No action movie would be complete without an explosive car chase. Ever since Bullitt was released in 1968, almost every action film in history has had a fast paced car chase sequence and, if you’re like us, makes us wonder a) where it was filmed and b) could we get away with it? Suspension of belief is required, both in terms of the physics involved in pulling off the stunts but also in terms of how the routes look in real life. Here are a few of our favorites mapped.

‘The Bourne Identity’ – Paris

The final car chase in the Mini Cooper begins at the Gare du Nord – one of the busiest railway stations in Europe – and follows Bourne and Marie as they speed through the narrow Paris streets in hot pursuit by the law. From the station they rush across the Place Vendôme, before inexplicably arriving in Belleville to the east of Paris. Bourne shakes off the cop cars here with a turn right from rue du Transvaal down the alarmingly narrow Passage Plantin and onto the rue des Couronnes. Again we are suddenly transported to the quai Louis Bleriot in western Paris and along the banks of the Seine, south of Pont Mirabeau, where Bourne recklessly drives the wrong way down the road. He manages to lose the last police motorbike on the Boulevard de Sébastopol, before turning into the Hotel de la Paix parking garage on rue de l’Orillon, just to the south of Belleville metro station. Watch it here, or (better still), use the map below and try it for yourself.

bourne map

‘Bad Boys II’ – Miami

The most explosive scene in this nonsensical film (and there are quite a few) begins when a violent group of Haitian gangsters attempt to hijack an SUV in a parking garage. Taking to the streets around SW 1st Ave, Syd (an undercover agent) is pursued by both the Haitians, the Cuban drug smugglers, and the DEA. The chase reaches the Biscayne Boulevard and makes its way onto the MacArthur Causeway on the Miami coast (it’s here that the Haitians begin throwing cars). After a speedboat has been completely totalled the chase grinds to an explosive halt next to Fountain Street. Director Michael Bay comments on the DVD that they got through the whole car chase without damaging the Ferrari. Then in an outtake for a following scene, Martin Lawrence struck a concrete barrier when opening the passenger door. Here’s the sequence on YouTube, and the map below.

bad boys map

‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ – LA

This film sees Randall “Memphis” Raines (Nicholas Cage), a legendary car thief, stealing 50 classic cars in one night in order to save his brother from a vengeful crime boss. As you do. The final, and most desirable, car on the list is ‘Eleanor’, a 1973 GT500 Mustang. She gets pinched from the basement garage of the International Towers Apartments in Long Beach. Immediately as he exits the apartment building Memphis picks up a police tail and heads north towards West 7th Street in the backstreets of downtown LA. He is suddenly roaring along West 7th Street, in front of the arched entrance to 818 West 7th Street, being chased by the cops into Lebanon Street, before shooting out of St Vincent’s Court back onto West 7th Street (leaving major traffic mayhem in his wake). He then makes his way into the concrete channel of the Los Angeles River in hot pursuit by cars and a helicopter. He loses them by hitting the nitrous beneath the Sixth Street Bridge in south LA. After a scrappy chase around an industrial building site, Eleanor makes a spectacular leap over the cop cars on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Watch here, route below.

gone map

‘The Italian Job’ -Turin

One of the most famous car films in movie history, and our favorite, The Italian Job (1969) features some stunning car chase scenes, from the lofty Alps to the congested city of Turin. The scene just after the gold is heisted features the team whipping around the inner streets of Turin in three classic Mini Coopers.

It begins in the Palazzo where the bullion gets loaded into the van. The Minis then drive around the block and down the stairs into the Palazzo Madama. Apparently local shopkeepers around Palazzo Carignano weren’t happy about the streets being cordoned off, so the production team had to pay off the local Mafia, who paid off the shopkeepers! Next the trio zoom around the arcades within the Galleria San Federico, picking up a whole chicken along the way. From here they take the back streets towards the Gran Madre di Dio church where the wedding is taking place. As can be seen from the map, this church is directly in front of the weir on the River Po (which they later drive along). The dome roof scene is set on top of the Torino Palavela onto which the Minis drive (this is 6km south along the river from the church). Just around the corner is the Lingotto building which has the FIAT rooftop test track.

The infamous ‘Three Mini’ jump was also filmed here on the roof of the factory. After doing a couple of laps around the track the Minis speed back up the river to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni near Corso Massimo d’Azeglio. This is where the missing ‘Blue Danube’ scene was shot, in which the Coopers dance around gracefully with the Italian police cars. The iconic pipe sequence was actually shot in the Birmingham-Coventry Tithebarn main sewer located in Stoke Aldermoor in Coventry. After leaving the city the Mini-Coopers hitch a coach ride up to the St. Bernard Pass in the Italian Alps, and the final shot with the Herrington coach balancing precariously over a cliff is supposedly somewhere near Ceresole Reale. You’ve seen it a hundred times before, but it’s so good once more can’t hurt, can it? Click here for the clip and see below for the route.

italian job map

Nothing handles like a rental – get out there and try these routes for yourself.

 

Author Luke is travel writer and film buff from London who writes this piece on behalf of JT Hughes, a Nissan car dealer in Shropshire

4 Responses

  1. Dan

    I’m not up on my American Car models so i’m not sure of the one actually used in the film; but it’s described as a ’67 Shelby Mustang GT 500 not a ’73 as you put in the article.

    Reply

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