When discussing the best car chases in cinematic history, several movies might come to mind — classics like "The Italian Job," "The French Connection," and "Mad Max: Fury Road." However, we’d be remiss in naming some of Hollywood’s best chases without mentioning the "Fast and Furious" franchise.
Sometimes, these films don’t get the credit they deserve due to their outlandish nature. Some of the pursuits in "Fast" movies aren’t even plausible and can have you screaming "oh, come on!" from your theater seat. Nevertheless, these car chases are planned to a tee and contain some of the most incredible stunts you’ll see in a film. Each and every "Fast" flick has a car chase that steals the show, and more recent installments tend to have two high-octane sequences that blow moviegoer’s minds.
So, we decided to rank the biggest and baddest car chases in the "Fast and Furious" films, from great to greatest. Take a trip down memory lane with us — a quarter mile at a time — as we discuss these legendary chases from these action classics.
17. The decoy chase (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Out of all the "Fast and Furious" films, "2 Fast 2 Furious" has the most lackluster car chases. It just isn’t the same without Vin Diesel, and the sequel takes a hit without Dom and his crew’s fast-driving antics. Having said that, the film does feature one of the series’ more playful chases. After Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Brian (Paul Walker) run from Miami PD and hide in a storage garage, they find themselves surrounded. Almost a dozen cop cars have them trapped, and their fate seems to be sealed … until the garage doors open and pandemonium ensues.
It’s here that all the local street racers unite to protect Roman and Brian by creating a decoy car chase. Dozens of vehicles come flying out of the garage, making the cops unable to find their targets. It’s a colorful, complicated mess of automobiles that allows Brian and Roman to escape — kind of. Unfortunately, a helicopter spots their cars, but the subsequent chase ends with quite a surprise. When the cops finally catch up, it turns out that Tej (Ludacris) and Suki (Devon Aoki) are the ones behind the wheels, allowing our heroic duo to get away.
16. Queenie’s drift case (F9)
There were quite a handful of memorable car chases in "Fast & Furious 9," but one took the cake when it came to the most playful. Helen Mirren reprises her role as Magdalene Shaw, a.k.a. Queenie in "F9," and this time, she gets behind the wheel for a bit of fun. Just after she steals some jewelry from a store, she swipes a beautiful car that’s waiting in a valet line. She’s soon accompanied by Dom (Vin Diesel), who just happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Queenie flies through the streets of London while being chased by a gaggle of police cars, and even pulls off an impressive drift as she asks Dom to "Get the e-brake for me, would you darling?" Her drift — which she makes look insanely easy, by the way — causes the police to pile up, allowing her and Dom to get away. Compared to others on this list, Queen’s drift chase is a little more low-key, but the sheer sight of seeing Dame Mirren behind the wheel with Diesel riding shotgun was a moment that needed to be recognized.
15. Drifting through downtown (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift)
"The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" is one of the films in the franchise that fans either love or hate. Dom only has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, while Brian is missing from the film entirely. The movie centers around the art of drift racing and introduces us to a rather forgettable character in Sean (Lucas Black). However, we also get to meet the memorable fan-favorite Han (Sung Kang).
This particular race sees the aforementioned duo flying through the streets of Tokyo after Han has an altercation with the villainous Takashi (Brian Tee) at their garage. A chase ensues, resulting in the driftiest sequence you’ll ever see in a "Fast" film. Driving their own vehicles, Han, Takashi, and Lucas weave through traffic and somehow avoid the massive crowds of people on the streets, which makes for some absolutely killer moments. Bullets are also flying around, with one almost clipping Han in the head. Unfortunately, this car chase ends in one of the saddest moments in the entire "Fast" franchise: Han’s death. (Well, sort of.) Everyone’s favorite snacking drifter is hit by an oncoming car — with the driver later revealed to be Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
14. Attack of the zombie cars (The Fate of the Furious)
When it comes to the wildest car chases in the entire "Fast and Furious" franchise, the zombie chase from "The Fate of the Furious" is one of the most ridiculous we’ve seen. Ironically, no one from the "Fast" family is involved in this bizarre chase as it only consists of "zombie cars" and the motorcade surrounding the Russian secretary of defense’s vehicle.
The streets of New York City are in absolute chaos after notorious villain Cipher (Charlize Theron) hacks into hundreds of nearby cars and puts them in auto-drive. It’s not just idle vehicles that are hacked, however, as all other cars with drivers already behind the wheel are also thrown into the mess. Cipher manages to have hundreds of these zombie cars drive in unison, bumper to bumper, as they navigate hard turns in the busy streets. She also dismantles all safety features in the more high-tech vehicles, making them just as susceptible to crashes.
