Greatest Chase Scenes
in Film History


1967 - 1971

Greatest Film Chase Scenes
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description of Chase Scene
Screenshots

Bullitt (1968)

One of the screen's all-time best car chase sequences (at up to 110 miles per hour) was a 10-minute sequence filmed with hand-held cameras up and down the narrow, hilly streets of San Francisco as police lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) chased after criminals in his car through hazardous intersections.

[Note: Continuity errors in the sequence included an oft-viewed green VW Beetle, and the 6 hubcaps that fell off the Charger's wheels.]

Bullitt's car was a Highland Green, 1968 four-speed Ford Mustang Fastback GT (California yellow-on-black license JJZ 109) powered by a 390/4V big block engine, in pursuit of a black, 1968 four-speed Dodge Charger 440 R/T. The classic chase ended when the bad guys lost control and crashed into a gas station - with a fiery explosion.




The Love Bug (1968)

In the first Herbie film, starring the self-aware, intelligent 1963 Volkswagen Beetle named "Herbie," the small VW became a race car. The famous car would star in four theatrical, chase-filled sequels in 1974, 1977, 1980 and 2005 (the last starred Lindsay Lohan in Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)) and a TV series.

The Italian Job (1969, UK)

This film had a climactic, well-choreographed car chase in Turin, Italy after an audacious heist of $4 million in gold bullion by Charlie Croker (Michael Caine). It involved three Mini Cooper S's (patriotically painted red, white, and blue). The Italian police were in hot pursuit as the little Cooper S's drove up and down stair-steps, through a shopping plaza, via sewers and over the rooftops and a reservoir for their getaway. They even completed a lap on the Fiat's famous test track in Turin. Remade in 2003.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969, UK)

There were a number of exciting chase scenes in this sixth James Bond film, with the 007 agent played by George Lazenby for the only time. As Bond escaped from the SPECTRE head Ernst Stavro Blofeld's (Telly Savalas) mountaintop headquarters Piz Gloria, he was chased downhill by a multitude of machine-gun wielding thugs on skis. Two of the henchmen fell to their deaths from a steep precipice when Bond ambushed them. [The ski chase would be reprised in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).]

The pursuit continued into the small valley village, where Bond met up with love interest Tracy (Diana Rigg), and she rescued him driving her red Cougar, leading to an exciting car chase from there and onto the snowy race track of a stock-car race. After the demolition derby on the track, the pursuing car overturned and exploded, although everyone survived.

The next morning, there was another downhill ski chase after Bond and Tracy. Blofeld caused an avalanche which engulfed and killed three of his own men and Tracy was also partially buried and taken prisoner.

The final chase scene was Bond's pursuit of Blofeld downhill on racing bobsleds. Bond was blown off his bobsled by a thrown hand-grenade. They engaged in a brutal hand-to-hand fight when Bond jumped onto the back of Blofeld's bobsled - and the SPECTRE chief was severely injured when he became snared and entangled in the low-bough of a tree, breaking his neck in the V-shaped branch (Bond: "He's branched off") - but he survived!




Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

In this seventh Bond film, but the sixth and final official Bond film with Sean Connery as James Bond, the 007 agent was pursued throughout the film by competing diamond smugglers and henchmen. The trail of diamonds, being smuggled out of South Africa through Europe and eventually to Los Angeles (and Las Vegas), was part of a world-domination scheme devised by SPECTRE villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray). Everyone who touched the diamonds was becoming a victim.

Bond eventually teamed up with co-conspiratorial diamond smuggler, seductive Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), when she finally realized that each link in the smuggling pipeline had been killed, and she was the next target.

When they came upon a billionaire entrepreneur's remote Las Vegas desert facility, Willard Whyte's Tectronics factory involved in Blofeld's plot, Bond was discovered to be an intruder, and was forced to steal a Moon-buggy from a simulated moonscape used for testing. He crashed through the security gate and evaded pursuing cars through the rough desert terrain. He then stole one of the three-wheeled Dirt-bikes from Whyte's security guards following him, to return to the facility's entrance where Tiffany was awaiting him.

After they drove back to Las Vegas that evening, they were pursued in Tiffany's red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 by the alerted local police. After weaving through the neon-decorated fronts of the casinos on the Strip and causing multiple crashes/pileups in a parking lot, they eventually escaped when Bond steered Tiffany's car onto two-wheels down a narrow alleyway.




Duel (1971)

Director Steven Spielberg's feature-length film debut was this low-budget picture shot in less than two weeks (it was an ABC-TV "Movie of the Week" offering originally) - adapted from Richard Matheson's short story published in Playboy Magazine.

Mild-mannered, distressed traveling salesman David Mann (Dennis Weaver), an LA electronics vendor, was driving in his red 1970 Plymouth Valiant, when he was relentlessly pursued on a rural California highway road by a demonic, killer diesel-engine truck (a 1955 Peterbilt 281 towing a tanker trailer).

The greasy, grungy truck (with a FLAMMABLE warning) was driven by a hidden, faceless psychopathic driver (wearing cowboy boots) (stuntman and character actor Carey Loftin), although the truck itself personified a person (front window eyes, headlight pupils, front grill nose, front fender mouth, etc.). The driver exhibited stalking and many kinds of 'road rage' behaviors:

  • loud-honking
  • pursuit
  • blocking maneuvers during attempts to pass
  • tailgating and chasing at high speeds
  • car-bumping, in one instance to force the Plymouth into a moving freight train at a railroad crossing
  • attempted collisions

During Mann's last-stand confrontation with the monstrous homicidal truck, he gunned his overheated engine and proceeded to ram the truck - diving out at the last second. The explosive crash sent the truck (in slow-motion) over a cliff into rocks below. Mann stared at the burnt wreckage, as the credits rolled.





The French Connection (1971)

This film has probably the most intense chase sequence ever filmed - it was an incredible, hair-raising scene of unbelievable car-chasing. New York City detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Best Actor-winning Gene Hackman) drove 90 mph in pursuit (in a hijacked civilian car, a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans: "Police emergency: I need your car") of a suspected drug dealer in a hijacked elevated subway train above him in Brooklyn (the BMT West End line).

During the chase, he - among other things - half-collided with another white car at an intersection, was clipped or side-swiped by a delivery van/truck, dodged a mother and her baby carriage (and crashed into garbage), all the while furiously honking the car's horn and frantically switching from his brake to accelerator.





Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

In the low-budget film, two car-obsessed vagabonds challenged a stock 1970 Pontiac GTO to a cross-country race against their cool, customized, primer gray 1955 Chevy coupe hot rod.

The Driver (singer/composer James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys) raced against middle-aged, glib "G.T.O." (Warren Oates), with The Girl (Laurie Bird) picked up as a sassy hitchhiker, at his side.

Vanishing Point (1971)

After driving from San Francisco, California to Denver, Colorado, pill-popping Vietnam Vet, and former race car driver Stanley Kowalski (Barry Newman), a courier, bet a friend that he could retrace his route with a customer's new vehicle in double-time (in about 15 hours).

Police chased the bennie-popping, ex-cop anti-hero in his souped-up, white 1970 2-door Dodge Challenger R/T (at 375 hp with a 440 cubic inch V8 Magnum) across Utah and Nevada's Death Valley toward his destination - accompanied by a rock-soul soundtrack and directions broadcast on the radio from blind disc jockey Super Soul (Cleavon Little).



Greatest Classic Chase Scenes in Film History
(chronological, by film title)
Intro | 1903-1966 | 1967-1971 | 1972-1974 | 1975-1978 | 1979-1983
1984-1989 | 1990-1997 | 1998-2002 | 2003-2006 | 2007-now

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