QotW: What’s your favorite car chase scene?

The world of movie car chases was forever changed 54 years ago today. October 17, 1968 saw the theatrical release of Bullitt, in which the centerpiece action sequence between ad Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger is considered to be one of the best vehicular pursuits ever filmed. Call us childish but car chase scenes always get us stoked. Even the worst examples have us glued to the screen when we’d gladly skip the rest of the surrounding movie. For this question any cars of any country of origin will qualify, though you will get bonus consideration if there’s J-tin involved.

What’s your favorite car chase scene?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite Japanese sports car?

This was a fun one because there was such a wide variety of answers, not just in the model of car, but for the reasons they were chosen. For example, JJ picked the FD Mazda RX-7 for its unique engineering. BlitzPig‘s Toyota 2000GT has stunning looks to match its performance. Michael Jue‘s Z432-R is notable for its rarity. Howard D.‘s Starion had technology and options far ahead of its class.

Lakdasa‘s nomination of the Suzuki Cappuccino focused on its ability to provide fun within the bounds of the law. HE HE‘s A20 Toyota Celica has affordability on its side. エーイダン‘s Nissan Skyline GT-R have generations of history and tuning potential. Taylor C. gave us our requisite and totally justified Mazda Miata entry. midniteneon‘s Toyota Soarer has a certain timelessness. Jeremy A.‘s Nissan Z brought driving joy to the masses. Lupus‘ Toyota MR2 has simplicity and style. And Jonathan P. simply loves 80s wedges like the Z31 Nissan 300ZX.

It was difficult to pick one, but at the end of the day thatdirtykid’s answer about the SA22 Mazda RX-7 fit the bill best.

Probably my favorite category of car. Pre 80s Japanese Sports cars.

The epitome of the genre is definitely the 2000GT. Its aged amazingly and set the bar. However I just cannot call cars that are completely unattainable as my favorites. I currently own an RA24 Celica, a non sports car Datsun, and have owned a FB RX7. I have driven a couple 240z and 280zx.

My vote goes to the RX7. The weight balance, feel and unique joy of ringing out a rotary is just unmatched. Yes the Z car is faster in a line. The Celica has tons of charm and amazing looks, but we are talking sports cars and spirited driving and I would take more seat time in a FB RX7 over the others.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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23 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite car chase scene?

  1. Crown says:

    Bullitt is one for sure, but add to that movies that were an entire chase “scene”.
    Top of that list: Vanishing Point, then, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry (Peter Fonda).

  2. Steve says:

    OJ’s white Bronco. LOL.

  3. Ian N says:

    Bullitt was a masterpiece – not just the actual chase, but the music, cinematography (of the period), angles and editing. All those combined to raise the tension from low to high in a matter of a few minutes.

    After that, my favourite is The Blues Brothers – not just for the chase, but again, the editing, the interwoven humour and relevance to the storyline.

    Sorry, no J-tin, BUT I do like the chase in You Only Live Twice” (Toyota 2000GT/Toyota Crown Deluxe) -yep, not just for the chase, but for seeing the background “extra” vehicles, like the Subaru 360 and the “shovel nose” Toyota (RT40 Corona) in the period Japan street chase (some of which are seen more than once – or is that You Only See Them Twice?)

    • Ian N says:

      I just had an inspired recollection of another fave – the Honda Z “car chase” (Low speed, but with a hilarious twist!) from the cult Aussie film “Malcolm”.

      I think that pips all the others I mentioned!

