Greatest Chase Scenes
in Film History

1990 - 1997

Greatest Film Chase Scenes
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description of Chase Scene

Back to the Future, Part III (1990)

In the finale, mad scientist Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd) raced against time to save schoolteacher and romantic interest Clara Clayton (Mary Steenbergen), as she inched along the about-to-explode train locomotive's engine, which was pushing the DeLorean in an effort to get it to 88 mph to return Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) from 1885 to the future year of 1985.

"Doc" and Clara were saved at the last minute by Marty's hoverboard that he sent alongside them. Although the locomotive was destroyed as the tracks came to an end and it exploded in the ravine, the DeLorean time machine successfully attained 88 mph and was zapped "back to the future."

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

This film had a high-speed, electrifying chase - a showdown between a mini-bike, a semi-tractor-trailer cab and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The T-1000 Terminator (Robert Patrick) stole and commandeered a big-rig truck, rammed cars, crashed through a barricade and landed down below in the concrete-sided, flood control drainage channel in Los Angeles. He was in pursuit of young John Connor (Edward Furlong) on a small motorbike. Chasing both of them on a Harley motorcycle was the T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The truck crashed down 15 feet from an upper highway onto the canal.

The T-800 Terminator followed the action from above them on a service road which ran parallel to the canal. The big-rig became a 'convertible' when the top was sheared off by one of the overpasses. The T-800 sailed his bike down into the canal, miraculously keeping the bike upright when it bottomed out on the ground. He caught up to John, swept him off his motorbike and swung him onto his own Harley, while firing his rotary-cocked rifle at the truck's tires behind him. Too big to fit through a concrete abutment, the big rig at full speed crashed into the divider which bisected the canal into two channels - the small Harley passed through one of the channels ahead of the massive truck.

The rig exploded into flames that came from ignited gasoline after the collision. From the inferno, the figure of the T-1000 emerged from the flames as a smooth, chrome-surfaced man - a featureless, liquid mercury-like shape. With each step, the human features and colors of the shape emerged on the surface - chameleon-like, it was transformed back into the human cop.

[Note: Chase scenes from Grease (1978) and Repo Man (1984) were also filmed in the same location.]

In another sequence, the T-1000's motorbike smashed through the upper-story glass wall of a building - then, the rider leapt onto a hovering helicopter as the bike fell.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The car chase in this girl-buddy road film was not fast and furious, but still memorable.

Two feminist-empowered fugitive outlaws, Thelma (Geena Davis) - an Arkansas housewife married to a cheating, abusive husband, and Louise (Susan Sarandon) - an overworked coffee-shop waitress, were pursued after killing a rapist, as they drove a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible around in the southwestern US desert (on their way to Mexico).

The film ended when they drove the T-Bird into oblivion in the film's final image, as they kissed, grasped hands and went sailing into the Grand Canyon.

Last Action Hero (1993)

There were many over-the-top chase scenes and car crashes in this film, including a surreal sequence shot inside the vehicle, when action hero Sgt. Jack Slater's (Arnold Schwarzenegger) speeding sports car plowed off the side of an LA fly-over and glided back down to the ground gently.

The film also featured a parody of Hans Gruber's (Alan Rickman) Die Hard (1988) slow-motion, close-up plunge from a high-rise building - although he was saved by a crane in this version.

Speed (1994)

The clever premise of this tense action film was that a Los Angeles city bus was booby-trapped (by a madman terrorist) and ready to explode if it went under 50 mph.

It had two amazing sequences - the improbable long jump the bus made over a missing section of freeway, and the finale in which the bombed bus drove on its own and crashed into an empty cargo airplane.

Face/Off (1997)

This film climaxed with a speed boat chase (filmed with stunt stand-ins for both Travolta and Cage) - with each of them being flung sky-high at its conclusion.

Also, there was the spectacular scene in which a helicopter pursued the villains' executive jet, causing it to crash into an empty hangar.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

In Hamburg, Germany, 007 British agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) fled back to his parked 4-door silver BMW 750iL in a multi-story garage. At the start of a remarkable chase sequence, he activated his BMW's remote control device by tapping twice on his phone's keypad, and then deployed a tear-gas mechanism to temporarily blind the thugs awaiting him. He remotely started the car, drove it next to where he was hiding, jumped in through one of the rear windows, and drove off - crouched down and controlling the car from the back seat, steering it with guidance from the phone's CCTV monitor screen.

As he was pursued, one after another, he set off most of the vehicle's gadgets and weapons -- the rockets hidden in the sun-roof, the metal-spike dispenser from the rear bumper to shred tires, the reinflatable tires, a retractable chain-cable cutter from the hood ornament, etc. and then he jumped out.

He sent the car sailing off the roof and crashing into the show-window of the Avis rental car office across the street. The vocal warning system spoke in a female voice: "Congratulations on a safe journey!"

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Handcuffed together, Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and collaborating, competent, and resourceful Chinese agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) stole a BMW R1200 motorcycle and attempted to escape from captors led by villainous henchman Stamper (Gotz Otto) and his men.

In the exciting chase sequence through the streets of Saigon, as they escaped - each one steered one of the handlebars while being hotly pursued by Range Rover vehicles and a chopper, both carrying armed killers. They were strafed by machine-guns and the chopper's weapons, as they fled through alleyways, across bridges, into houses, open-air markets, and along rooftops and collapsing terraces. They threw obstacles in the way of the pursuit vehicles, including barrels and a truck filled with exploding firecrackers.

At one point, they performed a stunning and daring high-speed roof-top motorcycle jump with the bulky 1600cc BMW bike across the hovering helicopter. When they were trapped by the copter's rotating blades in a dead end, they skidded under the chopper, and then Bond threw a clothes-washing cable-line into the rotors, causing the machine to lose control and crash.

Greatest Classic Chase Scenes in Film History

(chronological, by film title)
Intro | 1903-1966 | 1967-1971 | 1972-1974 | 1975-1978 | 1979-1983
1984-1989 | 1990-1997 | 1998-2002 | 2003-2006 | 2007-now

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