Motor movies and their real-world motoring offences
Cinema is the perfect escape from reality. The appeal is obvious, especially right now – why wouldn’t you want to swap our overcast skies and countless hours indoors for exotic locales and ridiculously addictive action sequences?
And yet, at the same time, we want to know exactly how these movies would work in the real world; could James Bond really get away with being undercover every time, despite looking exactly the same and doing it for the best part of a century?
We can’t answer that one, but we can tell you just how impractical – and illegal – the most exciting motor-related movies and their car chases are. Roughly. Keep scrolling for a breakdown on some of cinema’s biggest films on four wheels, and how much jailtime and licence endorsements the stars would’ve racked up.
Cinema’s most popular movies to feature car chases
Starting with Avengers: Endgame in top spot, we worked down through the list of highest-grossing films and picked out the biggest flicks with car chases. Considering the initial top ten was made up of six films from the Fast & Furious and James Bond franchises, we’ve went with the most successful of each.
Captain America: Winter Soldier, another from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leads the line with the longest jailtime and highest number of motoring offences – 34 to be exact, with more than five of them for every minute of the car chase we watched.
Despite making the third-highest figure at the box office, The Dark Knight Rises features the second-lowest number of motoring offences with only 15. Mind you, he still ends up with nearly 120 points and nine years in prison.
How do they compare to the classics?
As an average of several car chase top tens, we found The French Connection to be the most popular. Fitting, too, as the film’s main car chase features some of the highest figures for number and rate of motoring offences – putting it in third place overall. Not bad for a film that turns 50 this year.
In fact, only one of the films in our list was filmed after the 90s – The Bourne Supremacy. Despite our findings marking it as the ninth-most popular, it’s only just beaten to the title of most motoring offences by one other. There are 22 of them in all, accruing 182 points in the process.
Gone in 60 Seconds – the ’74 original, not the Nicholas Cage remake – just about beats it on that front, with 203 points and a baffling 6.2 offences per minute of the film’s climax.
On average, the more recent films have a higher number and rate of motoring offences and points. But, going by their combined £3.9bn takings, they’re doing something right – it seems modern audiences prefer more explosions and action than the classic counterparts.
How we worked it out
Looking at box office data (The Numbers) and several car chase top tens (Fandango, Insider, Mental Floss, Money and Little White Lies), we were able to pick out the highest-grossing and most popular motor movies.
We then sat through each of the film’s main car chases and tallied the motoring offences and penalties, as per The Highway Code. Comparing these figures with the duration of each chase gave the offences per minute.
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