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Whether they're impressive or destructive, these automotive feats are hard to look away from. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Best Car Stunt in Movies."
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For this list, we're looking at the groundbreaking car stunts, both individual and sequences, that wowed viewers. We're basing our picks on a mix of filming difficulty, the dangers involved, and, most importantly, just how amazing each stunt looked on-screen. Obviously some CGI is allowed, but for the most part, we’re focusing on stunts that were created via practical means. While stunt crews survived these harrowing feats, not all their characters did, so a SPOILER ALERT is in order.
#10: The Dreadnought "Death Race" (2008)
During the second day of this high-octane deadly racing event, the dastardly warden unleashes her secret weapon… the Dreadnought. This armored tanker truck is armed to the grill with everything it could need to take racers down, including machine guns, flamethrowers, rockets. Heck, it’s even got a tank turret. The race for first place becomes a scramble to survive as the tanker wreaks motorized havoc. As the story goes, the film’s stunt coordinators suggested miniatures, but director Paul W.S. Anderson insisted on keeping things to scale. The crew even carried out a rehearsal crash just to get the tanker's wreck perfect.
#9: Car Driving Through Shanty Town "Police Story" (1985)
When a police sting goes awry, the whole neighborhood pays the price. In an effort to escape, the gang members drive their car through a shanty town (and we mean THROUGH it) with the police in pursuit. Both cars become wrecking balls, and small explosions can be seen every few seconds. The neighborhood is quickly reduced to rubble as these two vehicles rip through one house after another as if they’re all made of paper. The driving is so visceral… you can even see the windshield of one car break in first-person. The unbelievable coordination involved and sheer audacity of this stunt has earned Police Story great respect and emulation.
#8: Parachute Drop "Furious 7" (2015)
To rescue a hacker from evil hands, Dom and Brian get their crew to parachute cars out of a plane. While the scene may seem like something straight out of a cartoon, the cars were really dropped out of a C-130 and filmed by parachutists around them. To make the cars land correctly, they set up two cranes and a pulley system that allowed them to hit the ground running. The actors were the only major digital addition, otherwise Tyrese and company likely would’ve needed some adult diapers. Thanks to the bravery of both flying and ground crews, the scene took car stunts to new heights, and left us gasping for air.
#7: Mustang Chase Scene "Need for Speed" (2014)
In their race to make it to San Francisco, Tobey and Julia blaze through the streets of Detroit dangerously fast. As Tobey backs out of an alleyway, he pulls a 180 while a cop car is totalled by traffic. With Maverick serving as his eyes in the sky, that’s just a small taste of what this sequence has to offer. Tobey also employs a full 360 spin to artfully dodge a police car. Even the simplest stunts are made more impressive considering the fact that Aaron Paul did the majority of his own driving for the film. The massive grasshopper jump, which Paul decidedly didn't perform himself, needed a ramp for the extended airtime.
#6: Mini Heist "The Italian Job" (1969)
To pull off a spectacular heist, Charlie and company use Mini Coopers to go where other getaway vehicles can't. The crew race down flights of stairs that would make Jason Bourne nervous, before quickly zipping through crowded malls. After dodging pedestrians through tunnels and even jumping over a few rooftops, they finally move outside the city, where the Coopers take a shortcut across a dam before losing the cops in some narrow sewers. Thanks to the insane driving and planning of stunt genius Remy Julienne, the chase still holds up today. Charlie's gang even ends the heist by driving their cars right onto a bus.
#5: Truck Flip "The Dark Knight" (2008)
When the Joker embarks on a joyride from hell in a big rig, Batman steps in and plays a game of chicken with the maniacal villain. The Joker thinks that his nemesis has missed, but he should know better—Batman never misses. The Dark Knight’s nifty little maneuver tethers the truck, causing it to flip over itself. Though many directors would use CGI to film something like this in a city, Christopher Nolan insisted on achieving it through practical effects. The solution was a gigantic piston under the truck, which they edited out in post-production. The resulting flip is a jaw-dropping sight and earned stunt-driver Jim Wilkey plenty of pats on the back for his commitment.
#4: Aston Martin Flips "Casino Royale" (2006)
James Bond is driving desperately to find Vesper Lynd, when she appears on the road ahead of him. To avoid hitting her, Bond veers off the road in what can only be described as a majestic wipeout. Unfortunately, the car refused to roll naturally, so the crew had to build a larger ramp and use a piston to get it airborne. They even got the car going 75 miles an hour for their final run. Sure enough, these various efforts combined to result in an even more impressive crash than anyone could’ve imagined. The outrageous seven rolls actually outperformed Top Gear and landed stuntman Adam Kirley in the Guinness Book of World Records.
#3: The Mustang Chase "Bullitt" (1968)
When Frank Bullitt spots hit men on his tail, he gives chase. In the pulse-pounding sequence that follows, their cars veer around San Francisco's many hills, barely making their turns. As Steve McQueen tells it, the vehicles were allegedly slamming down at 100 miles per hour, bumping into one another, and falling apart from the strain. The extended runtime and unpredictable nature of the scene makes for a stunt drive that, taken as a whole, is just as impressive as one monumental stunt. A vicious and visceral chase, the high speeds and crashes make this a sequence that could have ended fatally in less skilled hands.
#2: The Barrel Roll Over the Bridge "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974)
To catch the evil Scaramanga, Bond decides to take a shortcut on the back roads of Thailand. With a protesting Sheriff Pepper in tow, Bond hits a rickety bridge and jumps across in a perfect corkscrew rotation. Regardless of its effortless look, nailing a 270 degree spin proved harder than a 360 one. The roll was so precise that it became the first car stunt to be largely computer-modeled in advance. The crew's hard work allowed them to nail the stunt on their first take. Why such a monumental achievement in stunts was paired with that silly slide whistle… is anyone’s guess.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Chase Leading Up to Han's Death; The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Freeway Chase; Bad Boys II (2003)
- Using a Car as a Jump; Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
#1: The Convoy "Mad Max 2" (1981)
With the Marauders in hot pursuit, Max leads a chase in a geared out fuel tanker. Cars bash into the tanker and are even dragged behind it at one point. Several men even climb around the truck and one motorcycle is viciously run over. While Mad Max: Fury Road basically made one whole incredible movie out of a car chase scene, The Road Warrior did it first. Despite a variety of serious injuries on set, the final tanker roll went off in one take without any complications. The scene's unbelievable levels of coordination and metal carnage have made it a classic that is simply too dangerous to be topped.