Car chases are all well and good, but what really sorts the men from the boys is the good ol' fashioned foot chase, requiring up close and personal camerawork and actors that can, you know, run really well. So sit back in your comfortable chairs and marvel at 36 frantic foot chases, from Kung Fu Hustle to, well, you'll have to wait and see...
Director:** Stephen Chow
*Starring:* **Stephen Chow, Yuen Qiu
Kung Fu Hustle is essentially a live-action Road Runner cartoon with fewer Acme gadgets and more high-kicks to the face. This especially bonkers sequence shows “The Landlady of Pig Sty Alley” chasing after our hero, Sing, at breakneck speed while her legs spin round into a circle of dust. She’s also wearing flip-flops, which makes it all the more impressive, frankly.
*Director: Ridley Scott Starring:* Joanna Cassidy, Harrison Ford
Arguably the foot chase on this list most likely to make you cry and/or question the nature of existence, Rick Deckard’s assassination of Zhora is shot in such a way that you’d have to be a, ahem, robot not to be moved by it. Plus, Vangelis’ music is… awe-inspiring – much like Zhora’s dress.
*Director: Quentin Tarantino Starring:* Steve Buscemi
Bookended by Mr. Pink’s conversation with Mr. White, this chase scene is notable not only for its frantic pace and abrupt ending, but also because one of the three cops chasing Steve Buscemi happens to be Lawrence Bender, best mate of Tarantino and producer of all but one of his films.
Director: Peter Yates
Starring:** **Steve McQueen, Pat Renella
Most people remember Bullitt for its car chase, but this, the film’s final scene, is an underappreciated gem of a foot chase, following Steve McQueen and Pat Renella’s characters as they stalk each other across San Francisco airport.
Director:** Christopher Nolan
*Starring:* Leonardo DiCaprio
Inception may be a complicated movie about dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams but this particular scene is a good old-fashioned foot chase, seeing Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) dashing through the alleyways around Grand Socco square in Tangier.
*Director: Martin Campbell Starring:* Daniel Craig, Sébastien Foucan
The beginning of Daniel Craig’s reign as 007 kicked off with this frenetic free-running chase, showing Bourne fans that anything Treadstone’s finest can do, James Bond can do better. This was helped, of course, by the acrobatic skills of Parkour co-founder Sébastien Foucan, beautifully complementing Craig’s more rough-and-ready approach – just jump to 5:15 for proof.
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Matt Damon
The best chase in the first Bourne outing shows an unusual side to the typically frantic movie trope, with Matt Damon quietly walking around the Swiss US Consulate while soldiers charge up the stairs, pointing guns at things. Making it even more remarkable, he does it wearing and old mustard jumper. Perhaps we’re easily impressed.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring:** **Matt Damon
Replacing soldiers with a SWAT team, this time Bourne is on the run after visiting the Berlin hotel room where he made his first hit. Paul Greengrass’s patented shakeycam is in full effect, combined with a night-time shoot and Bourne’s tried-and-true string motif, making for yet another pulse-racing jog around a city centre for Matt Damon.
*Director:* Paul Greengrass
*Starring: *Matt Damon, Julia Styles, Joey Ansah
Saving the best foot chase in Bourne till last, this Moroccan game of cat and mouse sees Matt Damon leaping from building to building, smashing through windowpanes and eventually lobbing a book into fellow assassin Desh’s throat.
*Directors: The Coen Brothers
**Starring:* Josh Brolin
Granted, this isn’t a traditional foot chase, what with Josh Brolin swimming through a river for half of it, but as it’s so exquisitely shot – apart from the absurdly fake dog, of course – that you can’t deny its place in the pantheon.
Director: Michael Mann
Starring:** **Daniel Day-Lewis
The jaw-dropping ending to Mann’s Native American adventure sees Daniel Day-Lewis running and gunning as he leaps up a mountain. If you look carefully, you can see rifles and muskets appearing and disappearing with each cut. Still, listen to the music! Watch Magua's band get slaughtered! Feel in no way better about colonialism!
