Greatest Chase Scenes
in Film History

Part 6

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

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The most classic of the chase scenes was a desert chase scene in which Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) raced after a speeding truck by mounting a horse and overtaking the vehicle. He leapt onto the vehicle, forced his way into the cab, tossed the guard from the passenger seat, kicked out the Nazi driver onto the road, and took control of the wheel. As he drove, there were some hair-raising attempts of Nazi guards in the back of his truck to oust Indy from the wheel. He was weakened when one guard shot him in the left arm. The last remaining guard reached the truck's cab from above. Indy was tossed through the windshield and ended up hanging from a hood ornament in the front of the fast-moving truck. When the ornament bent and cracked off, he grabbed onto the grill. The grill bars snapped one by one as Indy clung to the fender of the front tire. To avoid being rammed in the back of the car ahead, Indy lowered himself under the truck's engine where he clung tenuously beneath the vehicle.

He (oftentimes stuntman Terry Leonard) made his way between the vehicle's wheels to the truck's rear wheel axle - he even was dragged behind the truck while attached by his bullwhip. Eventually, he pulled himself forward and lifted himself up onto the rear of the truck, crawled alongside and back in to the cab, and jumped into the driver's cab. Angered, he threw the driver out through the already-broken windshield. [This stunt paid homage to the stunt performed by Yakima Canutt in Stagecoach (1939) - see above.]

Another famous "chase" scene was in the opening sequence, with an escape from a trap-laden ancient South American temple, including a rolling gigantic spherical boulder, and Indy's subsequent getaway from Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) and the Hovitos tribe by running to an awaiting airplane.

The Road Warrior (1982) aka Mad Max 2 (1981, Aus.)

This post-apocalyptic film was the sequel to the grim revenge/action film Mad Max (1979). It featured a spectacular, 12-minute chase sequence in the finale, in which "Mad Max" Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) in a semi-trailer fuel-oil MACK truck-tanker was pursued and viciously attacked at breakneck speed by a convoy of bizarre vehicles, souped-up cars and motorcycles, and a marauding savage band of punkish desert vandals wearing hockey-like masks.

During the hot chase across the outback, the nomadic warriors flung grappling hooks at the truck, and arrows were shot from crossbows while pursuers lept from vehicle to vehicle. Even a fire-bombing gyroplane hovered above the action. The climax occurred when the 40-foot tanker crashed into Lord Humungus' (Kjell Nillson) car -- also killing Wez (Vernon Wells), who was clinging to the front fender of the tanker -- and the giant tanker (filled with sand) rolled over onto its side.

Earlier in the film, Mad Max drove a super-charged Ford Falcon XB Coupe.

[This film was followed by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).]

Christine (1983)

This cult horror film contained the famous scene in which the evil red 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine chased one of Arnie Cunningham's (Keith Gordon) bullies, gray-sweatshirted and overweight Moochie Welch (Malcolm Danare), into a narrow alleyway and crushed him into a wall.

Project A (1983, HK) (aka 'A' Gai Wak)

In this Jackie Chan martial-arts action film, a long fight and chase scene featured a foot chase, cycling through crowded, narrow Hong Kong alleyways, a climb up a flagpole, and climaxed with an ascent up a clock-tower with a duel and classic plunge from the top by director/actor Chan himself as Navy Master Sergeant Maillong, known as Dragon.

The three-story fall after dangling from the clock was broken by various awnings and other projections along the way. [Note: This scene was the film's tribute to Harold Lloyd's Safety Last (1923).]


Return of the Jedi (1983)

The last film in the first Star Wars trilogy featured the famous chase scene in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) battled with Imperial Stormtroopers on flying "speeder bikes" at breakneck speeds through a dense forest on the planet Endor.

Against All Odds (1984)

Director Taylor Hackford's film-noirish drama was most notable for its 2 and 1/2 minute impromptu car chase (or street race) along LA's Sunset Boulevard (about 18 minutes into the film), between two open-topped cars: a red 1983 Porsche 911 SC Cabrio (driven by Jeff Bridges (as aging football player Terry Brogan)) and a black 1982 Ferrari 308 GT Quattrovalvole (driven by James Woods (as nightclub owner Jake Wise) with a white dog in the passenger's seat).

Remarkably for a car chase in which they weaved in and out of dense traffic and through intersections, there were no wrecks or damage done to either vehicle. At the start of the race, Jake taunted: "Let's see if you still got balls, Terry."

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

This sequel contained a thrilling roller-coaster-like chase in which Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), American singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Indy's young sidekick Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) were chased by cultish Thuggees in underground mine-shaft carts, including a tense tug-of-war with Short Round suspended over a lava flow between two carts.

Also, there was the climactic "bridge" scene in which the heroes were pursued onto a rope bridge and surrounded by Thuggees and the villainous high priest Mola-Ram (Amrish Puri) -- Indiana Jones growled at Mola-Ram: "Prepare to meet Kali... in hell!" and then cut the bridge.

The Terminator (1984)

James Cameron's original Terminator film featured the suspenseful scene of the unrelenting pursuit of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) by the killer cyborg from the future, the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in a stolen police car, through an underground parking lot and then onto the public highway.

Later in the film, they were also chased by the Terminator riding a motorcycle and shooting at them with an assortment of weapons. Their truck crashed and ended upside-down, while the Terminator's bike also crashed - and the indestructible cyborg was run over by a tanker-truck, but was able to revive and commandeer the oil truck to continue the chase, until the truck was blown up.

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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