Dateline Movies Countdown: Top Seven Best Car Chase Scenes Ever!

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Ah, car chases. The only way one can pad more running time onto a movie, and so as to make things less tedious. In the wrong hands, car chase sequences can be worthless pieces of garbage, made exclusively for the purpose of making an already dull product unnecessarily longer. In the right ones, however, they could very well just be the highlights of the entire movie, most especially if your films are all revolving around certain premises that discuss vehicular mayhem in all of its forms. Welcome to Dateline Movies, and come ride with us, as we countdown our Top Seven Best Car Chase Scenes Ever!

7. Quantum of Solace (2008) -
In The Beginning ...

The James Bond multimedia franchise has had its own fair share of hits and misses, and Quantum of Solace falls very much in the category of the in-between. Hey, at least it is not as disappointing as Spectre. Numbed down by an underwhelming story, but still delivering on the gritty side, the movie continues to push the envelope for exhilarating action scenes, and the introductory car chase sequence of the flick is anything but boring. After James Bond, played by Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass) is able to capture Mister White, played by Jesper Christenesen (Melancholia), Bond must go on a thrilling car chase in his trademark Ashton Martin, so as to deliver Mister White to M, played by Judi Dench (Philomena) for questioning. There are a lot of chase scenes from the Bond series to choose from, but nevertheless, it was this one scene that prevailed!


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6. The French Connection (1971) -
All You Had To Do Was Follow The Train, "Popeye"!

In all honesty, I never even watched The French Connection prior to making this list, and I bared no knowledge of this movie, aside from the fact that this is arguably the high point of Gene Hackman's legendary filmography. After doing some research, due in part to my curiosity with the movie, I stumbled upon one of the best car chase sequences of all time! In the movie, "Popeye" Doyle, played by Hackman (Superman: The Movie) brings his car for a ride across the city, in pursuit of a train being hijacked by an assailant. What makes this scene noteworthy is the very fact that this was not shot in a studio. All of the crashes actually happened in real-time, and thankfully, everybody made it through post-production without a scratch! This just goes to show just how far people will go to make one perfectly engrossing car chase sequence!


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5. The Matrix Reloaded (2003) -
Seeing Double

The middle chapter of The Matrix Trilogy returns for another round of awesome fights, plus with a handful of new CGI to crank things up a notch, as well as a few philosophy class notes to make things somewhat intellectually stimulating. Somewhat. While many might have been disappointed by some of the film's elements, including a tad bit slower pace than its predecessor, as well as its over-reliance on computer-generated imagery, this one epic battle in the freeway, with Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne (Deep Cover), and Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss (Marvel's Jessica Jones), saving a valuable asset known as the "Keymaker", played by Randall Duk Kim (Kung Fu Panda), from two powerful Twins, played by Adrian and Neil Rayment. What follows is an awesome barrage of traditional hand-to-hand combat, with superpowered madness in the middle of rush hour! It also should be noted that they actually built an entire set for this one sequence, simply because there was no available space to shoot.

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4. The Italian Job (1969) -
"Self-Preservation Society"

I remember watching this very sequence once when I was younger, right before our cable provider decided to pull the plug on CineMax, for some reason. I had no clue about this movie before watching only this scene on television, besides the name, and I have to say, this is one serious work of art. In this scene, Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine (Inception), and company have finally commenced the movie's highly awaited heist, and must now outrun the persistent police forces before all of their hardwork is ironically robbed. There is no background music to accompany it, but the thrills remain. And speaking of music, that song, "Getta Bloomin' Move On!" by Quincy Jones, which plays by the time the credits roll, and during a literal (and thrilling) cliffhanger, is catchy and excellent. I have not watched the remake, starring Mark Wahlberg (Daddy's Home) to make a comparison, but from what I can tell, I am hoping the remake can do just as great in capturing that scene's energy.

