The Most-Watched Car Chase Scenes from Action Movies

The Most-Watched Car Chase Scenes from Action Movies

For the thrill-seeking moviegoer, nothing quite matches a car chase. Filmmakers have known this from the industry’s beginnings – there’s a 1903 short in which a wealthy man in a limousine pursues his eloping daughter and her intended – and with the advent of the online services such as YouTube, fans of favorite car-chase scenes can view them as often as they want. (These are the greatest car chases in movies.) 

To compile a list of the most-watched car chases in movies, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a listing in Movie Car Report, published by Confused.com, an insurance comparison company that sometimes analyzes data around various lifestyle and entertainment topics. The list included chases in about 100 scenes from dozens of movies that have at least 10,000 views on YouTube. Our list of the top 20 starts with movies viewed more than 4 million times. 

The list is dominated by three film franchises – “Fast & Furious,” “Mad Max,” and “Mission: Impossible.” Action movies take the viewer on white-knuckle rides in locations such as the Moroccan desert, desolate Australian landscape, and the streets of the world’s greatest cities – Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, London, and Paris to name just a few. (Here are all the “Fast and Furious” movies ranked worst to best.)

Some of the motion pictures don’t keep their fans waiting for thrills, opening the film with a pulse-pounding chase scene. In fact, the movie “Driver” begins with a mostly low-key car chase in Los Angeles before the credits roll.

Viewers become passengers alongside stars such as Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Idris Elba, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson as they weave their way through oncoming traffic, motor through tunnels, avert disaster by trucks and buses blocking intersections, and duck bullets fired from weapons brandished by faceless, black-helmeted assassins.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

20. Paris car chase
> From movie: Ronin (1998)
> Total YouTube views: 4,048,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 3

Director John Frankenheimer, a former amateur race driver, used his love of fast cars in this caper flick starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. The movie’s numerous chase scenes are often compared to those in “The French Connection.” Among the cars used were a BMW M5, a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, an Audi S8, a Peugeot 406, and a Citroën Xantia. According to Supercars.com, more than 300 stunt drivers were used in the movie.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

19. Kowalski v. Cops
> From movie: Vanishing Point (1971)
> Total YouTube views: 4,300,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 2

“Vanishing Point, a movie made during the turbulent early 1970s, is about a Medal of Honor winner and dishonorably discharged former police officer who bets he can drive a supercharged 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T from Denver to San Francisco in fewer than 15 hours. To do that would mean he’d have to average speeds of more than 80 MPH, leading to numerous chase scenes with the police.

Source: Courtesy of American International Pictures

18. V8 Interceptor chase sequences
> From movie: Mad Max (1979)
> Total YouTube views: 4,500,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 1

The dystopian classic that made Mel Gibson a star featured a third-generation Ford Falcon. The filmmakers converted the Falcon, already juiced with a V-8 engine, into an “Interceptor,” affixing a new nose to the front end, adding flares, and attaching a switch-activated supercharger booster (it’s not real) to the hood for when Max needs to flee.

Source: Courtesy of FilmDistrict

17. Opening getaway
> From movie: Drive (2011)
> Total YouTube views: 5,462,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 4

Ryan Gosling stars as a stunt driver who moonlights as a cool-as-a-cucumber getaway driver in Los Angeles. The opening credit sequence features the nameless driver (Gosling) driving a souped-up Chevy Impala carrying armed robbers through the streets of L.A. while listening to a Clippers game.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros./Seven Arts

16. San Francisco car chase
> From movie: Bullitt (1968)
> Total YouTube views: 8,000,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 2

Perhaps cinema’s most famous car chase scene featured the king of cool, Steve McQueen, as a San Francisco cop in a green Ford Mustang GT Fastback pursuing the bad guys on his city’s streets. McQueen did most of the stunt driving in the dialogue-free scene, which lasted about 10 minutes. The film made the Mustang GT Fastback one of filmdom’s iconic automobiles.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. Gang chase
> From movie: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
> Total YouTube views: 9,200,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 1

Mel Gibson reprised his role as former cop Max Rockatansky, who defends survivors from marauders in a post-apocalyptic and lawless Australia. In the opening scene, Max, desperate to find gas, fends off a gang driving a car and riding two motorcycles on a desolate road.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

14. Motorcycle chase
> From movie: Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
> Total YouTube views: 9,335,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

In “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” Tom Cruise as agent Ethan Hunt rides a BMW R nineT, weaving his way through Paris in a high-velocity chase to avoid the French police, speeding through tunnels and driving against traffic.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

13. Viper ride
> From movie: Wanted (2008)
> Total YouTube views: 11,019,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

Angelina Jolie brings a nondescript office worker (James McAvoy) into her association of assassins in “Wanted.” During a scene in which she and McAvoy are being chased by a villain in a truck, Jolie fights him off by hanging out of the windshield and shooting while she’s steering her 2008 Viper SRT-10 with her foot.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

12. Cyborg motorcycle chase
> From movie: Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
> Total YouTube views: 14,818,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 4

Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, and Vanessa Kirby injected new blood into the Fast & Furious franchise, in an update that also brought back Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Eiza González. Johnson and Statham play Hobbs and Shaw, respectively, whose mission is to thwart a cyborg (Elba) possessing superhuman strength, intelligence, and a pathogen that endangers humankind. The high-speed car chase through London has Hobbes, Shaw, and Shaw’s sister behind the wheel of a McLaren 720S and supervillain Brixton (Elba) chasing them on a Triumph Speed Triple.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

11. Bike chase
> From movie: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)
> Total YouTube views: 15,025,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 6

“Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation” is remembered for a scene of special agent Ethan Hunt hanging from a moving plane as he tries to stop a rogue organization from establishing a new world order through a series of terrorist attacks. The movie is also noteworthy for its motorcycle chase in the Moroccan desert. After dispatching a villain in a BMW M3, Hunt boards a BMW S1000RR to resume the chase.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

10. Motorcycle chase
> From movie: Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
> Total YouTube views: 15,310,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

“Mission: Impossible 2,” directed by action veteran John Woo, starred Tom Cruise as the indomitable agent Ethan Hunt, who must track down a biological weapon known as “Chimera.” The motorcycle chase scene took place in Australia and featured the Triumph Speed Triple and the Triumph Daytona 955i popping wheelies all over the place.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

9. Rome car chase
> From movie: Spectre (2015)
> Total YouTube views: 15,381,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 9

Directed by Sam Mendes, “Spectre” is the fourth of five movies that Daniel Craig appeared in as James Bond. This chase scene involved closing off nearly two miles of roads entering Rome. Bond is driving an Aston Martin D10, while his pursuer – a henchman for the criminal enterprise Spectre – is at the wheel of Jaguar C-X75. Eight Astons and seven Jaguars were used during filming. “Spectre” has nine videos on YouTube, the most of any movie on the list.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

8. Train heist
> From movie: Fast Five (2011)
> Total YouTube views: 21,955,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

Another Fast & Furious entry on the list featured the crew in Rio de Janeiro seeking to avoid authorities after freeing Dom (Vin Diesel) from a prison bus. They steal three cars – property seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency – from a moving train.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. Chasing the killers
> From movie: The Fast and the Furious (2001)
> Total YouTube views: 23,159,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 6

Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is tasked with stopping street racing but becomes enamored with the street-racing culture and befriends the people in it, among them Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez. The movie features a 1970 Dodge Charger driven by Diesel’s character, Dom Toretto. O’Connor and street racer Toretto run down assassins on motorcycles firing automatic weapons in a high-octane chase.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Studios

6. Dom escapes
> From movie: Fast and Furious 4 (2009)
> Total YouTube views: 27,787,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

In “Fast and Furious 4,” street racer Dom Toretto has been given a 25-year sentence without possibility for parole for manslaughter. As he is on his way to the penitentiary in a prison bus, his crew – in an Acura NSX, Dodge Charger, and Trans Am, respectively – chases down the vehicle and…The credits roll before we see what happens (though we find out in the next film in the franchise, “Fast Five,” that Dom is freed).

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

5. The chase begins
> From movie: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
> Total YouTube views: 47,300,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 2

British actor Tom Hardy took over the eponymous role from Mel Gibson in the reboot of the dystopian “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The antagonist drives the predatory-looking gigahorse, a fusion of two 1959 Cadillac DeVilles placed on top of each other atop a truck chassis powered by two Chevy large block V-8 engines. The opening scene shows Max, haunted by those he failed to protect, run down and captured by men working for a warlord.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

4. Harpooning Dom’s car
> From movie: The Fate of the Furious (2017)
> Total YouTube views: 47,740,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

In “The Fate of the Furious,” street racer Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), in his 1971 Plymouth GTX, is surrounded by vehicles that fire harpoons into his automobile. He utilizes his supercharged engine to break loose from some of the harpoons but his vehicle ends up getting wrecked. The Plymouth has a top speed of 269 MPH and is the fastest car used so far in the movie series.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. Freeway fight
> From movie: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
> Total YouTube views: 62,600,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 7

Though this movie wasn’t as well received as the first “Matrix,” it does have a memorable highway chase sequence, with evil agents replacing drivers, lots of gunshots and shot-up cars, and slow-motion martial-arts action. Three hundred cars were destroyed during the filming of the scene. It was laid over a 1.25 mile highway built by the directors for $2.5 million. Because of the intensity of the scene, every one of the actors involved had some kind of injury.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

2. Truck chase
> From movie: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Total YouTube views: 129,000,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 2

John Connor (Edward Furlong), pursued by T-1000 (Robert Patrick) and the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), takes off on his motorbike, with T-1000 in hot pursuit in a truck. The chase scene involved miles of cables and spectacular pyrotechnics. For the motorbike jump, a 1991 Harley-Davidson Fatboy was attached to five separate cables so that it swung in the air.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

1. Opening car chase
> From movie: Baby Driver (2017)
> Total YouTube views: 176,449,000
> Number of videos on YouTube: 5

The heist film directed by Edgar Wright opens with a high-octane and basically wordless scene of bank robbers spirited away by a young driver, Ansel Elgort in a red Chevrolet Impala – who pairs his driving skills with the music he’s listening to.

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