When the trailer first hit theaters in 2001, it had all the tell-tale signs of a routine summer blockbuster — dudes, fast cars, L.A., cool criminals. Plus, that overworked Movie Trailer Voiceover Guy who solemnly intoned phrases like, “On the street, where reputations are made,” and “In a world beyond the law…”
This is how the world was first introduced to The Fast and the Furious, the film starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker that never sought out to become what it did: a multi-billion-dollar, two-decade-long (and counting) global movie franchise. (Earlier this summer saw the release of the franchise’s ninth installment, with the tenth set to start filming in January and the eleventh already slated for production.) And that original trailer — bumped with the rap-rock menace of Limp Bizkit singing, “I’ma do things my way, it’s my way or the highway,” still captures the ethos of the series.
To celebrate the anniversary of the franchise that’s delivered high-flying, gear-grinding, wheels-smoking mayhem for 20 years, I’m highlighting my top 20 real-life Fast & Furious moments in recent car chase history. They’re so over-the-top that they deserve to be part of the Fast & Furious family — which we all know is the most important thing of all.
20) A White Camaro Leads Cop in a High-Speed Chase Through the Morning Commute in Houston
To start us off, we have this classic from 2018. Somewhere near the University of Houston, a man robs a GameStop, and then makes his getaway in a white Camaro. This chase is ranked so low because, as you’ll see, the driver has no chance of racing while stuck in Houston’s morning rush-hour freeway traffic. That’s simply no way to escape the long arm of the law. Brian and Dom would not approve.
19) Stolen Tanker Truck: 18 Wheels Moving as Fast as They Can
A local helicopter news reporter attempted to describe what he was witnessing to L.A. morning news viewers like so: “I have a tanker truck in Beverly Hills. This is a unique one — and a challenging one. A 2,000-gallon tanker truck is being pursued by the LAPD.” It isn’t a high-speed chase, for obvious reasons. But a stolen eighteen-wheeler driving through Beverly Hills feels very Fast & Furious, even if it was Slow & Deliberate.
18) An International Whirlwind: Racing into Oncoming Traffic in South Africa
To prove that Fast & Furious-inspired lawlessness can pop off anywhere in the world, here’s a video from South Africa of a high-speed chase into oncoming freeway traffic. Thanks to the dashcam perspective, it feels like you’re just moments away from ending it all in the grill of a semi.
17) Lawlessness in the Heartland: Is This a Dodge Commercial?
In this video from Ohio, a dude in a silver Dodge gets into it with three cop cars. First, the cop cars try to use a pit move to spin the truck out of control and into a power pole. But it doesn’t work, and instead, the truck begins to thrash and tear up all three cops cars like an angry animal. Eventually, the dude drives off. Basically, the video is a kickass advertisement for Dodge trucks.
16) I Like the Way You Flip It, No Diggity
L.A. features in a few of these incredible high-speed car-chase videos. And for good reason — it’s the hometown of Dominic Toretto, the backdrop of the first Fast & Furious film and a city covered in miles upon miles of freeway. Ask anyone from L.A. and they’ll tell you how the local news will interrupt just about any broadcast to go live to a high-speed chase. In large part, that’s because of all the newschoppers in town. Getting in a car chase in L.A. is like trying to run from a low-tech version of God’s Eye. In this video, the newschoppers and police helicopters stay with the driver right up until the end, when he flips his car in Echo Park.
15) A Bridge Too Far
This one’s a short one — the dude is trying to escape the cops and races across a bridge in what looks like Florida. He senses that his minivan isn’t gonna make it. So he pulls over on the bridge, and before the cops slide to a stop, he quickly gets out, runs to the edge and hops over the side, dropping 50 feet or so into the water below. Gotta respect the man’s commitment.
14) An AMG in Sweden Dusts a Cop to EDM Music
Imagine you live in Sweden, you drive a modified Mercedes AMG, and for fun, you go out at night, attempt to find a cop, get in front of them and then taunt them to try to pull you over. When they flash their lights, you punch it and they recede into your rearview like a memory. That’s what this dude does for shits and giggles — and clout. He finds cops and dusts them while bumping some EDM. You know, a man must have hobbies.
13) Your Stolen Russian Truck with a Transport Trailer Is No Match for… Rocks?
Russia is a chaotic place where drivers often install dash cams so that they have video proof of any faked accidents or scammers who throw themselves in front of the car for a payday. Russian police also have dash cams to record their day-to-day operations, for many of the same reasons. Russian dash cam videos deserve their own Top 20 List, but for our purposes, let’s dive into this video’s Fast & Furious-esque comedy and pedal-to-the-metal antics.
Two cops in a patrol car speed past a stolen truck loaded with vehicles for transport in the middle of a picturesque Russian forest. The cops then attempt a daring gambit as they get past the wildly careening truck. At around the 4-minute mark, they speed down the road, pull over and then curiously gather up rocks. A minute later, when the 18-wheeler comes rumbling past, the cops throw the rocks at the truck’s windshield.
12) Traffic Stop in New Mexico Turns into a Roadrunner Cartoon
Here’s the scene: A state trooper pulls a driver over for going 75 mph. The trooper gets out and saunters up to the passenger side window of the Dodge and leans down to talk. After initial contact, the cop starts to relax and lets down his guard. That’s when the driver punches it. The Dodge disappears down the New Mexico freeway — never to be seen again. Dom would be pleased.
