Almost everyone loves a wild and crazy car chase and explosions in films. It’s one of the most predictable occurrences in an action picture, yet it would be disappointing if they were not included. After all, one or more car explosions is part of what we paid more than ten dollars to see. Good directors and stories have a knack for slipping these in during an action sequence in an attempt to surprise us and get a maximum emotional and dramatic reaction from the audience.
A good movie car explosion is much more intense than a real one. The visual and audio effects pump up the experience to extremes to give viewers a heightened sense of all of the action. In real life, a car wouldn’t explode from just hitting a wall, getting shot or even from being in a head on collision. In truth, car manufacturers engineer autos so that gas tanks are not placed in positions where they might be likely targets for explosions.
Even though we may know better, we love the added drama that the sounds and special effects give us. Most theaters have the latest in sound systems, so the experience feels real for that split second when our palms are sweating and we are anticipating a crash. You think it’s coming, you know it’s coming… and it doesn’t come until you let your guard down, and then, KABOOM.
We scoured the internet to find some of the most popular car explosions in films and came up with 10 you may have seen. Of course, the films on the list are all action-packed and filled with series of crashes and other explosions. So if it’s action you like, then it’s action you’ll get if you put these on your list of “must-see” films.
10. The Avengers
This 2012 movie, The Avengers, is an American superhero film based on Marvel Comics superhero team. After the success of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel announced the making of The Avengers. The popular film grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and was the third highest grossing film of the year. It was announced that the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, will be released in 2015. This multiple car explosion is super dramatic and one of the best, while the Avengers grouped together to defend New York City.
9. The Godfather
This 1972 film was taken from the novel written by Mario Puzo. It included a few good explosions, including this flashback scene when Fredo gets blown up near the Colosseum. This is the turning point for young Michael Corleone who decides he must become the godfather. There is another car explosion when Michael’s bride, Appolonia, sits in a car that explodes right before his very eyes. Vengeance becomes the premise for the rest of the movie.
8. Pelican Brief
The car explosion in this 1993 crime thriller is the inciting incident that ramps up the adventure and moves the story into high gear. When law student Darby Shaw, played by Julia Roberts, refuses to ride in the car while in New Orleans with her drunk professor and lover, she gets the shock of her life. The car explodes with her beloved Professor Callahan inside and she must run from a series of plots to have her murdered. She outsmarts everyone and ultimately reveals the parties who were guilty for several murders to sway votes.
Not all car explosions are alike and this one in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger from 1964 does not disappoint. Special effects back in the 60’s were a bit more mellow than those of today, but this car explosion is memorable because of having to watch this gorgeous Aston Martin get burned to a crisp. The funny part about this explosion is we can’t figure what happened. It didn’t come into contact with anything; it just explodes. Goldfinger is about James Bond investigating gold smuggling by magnet, Auric Goldfinger and became one of the franchise’s biggest blockbusters back in the day.
6. Captain America – The Winter Soldier
This 2014 American superhero film is about the Marvel Comics character Captain America who must face a mysterious assassin known as The Winter Soldier. Opening in theaters just two months ago, audiences ran to see this movie to the tune of over $707 million worldwide. The superhero, Steve Rogers (Captain America) winds up working for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. again when a colleague comes under attack. He and Black Widow eventually get help from the Falcon and band together to beat the villain, the Winter Soldier.
Robert De Niro helps explode this car with his secret sunroof rocket launcher in this 1998 film about two intelligence agents who partner up for a heist. The American spy thriller was directed by John Frankenheimer and starred De Niro and Jean Reno. The spy car chases includes beautiful footage of the streets of Nice and Paris, France.
This super long movie opens with a great car explosion that sends a body flying through fire and air, and makes for a memorable beginning. It’s a 1995 crime drama directed by award-winning director Martin Scorsese and based on a non-fiction novel written by Nicholas Pileggi, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay. It gives a real inside look at the world of casino owners and their relationships with the mafia. We’re shown not to mess with these sorts in Las Vegas or we could get our knuckles smashed.
3. Need For Speed
Americans love car adventures and this movie brings back the great race on the open road. While the cross-country race against time ensues, there are car explosions galore and this one is an excellent multiple car explosion stunt that audiences loved. Here’s how it goes: a street racer joins a cross-country race to get revenge, but his ex-partner places a big bounty on his head to make sure he never makes it across the finish line – and so the countdown starts.
2. The Dark Knight
This car explosion was a good one as it was a series of piled up cars in front of the 3rd Street tunnel. An even cooler thing that happened during the filming of this movie is when Heath Ledger, playing the Joker, had an equipment malfunction he threw in a little improv, which added a level of reality to the scene. Here’s what happened: when he was ready to detonate the explosion, it didn’t work on the first try. Rather than stopping the action, Ledger kept acting. He continued walking toward the camera, shrugged his shoulders and pressed the detonator button again. This time it worked.
1. Mission Impossible III
The Mission Impossible 3 movie was one of the most popular of the franchise. The movie starts off so mellow with agent Ethan Hunt living a more normal life after retiring from the MI special force. He is then pulled back in and is recruited back on the force to track down arms dealer, Owen Davian. Tom Cruise‘s and Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s characters were incredible enemies and the action didn’t stop until the last couple of minutes. This particular scene happens when a drone ship and a helicopter attack a convoy on a bridge. Hunt is thrown into the air when a missile ignite’s a nearby car. This film reached a gross of $397.9 million worldwide, which was the least profitable of the three.