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Driving Trivia

The Most Illegal Car Chases from the Movies

February 1, 2024

4 min read

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Leon McKenzie

Content Writer

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We all love a good car chase. The good guy chasing the bad guy. The cops in hot pursuit of the hero. The thrills, spills and the impossible driving. And of course, the “that would never happen in real life” feats of driving skill.

But what about the rules of the road? Surely, these famous car chases from Hollywood’s top movies can’t be within the law? Well, we set about finding out. At PassMeFast, we looked at the highest-rated films featuring car chases, those that made the most at the Box Office and those with the biggest budgets. With a list of over 70 films we then sat down with one of our expert driving instructors to pinpoint the incidents of dangerous driving and how many majors and minors they would receive under test conditions. And there was a lot of rule-breaking!

So, what makes a car chase film?

When it comes to the top films featuring car chases, we can begin to see some similarities. Budget wise we’re talking on average around $73 million, with the most common car used being an Aston Martin (of course).

Everyone’s favourite James Bond is usually behind the wheel, although Vin Diesel definitely has his share of chases under his belt. And as the paying movie-going public, it also looks like we enjoy a good car chase film with an average rating of 69% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDB average of 6.9.

A graphic showing different stats around film's most illegal car chases

The top 10 highest rated car chase films

And when we’re talking about our favourite films with car chases, we can’t get enough of James Bond.

A total of four 007 films hit the top 10 for highest rated on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. And whilst number four on our list—The French Connection—has 35 major incidents of dangerous driving and 30 majors, illegal driving doesn’t always equal the best rating. The top-rated car chase film, Goldfinger only has seven majors. It also looks like Bond likes to keep it within the law wherever possible—the Bond films are the only ones in this top 10 with less than 10 incidents of dangerous driving.

Well done James.

The top 10 highest grossing car chase films

So, does more illegal driving equal more money at the Box Office? It would appear so.

The film at the top of our list as the highest grossing car chase movie of all time—Furious 7—has 12 majors and 15 incidents of dangerous driving. Another offering from the same franchise—The Fate of the Furious—clocks up a whopping 26 incidents of dangerous driving. The other three Fast and Furious films in the top 10 have a total of 36 incidents of dangerous driving between them.

It seems like we love Vin Diesel and his death-defying driving on the silver screen, but just not on our roads in real life!

The top 10 biggest budget car chase films

But which films have spent the most cash to bring those car chases to life?

The eighth film in the Fast and Furious franchise—The Fate of the Furious—racked up an impressive $250,000,000 in budget when it was made in 2017 and unsurprisingly it has the most incidents of dangerous driving in this top 10.

2021’s Bond Film—No Time To Die—cost the same as the Fate of the Furious and has an impressive 13 majors and 17 dangerous driving incidents. Spectre cost slightly less but saw even more dangerous driving in Daniel Craig’s Aston Martin.

The top 3 most illegal car chases from the movies

Budget, rating and Box Office success aside, which of these films is simply the most illegal? Which has so much dangerous driving that no driving instructor would be safe in the passenger seat of this car?

1. The French Connection

Number one in our list with 35 dangerous driving incidents—30 majors and 5 minors—is the French Connection.

This 1971 film scooped a number of Oscars, but it lives long in the memory due to the epic seven-minute car chase scene. The chase took place in Brooklyn and spanned a total of 26 blocks. It sees Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle commandeering a civilian car—a 1971 Pontiac LeMans—to chaotically chase a hitman who is escaping on the elevated train above.

Chasing a train from above, speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, swerving around trucks and putting pedestrians' lives in danger. Need we say more?

 2. Baby Driver

The second most illegal car chase film of all time is 2017’s Baby Driver. The opening scene from the film racks up 33 dangerous driving incidents, including 20 majors and two minors. It features a bank heist and the ensuing getaway drive in a red Subaru.

Trying to escape the police, running red lights, speeding, hand-break turns and listening to headphones while driving—all pretty big majors in our book.

3. The Fate of the Furious

The final film to make up our top three is The Fate of The Furious, with 26 dangerous driving incidents, including 18 majors and one minor.

Here we see Vin Diesel flying through flower shops, into oncoming traffic and away from the law in the 2017’s edition of the Fast and Furious franchise. It’s enough to make any driving instructor shudder.

Keeping the car chases to the movies

We’re all in agreement that car chases should be kept to the movies. So if you’re looking to learn to drive, PassMeFast is a much better choice.

With PassMeFast you’ll benefit from our intensive driving courses to take your test quicker and get you on the road faster. With our network of expert DVSA-approved instructors, you’ll learn from the best. Learn more about our fast-track beginner and refresher courses.

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