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The 50 Greatest Car Chases in Film History

As Bullitt turns 50, we dig through the racing and smashing of film's great pursuits

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Bullitt (Warner Bros.)
Bullitt (Warner Bros.)

    Vroom vroom, baby. It’s the 50th anniversary of Bullitt this month, and we can’t help but feel a little premium about the whole thing. What better way to celebrate decades of delicious vehicular madness than with a list of the 50 most moving, mashed-up car chases the movies have to offer?

    We went up and down, left to right, and u-turn to axels with this. We have black-and-white chases, chase with multiple cars, motorcycle chases, even a car-versus-foot chase here and there. No horse cop chases, though…spacing, time, gas money, you know how it is.

    Don’t like the list? Well then, hop in your car, hit the gas, and come complain about it. Yeah, that’s right, you got a problem, then ram your car into CoS’ offices at (at this point, the editor has decided to take to wheel and course correct straight to the list).

    –Blake Goble
    Senior Writer

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    50. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

    Taylor-Made Chase

    Make/Model: 1955 Chevrolet One-Fifty

    Blue Book: Monte Hellman’s story of cars, manhood, and the untamed freedom of the old American road is still one of the great existentialist car movies. The opening drag race is likewise a barnburner of a very particular sort, a film chase as much about theme as the roar of the engine. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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    49. The Other Guys (2010)

    There Go Our Heroes

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    Make/Model: 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

    Blue Book: Adam McKay was drawing on decades of bad action movie trends, and his explosive car chase – with a very self-aware Sam Jackson and Dwayne Johnson – is pretty comparably exciting. Funny, too. But total popcorn, you guys. –Blake Goble


    48. The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)

    Car Flip

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    Make/Model: 1974 AMC Hornet

    Blue Book: Like, okay, the slide whistle is awful. Or, or, it’s so damn funny and embarrassing that we can’t help but admire its preposterousness. You decide. –Blake Goble


    47. Toy Story (1995)

    To Andy!

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    Make/Model: 1995 Pixar RC

    Blue Book: The first of our two animated chases to make the list, Toy Story‘s big finale checks every box on the great chases list. Close calls? Check. Emotional weight beneath the chase? Double check. A dog breaking itself in half to save the day? Well, only in animation. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


    46. The Bank Dick (1940)

    Getaway Chase

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    Make/Model: 1929 Cadillac Series 341-B

    Blue Book: Often imitated, never replicated – the Bank Dick car chase is like the perfect companion to The General, Wages of Fear, and Looney Tunes. It’s zany, madcap, and all the other wacky hyperbole we can throw at Fields’ fast-paced flim flam man. –Blake Goble


    45. Christine (1983)

    Chased To Death

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    Make/Model: 1958 Plymouth Fury (modified)

    Blue Book: Don’t smoke at gas stations? Leave your phone off at gas stations? How about, “don’t get chased down to death by haunted cars at gas stations”? Carpenter took the chase to cleverly cruel places with this King riff. –Blake Goble


    44. Running Scared (1986)

    On the Tracks

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    Make/Model: 1981 Chevrolet Impala

    Blue Book: No, not the Paul Walker exploitation film. From O’Hare to the Loop, this has to be one of the most admirably dumb entries on this list. Billy Crystal and Gregory take the car chase down to the L tracks and you know what? Just go with it. Blake Goble


    43. Pineapple Express (2008)

    Foot Through the Windshield

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    Make/Model: 1999 Ford Crown Victoria

    Blue Book: Fun fact: Franco’s Slurpee all over the front windshield was darkened in trailers. Audiences and the MPAA seemed to think it was blood. The point being, this is a nice bit of silliness. Blake Goble


    42. Raising Arizona (1987)

    Huggies

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    Make/Model: 1972 Chevrolet Impala

    Blue Book: Only Nicolas Cage and the Coens could handle a car chase wherein Cage is on the run from the cops (with Huggies in hand). It’s the Rube Goldbergian comedy of escalating machinations and manic delirium. Blake Goble


    41. Rush (2013)

    “Why would I drive fast?”

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    Make/Model: 1971 Lancia 2000 Berlina 820

    Blue Book: Sometimes the great chases are great in their simplicity. Early in Rush, a film featuring several outstanding driving sequences, Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) woos a young woman by illustrating, in a matter of thrilling seconds, just how fast he can drive when he has the proper incentive and reward. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


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