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THE BLUES BROTHERS, 1980, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in a police car. (Courtesy Everett Collection)
THE BLUES BROTHERS, 1980, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in a police car. (Courtesy Everett Collection)

The List

Top 10 classic cinematic car chases Add to ...

Just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival, Rotten Tomatoes – a popular web site devoted to movie reviews – has compiled its list of “the greatest car chases to ever go careening across the silver screen.”

And the nominees are (complete with RT staff comments) ...

1. The Blues Brothers

“ ‘It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark ... and we’re wearing sunglasses.’ Those words mark the start of one of the zaniest car chases ever committed to film.”

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2. To Live and Die in L.A.

“What goes down here is an exciting chase scene in a gripping movie from director William Friedkin. One of two chase scenes on this list from Friedkin, this one ends with a harrowing sequence showing two Secret Service agents speeding the wrong way down a crowded L.A. freeway.”

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3. The Bourne Identity

“As soon as Jason Bourne asks Marie if she takes care of her car, and how the tires are, you know you can expect some serious driving. And the next scene doesn’t disappoint, as Bourne throws the Mini around the streets of Paris.”

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4. The Road Warrior

“The climax of the film is an epic chase scene with (Mad) Max behind the wheel of a heavily armoured tanker truck, on the run from the bloodthirsty savages that want the precious gasoline it’s carrying. This is a tense and brutal chase scene, and also serves as a reminder of when we all still loved Mel Gibson.”

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5. Gone in 60 Seconds

“The first hour of the film is amateurish and confusing, but everything is redeemed in the last chase scene. That is to say, a 34-minute chase scene featuring a 1973 Mustang Mach 1 on the run from dozens of police cars. This chase earns its spot on this list not only because it’s the longest car chase on film, but also because we see some great driving here.”

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6. Death Proof

“Stuntwoman Zoe Bell plays an insane game called ‘Ship’s Mast,’ where she rides on the hood of a car at high speeds, holding on to a couple of belts to keep from sliding off. As if that wasn’t enough, along comes stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) with murder on his mind. The two classic Dodges go careening down the road in a scene bereft of any CGI tricks. Bell’s really on the hood of that Challenger, and you’re terrified she’s going to go flying off at any minute.”

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7. The Italian Job

“Three Mini Coopers are as much the stars of this movie as Michael Caine was, and you get to see them driving through shopping centres, over roofs, down stairs, and through sewer pipes.”

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8. The French Connection

“Detective Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) is running down a hit man, only to see the hit man jump onto an elevated train. So naturally, the next step is to commandeer a civilian’s car and chase the train, right? Keeping up with the train is no easy task though, and true to the character, Doyle breaks almost every traffic law you can think of while trying to get his man.”

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9. Ronin

“Ronin tells the story of a diverse group of former (but not really former) government agents trying to steal a case, and the aftermath of the theft. ... The heist we get to see involves high speeds, mountain roads, narrow alleys, machine guns and a rocket launcher. ... (Director John) Frankenheimer gives us a modern chase scene that is a good as any we’ve ever seen before.”

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10. Bullitt

“It may never get any better than watching Steve McQueen barrelling down the streets of San Francisco in his 1968 Mustang. ... This is the chase scene by which all other chase scenes will forever be measured.”

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Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Do you agree with these car chase scene selections? What movies would you add to the list?

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