11) Man on Motorcycle Escapes Police Helicopter
It’s a lot easier to escape the cops if you only have to ditch the ones on the ground. It’s way more difficult when you have to lose a helicopter that’s chasing you. However, in the spirit of Fast & Furious, it can be done, especially if you can find an overpass or bridge. This motorcyclist is chased by a police helicopter, but he’s able to ditch the eye in the sky with some fast thinking.
10) Just Wanted to Stop and Chill With the Homies
As two confused and flustered L.A. news anchors attempt to give play-by-play of a high-speed chase, they begin to question the rule of law when the cops don’t follow the criminals, and their wild ride ends with them partying with the homies back at the lab. At one point, the news anchors even trot out the spirit of Fast & Furious to try to make sense of what they’re seeing live.
“Maybe this is part of a movie and they were filming this whole time and we didn’t realize it.”
“I can only pray. I can only hope to God. Look at them, they just do not care.”
“They’re chatting with some friends.”
“Please tell me this is a cop.”
“Where is Vin Diesel? This is the end of a Fast & Furious movie. What do you think they were listening to while they were cruising the streets of Los Angeles — a little Pitbull?”
9) GTR Gives a Cop a Head Fake, Then Guns It
The Nissan GTR is a street-racing legend. The humble sports car regularly puts Porsches, Lambos and other high-dollar supercars to shame. But apparently no one told this police officer, because he pulls over a GTR at night and then watches as it rapidly disappears into the darkness. Goodnight.
8) Man Drives Wrong Way on Freeway, Leads Cops on High-Speed Tour of New Jersey
A vital part of the Fast & Furious lifestyle is to never get caught. What good is speed if you can’t use it? What good is a fast car if you’re locked up? Following that reasoning, this dude is dedicated to lawless mayhem — and he proves it by driving into oncoming traffic at freeway speeds. The wild part is how the cops chase him, doing all the same shit.
7) Carjacker Tries to Make a Truck Fly Across the Desert, Fails and Steals a Cop Car Instead
The chase starts as a bank robbery, which turns into a carjacking, which turns into a second carjacking, which turns into a high-speed chase, which ends in the desert with the driver hitting a dirt jump like the Dukes of Hazzard. At one point, the helicopter pilot filming it all shouts, “Boom! Craig, did you see that?” But the best part has to be when the perp circles back on the cop as he follows him in the desert, then steals the cop’s car and leads them on an even wilder chase.
6) A Stolen 26-Foot U-Haul Turns into a Ball of Fire
Again, L.A. features prominently in this list because it’s the hometown of the Fast & Furious films, and because it’s a city where high-speed car chases are celebrated as a way of life. Or as this exasperated morning news anchor opines, “Another day, another pursuit.” This particular video is amazing because you could go your whole life without ever seeing anything like it, except in the movies — or, of course, in L.A. traffic.
5) Farm Boy in Dodge Challenger 392 Races Through the Corn Fields
That said about L.A., they go plenty fast in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, too. For instance, there’s this farm boy in a Dodge Challenger who says “bye bye” to a cop after he races down a road that runs seemingly forever. Meanwhile, just listen to that engine hum its throaty roar.
4) Two Dodge Hellcats Both Ditch Cops, as a Brotha Narrates Their Escape
They’re cornered by cops in the middle of nowhere — it’s late, it’s dark and they look to be well and properly fucked. And yet, the brothas in the Dodge Hellcat never lose hope. They keep reaching for that freedom down the road, and they ultimately find it. First, they slide between the cops’ pincer move, and then the driver mashes the accelerator, and the cops fall away like yesterday. The brothas celebrate their victory and wonder “what them girls are up to” — the ones that they were talking to before the cop hassle. In other words, life went TF on. It’s the feel-good hit of this list.
3) Piloting a Stolen RV, When Your Co-pilot Is the Dog on Your Lap
This has to be the greatest of the L.A. entries because it’s so ridiculous. It feels like some Fast & Furious shit where Dom and Brian have to escape Tarzana so they steal an RV. But when it’s not them and total amateur hour instead, the results are spectacularly different. The stolen RV chase lasts a considerable amount of time as the newschopper follows along and uses its Real Time Speed Tracker software to update you with estimated rates of velocity.
But at one point, the driver hits a tree in a parking lot and peels open the RV like a tuna can. For the rest of the time, there’s no side or no windshield, so the driver has to hold her dog in the RV as she tries to stay ahead of the police. For those worried, no harm occurs to the dog. But that RV gets properly fucked-up!
2) Hellcats with Hood Energy
For the runner-up spot, we have a compilation of Dodge Hellcat owners from the hood making a sport of embarrassing state troopers. The preferred move seems to be to pull over, wait for the trooper to step out of his patrol car and approach the Hellcat, but when the officer is sufficiently close, the driver stomps on the gas pedal like it owes them money and floors it out of there. Meanwhile, the state trooper rushes back to his car to give chase, records it all and then posts the video on TikTok for fans and subs. Rinse, repeat.
1) Driving Fast & Furiously While Looking for Cops to Goof On
For number one, we have what’s hands-down the most flat-out, tire-screeching, IRL Fast & Furious behavior you’ll ever see. There’s a handful of drivers in Stockholm’s “underground car scene” who’ve tricked out their cars with stupid-fast engines mods and handling adjustments. For fun, they drive around at night and film themselves embarrassing the police. They get in front of a cop, dare the officer to give chase and then hit the gas.
The best part is the camerawork is super clean. It looks like a 4K movie as you take a tour of Stockholm at 180 mph. The videos are genuinely relaxing and beautiful to look at. Plus, the drivers always get away with it. Most of all, though, you can feel the exhilaration of that kind of speed and why someone would want to “live a quarter mile at a time.”