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80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

With sleek vehicles, screeching tires, and daring maneuvers, these chase sequences captured the essence of the era's audacious spirit.

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

The 1980s were a golden era for action movies, and one of the most unforgettable aspects of these films was the adrenaline-pumping car chases. From sleek sports cars to rugged muscle cars, the 80s delivered some of the most iconic and thrilling chase scenes in cinematic history.

In this blog post, we'll take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and revisit the top 10 greatest movie car chases from the 1980s that left audiences on the edge of their seats. From the Blues Brothers leading the police on a wild chase through the streets of Chicago to the dystopian wasteland of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, these car chases will leave you breathless and longing for the excitement and thrills of 80s cinema.

Let's delve into the heart-pounding world of 1980s movie car chases.

1. The Blues Brothers (1980)

88% liked this movie

What makes the car chases in The Blues Brothers truly unique is the sheer scale and chaos involved. The filmmakers went all out, using real cars and staging elaborate crashes and stunts. With the Bluesmobile, a 1974 Dodge Monaco, as their trusty vehicle, Jake and Elwood leave a trail of destruction in their wake, creating a spectacle that has become legendary in the world of movie car chases.

But it's not just about the destruction and mayhem. The car chases in The Blues Brothers are infused with humor and absurdity, perfectly blending action with comedy. From narrowly avoiding oncoming trains to driving off ramps and soaring through the air, the chase scenes in this film are a masterclass in high-octane entertainment.

2. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

76% liked this movie

The car chase scenes in "The Road Warrior" are known for their high-octane action, practical effects, and innovative stunts. The film features a variety of customized and heavily modified vehicles, each with its own unique design and purpose. These vehicles are used in intense chase sequences across the desert landscape, showcasing the skills of the stunt drivers and the creativity of the filmmakers.

One of the most memorable car chase scenes occurs near the climax of the film when Max, along with the group of survivors, attempts to escape from the pursuing marauders. The chase involves multiple vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, and the iconic tanker truck. The scene is filled with explosive action, daring stunts, and creative vehicular combat, making it a standout moment in action cinema history.

RELATED: Ranked: Mad Max from Worst to Best

3. The Terminator (1984)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

92% liked this movie

"The Terminator," released in 1984 and directed by James Cameron, features several intense car chase scenes that have become iconic in the realm of action movies. One of the most memorable car chase scenes occurs when the Terminator, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, relentlessly pursues Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton, through the streets of Los Angeles.

In this scene, the Terminator is driving a stolen police car, chasing Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn) who are in another car. The chase is filled with high-speed action, crashes, and gunfire, showcasing the relentless pursuit of the Terminator and the desperate attempts of Sarah and Kyle to escape.

What made these scenes particularly impressive for the time was the use of practical effects and stunt work. The filmmakers used real cars, stunt drivers, and practical effects to create the intense and realistic car chase sequences. This approach added to the authenticity and excitement of the scenes, making them stand out in the action movie genre.

4. To Live and Die in LA (1985)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

92% liked this movie

One of the most famous car chase scenes in "To Live and Die in L.A." occurs early in the film. In this scene, Richard Chance and his partner attempt to apprehend a suspect who is trying to escape in a car. The chase takes them through the streets of Los Angeles, featuring high speeds, dangerous maneuvers, and close calls with other vehicles. What sets this chase apart is its gritty realism and the fact that the actors performed many of their own stunts, making the scene feel raw and authentic.

William Friedkin, known for directing the iconic car chase in "The French Connection," brought his expertise to "To Live and Die in L.A.," creating a memorable and intense chase sequence. The film's use of practical effects and skilled stunt work adds to the adrenaline-pumping excitement of the scene.

5. The Junkman (1982)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

82% liked this movie

One of the most significant car chase scenes in "The Junkman" takes place early in the movie and involves a high-speed pursuit between a police helicopter and a group of criminals driving a van. The chase covers a variety of terrains, including highways and city streets, and is marked by intense action, daring stunts, and numerous crashes. The scene showcases Halicki's expertise in coordinating complex and realistic chase sequences.

