Monsters, Inc. (2001)
The Chase: Surely one of the most original and exciting chases on this list, the climax of Monsters, Inc. involves thousands of moving doors that act as portals to childrens' bedrooms. Evil lizard Randall’s the one after Mike and Sulley.
Pause For Breath When: Randall gets his just desserts when he’s trapped in a trailer park forevermore.
Scream 2 (1998)
The Chase: The slasher sequel’s crowning setpiece is the uber-tense sound booth sequence in which Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Dewey (David Arquette) are stalked by the Ghostface killer on campus.
Pause For Breath When: Ghostface stabs Dewey while Gale watches through soundproof glass. Shivers.
Against All Odds (1984)
The Chase: Filmed over a number of Sunday mornings during 15-minute takes on Sunset Boulevard, this nutso chase involved a Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Ferrari 308 GTSi – both of which miraculously emerge undamaged.
Pause For Breath When: Jeff Bridges brings his vehicle screeching to a stop mere inches away from a garbage truck.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Chase: Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) enters Buffalo Bill’s subterranean lair and attempts to find her way through the pitch black to arrest him. Meanwhile, Bill’s got a pair of night-vision goggles on…
Pause For Breath When: Starling shoots out a window, finally letting some light in and conquering her pursuer.
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)
The Chase: Demanding the involvement of a ’69 Dodge Charger, a train and a helicopter, director John Hough’s batshit chase sequence near the end of Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry gets extra points for sheer craziness.
Pause For Breath When: A freight train comes out of nowhere…
Back To The Future (1985)
The Chase: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) pinches a little kid's scooter and turns it into a skateboard, clinging on to the back of moving cars in order to escape an in-hot-pursuit Biff (Thomas F. Wilson).
Pause For Breath When: “SHIT!” Biff gets his comeuppance as he crashes into a manure truck. Ho ho.
The Chase: It’s speedboats at the ready during the climax of John Woo’s awesome action movie, with Castor (Nicolas Cage) escaping on a boat, only for Archer (John Travolta) to speed after him
Pause For Breath When: The FBI arrive and normality (somewhat) returns. Ah, we love a happy ending.
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Chase: Nicolas Cage brings the funny as he raids a convenience store with tights over his head. His purchase? Huggies. When the cops show, he takes to the tarmac with guns blazing in his ears and a cop car on his tail.
Pause For Breath When: Cage thinks he’s escaped – only to be confronted with a very angry dog.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Chase: The police finally catch up with Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon), who race across the Texas terrain with red-and-blue lights flashing behind them. Then they come to a cliff edge…
Pause For Breath When: The girls’ car sails through the air…
The Chase: Pretty much one big, giant chase sequence, Spielberg’s adrenaline-pumper ends on a high as David Mann (Dennis Weaver) confronts his stalker and rams him, eventually sending him tumbling over a cliff.
Pause For Breath When: Mann stares down at the wreckage, safe at last.
Blade Runner (1982)
The Chase: Deckard (Harrison Ford) is stalked through Sebastian’s apartment by the menacing replicant known as Roy at the crushing climax of Ridley Scott's magnum opus.
Pause For Breath When: Roy expires on a rainy roof – but not before giving a memorable speech.
Stand By Me (1986)
The Chase: The four pals decide to cross over a railway bridge in their quest to find a dead body – but a train chases them down the track before they’ve managed to cross the bridge entirely.
Pause For Breath When: Gordie and Vern end up in a dusty heap by the railtrack, having escaped with their lives – but only just.
The Chase: Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Newt (Carrie Henn) are trapped in a med lab with some vicious facehuggers – all because Carter Burke (Paul Resier) wants to get rid of Ripley so he can take the xenomorphs back to Earth.
Pause For Breath When: The marines come to their rescue, shooting the facehuggers into smithereens. Close one.
Toy Story (1995)
The Chase: Andy’s all packed up and ready to move when Buzz and Woody finally bust out of Sid’s house. They’re forced to chase the moving van, or face a life without their beloved Andy…
Pause For Breath When: It looks like things are going to be OK when Woody makes it to the van, only to have his suspicious friends kick him violently out…
Live And Let Die (1973)
The Chase: Bond takes to the water in order to escape Dr. Kananga’s (Yaphet Kotto) rudeboys, racing off in a speedboat... with the rudeboys in hot pursuit.
Pause For Breath When: Bond’s speedboat leaps over Sheriff J. W. Pepper’s (Clifton James) car and makes it to safety. This is just getting interesting…
The Terminator (1984)
The Chase: James Cameron’s influential sci-fi comes to a close in a deserted factory, where Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese are pursued by the T-800, minus its fleshy coat.
