As the Die-Cast Club launches a new build-up of ‘Eleanor’, the iconic Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds, Philip Bates takes the passenger seat for ten of the greatest movie car stunts.
1. Longest Chase in Movie History
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Back in 1974, the first Gone in 60 Seconds boasted a remarkable 40-minute chase – still the longest car chase in cinematic history. The franchise’s creator, H B “Toby” Halicki, drives the original Mustang Eleanor (the only car to ever get star title credit in a movie) as his character, Maindrian Pace, races through five cities across California to escape the police, wrecking 93 cars in the process.
Many were owned by Halicki himself, including the police vehicles which he’d bought for $200 each. Halicki’s expert driving meant the Mustang Eleanor made it through damaged but still driveable. The whole sequence was logistically intensive, but the final leap in Redondo Beach ensured Eleanor’s place in film history.
2. Hydra Attacks Nick Fury
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Hydra hasn’t just infiltrated SHIELD: it’s been growing inside the organization for decades. And now, it’s coming for Nick Fury. Fortunately, Fury’s car is equipped with a whole host of gadgets, but he makes sure the tension is ramped up before fighting back. Such a tease. Dialogue is stripped right back, but nonetheless manages to incorporate Marvel’s trademark humor (“Air conditioning is fully operational”).
Fury’s car rams its way through the traffic jam leading up the Roosevelt Bridge, strategically aims for the intersection, and escapes his pursuers. It leads beautifully to the big reveal and the breathtaking stunt: the Winter Soldier himself has his sights set on Fury, upends his vehicle, then elegantly steps out of the way as it slides past on its front bumper.
3. Desert Plains,
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The Mad Max franchise has its fair share of amazing action sequences, including the awesome Cirque du Soleil-inspired Polecats routine in Fury Road, and the surprising climax of The Road Warrior.
But, the conclusion of 2015’s Fury Road surely takes the crown, as Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and Max (Tom Hardy) are kept apart by a cavalcade roaring over the vast desert expanse. The cinematography is astounding, as more than 75 vehicles fill the screen as clouds of dust and sand rise around them.
4. Bond Flips
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
James Bond has had loads of cool cars with amazing features: the Lotus Espirit could go underwater; the Aston Martin DB5 had a weapons arsenal that’d make the British Army envious; and the Vanquish could turn invisible. But no other 007 car stunt could top the AMC Hornet’s spinning jump from The Man With The Golden Gun.
Roger Moore’s Bond is accompanied by fan favorite, Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James), as they chase after Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), but find themselves on the wrong side of a river. There’s only one thing for it: an “astro spiral” 360-degree leap. It was performed by Loren ‘Bumps’ Willert, driving at 48 mph over a curved ramp, watched by the cast, crew, and the media.
5. A Real Tumbler
Batman Begins (2005)
Chicago doubles for the grimy fictional city of Gotham in this grotty car chase as Batman outmaneuvers the police expertly. Some were unsure of the 2005 redesign of the Batmobile: far removed from the stylishly sleek lines of previous models in movies and comics, the “Tumbler” proves to be a beast of a machine, roaring down the city streets – and over other vehicles, embracing its tank-like qualities in the extreme. “I gotta get me one of those!” Indeed, Commissioner Gordon.
6. Bandit Jumps the Bridge
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
This action-comedy was a box office success thanks to its leads, Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, and the Pontiac Trans Am he drives throughout; so much so that sales of the car almost doubled in the two years after its 1977 release.
The highlight of the movie is doubtlessly Bo “Bandit” Darville jumping a collapsed bridge. Smokey and the Bandit’s director (and regular stuntman), Hal Needham, used a booster rocket to carry out the astonishing feat.
7. The Benchmark Chase Film
Yes, another Mustang! Bullitt’s 10-minute chase towards the end of the film remains highly influential, the sequence against which other cinematic chases are compared. Shots from the driver’s POV gave audiences a thrilling, unpredictable, and realistic finale, shot on location in San Francisco. Star, Steve McQueen, loved the Mustang so much, he asked to buy one of the two cars used during filming numerous times.
His appeals fell on deaf ears: one was apparently scrapped, while the other was bought by Robert Kiernan and passed on to his son. Then, in 2016, the reportedly scrapped Mustang turned up in a scrapyard in Mexico. Its new Californian owners are restoring it.
8. Going Up
Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
As a sort of spin-off of the successful Fast and Furious series, Hobbs & Shaw, centred around Dwayne Johnson’s and Jason Statham’s rival characters, needed to do something breathtaking and innovative to make its mark. It did so… by attaching a cable of trucks to a helicopter, stopping Idris Elba’s Brixton Lore from escaping. It was achieved through a mix of practical and visual effects, though a surprising amount was done on location using a hydraulic lift.
9. Sound and Fury
Black Panther (2018)
This sequence does something unique in combining a traditional car chase with the futuristic technology of Wakanda – hence one car being driven remotely and another core element not even being in a vehicle. Shuri is in charge of steering a car, despite being some 7,500 miles away, while T’Challa uses his custom-made Black Panther suit to dot between roofs, picking off bad guys with the absorption and redistribution of kinetic energy.
It looks cool, and, thanks to the exciting soundtrack, sounds cool too. Ryan Coogler’s direction makes this an unpredictable and breathtaking scene tracking across Busan, including the Gwangan “Diamond” Bridge, South Korea’s second-longest bridge.
10. Eleanor on the Run
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Keeping the spirit of Toby Halicki’s original, the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds builds to a high-octane car chase in which Nicholas Cage’s Memphis Raines outruns the police. Just about. They’re right on his tail for much of the sequence, making for edge-of-your-seat excitement. Impressively, Cage actually drove the film’s iconic Mustang Eleanor (a custom-made Shelby Mustang GT500), and performed some of Gone in 60 Seconds’ stunts, after training at the Bobby Ore Stunt Driving School.
Ore himself also gave lessons to the movie’s other stars including Angelina Jolie and Scott Caan, though Cage took a particular shine to stunt driving. In fact, Nicholas Cage loved Eleanor so much, he bought one after production wrapped!
NEW LAUNCH! To coincide with the 20th anniversary of Gone in 60 Seconds, the Die-Cast Club is unleashing ‘Eleanor’, the iconic Mustang from the blockbuster movie starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi.
This new subscription program lets you build a high-quality die-cast metal 1:8 scale model of the star car from Gone in 60 Seconds, with every feature reproduced in stunning detail.
Measuring an impressive 58 cm long, the complete model is an exacting replica of the iconic car and will include the following superb elements:
• Working headlights and taillights• Turning front wheels operated by the steering wheel• Opening hood to reveal Eleanor’s phenomenal Ford small-block racing engine• Opening trunk, which contains the car’s nitro tank
• Eleanor’s iconic Go Baby Go gearshift and NOS switch
Denice Shakarian Halicki, owner of the Gone in 60 Seconds franchise said, “I believe Eaglemoss Die-Cast Club’s meticulous attention to detail to Eleanor’s characteristics will be a thrill for fans of Eleanor and fun for everyone who enjoys and love cars… At a time when joy is a wonderful thing to have…”
Pre-orders ship from January 20. Join now and get the first two parts for just £2.99 with free P&P, an assembly magazine, a poster, a binder and two pin badges.