These high-octane flicks certainly aren't what you'd call cerebral, but they boast the best car chases in film history.

1. Bullitt

1968’s Bullitt makes just about everyone’s list of great car chases. This titular cop was destined to be actor Steve McQueen’s most iconic role, and the heart-stopping chase through the busy streets of San Francisco remains one of the most amazing pieces of vehicular choreography ever captured on film.

2. Smokey and the Bandit

This is the film that made the Pontiac TransAm famous and influenced a generation of drivers worldwide. Who could forget those classic chases in the iconic TransAm and the fun of watching Burt Reynolds outrun the clueless cops?

3. Mad Max

This frightening yet fun look at a dystopian future has some of the most amazing car chases and explosions you’ll find on Blu-Ray. It’s also notable for the fact that it features a very young Mel Gibson, who has only 16 lines of dialogue throughout the entire movie, including (twice!), “I only came for the gasoline.”

4. Ronin

This classic film finds star Robert DeNiro and company speeding through the busy streets of Paris at speeds approaching 100 mph. Throw in top-notch performances from the cast, a compelling storyline, and plenty of great shots of the City of Light, and you’ve got the perfect flick for a (not-so-quiet) night in.

5. The French Connection

The French Connection is one of the most iconic movies of its time, renowned for its great performances (Gene Hackman won an Academy Award for Best Actor) and incredible storytelling. What many film buffs forget, however, is that this classic flick also includes one of the most incredible car chases ever put to film. Audiences seeing the film for the first time gasped when they saw that Pontiac TransAm go under the elevated train tracks—a stunt that impresses to this day.

6. Gone in 60 Seconds

Modern audiences may be more familiar with the remake starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, but classic car fans tend to prefer the 1974 version. The thrilling chase through the streets of Long Beach is one of the most exciting in film history.

7. To Live and Die in LA

Los Angeles is known for its incredible car culture, so it is only fitting this iconic movie makes the list. Not only does the movie include a classic car chase but it provides some of the most remarkable cityscapes ever caught on film.

8. The Blues Brothers

You might not equate a film about Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s Blues Brothers with car chases, but there are plenty to go around in this iconic movie. The scene at the mall is a fan favourite even decades after the film’s 1980 release.

This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.