Greatest Chase Scenes
in Film History

Part 5

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

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.

Moonraker (1979)

In the final hour of this 11th James Bond film, agent 007 (Roger Moore) ventured to the Amazonian jungle in Brazil, where he was pursued in his armored Glastron Hydrofoil Speedboat on the Tapirape River by henchman sent by villainous billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale). They launched an armed attack on his craft with explosive depth charges. From the rear of his boat, Bond deployed mines, blowing up one boat and killing three thugs.

As he raced forward, two other boats joined in the pursuit - one held steel-toothed Jaws (Richard Kiel) who was wielding a machine-gun. Bond then launched torpedoes from his speedboat, and destroyed a second boat with three men onboard.

When Bond's speedboat approached the massive Iguacu Falls, he escaped death when he launched himself from his speedboat onto a hang glider that was deployed from the craft's roof - and he soared away to safety. Jaws (with two other thugs) in the last boat crashed over the falls.

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Cool ex-con, renegade musicians named the Blues Brothers - who were "on a mission from God" - were siblings, who both wore black suits, hats, and shades:

  • Joliet "Jake" Blues (John Belushi)
  • Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd)

In one of the comedy film's earlier scenes, there was an incredible jump over an open drawbridge [the 95th Street bridge] ("This car's got some pickup"), then a spectacular chase through an entire indoor shopping mall in the Chicago area [the former Dixie Square Mall] - when they were pursued by state police in their Bluesmobile (a converted 1974 Dodge Monaco police cruiser sedan), with dozens of crashes through store windows (J. C. Penney's, Toys R Us, etc.) - that sent shoppers fleeing.

In the last half hour of the film, they sped 106 miles in their car toward downtown Chicago while pursued by lots of squad cars, with a maniacal death-defying chase that reportedly had the largest number of car crashes (demolition derby style) in film history. One police car ended up crashing into the side of a freight truck ("We're in a truck!").

At the conclusion, the two - driving at 120 mph at times - plowed their vehicle through a flock of pigeons and a crowd of pedestrians and into the lobby of the Richard J. Daley Center municipal building at Daley Plaza. Once they had reached their final destination, their car literally collapsed and completely fell apart after they stepped out of it.

[Mack Sennett's The Keystone Kops short films were an inspiration for this film.]

The Cannonball Run (1981)

Here was another chase film from Hal Needham (similar to his earlier The Gumball Rally (1976)), featuring a cross-country, car-crashing road-race from Connecticut to Southern California with the tagline: "You'll never guess who wins."

The race was based upon the real "Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash." With Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Jack Elam, Jamie Farr, Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Roger Moore, Ratpackers Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, and more.

[Followed by Cannonball Run II (1984) and Speed Zone (1989).]

Greatest Classic Chase Scenes in Film History

(chronological, by film title)
Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

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