With nominations for the Academy Awards just announced, what better time to discuss perhaps the best component film that doesn’t directly get nominated for awards — Best Performance By An Actor With Car.
Indirectly, of course, great acting, editing, directing, music, special effects, etc., have all helped create many of the best car scenes on film.
Too many movies have too many great car scenes to list. But two great action car scenes involving iconic actors top the list.
But The Weekly Driver is fond of coolness, and no better scenes come to mind than in The French Connection and Bullitt, two Academy Award-winning movies.
In The French Connection (1971), Gene Hackman (Det. Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle) battles himself, pedestrian traffic and a train full of bad French for three minutes in and around an elevated train line in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s driving a 1971 Pontiac LeMans.
And in Steve McQueen’s ultimate coolness journey in Bullitt (1968), he plays Det. Frank Bullitt and chases bad guys in his 1968 Ford Mustang up and down San Francisco hills and along the coastline highway. The bad guys don’t do too badly — at least for 10 minutes — until they meet their fiery demise in a exploding Dodge Charger.
The scenes from both movies are below:
Article Last Updated: August 27, 2021.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.