5 Phenomenal Movie Car Crashes

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

Yet another “Fast and Furious” movie hits the big screen this week. I’ve always been indifferent to this franchise, at least until the last movie “Fast Five”. It got away from the illegal street car scene and gave us a more appealing full-blown action picture. It’s a franchise known for the crazy things it does with its cars. So in light of that I thought I would focus this week’s Phenomenal 5 on some of the biggest car crashes in the movies. Now obviously filmmakers have loved to do all sorts of damage to cars, trucks, semis, etc. so there’s no way I could call this the definitive list. But in the cinematic world of vehicular destruction these five movie car crashes stand out as phenomenal.



I cry just looking at this…

In 2006 Martin Campbell’s “Casino Royale” turned me into a James Bond fan. There is so much I love about this movie – the fresh cast, the new grittier and realistic feel. But there’s also a lot of 007 traditionalism which I love. One of those things is Bond’s love for sweet cars which leads to its inclusion on this list. Why Bond thought he could have a nice, romantic dinner with his girl Vesper is beyond me. She ends up being kidnapped by the deliciously evil Mads Mikkelsen. Bond hops into his gorgeous Aston Martin and pursues. Flying through the darkness at high speeds, Bond doesn’t notice Vesper’s tied up in the middle of the road until the last second. He makes a sharp turn, loses control of his car, and it flips and flips and flips. This may not be the most eye-catching movie crash scene, but it brings tears to my eyes every time I see that beautiful car being destroyed. *sniff, sniff*



The first of MANY flying cars…

The Wachowski’s caught the attention of a lot of people in 1999 with their science-fiction mindbender “The Matrix”. It was followed by the 2003 sequel “The Matrix Reloaded”, a film best described as three insanely good action scenes threaded together by loads of boring, coma-inducing blabber. One of the great action scenes features a frenetic freeway chase where a horde of agents pursue Trinity, Morpheus, and the key maker. This long, mind-blowing sequence features cars, motorcycles, SUVs, and semis, all being blown up, flipped, and rolled in ways you would never imagine. It may be a bit of a cheat to include this entire sequence, but there’s just too many phenomenal car crashes within it to single out just one.



Soooo many pieces….

The second installment of the Mad Max series was “The Road Warrior” and it’s still my favorite. This Australian post-apocalyptic action series put Mel Gibson on the map and featured some insane vehicular mayhem. The self-serving Max redeems himself by taking a band of murderous marauders on a merry chase along the barren wasteland. Along the way cars flip, roll, and explode but there’s one particular crash that’s especially vicious. At the end of this great chase Max finds his tanker truck steaming towards a head-on collision with the evil Humongous. Lord H has no chance whatsoever and when his tricked out metal machine meets the huge plow blade on Max’s truck at a ridiculously high speed, well let’s just say you could sweep up what’s left of him and his ride with a broom and dustpan.



You can just see it coming…

There have been a wide variety of car crashes over the years but none have made me laugh as hard as the huge pileup in Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” from 1967. This was Tati’s final film featuring his beloved Mr. Hulot character and probably the director’s most ambitious. Nestled within this unusual film is a hilarious car wreck which all starts with a little yellow sports car speeding through an intersection. This sets off a chain reaction of funky little cars bumping into each other, sliding across the pavement, and spinning in circles. The following scene of everyone getting out and simultaneously stretching their stiff limbs is a great topper. It’s hard to describe this so that it sounds as funny as it is. Just look it up on YouTube. It’s well worth a watch.



The mother of all car crashes…

When I thought of doing this list the insanely over-the-top cop car pileup in the 1980 musical comedy “The Blues Brothers” was the first to come to mind. Aykroyd and Belushi drive their ragged ride to the “honorable” Richard J. Daley Center but not before leading a ton of Chicago’s finest on a high speed chase through the city streets. Through tunnels, under bridges, and hitting speeds of 120 mph, the chase tears through the town. That is until a quick left turn leaves a police car pileup unlike anything you’ve seen. Totally nuts but loads of fun. The Blues Brothers is remembered for a lot of things – the hilarious script, the great songs. But I’ll never be able to think of this film and not recall this phenomenal scene! If you haven’t seen it, hop to it.

