/Response: Your Favorite Car Chases In Movie History

(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about their favorite car chases in movie history. We then opened the floor to our readers: what is your favorite movie car chase? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week's question: what is your favorite TV episode of all time? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

Death Proof

Choosing this film almost feels like cheating, as Death Proof was constructed as a love-letter to white-knuckle car chase thrillers like Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Vanishing Point. Regardless of how you feel about the film as a whole, this chase scene is epic, and takes up the last 20 minutes of the film.

There's a lot to love about this scene, starting with the oddball circumstances that set it up. A group of women working on a film decide to joyride a vintage Dodge Challenger. One woman, a professional stunt performer played by Zoe Bell, takes things to the next level by playing a game that involves laying on the hood while the car is pushed to its maximum speeds. The real chase begins when a psychotic stunt-driver begins tailing their car and ramming into it with hopes that he can knock Zoe off the hood. From this moment on, my hands are always sweating. Every time you see that car take a hit and see Bell slide across the hood, your heart skips a beat.

Soon, the tables are turned. The women are now the "cat" in the chase, barreling down country highways trying to get revenge on Stuntman Mike for his sick games. This half of the chase pays more direct homage to chase films of yesteryear  and these last 20 minutes of the film is the reason to watch Death Proof. (Jordan DeLuCruz)


Diva is an unforgettable film for many reasons.  The cinematography is stunning, the wardrobe on-point, the soundtrack both moving and unconventional, and the plot is so superficially fantastic to the point of being completely superfluous to the true purpose of the film.  But of all the unforgettable elements of the film, what truly solidifies it as one of the great cinematic experiences to come out of the short lived and exclusive Cinema du Look movement is the chase scene.

A little more than an hour into the film, we see our protagonist, Jules, leaving the apartment of his object of affection. As he is approaching his beautiful red Motobecane moped, we hear a conversation between the male and female cops that are tailing him. Their conversation is completely irrelevant (the male cop attempting to impress the female by bragging about his cardiovascular talents), however the motions of the camera, the slow sweeping motions toward the subjects, builds perfectly the chase that is about to ensue. Once the cops hear the moped, the chase begins.

We are immediately gifted with beautiful shots of Paris at night, the soft lights of the city bouncing through the background, the bright lights of the vehicle reflecting an acid yellow on the cobblestone street and some exciting lens flare creating a crimson halo around the headlights. Clashing with these images are a series of sleek shots of Jules wearing his red and gold helmet which emphasize not only the cool design and colors of the helmet but also the dramatic nature of the city lights at night.

The sequence lasts about 3m 45s.  What makes it so great was the unconventional approach Beineix and his team took to the classic chase scene.  They slowed down the pace considerably and did not rely on the typical motifs and shots that most chase scenes employ.  The music is almost relaxing and mirrors the surreal nature of the situation (a foot vs moped chase through the Paris Metro) but the beautiful and naturalistic lighting and colors of the city are enough to keep the viewer engaged in ways that most chase scenes don't. (William Arvin)


Nicholas Refn's brutal arthouse flick features Ryan Gosling as a most enigmatic character: not only is he a stuntman by day and getaway driver by night, but he's also a lover and a fighter. Furthermore, he is never named throughout the entire movie – he's just known as "the Driver."

The film begins with the Driver in a car watching his watch and waiting for his burglars to finish burgling and get in the car. At the movie's 5:20 mark, they are off. But wait! It isn't a chase yet. The Driver is not racing to get away. Instead, he slowly drives under the radar, hiding behind semi trucks in the shadow of the night. He is poised and precise. But while police officers are searching for the car, there is just as much suspense going on as in a typical car chase. Everyone in the car, and the car itself, is quiet. The stillness creates suspense. Once the car is spotted, the Driver revs his engine and speeds off as a helicopter tracks him. Our hearts are pumping for a few seconds, and then the Driver finds another place to hide. The use of sound from quiet to loud to quiet again is frustratingly thrilling. It isn't long before a police officer finds him again and chases him for a few seconds. But the Driver gets away, parks the car, and loses the officer. The scene goes black. We can finally breathe.

This unorthodox car chase sets the pace for this film. One might argue the quick change of tones from soft to loud is also how the movie itself works: from a soft romantic relationship to a loud intense bloodbath. And just as Driver is so precise, so is Refn, finding a subtle way to create a suspenseful car chase that doesn't rely on gear shifting and loud explosions. (Sam Schabel)


Despite its title, Drive isn't exactly remembered for its driving. Upon release, the film was even the subject of a law suit from a Michigan filmgoer, who felt that they were deprived of the pulsating chase scenes promised in the trailer. Whilst the opening getaway sequence may not provide the bombast that audiences have become accustomed to with their chase sequences thanks to the Fast & Furious franchise, it shows how suspense can be just as thrilling, if not more so.

In this opening scene we are shown the methodical way in which Ryan Gosling's character goes about his nightly business. It begins with him counting down the last seconds of his five-minute window, waiting for the perpetrators of a crime to get back in his vehicle. What ensues is a game of cat-and-mouse with the police, as they try to evade detection. Like the film that follows, it is a chase defined as much by stillness and silence as it is by movement. Gosling's driver deliberately shrouds the vehicle in the shadows, as the beaming light of a police chopper comes from overhead. From the way he uses darkness to hide, before leaping into quick action and then disguising himself amongst a departing sports crowd, it shows the intelligence, ruthlessness and professionalism of the character.

