Greatest Chase Scenes
in Film History

1975 - 1978

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

Death Race 2000 (1975)

This futuristic, campy film featured one long, annual trans-continental road race chase sequence involving customized high-performance funny cars, led by a disfigured, dark and brooding, black leather-jumpsuited Frankenstein (David Carradine) and Chicago gangster rival Machine-Gun Joe Viturbo (Sylvester Stallone).

The cult classic's tagline illustrated the brutal sport of killing pedestrians for points: "In The Year 2000 Hit And Run Driving Is No Longer A Felony. It's The National Sport!" Women were worth 10 points. Teens were worth 40. Toddlers under 12 were worth 70. Anyone over the age of 75 was worth 100.

Even a retirement home/geriatric hospital wheeled out some of its elderly as targets for "Euthanasia Day."

The Man From Hong Kong (1975, Australia/HK) (aka Dragon Flies)

This cult-classic martial arts, Bond-ripoff film featured a massive, destructive car chase that was a predecessor to the Mad Max films.

Race With the Devil (1975)

The main tagline for this occult action/horror thriller from director Jack Starrett capitalized on the two popular male stars and the film's climactic car chase sequence: "Peter Fonda and Warren Oates are burning their bridges and a lot of rubber... on the deadliest stretch of road in the country!" Another tagline concentrated on the Satanic horror plotline: "They Witnessed an Unspeakable Act! It may cost them their lives!"

Two married couples: Frank Stewart (Warren Oates), a dirt-bike motorcycle shop owner in Texas - with his wife Alice (Loretta Swit), and Roger Marsh (Peter Fonda) - with his wife Kelly (Lara Parker), set out from their hometown of San Antonio, Texas for a ski-trip and dirt-bike vacation to Aspen, Colorado in Frank's new luxury motor-home RV. Before long, the two men had witnessed a troubling Satanic ritual near their campsite, across a nearby river. It was performed in a ring of fire, with robed and masked participants and a sword-wielding leader, and involved a human sacrifice.

Even after reporting the incident, they became the next victims of the townsfolk, including the Sheriff (R.G. Armstrong), who were all revealed to be cultists and Satanists. In the conclusion, they were pursued to Amarillo, Texas by a convoy of three trucks during a wild and violent car chase. They were first rammed by a blue tow truck, then sandwiched or boxed in between it and a freight truck and a red pickup. Attempts to sideswipe them and drive them off the road failed. With skilled driving, Roger was able to cause the freight truck to end up on an embankment, the tow truck to crash into another oncoming vehicle, and the red pickup was sent in a fiery explosion off a bridge.

Then they came upon a suspicious collision scene - the road was blocked where a school bus had been T-boned by another car. However, Frank knew better: "I don't believe a school bus on Sunday!" and sped through the site. One bystander grabbed onto the side of their RV, as a white open-bed pickup truck took up the pursuit with two men in the back. Roger pushed the man clutching the side of the RV into a river as they passed over it, but the two other men in the truck scampered onto the back of the RV. As they began smashing windows atop the RV, Roger blasted one of the men with a shotgun. The other man sprinkled gasoline into one of the vents, but was struck by an overhead railroad trellis when he stood up. Three vehicles remained in pursuit. With homemade molotov cocktails, Roger was able to cause one vehicle to crash, while the white pickup was forced to collide into the motorbike that Roger had released from the back of the RV. Roger shot the tire out of the last vehicle and caused it to flip over. It appeared that they had finally escaped from the attackers - but they were 82 miles from Amarillo.

With broken headlights and light fading from the sun, they decided to pull over off the road for one more night. Frank assured his wife: "We're off the road, we're fine now. We're in great shape, honey. Don't worry about it." Roger added: "Hey everybody, lighten up. It's all over." But then they began to hear chanting, and their RV was surrounded by black-robed, hooded cult members.

The film closed (before the overlapping credits) with an overhead shot of their RV encircled by a ring of fire, in preparation for a sacrifice.

The Gumball Rally (1976)

The Gumball Rally was an illegal car-race comedy about a New York-to California competition with quick cars (featuring an ultimate duel between a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a Ford 427 Shelby Cobra). Also it featured wacky characters, i.e., Raul Julia as a narcissistic, Ferrari-loving Italian named Franco, and thick-headed cop Roscoe (Norman Burton).

The Car (1977)

One of the many Duel (1971) imitators, this film featured a demon-possessed Lincoln Mark III that terrorized all those who came into contact with it.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Directed by career stuntman Hal Needham, this immensely profitable redneck-cop comedy chase film starred Burt Reynolds as a moonshine trucker (Bo, the "Bandit" Darville), Sally Field as runaway bride Carrie (nicknamed "Frog") - who was picked up by Bo, and Jackie Gleason as her prospective father-in-law and as Texas Sheriff Buford T. Justice ("Smokey").

The film's premise was about a $80,000 prize-bet - to drive an 18 wheel tractor-trailer rig full of bootleg Coors beer about halfway across the USA (from Georgia to Texas and back) in 28 hrs. flat. Bo would serve as "blocker" interference in a super-charged black Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, while co-star Jerry Reed served as Bo's truck-driving buddy Cledus "Snowman" Snow - and he sang the popular theme song on the soundtrack: "Eastbound and Down" - ("East bound and down, loaded up and truckin', we're gonna do what they say can't be done..."). Cledus was also noted for the expression: "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!" Bandit 1 and Bandit 2 were the CB-handle names for the two main vehicles, while the law was represented with the handle of "Smokey Bear."

[Followed by a lesser sequel, Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and an even worse, Reynolds-less Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983).]

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, UK)

In the spectacular pre-title credits opening sequence, Agent 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) was pursued by four machine gun-wielding Russian KGB agents in an exciting ski-chase down a steep slope in the Austrian Alps.

To escape them, Bond (stuntman Rick Sylvester) skied off a precipice-cliff -- and remarkably, a parachute (with a Union Jack flag pattern) emerged above him.

The Driver (1978)

In the opening scene, the existential hero simply named the Driver (Ryan O'Neal) stole a prospective client's 4-door Mercedes V-8 Sedan and then auditioned his skills. He showed the three terrified bad guys how talented he was as a freelance, ace getaway driver/wheelman for bank heists.

He plowed through a cramped, underground parking garage and narrow alleyways in LA to demonstrate his prowess and prove that he was worth every penny of his high-priced fee.

The film had three spectacular car chase sequences as well (including a night-time chase through LA).

Hooper (1978)

In a film filled with stunts and daredevil challenges, a car driven by stuntman Sonny Hooper (Burt Reynolds) drove through a collapsing factory (and barely missed its falling chimney) and made a rocket-propelled leap over a 456' chasm over a river where a bridge used to be before it collapsed.

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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