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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Car Chases in Film


Car Chases in Film

Eve Pearce, a free-lance writer, came up with this little piece for the site. Her site can be found here

Why Do We Love Movie Car Chases?
Movie car chases provide the audience with a full range of emotions in an intense space of time. A good car chase scene will involve the audience in feeling suspense, excitement and surprise; it should have the audience on the edge of their seat from the beginning of the chase through to long after it has finished. To achieve this a chase scene needs more than just fast cars; the best scenes involve driving skills that most of us can only dream of having, high quality stunts and amazing roads or surfaces used as roads, the original Italian Job (1969) springs to mind here were the chase through the sewage tunnels and over the dam has never been surpassed. Add to this perfectly chosen sound track, and you are enjoying a movie car chase that will keep you talking about it for a long time to come. There are so many films that have amazing car chase scenes that choosing a top three is difficult but here are three that meet all the criteria of an excellent movie car chase.

3. Ronin (1998)
This superb film, directed by John Frankenheimer, used formula one pilots to complete the stunts, and contains the most memorable trio chase in the history of car chase movies. While the plot adds some interest to the movie, it could easily be compared to many action movies of today, the chases, on the other hand, keep you on the edge of your seat as they work their way through narrow city streets, tunnels and drive against the traffic on busy highways. Not only does the film contain amazing stunts and brilliant driving scenery but also some of the greatest European cars of that time. The cars used in the film included an Audi S8, BMW M5 and a Mercedes Benz 6.9; cars most of us only day dream about.

2. Bullitt (1968)
Bullitt, directed by Peter Yates is an iconic classic and is the film that even after over 40 years other car chase films are measured against. Concentrating on two cars, Ford Mustang GT 390 and 68 Dodge Charger, the chase is at least as memorable as the San Francisco streets on which it takes place. The strength of the film is in the quality and realism; with stunning driving abilities from both Steve McQueen behind the wheel of a Mustang, and the lead stunt driver Bill Hickman in Charger, it is easy to overlook some of the scene and effects inconsistencies. Without a doubt, this famous car chase has set the landmark for all the car chase movies to come after 1968.

1. Fast Five (2011)
Otherwise known as the Fast and the Furious Five, this Justin Lin film is supercharged in every way possible. The car chases are longer than in previous films, and there are fewer crashes, but the large film budget takes street racing to a whole new level. If the races and chases weren't enough to get your blood pumping then the sight of so many custom build muscle cars in one film should do the trick for any car chase fan. With the plot that makes street racing look like a ‘summer cam activity’ and the ‘Dream team’ of favorite racers from previous movies in the franchise, the cars deliver a cherry on the pie to all the car chase fans in the audience worldwide. Fast Five earned the title of number one car chase movie with a reason.

Are car chases enough?
The question remains whether a super car chase is enough to make an excellent film. Would these films be just as superb without the car chases? The answer is simple; the car chase is a must in each and every one of these films. But if you love fast, high powered performance cars, are you destined to just watching them on the big screen? There is a range of track experience days, where you can experience all the thrills of a high powered car in a controlled and relatively safe environment, available. What are you waiting for? Get a group of you together, hire one of many 7 seater cars, and find your nearest experience day. Remember to check the details on your insurance, when hiring a car, and consider including collision damage coverage; before you know it, you will be all set to live your own high speed movie car chase.


At November 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM , Blogger Mavi@filmscope said...

hmmm,, 3 and 2 classics but even though F5 is enjoyable it is nowhere near the standard of the other 2 and in fact I don't even think its the best in the series... its totally unrealistic..

I would prob add The French Connection...

At November 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM , Blogger Nick said...

i should mention i didnt write this lol. ill add her attribution later.

my list would include the french connection and blues brothers as well.

At November 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM , Blogger Mavi@filmscope said...

ok your forgiven

At November 20, 2012 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Thank you.


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