It’s quite a crazy scene to watch, as cars also fly out of multi-story parking garages in an attempt to make a pile-up that will stop the Russian secretary’s car. Despite how absolutely insane and improbable the scene is, it’s undeniably great.
13. The gas truck chase (Fast & Furious)
In the opening moments of "Fast & Furious," Han, Dom, Letty, and a few other drivers find themselves in a memorable high-speed pursuit. The introductory scene finds the crew chasing after a gas truck in the Dominican Republic. Why? Well, Dom has orchestrated a heist, one that would make them the new owners of five oil tanks if all goes according to plan. After all, in the Dominican Republic, "gas is gold," as Letty says.
Of course, nothing goes to plan when the gas truck driver notices the group meddling with his haul and starts to fight back. An incredible chase ensues as Dom’s team releases two tanks full of gas, but the last three escape their grasp when the truck driver jumps from his vehicle. His truck crashes at the end of a sharp mountain turn while a loose tank comes barreling down a hill, almost crushing Letty and Dom in the process.
12. The original highway truck chase (The Fast and the Furious)
You can’t talk about "Fast and Furious" films without paying homage to the one that started it all. "The Fast and the Furious" might not have the insane car chases and stunts that the more recent films have, but its pursuits are great nonetheless. For example, look no further than the OG highway chase, courtesy of Dom and his car-driving crew, which actually involves shooting a truck with a grappling gun.
Here, Dom’s original crew attempts to hijack an 18-wheeler, but it all goes wrong when the driver pulls out a shotgun that derails their plan. Dom’s buddy, Vince (Matt Schulze), gets caught in his grappling gun cable, winds up stuck to the front of the truck, and has to avoid blast after blast from the driver’s shotgun. He eventually gets hit in the side, and Dom is powerless to help after his car is shot off the road. Letty also suffers injuries after her car flips, but the day is saved by Brian, who shows up for the chase’s finale.
11. The Dom & Shaw chase (Fast and Furious 7)
Most of the "Fast" crew attends the funeral of Han in "Fast and Furious 7." But what should be a peaceful moment is turned into the exact opposite when Dom spots the murderous Deckard Shaw looming nearby in his Aston Martin. Dom takes off from the funeral, and a small chase ensues in the cemetery, which is then taken into full gear on the streets of Los Angeles. The high-speed spectacle sees both drivers wind and weave through other drivers as red lights and traffic laws are completely ignored.
Eventually, both men end up under a bridge with no one else in sight, and Dom and Deckard engage in a game of chicken. The hard-headed men drive straight into one another at high speed — both unwilling to concede. Amazingly, other than a sore neck, neither is really hurt from an accident that would cripple mere mortals, and the men prepare for an epic fight. Of course, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) arrives with a team of gunmen before they can throw down, scaring off Shaw but leaving us with one of the few chases where Dom doesn’t come out on top.
10. The big finale (The Fast and the Furious)
When a member of Dom’s crew is shot at the end of "The Fast and the Furious," Brian takes off after the two motorcycle gunmen. Dom follows, and a high-speed chase ensues as the pair go after murderers Tran (Rick Yune) and Lance (Reggie Lee). It’s quite a heart-pounding chase through the neighborhood’s hilly streets, and the addition of gunfire takes it to the next level.
Fortunately, Brian manages to dodge a wave of bullets while closely tailing the bikes, and all three catch serious air as they take their chase down a long hill. And that’s when Dom comes flying in like a white knight in a black Dodge Charger, knocking Lance off his bike and down an embankment. Brian continues to stay on Tran as their chase continues, but it ends when the undercover cop sees the opportunity, pulls out his gun, and shoots Tran dead. The chase officially ends, but it immediately turns into the big climactic drag race between Dom and Brian, resulting in a tie — and a pretty awesome jump over some train tracks, right as a locomotive comes screaming by.
9. The underground chase scene (Fast & Furious)
"Fast & Furious," the fourth entry in the franchise, is often considered the worst installment in the series. However, the movie has a lot going for it. It features the return of Dom, Mia, and Brian, while also carrying over newcomer Han from "Tokyo Drift." It also introduces Gisele (at a time when Gal Gadot was relatively unknown), and it manages to deliver one of the best car chases in the franchise’s history.
