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Seven Films to Watch If You Love Car Chases

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Nothing compares to watching a great action movie, especially one with an absolutely epic car chase. When it comes to film to watch that make the car chase an art form, though, you’re talking about some of the most legendary films ever put on celluloid.

It’s hard to explain, but car chases, when done well, put you in the driver’s seat, right at the forefront of the action. You can feel the force of gravity throw you around every corner or the height of the dip as you hit it at top speed. Instinctively, you may even look down at your hand & realize you’re trying to change gears.

This list breaks down seven of the best movies of all-time which happen to include the greatest car chases ever put on film. Some of you may balk at the list, and some of you may even gripe that one movie in particular didn’t make the list, but with a few Academy Awards on the mantle & inclusions for preservation in the National Film Registry, it’s safe to say these movies more than answer the call for car chase masterpieces.

Here they are:

Smoked and the Bandit (1977) – Bell-bottoms, basset hounds, beer, a car chase that lasts the whole movie, and a lot of cop cars out of service – this movie has it all, including a classic theme song.

The Italian Job (1969) – The original version of this movie had some of the most amazing driving ever put on film, and the final cliffhanger scene in and of itself is worth a place on this list (we’re waiting, Michael Caine).

The Seven-Ups (1973) – Before taking on Bruce the shark, Roy Scheider took on criminals, and getting the bad guy was all that mattered, even if you turned your car into a convertible via a tractor-trailer.

Bullitt (1968) – Steve McQueen takes on organized crime in San Francisco, California. The car chase in this movie could make this the only necessary entry on this list, and the movie poster is mandatory in the garage of every car aficionado.

The French Connection (1971) – A heroine smuggling ring connects France and New York City, but it’s the Pontiac LeMans and a man named Popeye chasing an elevated train that makes it legendary.

The Blues Brothers (1980) – Destroying 103 cars during filming and including a car chase inside of a shopping mall make this movie a must-see for any car junkie.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) – When you need money to buy a race car to go legit, you rob a supermarket, right? This movie is perhaps known for one of the most memorable endings in film.

These films to watch (must watch!) have stood the test of time, but admittedly, there are easily others that were left off that are making car chase fans scream. That said, watch these seven movies to understand their lineage in today’s action movies as their influence practically jumps off the screen.

Survival Over The “HUMP”

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

1st Lt. Art Tuttle our flight Engineer yelled over the inter-phone; “Doc, our number 4 engine is showing a drop in oil pressure and a rise in cylinder head temperature. ” Keep an eye on it Art and let me know if your numbers continue to go south,” Captain Doc Waller our pilot commanded.

As the flight’s co-pilot I knew that B-29 engines and other bugs had become problems for many other aircrew stationed out of Piardoba, India. We were often overloaded to 140,000lbs to 160,000lbs gross weight, causing the engines to overheat.

Girlfriends, Losses, and Pin Ups

The rapidly building cumulus clouds below held my attention. But, I realized that eighteen hours of B-29 flight time, per mission, in the China Burma Theater gave all of us a lot of time to think about; wives and girlfriends the “Love Boat B-17 over Walker Field, my wife, Betty Ann coaxing the big bomber through the skies over the Michigan/Ohio State football game, my time in the cavalry and new assignment as aide to General Smith. The loss of Lt. Edward Pearce, a football star from Flint Northern and 3 year letter winner at Michigan State, on a mountain side in French Morocco… then, First Lt. Charles Hill (MSU halfback), piloting a Liberator over Germany failed to return a month later stuck me like a knife.

Pearce, Hill and I all remained together through 14 transfers to camps and bases, moving from the Cavalry to the Armed Forces and then to the Air Force. We all received our wings together following the same path and I mourned them and their crews. Heartbroken, their widows with new born carried on… and kept the faith that their loved ones would return.

The selection of nose art was important to crew bonding… the spirit and pride of each crew. The more personal, intimate and irreverent the better for 19 to 24 years olds in this war. Maybe a pinup on the side of an aircraft would cause the enemy to pause (in laughter or desire) in his pursuit of shooting down our plane giving our gunners a chance to nail him first. A playboy pinup or worse sure was exciting to most and a relief for some. Themes ran from saucy or sexual to cartoon/caricatures, persons, logo/name, and name only themes. What the hell the more garish the better. If it relieved some tension and we let it rip. It was a lot of fun and suddenly every man became an artist in each aircrews drive for a representative coat of arms.

Star Duster’s Struggle

SSgt James Lynch, our right gunner suddenly yelled over the inter-phone; “Doc, our number 4 is smoking.” Here we go again, I thought, as Captain Doc Waller, our pilot, told Jimmy to keep an eye out for flames and 1st Lt. Art Tuttle, Flight Engineer, to get on the gauges, monitor temps and pressures and his emergency check list.

Number 4s timing could not have been worse. We were at 34,000 feet over the Himalayas. This is not a bombing mission but a cargo flight. We carry eight rubberized fuel tanks secured in the bomb racks, 2900 gallons to off load after 13 more hours of flight direct to our advanced base in the Cheng Tu Valley… in preparation for the push to bomb Japan’s homeland.

Were a long way from home carrying this much fuel on board. A possible engine fire was now more frightening that being shot at over Kyushu and Yokohama from intense and accurate anti-aircraft

I looked over at Doc, quietly concentrating on his next task. He was going through his emergency procedures and options while descending and reversing course – in case the worst happened. He knew twelve men were counting on his life or death decisions. Dock told me to take the yoke and I flew “STARDUSTER” on our new heading. I kept an eye on number 4 while probing Art Tuttle for engine performance numbers and asking for constant updates from our engine eyes in the back.

Through the early morning darkness we pressed on. None of us expected that our missions would come without casualties or that our own plane would have any better chance than the others to emerge without damage. The question we all pondered… What if? And it looked like the answer to what if might become a reality… shortly.

Number 4 engine was slowly losing power and now we smelled gas fumes in the nose of the aircraft. With a sudden dramatic yaw to the right, TSgt Alden Huisjen, our senior gunner yelled, “We’ve got thick black smoke coming out of number 4 now.” Quickly, I turned to confirm our problem child on the starboard wing. Doc gave me that look and I nodded a confirmation of the reality of our problem. Our converted B-29 tanker was now in real trouble.

Doc immediately reduced the power upon hearing of the smoke coming out of engine even while Art reported that all engine instruments showed normal indications. The power reduction had reduced the volume of smoke but within 10 minutes, a large column of oil and smoke suddenly steamed out of the upper nacelle. SSgt Don Carter, our radio operator, went to the forward bomb bay to investigate the gas fumes. Doc was worried that the fumes would saturate the plane and all of the crew might become affected.

“Fire, fire now coming out of number 4,” Alden yelled, “The flames are growing.”

Suddenly, there was a second shudder and Art looked at the tachometer and notified the pilots that the MAPs/RPMs on number 4 were falling fast. The engine then shook violently and stopped all together…