With Baby Driver (in theaters June 28), director Edgar Wright has fulfilled his lifelong dream of making a car-chase film. The buzzy action flick, about a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who never unplugs his iPod, was inspired by the auto-filled action movies of Wright’s childhood. For a screening series at the British Film Institute in London, Wright, best known for his Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, andThe World’s End), selected 10 of his favorites — and it’s a great watchlist for anyone who loves a good car chase.
Naturally, Wright’s picks include The French Connection and Bullitt, which contain what are widely considered two of the best car-chase scenes ever (featuring behind-the-wheel performances by Gene Hackman and Steve McQueen, respectively). The Blues Brothers, with its comedic cop-car pile-up, makes the cut, as does Smokey and the Bandit. On the more obscure end, there’s the 1971 American road movie Vanishing Point (also a favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s, who name-checked it in Death Proof) and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, a 1974 getaway film starring Peter Fonda. Rounding out the list: The Italian Job (the original, not the 2003 remake), To Live and Die in L.A., Freebie and the Bean, and The 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 admits in his introduction to the series. “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.” The films in the series, he says, are “a taster of vehicular heaven that ultimately led me to fulfill the dream of making my own car movie, Baby Driver.“
Baby Driver’: Watch a trailer:
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