12 Crazy Car Scenes That Give The 'Fast And Furious' Movies A Run For Their Money

Whether it's trains, planes, or automobiles, speeding vehicles have made for some of the best nail-biting, jaw-dropping moments in cinematic history. Entire franchises have been built around car crashes and explosions that, while defying the laws of physics, have reinforced the magic of Hollywood. There's probably no greater testament to this than the Fast and the Furious franchise, which never ceases to amaze when it comes to wonderfully ridiculous car-related stunts. I thought it would be impossible to top 2015's Furious 7, which features the late Paul Walker and Vin Diesel crashing a red W Motors Lukan Hypersport through not one, not two, but three skyscrapers in Abu Dubai, but The Fate of the Furious could certainly unseat its predecessor.

In celebrating cinema's love of fast cars and our love of the Fast and the Furious films, here are some of the best and the craziest car chases, jumps and stunts outside of that series.

Bullitt (1968)

It's arguably the most famous car scene in film history and for good reason. Steve McQueen tears through the streets of San Francisco, his green 1968 Ford Mustang GT flying over each hill in pursuit of two hitmen speeding away in a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T. This battle of American muscle cars that ends in a fiery explosion became the gold standard for car chases in films, winning editor Frank P. Keller an Academy Award for Best Editing. McQueen is effortlessly cool as Bullitt and the film was so influential that Ford released a Bullitt edition of the Mustang in 2001 and again in 2008 to commemorate the film's 40th anniversary. The scene has been parodied and endlessly copied in the years since by film and television alike, from Clint Eastwood to Archer. As the proud former owner of a Mustang, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to pretending I was Steve McQueen every time I got behind the wheel. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in this regard.

The French Connection (1971)

First, there's the subway fake-out. Then, there's Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle screeching through the streets of NYC, crashing through garbage, swerving around cars and leaning on the horn of his Le Mans as he attempts to overtake a hijacked, speeding, elevated train in this white-knuckle chase scene. Part of the reason The French Connection tops most lists like this one is because of how raw it is. As director William Friedkin has explained since, there were no permits and the scene wasn't meticulously choreographed. The crashes? Very real, although luckily the near-miss of the woman with a baby stroller was staged and rehearsed. Off-duty NYPD officers helped to hold back traffic, but the chase scene veered into streets, where all bets were off. It's something that could never be done today, and understandably so, but there's an authenticity to the scene that suits the rough and tumble Doyle, who plays by his own rules throughout the film.

The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)

Outside of the Fast and Furious films, the Bond franchise is the film series most closely associated with expensive cars and crazy stunts. In The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore's Bond finds himself the target of Scaramanga, a hit man who takes out his targets with...take a guess. Relieved of his duties by M, Bond starts unofficially hunting down Scaramanga and the Solex Agitator, a device that harnesses solar power and that would solve an energy crisis. Although Christopher Lee gives a fine performance as Scaramanga, the film has a weird comedic tone to it, which was rightfully panned by critics upon its release. That legacy is even more evident in this jump scene, where Bond defies physics with an impressive spiral jump across a splintered bridge that is paired with a slapstick penny whistle sound effect.

The Driver (1978)

1967's Le Samouraï was a huge influence on 1978's The Driver, which in turn was a huge influence on 2011's Drive. Of course, both The Driver and Drive feature two enigmatic and quiet characters, whose names are never revealed, both of whom drive around L.A. as getaway drivers until one job goes awry. But the similarities between the two films are especially evident when comparing their two police chase sequences, which share a similar style, even down to the tense scene where they wait inside of the car with the lights off for the police to pass. But this sequence in Walter Hill's film still remains one of the great chase and escape scenes in film. There's no soundtrack, just the roar of the engine, the squealing of tires, the incessant howl of police sirens and Ryan O'Neal, cool as a cucumber, spinning the steering wheel until the coast is clear.

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

After creating one of the most iconic car chases in cinema with The French Connection, director William Friedkin makes it onto the list a second time with this harrowing chase through Los Angeles that culminates in the cars barreling the wrong way down the freeway, directly into on-coming traffic. William Petersen's Richard Chase is a reckless Secret Service agent who will stop at nothing to get revenge on Rick Masters, a counterfeiter who is responsible for the death of his partner. After a botched attempt to shake down a criminal for money, Chase and his partner, Vukovich, find themselves being chased across the city, through an obstacle course of loading docks and trucks, through the city's famous flood control channels and, finally, down the wrong way onto the freeway. Perhaps best of all is the soothing voiceover towards the end, informing radio listeners of a small backup on the freeway, as we see Chase and Vukovich slip back onto the right side of the freeway, speeding to safety and leaving a cacophony of crashed cars and a jackknifed tractor-trailer in their wake.

The Wraith (1986)

This cult-classic starring Charlie Sheen is chock-full of some great desert race sequences and features a truly special car, the Dodge M4S Turbo Inceptor, a highly sophisticated car built by Dodge and PPG Industries for the PPG-CART Indy Car World Series at a cost of $1.5 million. Four of these were loaned for the production of The Wraith, but these were only used for close-ups – the fiery crashes utilized a shell of the car's exterior. Sheen stars as the mysterious Jake Kesley, who shows up in a small Arizona town being terrorized by a gang of car thieves who trick people into racing for pink slips. Jake, of course, is the Wraith, the returned soul of a kid murdered by the thugs. Throughout the film, he lures them into racing, which leads to their deaths. The film is a thick slice of '80s cheese but the racing scenes feel fast (and furious), often cutting to angled exterior shots of the speeding cars and sped-up shots of the winding highway that eventually end in huge and satisfying crash-and-burn explosions.

