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Cinema's Classic Car Chases

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By : Shaun Parker    99 or more times read
Submitted 0000-00-00 00:00:00
There's nothing quite like a car chase is there? Some of film's most memorable scenes have been car chases: the exhilaration, excitement and smell of gasoline! If only there were scratch 'n' sniff cinemas...

Many car chases seen in movies today are enhanced through the use of computer generated imagery (CGI), though the classic car chases that stick in the memory were those that were authentically shot - gritty, not polished: exactly how a car chase should be.

A car chase gets the juices flowing and really leaves a lasting memory on the viewer. So much so that many film fanatics have left the cinema and gone straight out and bought themselves the latest Aston Martin (in their dreams), or more realistically at least a used Mini.

A personal favourite car chase of mine is the 1998 Robert De Niro film, Ronin, which featured a gargantuan car chase involving a Peogeot 406 being pursued by a BMW 535i through the streets of Nice. Watching them speed through tunnels dodging oncoming traffic left me holding onto the seat of my pants.

In terms of quantity Gone in 60 seconds - not the remake starring (sic) Vinny Jones, but the 1974 original - holds the record for the longest car chase ever seen on film, spanning 40 minutes and inducing 93 wreckages.

A more iconic film, Bullitt starring the late, great, Steve McQueen, sees McQueen as cop Frank Bullitt and features a fantastic scene where he races his Mustang against a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco.

Of more recent films, The Bourne Supremacy came up trumps with a compelling chase through the cobbled streets of Moscow. And Quentin Tarrantino's Death Proof revolved entirely around Kurt Russell, brilliantly depicting a crazed stuntman turned killer who targets his prey, namely young women, with his 'Death Proof' stunt car - a 1970s Dodge Challenger. The chase scene featuring stuntwoman, Zoe Bell, clinging onto the hood of a car while 'Stuntman Mike' rams the car from all angles is as frightening as it was brilliantly shot.

And who can forget the Blues Brothers pile-up - dozens of Police cars on top of one another, with the Bluesmobile leaving them trailing in its wake.

But the most iconic car chase in cinema history has to be from the Italian Job. The Mini - a British classic - times three, racing stripes and all, speeding through Turin, carrying Gold bricks from the scene of a wonderfully planned heist.

This was Michael Caine, at his best, as Charlie Croker a criminal mastermind who orchestrates the 'job' by jamming the Turin mid-day traffic and coming up with the best way to weave away from such a gridlock - using three Mini Coopers.

The Italian Job was a huge hit at cinemas throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. Mini experienced a vast increase in sales, and used Minis began to depreciate less and less due to their popularity, especially the Mini Cooper.

In 2003 the Italian Job was remade, largely in part because of the reinvention of the Mini by BMW. The remake starring Mark Wahlberg, Jason Statham and Ed Noton followed a similar plot, but with the main car chase set in Los Angeles, using three Mini Cooper S's roaring through the city, including through the Metro.

Again, Mini sales, and used Mini sales, increased with many experts suggesting that the success of the Italian Job being a fundamental reason as to the continued popularity of the Mini. And it makes sense really - I defy you to watch either of the Italian Jobs without wanting to get behind the wheel of a Mini.

We can all dream of an Aston Martin, but the more viable option can sometimes be just as fun. After all, there's a Charlie Croker in all of us - not in terms of his criminal mind, but in terms of his zest for speed and excitement. And who hasn't dreamt of doing an Italian Job when stuck in traffic on the way to work on a Monday morning?
Author Resource:- Shaun Parker is a leading car expert with many years of experience in the used car sales industry. Find out more about quality used cars at
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