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The Bourne Identity just turned 20! How it ranks in the best car chase scenes ever

by | Last updated on Jun 6, 2022 at 4:40PM | Published on Jun 6, 2022 | Movies

The red Mini bounces down stairs in Paris during a car chase in The Bourne Identity.

The Bourne Identity just turned 20 years old (yep… does that make you feel old?). It has one of the best car chase scenes ever filmed.

So let’s use this movie’s birthday to look back at the greatest car chase scenes in movie history.

And where else to start our list but with reluctant CIA assassin Jason Bourne and his epic getaway on a bleak winter’s day in Paris?

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13. The Bourne Identity (2002)

The chase in The Bourne Identity was filmed back when the shaky cam was new and fresh in action movies.

The chaotic chase follows a tiny and banged-up red Mini as it tears around narrow Paris brick lanes, where only police motorbikes can follow.

The rainy streets and footpaths make for some epic handbrake turns.

The highlight is Bourne throwing the Mini down a set of stairs, scooting it along its nose.

12. Baby Driver (2017)

The Edgar Wright flick is all about car chases, but the one we’re talking about is the getaway after the bank robbery.

The red Subaru gets flung around corners to the tune of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion track Bellbottoms (a banger FYI).

If the movie was just this scene looped for an hour and a half – we’d be absolutely fine with that.

The highlight is the insane stunt to dodge a reversing van and truck in a back alley (Check out those convenient water puddles).

11. John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum (2019)

This one gets docked a few places on our list because it’s not a car chase, it’s a motorbike chase.

And it’s less about the chase than it is about John Wick going absolutely ballistic with his martial arts moves at high speed.

It’s like a samurai sword fight on horseback, but with motorbikes.

The fight choreography is nuts, and check out the behind-the-scenes pic below to see how they pulled it off.

10. The Italian Job (2003)

The original is not always the best.

We’re taking the Mark Wahlberg version of The Italian Job for the best car chase scene.

It just feels bigger and faster.

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They are still Minis, but modern Minis.

It’s got the tunnel scenes too.

Plus Jason Statham.

Statham makes all movies better purely with his scowl.

9. Bullitt (1968)

This is the OG car chase scene and any list without it is just plain wrong.

Set in the steep hills of San Francisco, our guy Steve McQueen launches his Mustang into the air trying to keep up with his target.

It’s hyper-realistic (other than the fact the villain manages to lose five hubcaps during the chase).

But it can look a little bit tame compared to the insanity of some of the more modern movies on this list.

8. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

James Bond belongs on this list. And you could pick literally any movie as an entry. We’re giving GoldenEye a close second place for that epic tank scene.

But we are going with The Man with the Golden Gun purely for the corkscrew car jump.

It’s such a dangerous and incredible stunt, and there was no CGI. A stuntman actually pulled it off.

Just watch:

7. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

We’re ignoring the original movie again and going with the Nicolas Cage/Angelina Jolie remake.

It’s the finale to the film when the crew finally get around to stealing Eleanor – the Shelby GT500.

It’s a long chase, it’s got Cage’s incredible facial expressions, and there’s a massive jump.

What’s not to like?

6. Blues Brothers (1980)

As much comedy as it is action – this car chase between the Bluesmobile and what seems like every cop in Chicago is non-stop adrenaline.

It took 40 stunt drivers and 60 police cars (that the film crew bought for $400 each).

Plus that scene where they take a shortcut through the shopping mall is incredible.

5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The sheer dread of this car chase is at times overwhelming.

With the T-1000 behind the wheel of a semi-truck bearing down on John Connor’s little motorbike, you think it’s surely about to end really badly for the young hero.

But then Arnie shows up on the Harley Davidson to even up the fight.

The scene is a nail-biter and still holds up amazingly well today with the heavy use of practical effects.

4. Mad Max (1981 and 2015)

We are giving this number to a joint pairing of Mad Max: Fury Road and Max Max 2: The Road Warrior.

Fury Road is just one long car chase.

It’s the perfect marriage between CGI and practical effects (especially when that sandstorm sweeps in).

And The Road Warrior is George Miller at his directorial peak – low-budget but making everything feel massive.

The final scene where Max is driving the truck is epic.

If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now.

3.The French Connection (1971)

This is gritty and hyper-realistic, and there’s one main reason why.

The filmmakers didn’t get city permits, they just unleashed their car chase on unsuspecting New York City traffic (and pedestrians).

The crew shut down about five blocks in each direction using some off-duty cops they paid.

And then they just continued the chase outside that area anyway.

All the near-misses were legit and there was even a crash with a motorist just going about their day.

2. Ronin (1998)

The Ronin car chase is like a Rolex Submariner – a classic analog watch that still catches eyes in a digital world.

The action is raw, you can almost feel the impact of the crashes.

The sound is all screeching tires and redlining engines.

The cars used are a Peugeot 406 chasing a BMW E34 5-series, not exactly the supercars you expect in a Hollywood blockbuster.

But all these factors combined give Ronin a realism that’s undeniable, and the stakes of the chase are as high as it gets.

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1. Fast Five (2011)

We go from ultra-realism to complete madness for the number 1 pick.

There are so many car chases you could pick from the Fast franchise, (just not the CGI monstrosity from Tokyo Drift)

But the very best car chase is the stealing of the bank vault in Fast Five.

It’s an undeniable fact of life that heist movies are the best movies.

When you pair a heist with a car chase, it’s peak cinema.

In our best-ever car chase, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker tow a giant bank vault full of drug money through the streets of Rio.

They drift the giant vault around corners, ping-ponging it through buildings, cars, and anything in its path.

There’s nothing realistic about it. It’s absurd. But it’s incredible.

WATCH:

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