  4. Fred Langille says:

    I actually have THREE favorites! The FIRST has to be Bullitt … because I have a connection to it6 (so to speak). It was in 1968 that my late mother and step-father were married (like my real late father and my step-father’s late wife, both had marriages lasting over 20 years). So, their honeymoon trip was a driving tour over the entire country in their truck camper. They found themselves in San Francisco and, as my step-father (a retired Ford service manager) put it, they appeared to be at a movie set. You know, people running around like nuts (I know what it’s like, this is the SECOND … I co-starred in an “indie” movie called “johnny Boy” as the villain and did stunt driving in my own car, a ’90 Buick Reatta coupe), cameras, extras etc. I asked them what movie and, they didn’t know BUT, my step-father did say he spotted a GREEN MUSTANG FASTBACK parked on the set and, sure enough when “Bullitt” came out, he said “that’s the one!”. By the way my own “chase scene” require4d me to peel out of a motel parking lot in the Reatta … which I did several enjoyable takes doing.
    The THIRD deals when I took a Master Class in Costuming sponsored by the WV state government to encourage film/TV production in the state. my class partner had gone to an Australian stunt man’s school and, when he arrived back in the USA after 3 years, he was in Hollywood looking for work when a casting call came out for stunt drivers who can drive RHD. Of course, he could so he spent 3 months, $3,000@month+all expenses paid, as a stunt driver in “Fast And Furious Tokyo Drift”! The rest of the class decided we were in the right business!

  5. dankan says:

    Bullitt, Ronin, and The French Connection are definitely the podium of car chases. But my favourite is something much sillier. It is completely unrealistic, juvenile, and does nothing for the story, but Lupin III’s car chase through an onsen is my favourite. It’s not from the Miyazaki-directed Castle of Cagliostro, but instead the more prosaic Fuma Conspiracy. And it is utterly glorious:


  6. speedie says:

    Although it’s not the best car chase (or movie), I always thought the Prius car chase in the “The Other Guys” with Will Ferrall and Mark Walburg was pretty funny. Never mind all the stupid (but funny) Prius jokes throughout the movie.

  7. j_c says:

    Most recent one with J-tin that I like is the opening scene from Baby Driver with a hawk eye Impreza. Too bad the rest of the movie didn’t top that.

  8. Bill says:

    Blues Brothers. No question. They had to get an “airworthiness certificate” from the FAA to prove the Pinto would fall in a straight line. Yes, it’s totally juvenile, but it’s basis is that “cops go crazy when the blue lights go on” mentality, which we can all understand.

  9. Lakdasa says:

    I would go with the Taxi movie franchise where the Peugeot 406/7 is the star, quite a few car chases. Worth noting the on where the Peugeot leaves the Police EVO in the dust in one chase making the co driver ask “why are we slowing down?” Also in the same series we find the Peugeot going against 3 EVO’s driven by the Yakuza who come to abduct the Japanese Minister was it.

    Some of the scenes created that pure comedy where you see the poor police cars rolling and hitting each other and the unrealistic scenes where the car jumps out of an air craft. But still makes it enjoyable to watch. Who wont say no to an ordinary taxi that converts into a rocket ship that is faster than a bullet train and the calm driver who has his sandwich even when in a hurry or passing a rally car in a rally stage just to get to the hospital in time.

  10. Michael K. says:

    Hong kong action flicks of the 80’s and 90’s had great car chases. One of my faves is Aces Go Places 2. It’s a comedy but has the bonus you’re looking for. The good guys are in a MkII Celica and there’s loads of great j-tin in the background!


  11. Lupus says:

    Ronin. AMEN!
    The first chase (Citroen XM & bodyguards vs Audi S8 & Merc S-Class) is awesome all alone.
    But the final scene (BMW 5 vs Peugeot 406) is just… i can’t even describe the coolness of this city rampage…
    If i should pick a chase with JDM iron it would be something from Shutokou Kousoku Trial series, the sense of speed is very similair to that in Ronin. It feels real, like it wasn’t filmed on closed road by pro-stuntmans, but it looks like a amateur recorded street racing vids.

  12. f31roger says:

    There are just a ton of cool US chase scenes.

    But I do love the ones that are not in the US, Whether it be Ronin, Italian job, James Bond…

    I’m totally bias, but I’ve been watching the Abunai Deka series (a friend in Japan gave me copies). I guess the chases with cars I like is a big thing for me.


    A police Delica scene

    Machine RS

    Especially the scenes where he would push the buttons (like Knight Rider’s Turbo button)

  13. 555jay says:

    I’ve got to mention Archer Season 3 Episode 7 “Drift Problem” where the cast goes with Pam and her ’72 Mazda RX-2 to an underground drift meeting at the docks, which of course goes south when they offend the Yakuza gang and a chase ensues featuring a Datsun 240Z, a Toyota E50 Corolla, a Mazda 323 and a Toyota AE86 Corolla.