Here, Dom and Brian travel to Mexico to track down Braga — a notorious drug lord — who they think is responsible for Letty’s death. But when they head back to the United States, they’re chased by Braga’s men, which results in a crazy action sequence that eventually goes underground. Dom and Brian navigate through extremely tight tunnels, complete with dead ends, that cause a multitude of crashes. And since most of the pursuit takes place in an underground highway, it’s pretty dark for most of the chase. This makes the scene even more chilling and pulse-pounding, as it seems like every car is going to plow into a dead end at every turn.
8. The insane Tbilisi chase (F9)
The final chase in "F9" is quite a lengthy one. The sequence begins with Dom and his crew chasing Jakob (John Cena) through the streets of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Jakob is accompanied by his own team and financier, but halfway through their chase, they turn on him. While it’s hard to compare what car chase in the "Fast" saga has the most destruction, there’s a good chance the pursuit in Tbilisi is somewhere toward the top of the list.
Mia, Han, and Letty all use their new magnet tech to pull cars from across the street to fight off their adversaries as they chase the main convoy truck, making for some impressive stunt work. As silly as the idea might seem, the concept made for some pretty stellar moments as the crew used this tech and their insane driving skills to take down Jakob’s truck.
When the rogue Toretto eventually leaves the dark side — kind of — he joins Dom, and the brothers are able to pin the massive truck between them, causing it to flip in one of the movie’s biggest stunts. Cipher —piloting a drone from afar — subsequently chases the duo, but Dom’s extraordinary driving skills and quick thinking allow him to essentially throw the convoy truck off a cliff, taking out her drone. It was a car chase so over the top, so implausible and even laughable at moments, that it was just what diehard "Fast" fans were looking for.
7. The tank chase (Fast & Furious 6)
It’s quite the surprise in "Fast & Furious 6" when Owen Shaw commandeers a tank and takes it out on the highway for a little bit of destruction. Naturally, Dom and his crew chase said tank along the road, but Shaw decides to stray from his primary objective and have some fun with his opponents. He drives the tank across the median into oncoming traffic, runs over several innocent drivers, and tries to annihilate as many of our heroes as possible. In fact, things get so dire that Roman is forced to jump on top of Brian’s vehicle … right before the tank turns his own car into a steel pancake.
Letty — still suffering from amnesia — is unhappy with Shaw’s murderous antics and starts to question her boss. And she finds out just how low he’ll sink when he hangs her out to dry, leaving her stranded atop the tank. Things look grim as the military vehicle is about to flip, and Letty goes flying. Fortunately, she’s saved in mid-air by Dom. The hero throws himself out of his own car and crashes into Letty, grabbing her before they land on a windshield of a nearby vehicle. It’s a perfect over-the-top ending to an ever more outlandish car chase.
6. A chase through a minefield (F9)
The first car chase in "F9" comes in the fictional country of Montecito, which is somewhere in Central America. Dom and his crew are charged with finding a crashed airplane belonging to Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), which had been hijacked with half of a dangerous weapon on board.
After the team finds the crash site, they’re attacked by the country’s military, and an over-the-top chase ensues full of gunfire. Things go from believable to nonsensical in about five minutes as the crew manages to drive 80 mph through a minefield without being blown up. Naturally, most of the military vehicles strike every landmine in sight, launching them into the air at every turn.
Once clear of the minefield, Dom and his crew happen upon Jakob for the first time in the film. The chase continues as Dom and Letty go after the his brother. It’s Dodge versus Ford as Dom’s Charger takes on Jakob’s Mustang on the dusty landscape of Montecito — all while being chased by military choppers.
It’s here that Jakob drives off a cliff and is picked up by a magnet plane, while Dom takes the easy way out by driving onto a broken bridge, wrapping his wheel around its cable, and shotgunning his car from one cliff to another. After a few barrel rolls, Dom and Letty are left without a scratch or even a headache in one of the biggest "You’ve gotta be kidding me!" moments in the entire "Fast" saga.
5. Meet Owen Shaw’s flip car (Fast & Furious 6)
In "Fast & Furious 6," ruthless mercenary Owen Shaw (Luke Owens) manages to escape dozens of London police officers while driving what’s become known as "the flip car." Sort of resembling a bootleg Batmobile, Shaw’s vehicle has a ramp built on the front of a Formula 1 car which allows him to, you guessed it, flip oncoming automobiles. And it definitely comes in handy when Dom’s crew, alongside DSS Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), pursue Shaw through the London streets for a thrilling nighttime chase.