Pause For Breath When: Sarah manages to crush the Terminator in a hydraulic press that completely deactivates it – but it comes at a price as Reese has died in the process…
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1981)
The Chase: Pursued by cops and government officials, Elliot’s pedalling furiously with ET in his bike basket, kicking up dust as he and his posse race through the streets…
Pause For Breath When: E.T. works his magic and the guys float up off the tarmac, leading to that iconic bike-on-moon image.
The Great Escape (1963)
The Chase: ‘Cooler King’ Hilts (Steve McQueen) escapes a Nazi prison camp by pinching a German motorbike and burning rubber.
Pause For Breath When: Hilts leaps the six-foot fence at the Swiss border with the bike and makes a jaw-dropping bid for freedom.
Gone In 60 Seconds (1974)
The Chase: One of the longest chases in cinema history, this one unravels over an epic 40 minutes and involved the wrecking of almost 100 cars.
Pause For Breath When: A car jumps 30ft high over the wreckage of another vehicle, clearing a whopping 128ft. Beat that, Nic Cage.
The Chase: The horror chase scene to end all horror chase scenes, as Michael Myers finally swivels his attention to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), leading to that infamous “let me in!” scream and the ensuing house invasion.
Pause For Breath When : It looks like Laurie’s safe after she stabs Michael in the eye with a hanger. But is it all really over?
The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Chase: Involving the destruction of what feels like hundreds of cop cars, not to mention the Dixie Square Mall, this is a gleeful action sequence that also brings the funny.
Pause For Breath When: The brothers step out of their car – and it collapses into pieces.
The Chase: On the alkali flats, Apache Indians race after the eponymous stagecoach, which includes some truly astounding stuntwork, including leaping onto moving horses…
Pause For Breath When: The Apache warrior is shot by John Wayne and trampled by horses and carriage wheels.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
The Chase: James Cameron ups the ante with his sci-fi sequel as three vehicles are involved in a thrilling chase – John Connor’s on a mini-bike, the T-800’s steering a Harley Davidson, and the T-1000’s got a semi-tractor-trailer cab.
Pause For Breath When: The T-800 launches through the air into the canal. If you look closing, you can see it’s a stunt guy, but that doesn’t ruin the magic.
The Chase: Angelina Jolie does impossibly cool things with a red sports car, saving James McAvoy’s office worker and fending off their pursuers on the highways of Chicago. She even finds time to ram a police car.
Pause For Breath When: Fox (Jolie) decides she’d get a better shot at the enemy if she smashed out the windscreen and clambered onto the car bonnet…
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Chase: Trinity attempts to evade two pasty-faced, dreadlock-haired twins by racing the wrong way down a motorway – and she’s not even wearing a helmet. Thrilling stuff.
Pause For Breath When: Neo (Keanu Reeves) swoops in and saves the day. It’s handy having a Superman on your team.
To Live And Die In L.A. (1985)
The Chase: Car-lover William Petersen’s Christmasses all come at once in this ridiculously awesome car chase, in which Petersen drives his Chevrolet the wrong way down LA’s 710 freeway.
Pause For Breath When: The bad guys escape, but Petersen’s resolve to catch them doubles.
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
The Chase: Taking up at least two thirds of the film, Smokey And The Bandit is just one big extended chase sequence as Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and Frog (Sally Field) evade the authorities to race through Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.
Pause For Breath When: Bandit and his convoy arrive at the Southern Classic with 10 minutes to spare. Not bad going.
The French Connection (1971)
The Chase: Detective Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman) seizes a Pontiac Le Mans in order to chase after a train. Numerous collisions ensue, though thankfully he misses the baby in the pram. Complete madness, but one of the coolest chases ever.
Pause For Breath When: Doyle shoots villain Nicoli when he emerges from the train.
The Chase: One of the most realistic-looking chases we’ve ever seen, this one has mercenary Sam (Robert De Niro) chasing after Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) in Paris. Oh, and they’re going the wrong way, driving against traffic.
Pause For Breath When: It ends badly for Dierdre, whose car is flipped and bursts into flames.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Chase: Julia Stiles attempts to outfox an assassin while Bourne races through the city to save her with the police snapping at his heels.
Pause For Breath When: When the confrontation comes, we get that brilliant book-eating moment. This one has it all.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Chase: TIE fighters give chase as Han Solo pilots the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field. Crazy kook.
Pause For Breath When: Han finally settles into a protective tunnel having successfully evaded the TIE fighters. Could there be danger here, too, though?
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
The Chase: The final third of The Road Warrior is one big chase sequence as Max (Mel Gibson) fends off numerous attackers, all of whom come with their own set of wheels, and even launch themselves through the air at his truck. Breakneck stuff.
Pause For Breath When: Max discovers the oil tanker was really just filled with sand. Whew.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Chase: A breathless chase sequence in which, among other things, the Joker uses a bazooka ends in a confrontation between the Joker and the Batman on the streets of Gotham.
Pause For Breath When: The Joker’s truck flips up off the ground – this is gonna be messy.
