Best Car Chase on Film

Ronin

Sam: Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.  That’s the first thing they teach you.

Vincent: Who taught you?

Sam: I don’t remember. That’s the second thing they teach you.

 

That’s a bit of dialogue between Sam (Robert DeNiro) and Vincent (Jean Reno) (see above).  It’s from a film that is 20 years old in 2018.  “Ronin.”  Included in a wonderful cast are: Natasche McElhone as Deirdre, and the wonderful Michael Lonsdale (Jean-Pierre)  In this film, he tells you the story of “The 47 Ronin.”  And you may remember Mr. Lonsdale from The Day of the Jackal (1973). If you don’t recognize his name, perhaps his face would look familiar; he has 238 film credits.

“Ronin” is one of my favorite films.  I’m sorry about digressing from the topic of this article, but there are bits of dialogue in the film I particularly enjoy.

Back to my topic: the best car chase(s) on film.  Everyone has their favorite car chase and at the top of my list is “Ronin.” Obviously, a good plot and fine characterizations are in the film, as well.  There are a number of car chases that I enjoyed, particularly the 7 minute one where DeNiro chases Ms. McElhone through Paris.  Supposedly there were 300 stunt drivers in the film and they each earned their money.  The plot involves the contents of a suitcase, bad guys, and some not so bad guys.  Is Jean Reno ever really a bad guy?  (Even as “Leon: The Professional”, he was a good bad guy.)

Here are some of my other favorite films that feature car chases.  “The French Connection” with Gene Hackman as “Popeye” Doyle.  Hackman got a Best Actor Oscar for his work but I can’t forget his driving under NYC’S el train and almost missing a woman pushing a baby carriage.

Was “Bullitt” (one of) the first really great car chase?  Steve McQueen drove a Ford Mustang in San Francisco and looked cool doing it (he always does).  Who drove better: McQueen or Hackman?

And then there is the multiple vehicle driving in “Mad Max: The Road Warrior.”  Mel Gibson  versus The Humungus and friends.  (Should I include here the driving in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?”  Can I include Tina Turner saying to Max: “Well, ain’t we a pair, raggedy man.”)

Of course, no list of car chase films is complete without “Terminator 2” with Arnold versus Mr. Liquid Metal.

Enough of my memories. What car chases stand out as your best?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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