    Behind the scenes they shared that show producer Casey Willis is “the biggest Japanophile” and the show has always featured great fidelity around the cars they use, so the detour specifically into the 70s-80s Japanese set was great to see.

    Plus, since it’s animated, no actual cars got shot up and smashed.

  14. Not Now says:

    The EVO chase scene from Jackie Chan’s Who Am I. It was the first time I ever saw an EVO and I fell in love.

  15. Walter says:

    my favorite chase scene has got to be the opening scene of baby driver with the red Subaru WRX. I am not a Subaru guy by any means ….but man… did this movie make me want to get one. I honestly dont know how the directors did it. Now I wish it were mine. This scene was a really good opener for an equally awesome film, but it was also nostalgic for my old high school days with my old Honda listening to punk rock MP3s on the new iPod I just bought that year.

  16. Jonathan P. says:

    I’m late to the party, but here are my choices: My all-time favorite chase is from the original “Gone In Sixty Seconds” (19741), it has everything you expect form a car chase and then some. 33 solid minutes of v8’s chasing another V8. Crashes, a jump or two, running flat-out the whole time. It lasts almost as long as some of the ones we’ve probably created with our hot wheels and our matchboxes. Link to chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7GxsqarUfA

    My second favorite I came across in a weird way initially, That is the chase scene from “Shadows In An Empty Room” (1976). Another American V8 duel, this one is shorter (at about 7 1/2 minutes), but still packs the octane, one of the steepest downhill street jumps I’ve seen in a car chase, it has dense traffic parts to the chase, they crash into each other a LOT, back street segments, they off-roaded them down a steep hill, jumped a train, and ended the chase with both cars flipped upside down.
    The weird way I came across it at first was that footage of it was used in an Geico commercial:
    “Can switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?
    Do dogs chase cats?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU3JH6jE7GY
    Actual chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgSwiVVkxlM

    As for a chase scene with Japanese cars in it, I’d have to go with the one from the Thunderbolt (1995) with Jackie Chan. Basically, surprise police inspection of cars at night or something, Jackie plays a mechanic that helps out the police to point out what’s legal on the cars and which ones are getting impounded for illegal modification, while busy with that, the main antagonist, an drug dealer and street racer shows up along side the lot where they are doing the inspection in an R32 skyline with no plates, revs his motor, runs over a cop, ticks of Jackie, who basically hijacks a news reporter’s Mitsubishi, and takes off after him. The chase pretty much plays out like a dangerous street race. The chase is the shortest on this list at about 5 minutes long.

  17. Jonathan P. says:

    It said my comment was awaiting consideration or moderation? So, just in case my comment was sent to the spam folder, I’ll leave this one here.

  18. エーイダン says:

    Tossup between the scene from Maximum Overdrive where Curtis and Connie in a Ford Fairmont are being chased down by a red ’55 Mack…..
    Or the scene from Terminator 2 with John Connor being pursued by the T1000 in a Freightliner towing rig.

  19. Christopher says:

    Really? All these comments, and no mention of F & F Tokyo Drift?!?1 You know….the chase scene through downtown Tokyo, with Sean and Neela in the Evo IX, Han in the FD, being chased by Morimoto and DK, both driving 350Zs? That was an INCREDIBLE chase scene, and it was ALL JDM, 100%! Yeah,,Han died at the end of the chase, major bummer, but it was a wild chase, and featured some wicked rolling iron! Definitely MY choice for best chase scene! Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNwsj7jGjBY

  20. Greyfox says:

    I am gonna go with something completely different. Bubblegum Crisis OVA from the 80’s. There is an episode where this guy that suffered a nasty accident because of outlaw bike gangs, takes it upon himself to systematically take them out with his old and rare Griffon sports car. He keeps upgrading the thing until it becomes a super fast monstrosity controlled by a neural link. Of course the thing malfunctions and takes a life of its own, hurtling down a highway at hundreds of miles an hour, with his traumatized girlfriend in the passenger seat. No one can catch the thing except for Priss on her bike she had to heavily modify earlier in the episode for a small chance of catching it. Classic Cyberpunk…
    Here is the ending sequence to it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9_zfJ153q8

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