Ralph Magazine’s Top Five Car Chase Movies

This whole movie is a car chase. Jake and Elwood are on a mission from God, piloting their second hand police car  through the streets and malls of Chicago. Pursuing them are avenging cops, Nazis, and an enraged country and western band. The high speed action is only ever interrupted for some top musical numbers. This flick also holds the record for the most cop cars destroyed in one film. What more reason do you need to see it?

This 1971 film still kicks serious arse. In one corner is a $32 million shipment of high-grade heroin hidden in a Lincoln Continental. In the other is Gene Hackman, a ‘take no shit’ cop with a shaky reputation who needs to crack a big case to keep his career together. He stumbles on the heroin deal and pursues it with a single-minded ferocity. The chase sees Hackman weaving his way through New York city traffic at 120kph to keep up with the traffickers in a train overhead.

The movie that put Spielberg on the map. Dennis Weaver is the poor bastard driving a rental car on a stretch of road in the middle of nowhere. After a couple of near misses, he quickly begins to realise that the unseen driver of a petrol tanker is out to get him. It’s four wheels versus 22 in this top notch suspense film.

Pick any film at random that’s set in San Francisco and it’s bound to make use of the town’s mountainous streets for a car chase. But it’s that stunt man, actor and legend, Steve McQueen who beats all competition as the police detective who puts his life on the line to guard a criminal witness. This now classic car chase is regarded as the most fun you can have in car without rooting.

A top local effort. Mad Mel reluctantly helps a tiny community defend itself against band of depraved gas hungry psychos. Considering the low budget, this flick has some of the most unbelievable car stunts ever. Mr Gibson’s attempts to get a tanker full of gas through the surrounding warriors results in a multi vehicle chase sequence that lasts for the last third of the film.

This article first appeared in Ralph Magazine in 1997.

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