Car crashes are near mandatory when it comes to action movies. When done well, the elaborately-designed sequences can hit multiple emotional levels and inspire viewers to cringe along with the actors. Of the thousands of car crashes that Hollywood has produced, several rise to the top. The list not only shows the crashes that are the most spectacular, but also the crashes that show the consequences of experiencing violent collisions. While moviegoers would hardly consider these staged sequences as “accidents”, the images produced are still memorable.
10. Punch Drunk Love
A fender-bender opens this Adam Sandler romantic comedy that garnered a Golden Globe nomination for the actor. While the accident isn’t spectacular, it does show the anxiety and stress that can come with even a minor traffic accident. The accident also sets the stage for the film’s strange run of odd circumstances, phone-sex hotlines and frequent flyer miles.
9. The Fast and the Furious
It’s difficult to sift through all the car wreck scenes now that the franchise stretches over five films. In this accident, taken from the first movie, a Dodge Charger takes a spectacular leap through the air only to meet an untimely end at the hands of an 18-wheeler.
Robert DeNiro stars in this film about disparate groups of militants and mercenaries fighting over a mysterious suitcase through France. Hollywood rumors surround director John Frankenheimer’s handling of his stunt drivers as they conducted high-speed maneuvers through Paris’ tiny streets. Legend has it that the director fined his drivers any time he saw brake lights during filming. For frenzied car chases and wrecks involving parked cars, accept no substitutes.
7. No Country for Old Men
Accidents sometimes occur without warning. In No Country for Old Men, there are no spectacular flips, roaring engines or actors screaming catch phrases. All the viewer sees is a clear, sun-lit street before the sudden, jarring impact. In a way, it’s sweet justice that the accident happens to the film’s villain. By the end of the film’s two-hour trek, a broken leg and a lacerated forehead doesn’t seem like enough.
6. The Matrix Reloaded
Physics takes a nap during the combination fight/escape/multi-vehicle crash scene in the Matrix trilogy’s second film. The sequence, culminating in a head-on collision between two big-rigs, shows the outright havoc caused by highway accidents – even if the scene has more CGI than reality.
5. The Blues Brothers
When in doubt, crash as many police vehicles as possible and don’t stop until it’s funny. From the star characters’ beat up Dodge to the lemming-style police crashes, the whole film could be one extended accident sequence.
4. Death Proof
The high-speed head-on collision that marks the midway point of Death Proof is equal parts, gore, bang and sadness. After Tarantino spent so much time building the characters, I thought they might live at least through the second act.
Duel is Steven Spielberg’s first film. The movie is really one extended chase sequence as a tanker truck pursues a sedan down a lonely stretch of unidentified highway. Neither vehicle wins since they both end up careening off a cliff. The tension created throughout the film feels like a slowly-building road rage event.
2. Final Destination 2
No one builds a mousetrap quite like Death himself. A tractor-trailer loses its load of lumber on a highway setting the stage for accidents that serve as clinics for science classes everywhere. All the usual accident tropes appear in this scene: driver taking a log to the head, motorcyclist careening out of control, tractor trailer destroying a compact car.
1. Talladega Nights
Aggressive driving in movies can also have hilarious consequences. What sets Talladega Nights apart from the other films on this list is it shows what happens after the accident. Sure, Ricky healed physically, but the mental scars of the accident remain. Pray to Tom Cruise all you want, sometimes it’s just scary to get back into a car after you’ve had a serious accident.
Directors and trained stunt drivers created movie accidents in strictly-controlled environments. These professionals have years of experience handling stressful situations behind the wheel and know advanced driving techniques to avoid danger. Auto accidents in the real world can occur without warning and involve everyday people who’s fear-driven reactions can be unpredictable — there’s no second take. If you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident, your rights to just compensation may have a limited widow of time. Before signing any insurance company document, contact an NJ accident lawyer to go over your rights and compensation options.