Best Car Chase Scenes in History

Hollywood movies have a way of making the unbelievable seem believable.

Thanks to the hard work of stunt drivers, cars have been filmed flying and tumbling through the air like acrobats in the middle of a heated chase scene.

There’s nothing like a good action move, and fast-paced, dangerous car chase scenes make them all the better.


One of the most revered car chase scenes in movie history came from the 1969 movie “Bullitt”.

Now, if you know anything about San Francisco, then you know that the streets are extremely steep. They serve as the perfect backdrop to a car chase scene in which Steve McQueen’s Ford Mustang goes flying through the air as it is being pursued by a Dodge Charger.

What makes this scene even cooler is that McQueen did most of his own driving.


The French Connection

Another memorable movie car chase scene comes from the movie “The French Connection”.

The scene involves the police going after a heroin shipment. Not only did this car chase scene make viewers feel as if they were along for the ride, it was also partially unscripted.

For example, the woman and a baby carriage that almost got run over were both real.


The Rock

Sometimes there are numerous car chase scenes in movies. Usually the first one is cool, and then after that they tend to get repetitive and boring. In fact, action movies can sometimes be ruined by too much of a good thing.

The 1996 movie “The Rock”, however, is an example of how if there’s only going to be one car chase scene in a movie, it had better count.

That it did, with an unlikely vehicle pairing too! Specifically, a Ferrari chased a Hummer through the streets of (you guessed it) San Francisico.



While “Bullitt” was considered the best car chase scene of its time, it ended up with some serious competition when the 1998 film “Ronin” came along.

This action movie was going to be one that rivaled all of its earlier action flick counterparts. So, it only made sense The director of “Ronin”, John Frankenheimer, said that he wanted to create an even better car chase scene. What followed made cinema history.

During the filming for this scene, 80 cars were destroyed.


The Bourne Identity

Matt Damon is known for his action roles, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with his car chase scene in 2002’s “The Bourne Identity”.

While cars have flown, and flipped their way through lots of films, “The Bourne Identity” went a step further (no pun intended) by having cars go screeching down flights of steps and racing through alleyways.


There’s a continuous pressure on Hollywood filmmakers to make better, more graphic action movies.

Luckily, lives can be spared thanks to the technological wizardry of CGI. However advanced action films and car chase scenes get in the future, you will always be able to look back at those early action films and marvel at how actors and stunt doubles defied gravity in their vehicles.

Just remember, don’t try this at home!

Leave a Comment

  1. Check the car chase scene at the end of “Blues Brothers”

  2. steve says:

    You forgot about the car chase in the blues brothers. Of course it’s comedy and not drama, but that shouldn’t keep it off the list. It’s one of the best parts in the movie

  3. bob sten says:

    In Bullitt, it was McQueen in the Mustang who was chasing the bad guys in the Charger, not the other way around as you have written it above.

  4. sport cars says:

    Ciekaws stronka , dodalem ja do ulubionych, bede tu napewno wpadal czesciej

  5. Chuck Apple says:

    I like to add one other "chase" as it is absolutely compelling, amazing given the lack of technology, and the feeling of being in the drivers seat–the "chase'? The Chariot Race in Charleton Heston's Ben Hur. I'm not being silly here. I think your list is pretty good and I put the Bullitt chase as the #1 of all time, but Ben Hur is unmatched for putting the viewer in the driver's seat. It should at least be considered.
    One other note is the series of chases in the silent Keystone Kops adventures.

  6. There is evidently a lot for me to study outside of my books. Thanks for the important read,

  7. Allan Young says:

    Having only watched the Bullitt car chase on youtube, I wondered why it was considered the best having first seen the Bourne car chases and Ronin. I think what makes the Bullitt chase the best is the raw nature of it. There’s no tricky camera editing like the newer movies. There’s no CGI. The car chase looks very real. Plus its originality set the standard for other car chases, so it deserves points for that.

    Lastly, it seems to be a car chase for car lovers. There are a lot of scenes from the driver’s perspective. There is no musical soundtrack – just the music of a V8. When it comes to modern Ford Mustang engine and exhaust notes, reviewers frequently say “it sounds like Bullitt!”. No reviewer says that about any other car from any other movie.