10 Forgotten Car Chase Movies from the 1980s That Deserve a Second Look

If you’re a fan of high-octane action and intense car chases, then the 1980s was the decade for you. Hollywood went all out during this time, producing some of the biggest and most extravagant car chase movies of all time. While many of these films have become classics, there are some hidden gems that you may have forgotten about. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane and feature the top 10 car chase movies of the 1980s that are sure to leave you breathless.

  1. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Coming in at number 10 is the action-comedy classic, Beverly Hills Cop. Starring Eddie Murphy in his fourth movie role, this film features a thrilling chase scene at the beginning of the movie. Loaded semi-trucks attempt to flee the police, with Axel Foley (Murphy) hanging on for dear life in the trailer portion. The driver takes calamitous aim at a fruit truck, a taxi cab, and many parked cars, making this a great chase scene to get you hooked for the rest of the film.

  1. Against All Odds (1984)

Blazing a trail of speed at number nine is Against All Odds. This film stars Jeff Bridges and James Woods in a great street race scene between Bridges’ Porsche and Woods’ Ferrari. The two unleash unbridled mayhem on Sunset Boulevard, narrowly avoiding other cars and forcing everyone to launch into defensive driving mode. The sequence is high energy, highly entertaining, and even features a cool dog riding shotgun in the Ferrari.

Against All Odds (1984)

  1. License to Kill (1989)

Crossing the line at number eight is License to Kill. This James Bond film features a stunt-filled chase sequence through the desert that destroys a bunch of tanker trucks filled with fuel and illegal substances. One of the stunts involves a highly imaginative and awesome scene where Bond drives a tanker truck tipped up at 45 degrees to avoid an incoming missile. With explosions galore and a flaming truck careening off a cliff that narrowly misses a plane flying by, this film is a big-budget action-packed wreck fest.

License to Kill (1989)

  1. Smokey and the Bandit 2 (1980)

At number seven, the team is back together again in Smokey and the Bandit 2. Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jerry Reed transport an elephant from Miami to Dallas in nine days for a $400,000 payday. With comedy, drama, and even bigger and better jumps and smashes, the grand finale is reminiscent of a civil war cavalry charge, but with cars and trucks instead of horses.

Smokey and the Bandit 2 (1980)

  1. Cobra (1986)

Based on a screenplay written by its star Sylvester Stallone, Cobra takes on the role of Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cabretti, tasked with protecting crime witness Ingrid Nudeson (Brigitte Nielsen) from an underworld cabal of social Darwinist radicals. The film features a chase scene involving stunt replications of Stallone’s own 1950 Mercury two-door coupe, which is seemingly indestructible to the massive abuse that Cobra inflicts upon it.

Cobra (1986)

  1. The Junkman (1982)

At number five, The Junkman is an over-the-top movie produced, directed, written, and also starred H.B. Halicki, the master obliterator who brought his epic Gone in 60 Seconds crash-a-palooza tour to force to movie screens in 1974. The film offers full-time unrestrained destruction, with over 150 cars, trucks, motorcycles, and airplanes smashing away to their rectacular demise at one time a Guinness world record.

The Junkman (1982)

  1. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

At number four is To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), a neo-noir thriller film directed by William Friedkin, who brought his car chase movie directing pedigree from The French Connection. This movie features innovative plot twists and turns, including a car chase that takes place on an LA freeway, with the escape car heading the wrong way against traffic, making for some nail-biting edge-of-your-seat movie action.

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

  1. The Terminator (1984)

Blasting through at number three is The Terminator, introducing the character that kicked off a six-movie series that spans four decades and counting. Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays the title character, a time-traveling cyborg assassin dispatched to 1984 to eliminate the mother of an unborn future Skynet resistance fighter. The action-packed magnum opus features car chase scenes where Sarah Connor and her human time-traveling protector attempt to escape from the unrelenting pursuit of the Terminator.

The Terminator (1984)

  1. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

A glorious finish at number two is Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the second film of the Mad Max franchise. Mel Gibson reprises his role as Max Rockatansky in a post-apocalyptic desertscape wasteland defending humble settlers from a roving band of violent mobile marauders. The vehicles themselves are found object works of art that create the perfect action movie monochromatic dystopian aesthetic. The climactic mechanical melee where Mad Max’s fuel truck is besieged upon by a platoon of bloodthirsty land pirates in a no-holds-barred vehicular free-for-all is one of the best car chase scenes in movie history.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

  1. The Blues Brothers (1980)

And finally, the winner of our top 10 list is The Blues Brothers. Starting the decade off with a bang, this movie features epic car chases and destruction, comedy, music, and action. Jake and L Wood Blues are on a mission from God to raise $5,000 to save the orphanage they were raised in from being foreclosed on, all while being pursued in their Bluesmobile by all sorts of baddies. From the memorable police chase through the shopping mall to the final chase scene on the streets and freeways of Chicago, this movie features some of the most iconic car chase scenes in cinema history.

The Blues Brothers (1980)

In conclusion, the 1980s were the decade for high-octane action and intense car chases. From Beverly Hills Cop to The Blues Brothers, these films pushed the limits of what was possible on the big screen and left a lasting impact on moviegoers. If you’re a fan of car chases and action movies, then these 10 films are a must-watch for any movie buff.

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