Grind House (Death Proof)

Speed (1994)

Okay, fine. Technically, this is a bus and not a car, but if anyone can accomplish the impossible – like jumping a gap in the unfinished L.A. freeway or making it onto this list with a technicality – it's Keanu Reeves. After receiving a medal for taking down a bomber, L.A. SWAT officer Jack Traven discovers the bomber is still alive and ready for vengeance and has placed a bomb on a city bus, which will explode if it goes slower than 50 MPH. So Jack hops on the bus, Sandra Bullock becomes an impromptu bus driver after a criminal on board shoots the driver and, oh yeah, they have to jump a gap on an unopened and unfinished section of the goddamn freeway. On paper, Speed sounds a little ridiculous but it's still a solid action film and, despite what Mythbusters says, the bus jump is still a thrilling, hold-your-breath moment to remember.

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

To his credit, Nicolas Cage is one of the first actors that comes to mind when you think about accomplishing the impossible and the incredulous in film. Only he could steal the Declaration of Independence and only he could pull off this incredible, gravity-defying jump across traffic on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The film is a loose remake of a 1974 H.B. Halicki film of the same name, although, to its credit, the original features a forty-three minute car chase scene, climaxing with a real car jump performed without CGI or a gas-driven catapult. For the remake, Eleanor – originally a 1973 model – becomes a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500 and a fair bit of CGI was necessary to propel her through the air. However, Cage did most of the driving stunts himself and he still owns one of the replica Eleanor cars from the film. Side note: the best bit of trivia associated with this movie, according to IMDB, is that some Greek theaters translated the title to Come in Sixty Seconds. Ouch.

Death Proof (2007)

Look, I know. I'm supposed to pick Zoë Bell clinging to the hood of a Challenger while Stuntman Mike knocks the car around and – as only Kurt Russell can – shouts things like "Get ready to fly, bitch!" And it's definitely a killer sequence made even more awesome by the fact that yes, Zoë Bell really was clinging to the hood of the car because she's a kick ass stuntwoman who also served as Uma Thurman's stunt double on Kill Bill. But there's something special and oh-so-Quentin Tarantino about the wonderfully gory and over-the-top crash scene early on. As Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich's 1966 bubblegum pop song "Hold Tight" roars through the car, Stuntman Mike speeds head-on towards the car full of women, flipping on his lights at the last moment before the spectacular crunch. In turn, we're treated to a loop of the crash that shows us each girl's fate, which also serves as a gentle reminder to never ever dangle your foot out of a car window.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

It had been 12 years since we last saw John McClane in action and it's ridiculously wonderful stunts like this in Live Free or Die Hard that make us (or at least me) so happy he came back. This time, McClane is back to stop a cyber-hacker in D.C. who has also kidnapped his daughter, Lucy. But the plot is almost irrelevant because one, Bruce Willis is back, and two, we get to see McClane jump out of a speeding car, which then propels itself into a toll booth, sending it airborne to take out a helicopter. Yep, a car crashes itself into a helicopter, which then explodes. Good god, in what world is this even mildly plausible? But I'll be damned if it didn't make me burst out into a shit-eating grin when I first saw it. And that's truly the fun of this list and these films: to remind us of those times Hollywood gave us improbable magic and we in turn pumped our fists in celebration every single time one of our old heroes comes back for one last round.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Arguably the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier actually features two pretty awesome car chases, complete with some impossible stunts and the smoldering Winter Soldier fucking shit up. First, there's the assassination attempt on Nick Fury, which is the perfect combination of tension and Tony Stark-inspired ingenuity as Hydra agents posing as DC Metro Police surround and open fire on Fury's armored SUV. But credit here needs to go to the film's big highway showdown, which kicks off with the Winter Soldier yanking Jasper Sitwell out of a car window and tossing him like rag doll onto the highway (where he's promptly smashed by an speeding truck) before ripping the damn steering wheel out of the car. Then we've got Cap catapulting out of an airborne car with Falcon and Black Widow via a car door, Cap crashing through a city bus, Black Widow being a badass, and Winter Soldier strutting down a car hood and into Steve's dreams. The damage is catastrophic, with cars and buses exploding and crashing all around, and in the end, after that big reveal, the Winter Soldier gets away. I guess The Sokovia Accords kinda do make sense.

John Wick (2014)

A list so nice, Keanu's on it twice. Admittedly, John Wick is known more for it's badass gun-fu sequences, but Wick's love of muscle cars is evident throughout the film, beginning with his 1969 Mustang Mach 1, which is later stolen by the villainous Iosef (and later reclaimed in the opening sequence of John Wick: Chapter 2). With his classic ride gone, Wick hops into a brand new Dodge Charger to track down an SUV convoy filled with Viggo and his cronies for the film's final showdown. Somehow, Wick is even more relentless behind the wheel of a car, forcing an SUV off of the dock, popping shots into the men that tumble across his roof and finally taking out Avi with the side of his car before being forced out of the car by Viggo. It's slick and sleek work, made all the more badass by Reeves, who performed most of the stunts in the film and who really is behind the wheel for the scene.