Cinema's most exciting car chases, according to science

Mad Max: Fury Road features cinema’s most exciting car chase of all time, according to a new study.

The 2015 Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron film beat some of the most famous chases of the last 50 years in the study, which used science to determine the most nerve-wracking motoring moments.

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To come up with the result, a test audience of 100 people was shown a series of famous car chases and their heart rates measured before and during the scenes. It found that there was an average 33 per cent increase in heart rate - from a resting 64bpm to 85bpm - during Fury Road’s massively destructive chase.

That puts it just ahead of Fast and Furious 6, which caused a 31 per cent spike in heart rates. In fact, the Fast and Furious franchise accounted for five of the top 20 films, with Fast 7 sneaking into third spot on the list.

The Vin Diesel-starring Fast and Furious franchise makes five appearances in the top 20 list (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The momentous chase through Paris in 1998’s Ronin - featuring a genuinely terrified-looking Robert De Niro - comes in at number four, ahead of Edgar Wright’s love-letter to chase movies, Baby Driver.

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The Bond and Bourne franchises also both make appearances in the top 20 but fans of several classics will be disappointed. Despite being among the most famous chases ever committed to celluloid, there’s no room for Bullitt’s Mustang v Charger race around San Francisco, nor for the Turin-based exploits of The Italian Job’s Mini Coopers. And while The Matrix Reloaded’s snooze-worthy CGI-fest somehow squeaks onto the list, Duel’s nerve-jangling pursuit between a blacked-out truck and Dennis Weaver’s Plymouth Valiant doesn't get a mention.

The top 20 most exciting car chases

Rank MovieAverage BPM Uplift (%) IMDB Rating1Mad Max Fury Road (2015)8533%8.12Fast & Furious 68431%7.13Furious 78330%7.14Ronin8228%7.35Baby Driver8025%7.66The Fast & The Furious (2001)7822%6.87Quantum of Solace7720%6.68The Bourne Supremacy7619%7.79The French Connection7619%7.710Batman: The Dark Knight7517%911Terminator 2: Judgment Day7416%8.512The Bourne Identity7416%7.913Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior7416%7.614The Raid 27314%8,015Fast Five7213%7.316The Matrix Reloaded7213%7.217Need for Speed7213%6.418Deathproof7111%719Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw7111%6.420Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)709%6.5


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