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Top 10 On-Foot Movie Chases

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Akil Goin. Tag, you’re it! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 movie chases on foot. For this list, we’re looking at film scenes that feature a character running for his or her life or chasing after someone else’s. So hop into your sneakers, hydrate yourself, and let’s start the race. Special thanks to our users Daniel John, Anthony Redford, Fern Last, timtamzosh, David Isaac Salazar, NightSprite, Epiqueeto, James Gibson, David Ram and CloakCX3 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Akil Goin.

Top 10 On-Foot Movie Chases


Tag, you’re it! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie chases on foot.

For this list, we’re looking at film scenes that feature a character running for his or her life or chasing after someone else’s. So hop into your sneakers, hydrate yourself, and let’s start the race.

#10: River Dance
“Insomnia” (2002)

This movie sees the late, great Robin Williams playing a scheming crime writer, who attempts to blackmail Al Pacino’s character so he’ll look the other way in a murder investigation – that is, if he can get away with it. These kinds of action sequences often ramp up the tension in a psychological thriller, and this dangerous chase across a river at a log farm is like a tightrope walk right across our nerves. We don’t actually see Williams’ face, partly because it’s his stunt double, but it’s also a nice device to show how mysterious and elusive his character is.

#9: Run Around the Block
“Point Break” (1991)

In this cult classic action flick, the bad guys are terrorizing the ‘burbs and we’re with them every step of the way. Starting with a firefight – no really, this guy’s on fire – the chase sees FBI Agent Johnny Utah take off after a Ronald Reagan-masked robbery suspect. They sprint across town from the gas station Reagan blew up, to, well, everywhere else, running through every nook and cranny of the neighborhood, tearing through lawns, kiddie pools, and even actual kiddies. But it’s the POV shots and timing that really bring the audience into the scene, and the fence-jumping athletics build a marathon of adrenaline. But of course, how can we forget Utah’s emotional and angst-filled reaction at the chase’s end?

#8: Street Dreams Are Made of These
“Inception” (2010)

This film is often described as a clever mindbender for its dream-within-a-dream complexity, but before those observations can even be made, we’re teased early on with some action-packed dream symbolism. This slightly surreal chase through the streets of Mombasa is depicted as Cobb’s reality, yet the panic-triggering stumbling blocks look like classic nightmare material. Notice the maze-like design, constant danger in every direction, and walls literally closing in. Metaphors aside, it’s still a great watch for its cool stunts and action.

#7: Long Distance Sprint
“The Matrix” (1999)

Racing, breaking and climbing through dilapidated buildings, Neo is trying to return from the Matrix to the real world before his crew’s defense against a Sentinel attack severs his only connection to it – talk about a pulse-pounding race for the phone. This hunt-down from the sci-fi action blockbuster is special because the agents have a distinct advantage: they can bodysnatch their way to just about anywhere they like. With that fact as a foot chase game-changer, Neo’s pursuers could be steps ahead, or close behind. It’s best not to look back.

#6: Hide & Seek
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

Showboat swordsman? Ain’t nobody got time for that! There’s a damsel in distress and she’s being carried and carted away by Nazi sympathizing terrorists. Indiana Jones knows Marion is in a basket, but which one? Few movie chase scenes balance urgency and hilarity in the synchronized way displayed in “Raiders,” and Indiana Jones’ headless chicken run of desperation works on both levels. It tackles the fear factor as much as it tickles the funny bone and that’s why we love it.

#5: Can’t Touch This
“Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior” (2003)

Boasting no wire-work or CGI, this martial arts flick popularized Tony Jaa as a living legend, due to his natural ability as a free running, Muay Thai kickboxing stuntman extraordinaire. Ting and his associate are being chased through a marketplace by a gambling crime ring of street thugs, and his evasion skills are exhilarating to see. It’s some parkour action, a little showing off, and what looks like a man who’s more mindful of the fragile obstructions en route than the danger he’s in.

#4: Extraordinary Ability
“Men in Black” (1997)

We could have also gone with Will Smith’s chase in “Enemy of the State,” but we prefer him as chaser to chase-ee. Is it cheating that his character literally jumps ON a bus, and then hitches a ride on another one, just to catch up to this fast-footed alien? No, because in this foot chase, he’s a resourceful NYPD officer who does what it takes. At this point in the sci-fi comedy, his character doesn’t even know that he’s not chasing a human being. With speed and determination, he ignores the strange weapon, superhuman ability, wall-scaling and crazy-eyes just so he can get his bust. And it earns him his new job.

#3: Zombies & Demons
“28 Weeks Later” (2007)

This is a panic-inducing home invasion with flesh-eating zombies doing the invading. The quick cuts and bobbing camera turns its audience into one of the victims trapped inside this doomed house, and Don is hunted through it by the type of zombie that can put track stars to shame. This “28 Weeks Later” chase is much more than your average action movie sequence because, in a moment of drama and selfish desperation, Don abandons his wife. He’s not just running from the flesh-eating dead, his grief is chasing him, too.

#2: Run for Your Life
“District 13” (2004)

Leito, played by actor David Belle, is escaping French gangsters after stealing and destroying their cocaine. For this film, he is regarded as the free runner responsible for making the parkour phenomenon a fad of the mid-2000s after this French action flick, also known as “B13,” was released. When combined with the rest of its action movie ultra-violence about ghetto street life and urban warfare, the foot chase is a raw look at what the human body is capable of when it’s in danger. Agility is a great offensive and defensive strategy and a dangerous weapon.

Before we run after our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Simply Dashing
“The Incredibles” (2004)
- To Catch A Thief
“New Jack City” (1991)
- Whose Chase is it Anyway?
“Memento” (2000)
- Hot Pursuit
“Hot Fuzz” (2007)
- Running Errands
“Raising Arizona” (1987)
- Using the Escalator
“Mr. Nice Guy” (1997)

#1: Under Construction
“Casino Royale” (2006)

For his first mission, James Bond seeks out a bomb manufacturer and confronts him in Madagascar. All the chasing, fist fighting, shoot-em-ups and feats of acrobatics are the puzzle pieces fitted to create this “Casino Royale” sequence that can challenge its most emotionally and physically balanced viewers with vertigo. The art of parkour is all about using your surroundings, and this entire construction site is a playground for the athletically inclined – or more of a battleground, in this case. Without dialogue, an early look at the rebooted Bond character is seen through his bold actions and dangerous decision-making.

Do you agree with our list? Which foot chases did we miss? For more heart-racing Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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