Director:** John Hughes
*Starring:* Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick runs through hedges, leaps in front of cars and jumps (in slow motion) onto and off trampolines, all to the tune of ‘The March of the Swivelheads’ by The English Beat. It’s not Bourne, sure, but it’s just as good in its own way.
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Jason Patric
To call Narc gritty is to do it an injustice. Quite frankly, it’s brutal. Violent, ferocious and dark as all hell, it starts as it means to go on with this Handycam opening scene, showing Jason Patric’s corrupt cop Nick Tellis leaping over walls and shooting at children to make sure the drug dealer who's discovered his secret doesn’t tell anyone else. And again, before you press play, as good as it is – and it’s really, really good – it doesn’t mess around, so if you’re feeling a bit vulnerable today, you probably best click onto the next one…
**Director: The Coen Brothers Starring:* **Nicolas Cage
Coming out after the noirish Blood Simple, Raising Arizona was written by The Coen Brothers to be as upbeat as possible. This scene the finest example of just that, remaining chest-grabbingly hilarious as well as pretty goshdarn exciting throughout.
*Director: Carol Reed Starring:* Orson Welles
Orson Welles, as you might have heard, was a bit of a stubborn fellow. Turning up two weeks late to set, a lot of his sewer scenes for The Third Man had to be shot using body doubles, and when he did eventually arrive, he refused to shoot certain sections inside the actual tunnels, meaning that replica sets had to be created in London. You can notice which bit is from where by Orson’s breath, which only appears in the Vienna-shot footage.
*Director:* Pierre Morel
*Starring:* **David Belle
The plot for this film could easily be explained with a grunt, but there’s no denying District B13’s action chops, with almost every scene hurtling along at breakneck speed. This is a great example of just that, showing our protagonist David Belle – one of the other founders of Parkour – as he catapults across Paris like a man repeatedly blasting himself out of a cannon.
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost
Hot Fuzz is so full of action movie references there’s a page on IMDb dedicated to them, so it’s appropriate that one of the few comedy foot chases to make it on this list comes from the minds of Pegg, Frost and Wright, pastiching Point Break and pretty much every other foot chase ever, really. Plus, it has a Ferris Bueller’s Day trampoline bit, though we suspect it has nothing to do with John Hughes’s classic – though we wouldn’t put it past them if it actually were.
*Director:* William Friedkin
*Starring:* Gene Hackman, Marcel Bozzuffi
Say the words “French Connection chase” and you’ll conjure up images of Gene Hackman driving a seriously beat-up brown Pontiac LeMans through Brooklyn, chasing hit man Pierre Nicoli after he’s highjacked the B train. But before Popeye gets in the car and Pierre gets on the train, there’s a thrilling foot chase that builds up the tension before Hackman starts dodging pram-pushing mothers – and this is it, from his attempted assassination to his frantic badge-waving. For the car chase itself, however, head this way…
Director: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey
If you haven’t watched French Connection II yet, what you need to do is watch French Connection II. When you’re done doing that, come back and watch this, the very end of the film just one more time and marvel and how Gene Hackman genuinely looks like he’s going to have a heart attack.
**Director: Sammo Hung Starring:* Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan’s movie career is so full of action-filled foot chases that it’s nigh on impossible to pick just one. In Mr. Nice Guy alone, there are about three beauties – notably that bit where he jumps onto the bottom of an inflatable gorilla and starts leaping about a park – but this little elevator-filled clip is probably the best example of Jackie’s stunning running-the-hell-away skills.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy
This scene may end with an absurdly ripped Russian man covered in blood, lumbering after Gerard Butler as he wheezes like an asthmatic vicar, but Ritchie’s much-loved Face Cam work and ear for a good tune make it one of the best bits in the otherwise disappointing Cockney caper.
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring:** **Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner
Introducing a film’s characters has never been this much fun. Full stop.
