Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso chooses his 10 favorite car chase scenes of all time.
A spectacular car chase can turn a run-of-the-mill action adventure-flick into an instant classic, revered by moviegoing gearheads around the globe. Filmmaker D.J. Caruso, director of the blockbuster Eagle Eye starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, is a true student of these classic high-speed pursuits. “We used scenes captured by John Frankenheimer (French Connection II, Ronin), Peter Yates (Bullitt) and others as models for the action in Eagle Eye,” says Caruso. Curious about which films he found most influential, we asked the director to come up with a list of his top 10 favorite car chase scenes.
For an insider's look at modern-day car chases, read an interview with Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso about the art of motorized mayhem.
The French Connection (1971)
In pursuit of a drug suspect, grubby New York detective Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) appropriates a civilian car and chases an elevated subway train, barreling beneath the tracks at 90 mph.
YouTube Video Clip of The French Connection
Steve McQueen steers a Mustang fastback through what many consider to the standard-setter for all car chase scenes. Hard-boiled cop Frank Bullitt (McQueen) races the bad guys' Dodge Charger up and down the streets of San Francisco at speeds up to 110 mph in a sequence that helped earn the movie an Oscar for its innovative editing.
YouTube Video Clip of Bullitt
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
In his attempts to babysit impetuous John Connor (Edward Furlong), The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must avoid having his motorcycle run over by an 18-wheeler piloted by the metal-melding T-1000 (Robert Patrick).
YouTube Video Clip of Terminator 2: Judgment Day
This multi-car chase through the narrow, steep streets of Nice, France, in this Robert De Niro spy thriller is one-upped only by the sheer lunacy of an against-the-traffic pursuit through tunnels under the Seine in Paris.
YouTube Video Clip of Ronin
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
A band of punk-biker pirates pursues a tribal convoy, led by Mel Gibson's Mad Max, that's escorting a precious fuel tanker to safety. Fighters clad in studded leather spar atop moving cars, motorcycles and trucks, picking each other off with shotguns and crossbows.
YouTube Video Clip of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Jake Blues (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) leave a 106-mile path of destruction as they speed toward downtown Chicago in the Bluesmobile (a converted Dodge Monaco police cruiser).
YouTube Video Clip of The Blues Brothers
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
Obsessive sheriff (Vic Morrow) in a Bell Helicopter pursues a ’69 Dodge Charger driven by bad guys. The chase takes them through a citrus orchard and ends with the Charger colliding with a locomotive.
YouTube Video Clip of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
Vanishing Point (1971)
The movie opens with Kowalski (Barry Newman) in a white 1970 Dodge Challenger sparring with the California Highway Patrol. And the excitement keeps building, crossing median strips while just missing cross traffic, sliding along dirt roads, and running at what are obviously true high speeds.
YouTube Video Clip of Vanishing Point
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
A South American drug lord pays Maindrian Pace (Toby Halicki) $400,000 to steal 48 specific cars for him, and all but one — a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a code name of "Eleanor" — are successfully stolen by Pace and his associates. The film is famous for having wrecked and destroyed 93 cars in a 40-minute car chase scene.
YouTube Video Clip of Gone in 60 Seconds
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
As the life of a Secret Service agent (played by CSI star and legit car enthusiast William Petersen) slides into anarchy, he takes greater and greater chances with his own life and the lives of those around him, including pursuit with Petersen piloting a Chevrolet the wrong way down the freeway.
YouTube Video Clip of To Live and Die in L.A.
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For nearly two decades, New York-based writer and editor Chuck Tannert has covered everything from automobiles to gadgets to travel. Before joining the MSN Autos team, Tannert served as senior automotive editor at Popular Mechanics, and his work has appeared in many outlets, including Cargo, Men's Journal, Penthouse, Popular Science, and Wired.
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