Accompanied by Cliff Martinez's tension-inducing track, 'Tick of the Clock' and culminating in an opening credits sequence set to Kavinsky's 'Nightcall,' the chase is also a perfect introduction to the tone and style of the film. It may not be the most explosive chase on this list, but to borrow a piece of car terminology, in terms of miles to the gallon, there are few more efficient or effective. (Michael Dalton)

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

My all time favorite car chase scene doesn't really involve that many cars, but it's definitely a chase scene involving vehicular carnage. My pick is the amazing, almost 10-minute long sequence near the end of the classic Korean movie The Good, the Bad, the Weird. The whole film itself is really one extended chase scene, but the bravado of this particular sequence, involving dozens of horses, gunfire, a busted-up jeep, dynamite, a ball-and-chain weapon, and incredible amounts of cannon fire, make it thrilling and hold-your-breath exciting. It doesn't hurt that the soundtrack – blasting Santa Esmerelda's "Esmerelda Suite" (also used to great effect in Quentin Tarantino's first Kill Bill) – ties the mayhem together in such a fun way that you can't help but smile the whole time. (Noah Cho)

Jack Reacher

Is this my favorite among all the chases I've seen? Maybe not, but it comes to mind for one potent reason: tension. There's some of the traditional tension of car chases, yes, but the tension on display here is tactile: it's about the weight of cars, the friction of tires against the road, and the real challenge of a human being trying to manipulate these machines at high speeds and with great precision. Car chases can take the skills of their drivers for granted, with cars weaving between oncoming traffic, executing hairpin turns with grace, and fishtailing merely for effect. What happens in this scene from Jack Reacher (due in no small part to how much we see of Tom Cruise actually driving – a now well-known trademark of his performances) is that while those traditional car chase beats are hit, they're shown to be difficult. We see just how long it can take for a car to accelerate, how hard it is to shift direction, and just how challenging it can be to drive and keep track of your prey. The scene may go on for a bit too long, but that's a forgivable side-effect of its realistic aesthetic. It's not about high-octane thrills, but about the effort and frustration and genuine tension of pursuit – and it's wholly effective. (Danny Rivera)

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Mad Max: Fury Road

While The French Connection and Bullitt deserve to be on any list covering this topic, for me, the pinnacle of car chase cinema came to us in 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road. The entire film is one extended car chase, never once holding back on high speed drama and impeccable probably-shoulda-been-

nominated-for-an-Oscar stunt work. Every few years, a movie is released in which the action is so fantastically executed that legitimate hype surrounds the behind-the-scenes work just so that we can learn HOW they pulled it all off, and that's true of Fury Road. The final climax of the movie is emblematic of something few modern car chases seem to get right these days: Awe & Wonderment. In the era of video games, a few jumps and an explosion aren't going to cut it for an exciting car sequence (something the Fast & the Furious franchise figured out and smartly adapted to). What a big Hollywood blockbuster should (at the very least) strive to deliver is a sequence so astounding it leaves you wondering just exactly HOW they pulled it off, and with its practical stunt work and fever dream visuals, Mad Max: Fury Road and its massive car chases delivers every time. (CJ Simonson)


It's hard to narrow down a favorite action scene from Mad Max: Fury Road, but I'm going to go with the final sequence. The sheer logistics of each action beat are insane. For fun, just follow Max. I think the best action sequences are like a mini three act film. It all builds beautifully to the gas rig explosion, and then we have a little boss battle that ends with that glorious guitar close-up. With modern special effects, it seems harder to be blown away by action scenes, but Fury Road sets a new standard. The fact that this movie was even made today feels like a miracle. (Chad Doescher)

The Matrix Reloaded

Say what you will about the Matrix sequels, but the freeway chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded is still flat-out incredible. Not only is there the standard car-chasing-car, but you have Kung Fu fights happening within the cars, you have motorcycles driving into oncoming traffic, and a big showdown on top of a semi. Add in the concept that an Agent can overtake any human's body in the Matrix itself, and you have a potential enemy in every vehicle our heroes pass. There's a reason why Morpheus considers the freeway to be suicide.

The mechanics of how it was shot only adds to its genius. Warner Bros. built a mile and a half long freeway set, the biggest set in movie history at that time (2003). The motorcycle scenes featured shots with cameramen on motorcycles driving directly behind the actors. And there is a great mix of practical and computer generated cars, some of which are still hard to pick out almost fifteen years later. It is 14 minutes of pure entertainment. (Chase Dunnette)


This is an underrated heist movie that has one of the more visceral car chases in recent action movie memory.  It was made before the use of extensive CGI, so there isn't much by way of special effects, but I have a fondness for the car chase. It's also nice to see two real cars used – I love Gone in 60 Seconds, but the likelihood of a GT500 being used in a car chase seems far-flung. Its also great to see the shot-on-location feel of the movie, with the car chase going through the narrow streets of old Europe. I believe the movie is especially underrated and features some great performances. (Nestor Marante)

What's Up Doc?

The car chase in Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy What's Up Doc? is my favorite of all time. The whole movie is full of quirky characters, visual gags and witty dialogue, all of which is on display in the car chase scene where all the different characters and stories collide in a hilarious mix.

The scene takes place on the streets – and steps – of downtown San Francisco, involving a taxi, a delivery bike, and a Chinese dragon, not to mention the cars themselves. Additionally, the whole sequence is peppered with outrageous scenes involving bystanders as the chase swirls around them. The madcap chase plays up humor and satire at every turn and the manic pace never lets up until everyone literally ends up in the San Francisco Bay. (Ronn Jenkins)