Death Proof (2007)
The Chase: Stuntwoman Zoe ‘The Cat’ Bell plays a dangerous game called ‘ship’s mast’, which involves her clinging to the bonnet of stuntman Mike’s (Kurt Russell) supposedly ‘death proof’ car.
Pause For Breath When: The tables are turned on Mike as Zoe and her girls beat the crap out of him. And… scene.
Vanishing Point (1971)
The Chase: Evading the California Highway Patrol, Kowalski (Barry Newman) revs up a white 1970 Dodge Challenger, dodging oncoming traffic and pushing the speedometer to the limit.
Pause For Breath When: Kowalski takes on the driver of a Jaguar, which ends up crashing into the river.
The Chase: This future-fantastic anime opens as two rival cyberpunk gangs race through the streets of a dystopian metropolis.
Pause For Breath When: It all culminates in a breathless game of chicken between Kaneda and the rival gang leader.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Chase: A short one in Reservoir Dogs , but this foot chase twangs with tension and is coloured by sudden bursts of extreme violence. The fact that it’s stuck in the middle of two talk-heavy scenes only increases its impact.
Pause For Breath When: Mr Pink gets hit by a car, then decides to steal it as the police rain bullets on him…
Casino Royale (2006)
The Chase: Daniel Craig shows us what he’s made off right at the start of Casino Royale as he chases through Madagascar for the Parkour Chase sequence, which includes scaling a crane…
Pause For Breath When: Bond blows up a gas tanker to cover his escape. We never said he was a subtle man.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Chase: As Indiana Jones’ first adventure opens, he bounds through a Peruvian temple in surely the most iconic and oft parodied chase on this list, as a giant boulder threatens to crush him…
Pause For Breath When: Indy emerges from the temple alive, only to be confronted by rival archaeologist René Belloq. Nuts.
The Chase: A race scene that feels every bit as urgent and terrifying as a chase scene, the Ben-Hur chariot race is an exhilarating bit of golden era cinema that packs real punch.
Pause For Breath When: Messala’s plans to destroy Ben-Hur backfire and Messala’s the one left for dead. Hurrah!
The Chase: Driver (Ryan Gosling) shows what he’s capable of at the opening of Drive as he helps a couple of crims evade the cops in a tarmac-searing chase.
Pause For Breath When: Driver glides into a subterranean parking lot, escaping his pursuers once and for all.
The Italian Job (1969)
The Chase: Have heisted $4m in gold bullion, Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) races through the streets of Turin in a Mini Cooper S, mounting steps and ploughing through shopping plazas as the Italian cops give chase.
Pause For Breath When: The car races through sewers and a reservoir – truly breathtaking.
Black Christmas (1974)
The Chase: Olivia Hussey’s Final Girl, Jess, finds herself all alone in the sorority house – alone, that is, except for the attic-dwelling serial killer who’s murdered all of her friends. All the more terrifying because we never see the killer – only his wildly staring eye.
Pause For Breath When: Jess is discovered by the police, having bludgeoned her boyfriend to death. But was he really the killer?
North By Northwest (1959)
The Chase: Thornhill (Cary Grant) has nowhere to hide when he’s caught out in the countryside with a crop-duster plane targeting him from the sky.
Pause For Breath When: Thornhill manages to commandeer a truck and heads back to Chicago. That was a close call.
The Third Man (1949)
The Chase: Harry Lime (Orson Welles) is chased through the sewers by the authorities, who’ve discovered his deadly little black market business.
Pause For Breath When: Lime manages to escape, then confronts Holly Martins on a Ferris wheel…
The General (1927)
The Chase : Johnnie (Buster Keaton) has managed to seize back his beloved train, The General, but the Union forces won’t let him keep it for long, going after him in spectacular fashion.
Pause For Breath When: There’s no happy ending here, as the train crashes into the Rocky River. D’oh.
The Chase: First there’s the opening bungee jump, then there’s the oxygen tanks, not to mention freefalling into an unmanned plane while 007’s pursued by nefarious baddies.
Pause For Breath When: Bond gets into the plane just in time to pull it up and over a mountain…
Point Break (1991)
The Chase: Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) chases surfer Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) through the neighbourhood in one of cinema’s coolest foot chases, which also includes Johnny hurling himself into an aqueduct.
Pause For Breath When: Johnny has a clear shot at Bodhi, but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger…
The Chase: Steve McQueen puts his driving skills to awesome use with easily the best car chase in movie history. McQueen’s behind the wheel of a Mustang GT 390, while the bad guy’s revving up a '68 Dodge Charger.
Pause For Breath When: The villains lose control and crash into a petrol station, with the expected fiery results.
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Chase: Steven Spielberg terrifies kids and adults alike as he unleashes the Tyrannosaurus Rex on his lead cast in this throat-clutching set-piece.
Pause For Breath When: The T-Rex discovers Gennaro sat on the toilet. Oh dear…