If you're a big action movie fan, you know you need the requisite car chase scene where the protagonist drives an automobile through very busy and cramped streets, precarious mountains, or desolate roads to escape the villains.
Throughout the sequence, cars can crash, roll over, and even fly through the air. But one thing you rarely see is a car with window tints, as these scenes need the dramatic impact of seeing the hero strain at the wheels, and the villain's shocked faces as they crash on a wall. Here are some of the most unforgettable car chases in all of cinema, and why viewers find them satisfying.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The action never lets up when the T1000 hijacks a semi and chases after John Connor on his bike. Even when the audience thinks Connor is safe in the reservoir, the semi suddenly jumps through the air to gain on him. Fortunately, the Terminator isn't far behind, and when that semi-rig crashes, audiences feel a rush of relief.
The unmistakable sound of whining car engines, the screeching wheels and the intense look of the drivers. Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone race through the streets of Paris at 75 to 100 mph in this film. If their faces look tense and fearful, it's because they are! Director John Frankenheimer wanted a bit of realism, and even if the car chase's near misses were planned out, it was still a close call for the actors and the audience.
The Road Warrior (1982)
George Miller's masterpiece ends with a 20-minute car chase involving oil rigs, motorcycles, and several vehicles filled with post-apocalyptic thugs in leather and chains. Add Molotov bombs, guns, a young feral boy and Mel Gibson, and you've got a car chase that thrills but also surprises you at the end.
Steve McQueen and his Mustang are unforgettable in this action classic. The suspense builds as McQueen is followed through the streets of San Francisco, and when the car's engine starts to whine, the audience knows the action will be unforgettable.
Kurt Russell is Stuntman Mike, and he's a killer driver, literally. The movie's car chase involves Mike racing three women in another car at top speed, with one of them holding on for dear life on the car's hood.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Fury Road is one long car chase scene, from the moment Max starts his V8 engine to the climax when Max and Furiosa head back to the Citadel. Joe attacks them, but Max's supreme driving skills win the day.
There are many other movie car chases that thrill audiences, but there's nothing like an old-fashioned car stunt with no CGI, no special effects, and only pure action. You can feel the adrenaline rush through the screen as the car engines whine, and you can feel the character's tension as they scramble to control the wheel or the clutch. But you can rest assured most of them were inspired by these films.