So there are my five phenomenal movie car crashes. With so many great ones to choose from, I can’t wait to see your favorites. Please take time to comment and share your picks!

58 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Movie Car Crashes

  1. Man, I LOVE Playtime! That was totally an unexpected pick, but it is very much worthy of the recognition. I am definitely with you on Casino Royale too, it’s my favorite Bond film. And the Matrix Reloaded sequence is one of my favorite action scenes in the series. Such a great list… 🙂

    • Thanks a lot! The Blues Brothers and Playtime were my automatic #1 and #2. Everyone else were jockeying for the other spots. The scene in Playtime is sooo funny and its just perfectly choreographed. Tati was a pure genius.

  2. Great list Keith. I’m gonna go all arthousey and throw Godard’s Weekend into the mix here. Dunno if you’ve seen it? You don’t actually see the crash but you see the aftermath and it comes at the end of a very slow 11 minute tracking shot of the traffic stuck behind the crash. Didn’t like the film but it’s a pretty crazy scene.

  3. Great topic! Nice choices–the one that immediately came to mind is Final Destination 2 and the 4 min long–beautifully orchestrated metal mayhem and destruction! Scary. (Enjoyed the first one the best–so creative and original–the rest of the franchise? Not so much, as a whole, but they have cool death sequences. ;))

    Later and Enjoy! 😀

  4. Nice list! One of your best, bro. I loved the crashes in “Ronin” quite a bit. A few to choose from, lol. Keep up the great work man!

  5. Cool list, that whole sequence from Matrix: reloaded was awesome. I would probably have the construction hoist truck from “Terminator 3″, and the ‘car hits the helicopter’ scene from ‘Live Free or Die Hard” in my list.

    • I love that Matrix Reloaded scene. It and the multiple Mr. Smith’s fight were the best parts!

      I had just used the Live Free crash scene in a previous Phenomenal 5. It’s a great one for this list too! Insane!!!

  6. Glad to see The Blues Brothers at #1. Of course, the best crash in there isn’t the police car pileup, it’s the Nazi Pinto. One of the most fun things I discovered doing research on the film for my Favorite Films review last year was that they actually air-dropped the Pinto for the shot. 😀

  7. Nice one Keith! That Casino Royale one is EPIC indeed. I haven’t seen #2, 3 and 4 but I probably would add the one from Bourne Supremacy. You didn’t forget that one w/ our beloved Karl Urban did you? 😉

    • I know the exact one you’re talking about. It was more of Bourne using his car as a weapon so I didn’t use it. But on the other hand you could say the same thing about The Road Warrior. Urban gets it good though doesn’t he? It’s brutal!

      • I have to admit when Karl’s Mercedes hit the wall I was like, NOOOOOOO!!! Not his gorgeous face!! 😀

        I know I’m not supposed to root for him but oh well, ahahaha

      • lolololol! Strangely enough I didn’t have the “his gorgeous face” thing going! 😉

        But speaking of his face, it took a pummeling didn’t it.

    • I have to admit I’ve never seen the movie. I have seen the scene you mentioned and it is insane. But since I haven’t seen the movie I didn’t include it. But I was hoping someone would mention it.

  8. I know I am old school here but the grandaddy of all car chase/crash scenes has to be Steve Mcqueen in Bullitt and you have to pay some respect to Thunder Road with one of most bad ass actors of all time Robert Mitchum driving like lightning and crashing like thunder!

    • The Bullitt chase is priceless but in terms of crashes, these were the five for me. But think about it man, there are so many ones to consider. I know there are tons I haven’t even thought about. LoL

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  10. Nice list, but one of my most memorable is the one in The Wages of Fear. It had so much impact on me…another one worth mentioning is the one in the Dark Knight

    • I’ve never seen Wages. Sounds interesting. I thought about The Dark Knight but I skipped it mainly because its appeared in several of my recent lists. Didn’t want anyone getting Dark Knight fatigue around here! 🙂

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