Which of these car chase films on Wright's list rev your engines the most?
Edgar Wright is best known for his eccentric comedy films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Worlds End, but he has always dreamed of directing a car chase film. His vision will soon be realized with the much-anticipated release of Baby Driver, a film about a getaway driver who constantly listens to music to drown out his incessant tinnitus that prioritizes practical stunts over CGI. At a recent screening series at the British Film Institute in London, Wright revealed ten classic car chase movies from his childhood that inspired Baby Driver.
“I can’t make any claims to being a great driver and I’m not even sure you could call me a gearhead (I would struggle to change a flat),” Wright said at the event. “However, I am a fan of action cinema in its purest form and the best film car chases are some of the most glorious collisions of sound and image in the art form." Not having had the pleasure of being in any high-speed chases growing up in rural England, I had to get my Route 66 kicks from the movies," he continued. "This season represents a taster of vehicular heaven that ultimately led me to fulfil the dream of making my own car movie, Baby Driver.”
Unsurprisingly, Bullitt and The French Connection heavily inspired Wright's film: watching Steve McQueen smoke the streets of San Francisco in a Ford Mustang and Gene Hackman pursuing an elevated subway train through the gridlocked streets of New York represent two of the most iconic movie chases of all time. They're still as exciting to watch now as they were over 40 years ago. Wright also highly rates The Blues Brothers for its insane police car pileups and the cult road movie Vanishing Point starring a Dodge Challenger RT. The Italian Job (the original, of course), and Smokey and the Bandit also make the list, as does The Driver directed by Walter Hill which also inspired Drive.
One of the most underrated films on the list is To Live and Die in L.A. directed by William Friedkin, who also directed The French Connection, notable for featuring the first freeway wrong way sequence in a chase scene. Rounding off the list are the cult classics Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Freebie and the Bean - if you haven't heard of them, go check them out. Which films on Wright's list are your favorites? Baby Driver screeches into cinemas on June 28.