x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Top five: movie car chases

Almost since the dawn of the cinema, movie cameras have captured the car chase; it is one of the most popular themes in film that continues to captivate viewers. But for car chases to work, like they do in these movies, they have to incorporate these essen

Bullitt (1968) This car chase only takes up seven minutes of the whole film and doesn't happen until an hour and 10 minutes into the action, but it is a truly spectacular piece of film-making. Set in the undulating streets of San Francisco, a city made for car chases if ever there were one, Steve McQueen is at the wheel of a green Mustang GT fastback. McQueen, an accomplished driver, performed most of the stunt driving himself for this scene, with speeds of 175kph reached.

The Italian Job (1969) Like Bullitt, the car chase in The Italian Job makes the most of a fantastic location. Three Mini Coopers wind their way through the streets and sewers of Turin with a joyously toe-tapping, very British soundtrack playing in the background. The three naughty drivers bamboozle the local police with their go-anywhere attitude, which includes taking the cars down staircases and over the arching roof of a building. It's a car chase with a high feel-good factor.

The French Connection (1971) Gene Hackman stars as cop 'Popeye' Doyle chasing a Metro train through Brooklyn. Hackman is behind the wheel of a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans, a civilian's car that he has comandeered to chase the train, which a hitman is using to try to escape. The scene includes stunts such as the car being clipped by a truck with a "Drive carefully" bumper sticker and Hackman narrowly missing a woman with a pram before crashing into a pile of garbage.

Vanishing Point (1971) Forget the 1997 remake, this seventies original pits Barry Newman as Kowalski - an ex-Vietnam vet and ex-cop - against the police forces from various US states. Yes, Kowalski is angry, he's bitter, he feels like his country has failed him - and he has taken on a somewhat ill-advised bet that he can deliver a 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco from Denver, Colorado, in 15 hours. The chase takes place across some of America's most inhospitable landscapes.

The Blues Brothers (1980) This chase scene is completely, fabulously over the top, a fine example of police mob-handedness that is popular in American cinema. At the time of release, this film held the world record for the highest number of cars trashed in stunt sequences. The producers had a 24-hour bodyshop on the set to keep repairing the 60 police cars that were constantly being written off in the course of filming. The Blues Brothers may be up to no good but the viewers always root for them.