Things intensify when the gunfire begins, as Shaw’s team members ambush Dom. Fortunately, Gisele (Gal Gadot) is saved from certain death by Han, sparking their romance, but the gushy stuff is put on hold when they pick up their chase. One by one, several of Dom’s teammates are taken out during the action scene, and Letty — who’s currently missing her memory and working for Shaw — shows up and shoots her former lover in the chest when the chase concludes. From heroics to heartbreak, this chase has it all.
4. The submarine sequence (The Fate of the Furious)
If you thought tanks were ridiculous, we can only imagine your surprise when you watched "The Fate of the Furious."
To make a very long story short, newbie villain Cipher hijacks a Russian submarine in hopes of starting a nuclear war. Dom and company intervene — this time with the use of their own tank — and they’re able to shut down the sub’s weapons systems … but not the watercraft’s engine. As a result, Dom and his family find themselves in a high-speed chase, running from a submarine as they travel on top of a frozen bay.
The submarine thrusts itself out of the water, breaking off large chunks of ice around Dom’s crew as they continue to speed away from Cipher, who’s controlling everything from the safety of a plane. The subsequent submarine chase gives us some of the most wonderfully ridiculous moments in all of the "Fast" films, including Roman being pulled out of frozen water on a car door and the construction of a car blockade that saves Dom from a fiery explosion.
3. Tearing through the mountains (Fast and Furious 7)
As the seventh film in the franchise, there was only so much that "Furious 7" could do to blow moviegoer’s minds. But director James Wan most certainly delivered when he constructed the famous Azerbaijan mountain chase, which actually starts at 30,0000 feet in the air. Dom and company have hatched a new plan to free Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who’s just been captured. The crew manages to land their cars perfectly on the mountain — after falling out of an airplane — just behind the convoy where Ramsey is being held.
Despite taking heavy fire and driving through the windy mountain roads, rescuing Ramsey turns out to be relatively easy for the crew, and she ends up in the passenger seat of Dom’s car. Despite fulfilling his mission, Dom decides to take it to the next level, and he singlehandedly goes after Deckard Shaw with Ramsey in tow. Dom and Shaw go off-road, navigating more brutal terrain at the same speeds, but it ends with our hero being surrounded by Mose Jakande’s (Djimon Hounsou) henchmen. In true Dom fashion, he opts to drive off a cliff after offering Ramsey a helmet for one heck of a car chase finale.
2. Going after the plane (Fast & Furious 6)
The big finale in "Fast & Furious 6" comes when Dom and company pursue Owen Shaw’s escaping aircraft, giving way to a stellar plane/car action scene. There’s some hand-to-hand combat aboard the plane, as good guys and bad guys duke it out, all while several of the crew members handle business on the outside. Sure, you’ve got to ignore the fact that this runway would need to be about a bazillion miles long in order to accommodate the chase, but hey, the "Fast and Furious" movies don’t play by the rules.
Tragically, we lose Gisele in this scene when she sacrifices herself to save Han’s life. It’s one of the more gut-wrenching moments in the entire "Fast" franchise, but if Han can come back from the dead, we have to assume Gisele can too. Nevertheless, the airplane chase scene deserves its spot toward the top of our list for the impressive performances by each and every character and for the way director Justin Lin takes car chases in the franchise to a whole new level.
1. The vault chase (Fast Five)
There could only be one "Fast and Furious" car chase at the top, and you probably saw this coming from a quarter of a mile away. "Fast Five" stepped up the game for the franchise, and despite some issues with its plot, it delivered the best car chase out of the pack, no matter how improbable it may be.
At the end of the film, Dom and Brian lead the chase during what’s also known to fans as "the vault heist." With help from the crew, the pair steal a bank vault from Brazilian crime lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) and drag it through the streets of Rio de Janeiro while it’s attached to the back of their cars. The pair take out multiple parked vehicles, several cops, and a few storefronts, all while being hunted by dozens of police cars and Reyes’ guards on some tight city roads. The chase is especially fun given that the gang manages to pull off quite the trick by swapping vaults in the middle of the heist.
The chase ends with Brian saving Dom’s life, rescuing his ride-or-die buddy by putting a few bullets in a baddie. And when all is said and done, Luke Hobbs lets Dom get a head start on his escape, leaving himself, Mia, Brian, and Elena (Elsa Pataky) to peacefully retire — for a moment — on the beach.