*Director: Mario Van Peebles
**Starring:* Ice T, Chris Rock
There are some people out there who don’t like Chris Rock. They find him too loud, too brash, too… annoying, really. If you’re one of those people, you’re going to enjoy this scene very much, showing as it does a young Rock getting chased down by Ice T. Plus, it's also overseen by Mario Van Peebles, the man who brought us Jaws: The Revenge, and therefore is a man who knows how to inflict pain. Hard.
Director: Walter Hill
Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, David Patrick Kelly
"I'll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle." Fuckin’ A.
*Director: John Glen Starring:* Andy Bradford
A spy dressed as a clown. Fabergé eggs. Knife-throwing twins. A foot chase. What more could you want? Unless you suffer from Coulrophobia, in which case, you’ll probably want to watch something else entirely.
If you’ve seen The Untouchables lately you’ll know that things get pretty hairy when Brian De Palma gets anywhere near public transport. Not content with picking up a newspaper and some Chewits like everyone else, Al Pacino’s ex-hood Carlito Brigante finds himself chased through Grand Central by a gaggle of vengeful (and slightly gormless) Mafia types. With salvation in sight, it’s suddenly quick-and-the-dead territory for Carlito – and the quick just boarded the nearest train.
Directors: The Wachowski Brothers
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving
Before Neo becomes “The One”, Keanu Reeves has to execute the most majestic garbage dump dive in the history of cinema, as well as dodge old ladies slinging bread knives at him. Then he becomes The Matrix’s admin and suddenly it’s all about bullet dodging, extended highway chase scenes and Hugo Weaving getting thumped in the face. Booooring.
And you thought we’d forgotten…
That said, this clip shows the footage from Carrie-Anne Moss’s epic rooftop chase scene, but the sound has all been replaced. We apologise for any suffering this may cause you.
*Director: Justin Lin Starring: *Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson
Is there anything scarier than The Rock leaping out at you from a window? Apart from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, of course. Hell, maybe not even them…
*Director:* Guillaume Canet
*Starring:* **François Cluzet
It’s reassuring to know that there are filmmakers out there that aren’t afraid to show people getting sweaty when they run – as well as re-enact scenes from Steve Martin movies in action films, of course.
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Starring: Tony Jaa
Tony Jaa is a show off. And now he’s become a monk, he’s a massive talent wasted. Unless he’s in one of Ra's al Ghul’s monasteries, in which case, fair enough.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford
The opening scene of Raiders would be a shoo-in if that boulder had legs and a face, but at least the other contender – the basket chase we have for you here – is equally brilliant, if perhaps not so iconic. Still, it starts with a man with a massive scimitar getting shot point blank and ends with a truck exploding into a ball of flame – something we can all agree makes for a very good foot chase indeed.
*Director: Nimród Antal Starring:* Sándor Csányi, Zoltán Mucsi
A comedy thriller? From Hungary? About ticket inspectors? It doesn’t sound much cop, but it is – as shown by this “Roadrunner” chase sequence.
Directed:** Tony Scott
*Starring:* Will Smith, Seth Green
If only all chase scenes involved an unintentional strip show to an elderly Asian couple and a hotel almost burning to the ground… then that would get pretty boring pretty fast, but as it’s just The Enemy Of The State that’s done it so far, we’re probably in the clear.
*Director: Kathryn Bigelow
**Starring:* Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves
**](http://youtu.be/1CD0hrD9Lp0)The king of all foot chases, Point Break is the first answer any die-hard action nut will give when asked, “What’s the best foot chase in cinema?” – and not just because it involves a rubber President Reagan mask and Keanu Reeves blasting rounds into the sky as he screams “NOOOOOOOO!” After all, it has a dog being used as a projectile weapon: grounds for it being one of the best scenes of all time, frankly.
The man is a running machine.
*Director: Michael Bay
**Starring:* Will Smith
**](http://youtu.be/1CD0hrD9Lp0)Michael Bay, we've got to doff our cap at you here. The music makes it, as does the car over the bridge. Dang it, now that tune's in our head...
Director:** David Fincher
*Starring:* **Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman
Which is better? This or Point Break? Can you decide? We can't. Okay, we can – it's Point Break – but this is damn close. If only someone chucked a dog at Brad Pitt...