Best Fast & Furious Car Chases and Races, Ranked

Fast & Furious is one of the most profitable and long-running action franchises of all time. What began as a simple movie about street racing in a film that borrowed heavily from Point Break has now morphed into a massive global brand and a multimedia franchise that includes spin-offs, animated series, and theme park attractions. It is hard to believe at one point this franchise seemed to be on the way out and a relic of the early 2000s to now being one of Universal Pictures’ most iconic franchises.

The franchise is reportedly coming to an end with the final two films, the first being Fast X which is set for release on May 19, 2023. Universal Pictures has been hyping the movie up, with the first trailer set to premiere at Super Bowl LVII. The studio has also been releasing legacy trailers for each previous installment, getting audiences nostalgic for the end of the main series. With that in mind take a look back at the franchise’s best car chases and action set pieces and see why this series has endured for over twenty years.

6 Oil Tanker – Fast & Furious

Michelle Rodriguez in Fast and Furious returning for Fast X
Universal Pictures

While The Fast & The Furious: Toyko Drift has its fair share of fans, it was seen as a disappointment at the box office Universal Studios decided to relaunch the series by reuniting the original cast for Fast & Furious. The franchise needed to make a big impression, and so the film’s opening action scene informed audiences exactly how big the franchise had grown.

The film opens with Dominic Torretto and his crew hijacking a fuel tanker. It was a massive action scene that showed the franchise was evolving in terms of scale and would set the stage for the evolution of the franchise into a massive-scale spectacle.

5 The First Street Race – The Fast and the Furious

Diesel Walker Fast Furious 2001 Universal
Universal Pictures

While the series has evolved into a heist series with cars, The Fast and the Furious got its start with simple racing (the first film was inspired by an article about street racing in New York City), so the first film puts a great deal of emphasis on the sport. The first race between the franchise’s two main characters, Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, is not only a fun action scene but an important one that sets up the main emotional friendship of the franchise. It all begins here at this moment.

4 Cars Being Dropped From A Plane – Furious 7

A car seemingly flying in the air
Universal Pictures

Expectations for Furious 7 were high, not just because of how well received both Fast Five and Fast and Furious 6 were, but because the movie had to work around the tragic passing of star Paul Walker who died during production. The film was reworked to give the character a fitting end, and audiences turned out in droves to see the movie as it currently stands as the most successful film in the franchise.

Related: Here’s What Makes the Fast & Furious Movies So Popular

Director James Wan stepped in and brought some of the biggest action to the franchise, with the standout being dropping cars out of a plane using parachutes and having them land on a mountain road to pursue their target in an epic car chase. The action scene feels straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon and was offering audiences the creative spy action that the classic Bond movies used to provide. The airdropped cars also would set the stage for the imaginative and ridiculous action Wan would bring to Aquaman.

3 Mine Chase – F9

F9 Fast & Furious
Universal Pictures

Fast 9 was a highly anticipated movie in the franchise, as it would not only bring back fan-favorite character Han, but the movie was delayed by over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time the movie was delayed, audiences had already seen multiple ads for it, and the movie has plenty of great action scenes, but the one everyone immediately thinks of is the car chase through a minefield. Dom and his team race across a minefield, tricking them to go off to take down enemy vehicles.

It is a great combination of the franchise mixing the classic car chase with traditional combative action but with cars. Ending the scene with Dom hooking his car to the cable of a bridge to get across from one point to another is the over-the-top insane spectacle audiences have come to love from the franchise and after a year when it was unclear if cinemas would truly ever return, it was a reminder of just how magical the movies can be.

2 The Tank Chase – Fast and Furious 6

Fast and Furious 6 Tank
Universal Pictures

After two big box office intakes during the spring season, Fast and Furious 6 returned the franchise to a summer movie slot and they knew for the sixth entry in the franchise they needed some big summer spectacle. There are plenty of great car chases in the film, including a chase to catch a plane down the world’s longest runway, but the standout action scene of the movie is the midway action scene in Spain.

Related: Every Fast & Furious Movie Ranked by Box Office Gross

To up the ante, the heroes are put on the defensive when the main villain Owen Shaw commandeers a tank. Bringing a tank to a car chase immediately ups the stakes and the characters even comment on the danger it poses to them. While later attempts to up the action in the franchise may have gotten a little out of hand, the presence of the tank was a shocking moment that took everybody by surprise.

1 The Vault Chase – Fast Five

Fast Five Brazil Heist
Universal Pictures

Without a doubt, the standout action scene of the franchise is the Vault Chase from Fast Five. Fast Five was the film that truly turned the franchise around, shifting the focus from street racing to an international crime saga with cars and the vault chase took the action to a whole new level.

The scene involves the team dragging a vault through the streets of Rio de Janeiro causing a large amount of destruction and chaos. This is the moment the franchise truly shifts into a ridiculous level of action that would redefine the series and remains the highlight of the series.