In movies and television a car chase is a scene involving one or more automobiles being pursued by other vehicles. Car chases are ubiquitous to the action movie genre, and some movies are almost entirely built around car chases. They are highly popular among the media, the filmaking industry, and movie and TV audiences because they are often highly dramatic and intense, but they are not prohibitively expensive or dangerous to shoot. Car chases such as those on the silver screen and TV often "star" high powered, exotic vehicles.
The February 2005 Macquarie Fields riots occurred in Sydney, Australia after a local driver crashed a stolen vehicle into a tree, killing his two passengers following a high-speed police pursuit. The death of university student Clea Rose following a police chase in Canberra sparked major recriminations over police pursuit policies. Ole Christian Bach was found shot and killed in Sweden in a presumed suicide after he had been followed in a car chase by Swedish undercover police.
Reality television has combined with the car chase genre in a number of television shows and specials featuring real footage, mostly taken from police cruisers and law enforcement or media helicopters of actual criminals fleeing from police.
One of the most bizarre police chases ever recorded occurred when an M60 Patton tank was stolen by Shawn Nelson from an Army National Guard armory and taken on a rampage through San Diego, California, the massive tank crushing multiple civilian vehicles before high-centering on a concrete freeway divider where police were able to get aboard the tank, though had to resort to lethal force when the suspect would not surrender.
Kristie's Law is a proposed California law that would restrict immunity for damage (including injuries or deaths) caused by high-speed pursuits, where law enforcement agencies have established, but not followed, written pursuit policies.
In 2007, the United States Supreme Court held in Scott v. Harris, (05-1631), that a "police officer's attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death."
As time went on, so did the expectations of the movie car chase. Since Bullitt, car chases featured in movies have continually become more advanced and therefore more entertaining. Car crashes have also formed an increasingly important role, with the destruction of any vehicle often coming as a delight to the viewer. An early example of a staged but startling accident in a movie chase can be found in the 1974 movie McQ, which featured an incredible rollover, the first cannon rollover in fact, across a beach. The spectacle came at a cost for the stuntdriver Hal Needham however, who sustained multiple injuries after setting the explosives too high.
Perhaps the most typical car chase is one in which a car is being pursued by police cars. In part because car chases are so common many movie makers try to introduce a new twists to them. One of the most famous variations is from The French Connection and involves a car chasing an elevated train. Chases involving buses, trucks, snowmobiles, tanks, and virtually every other type of vehicle (with or without wheels) have appeared in one film or another.
Probably the most complex type of car chase involves going the wrong way in moderately congested freeway traffic (e.g. Ronin, To Live and Die in L.A.). There are also a number of films that feature complex large-scale chases involving a lot of vehicles in the pursuit, notable examples including The Blues Brothers, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Road Warrior
In more modern times, the use of computer generated imagery is becoming increasingly popular, and, although costly (and with a careful eye, easily distinguished from a real car chase) eliminates any danger level. While impressive at times, it is often argued that it eliminates the realism of the chase scene, which can then in turn damage the established thrill factor. Recent examples of this computer generated imagery can be found in the Michael Bay films Bad Boys II and The Island. An example of a lower budget film using computer generated imagery in a car chase is RSTC: Reserve Spy Training Corps. Such criticism has affected recent Hollywood productions, for example films like The Bourne Supremacy, The Kingdom and The Dark Knight having car chases filmed for real, with the CGI used minimally, if at all.
In the film Hot Fuzz, the scene where Angel chases the speeding car has been declared the shortest car chase in film history. The scene, as discovered in interviews, was done on purpose.
Police chase ends in smash ; A Probe was launched today after a police chase ended in a car smashing into another vehicle, a wall and traffic lights.
Nov 14, 2007; A Probe was launched today after a police chase ended in a car smashing into another vehicle, a wall and traffic lights. Two men...
NORFOLK SETTLES LAWSUIT ON FATAL POLICE CHASE FAMILY OF VICTIM WILL FORWARD MONEY TO GROUP TRYING TO ALTER CHASE POLICIES.(LOCAL)
Sep 15, 1998; Byline: MARC DAVIS, STAFF WRITER CORRECTION: CLARIFICATION The family of Teresa G. Timms, a passerby who was killed in Norfolk...