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3. Ronin (1998) -
I Spy

Oh Ronin, the one obscure action movie that played in my hospital room on repeat while I was being treated for appendicitis on the summer of '17. Good times. Good times. Funny enough, even if the movie looped, I barely paid any attention at all to the flick, since the pain of intravenous feeding distracted me from my movie viewing experience, which is a shame, since I obviously missed-out on arguably one of the finest car chases shot for the big screen! In this movie, Robert De Niro and Jean Reno's respective characters go on a citywide pursuit. They chase Natascha McElhone and Stellan Skarsgård's respective characters for a probable MacGuffin, but enough about the story. The scene is just ... Wow. The story is pretty much "okay" at best, but this single scene, which has no background music like that of The Italian Job's, and some pretty impressive editing and camera work, makes Ronin a more or less worthwhile action feature. Heck, I watched the clip below online, and it gave me chills.

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2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) -
"Witness Me!"

You can basically put all of the chase sequences from this movie, and none of the other movies in this countdown would have made it. What makes this very first scene awesome is that the movie jumps straight into the action, and sparing no time for any form of exposition whatsoever. In this scene, we see a captive Max Rockatansky, played by Tom Hardy (Locke) being held prisoner as a human blood bank, as the armies of Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max, the first movie in the franchise) race to reclaim his wives from Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde). If this scene is not goosebumps-inducing for you, wait until you see the scene-stealing flame-throwing guitarist in this sequence!



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Honorable Mentions:


Bullitt (1968) - For our first honorable mention, we have one the earlier examples on how a car chase scene should be done. It is worth noting that this is considered by many as the best car chase sequence of all time, but for me, well, not so much. Perhaps if I watch this movie completely, maybe I can fully appreciate the scene, but for now, it earns a spot here. Hey, I might not have watched the movie, but there is no chance that I am ignoring a historically significant milestone such as this one.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - While the first Terminator movie had a grim climactic chase scene through an underpass, this fast-paced rollercoaster of excitement takes the cake! With Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 taking care of Edward Furlong's young John Connor, from the metallic clutches of Robert Patrick's malevolent shape-shifter, T-1000, you are no doubt in for the ride of your life!

The Dark Knight (2008) - So far, it is the greatest Batman movie yet, and with powerful performances and storytelling, there is no question as to why The Dark Knight received its title. One particular car chase scene is worth mentioning in this countdown, and it is Heath Ledger's the Joker's encounter with Christian Bale's Batman on his Bat-Cycle. Also, did we mention that this citywide chase features a truck flipping?

Fast Five (2011) - In a countdown that revolves around cars, would you actually expect us to forget the currently only decade-long franchise that revolves around cars? While their earlier, grounded flicks feature much more realistic car sequences, none of them really made impressions. But once they embraced their cartoonish antiques, things became interesting, and it all started with their soft reboot, Fast Five. Dad actually enjoyed this scene, while my boring child version fell asleep more than halfway through the movie. In this scene, Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto, and Paul Walker's Brian 'O Conner literally pulled a vault from its place, and they make their way to a bridge for an escape, with the vault attached to cables, attached to their nitro-fueled cars. Yep, and while it broke every known Law of Physics possible, it was a fun scene.

Now, onto our number one pick!

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1. Drive (2011) -
How To Get Away With Robbery

For some reason, my uncle  somewhat dislikes this movie, specifically for how the Driver, played by Ryan Gosling (La La Land) only has one facial expression. Reading the rave reviews, I would still consider watching this movie, and now my enthusiasm is at an all-time high, thanks to this one particular scene. In this scene, instead of evading typically police with bangs and booms, the Driver carefully outwits the cops with careful timing and cleverness. He does not shoot guns, nor does he crash his car through obstacles, with physics-defying impossibilities. No, he played it smart, just like how would one play through a stealth game. And the result is a very unconventional, and a very impressive masterpiece of a scene!

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And that concludes our countdown! You know, all this talk about thrilling car chases got me thinking about a serious pressing issue, and that is car safety. These big screen heroes and heroines can catch bad guys anytime, not because they exist in a plane of reality outside our own, but because they know how to keep their own safety in-check. That is why I am so fortunate that I have a website like Cars.com to provide me tips on car seat safety in real life. While racing around especially with a child on board is out of the question, keeping them safe at all times is of utmost importance. 

Before we officially leave, take a look at this cool clip from Baby Driver, a decent heist film from creative genius Edgar Wright, and just see how fun this film really is. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

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