"The Junkman" is notable for its emphasis on showcasing the destruction of vehicles, which was a trademark of H.B. Halicki's films. The movie features numerous crashes, explosions, and other vehicular mayhem, all executed with practical effects and stunt work. These scenes are a highlight for fans of car chase movies and enthusiasts of automotive action.

6. Cobra (1986)

87% liked this movie

One of the most notable car chase scenes in "Cobra" occurs when Cobra is pursuing a group of criminals who are terrorizing the city. In this high-speed chase, Cobra drives his customized 1950 Mercury Monterey coupe, a distinctive and iconic car featured prominently in the film. The chase takes place through city streets, alleys, and tunnels, showcasing fast-paced action, daring stunts, and explosive moments.

The car chase scenes in "Cobra" are characterized by their adrenaline-pumping intensity and dynamic camera work. Stallone, known for his action roles, brings his charisma and physicality to the character of Cobra, adding to the excitement of the chase sequences. The film's use of practical effects, including real cars and stunt performers, enhances the authenticity of the action scenes.

7. Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

83% liked this movie

In "Smokey and the Bandit II," the main characters, including Bo "Bandit" Darville (played by Burt Reynolds), Cledus "Snowman" Snow (played by Jerry Reed), and Frog (played by Sally Field), engage in several humorous and lighthearted situations involving their iconic black Pontiac Trans Am and a variety of law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by Jackie Gleason). While there are driving sequences and moments of evasion, they are more in the spirit of comedy and entertainment rather than intense car chase scenes.

The appeal of "Smokey and the Bandit II" lies in its comedic dialogue, playful character interactions, and the charm of its cast. While there are car-related stunts and action throughout the film, they are not the central focus of the movie, unlike other action films of the time that heavily emphasize car chases and stunts.

8. License To Kill (1989)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

87% liked this movie

In the movie, Bond commandeers a tanker truck and engages in a high-speed chase with Franz Sanchez, the main antagonist, played by Robert Davi. The chase takes place on winding roads, and Bond uses the tanker's capabilities to fend off Sanchez's henchmen in pursuit. The sequence involves dangerous maneuvers, gunfire, and explosions, showcasing the action-packed style typical of James Bond films.

The tanker truck chase scene in "License to Kill" is particularly memorable for its intensity and practical effects. The stunts and special effects teams did a remarkable job creating a realistic and exciting chase sequence, which is a highlight of the film's action sequences.

9. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

87% liked this movie

The film features several car chase scenes, one of which is particularly memorable. In one of the key car chase scenes, Axel Foley, driving a beat-up blue Chevy Nova, is pursued by two Beverly Hills police officers in a red Chevrolet Corvette after he escapes their custody. The chase takes place on the streets of Beverly Hills and involves high speeds, daring maneuvers, and clever tactics used by Axel to evade his pursuers. Axel's resourcefulness and quick thinking allow him to outwit the Beverly Hills police officers and escape the chase unscathed.

This car chase scene is notable for its humor, as Axel Foley displays his wit and cunning to outsmart the officers chasing him. It combines action with comedy, which is a hallmark of the film. The scene showcases Eddie Murphy's charismatic performance and the film's ability to blend thrilling action with lighthearted humor, making it a standout moment in "Beverly Hills Cop." The film's success, in part due to scenes like this, led to two sequels and solidified Eddie Murphy's status as a leading action-comedy star.

10. Back to the Future (1985)

80s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes (Heart-Pounding)

93% liked this movie

In the film, the main character, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), uses the DeLorean to escape from the pursuing Libyan terrorists who are after Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd). The chase takes place in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall, where the DeLorean accelerates to 88 miles per hour, activating the time-traveling capabilities of the car. The chase is depicted in a suspenseful and comical manner, blending action with the film's science-fiction elements.

The DeLorean time machine's car chase scenes are iconic in the context of the film and its sequels. While they may not be traditional action-packed chases, they are integral to the film's plot and showcase the innovative and creative use of a car as a central element in a time-travel adventure. The success of "Back to the Future" and its sequels has made the DeLorean time machine one of the most recognizable and beloved vehicles in cinematic history.

RELATED: 90s Movies: Top 10 Car Chase Scenes

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