Remember that scene in 1964’s Goldfinger where Sean Connery’s James Bond is held at gunpoint in his Aston Martin DB5, but presses the hidden button in his gear lever to eject his captor out the roof?
Oh, that’s a scene unlike any other! It gripped us to our chair as the henchman was forcefully flung from the car and Bond continued making his daring escape attempt.
From that point onwards, Bond movies were forever changed as car chases with cool gadgets and gimmicks became a staple.
2002’s Die Another Day is another prime example of the Bond franchise pushing an epic-yet-ludicrous car chase. The missiles, the auto-aiming shotguns, the mortars, the ejector seat, the invisibility… none of it should have worked, but it did—because it was a Bond movie.
Here are our favorite picks for the best James Bond car chase scenes throughout the franchise and why they’re so awesome!
7. The Apprehension of Mr. White (Quantum of Solace)
Following the end of Daniel Craig’s first Bond outing in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace picks up where he left off.
Having captured Mr. White, Bond is now in a chase against bad guys in Italy. He’s in an Aston Martin DBS—with sparse gadgets—and is fending them off with a machine gun sat in his passenger seat.
The chase epitomizes Daniel Craig’s Bond: unrelenting, emotional, and cold-blooded. He’s still mourning the death of Vesper Lynd, and bringing Mr. White in for questioning is all that matters.
It all looks slick and sublime against the backdrop of Lake Garda, with cinematography that stands out beautifully. The car ends up wrecked (but in one piece) while Bond destroys the pursuers using Italian traffic and pure brute force.
6. The Empty BMW (Tomorrow Never Dies)
It’s the most gadget-laden vehicle Bond has ever driven: the BMW 750iL that was given to Bond during an era when BMW was supplying the production with their cars.
Pierce Brosnan’s iteration of Bond had placed the encoder inside the car, which apparently can’t be broken into. Though the henchmen try with sledgehammers and other implements, the BMW refuses to relent.
Then the chase begins when Bond remotely drives the car around the parking garage with his phone—and jumps into the back seat. He uses all manner of gadgets to escape the bad guys, but winds up driving the car off the roof (only after he’s escaped the back seat, of course).
5. The Lotus Submarine (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Despite how incredible the Lotus Esprit looked at high speeds, its car chase wasn’t just about showing off its beauty. The idea that Q-branch built the car to be a submarine? Completely outlandish, yet the visual definition of Roger Moore’s James Bond.
The chase itself is wonderfully insane as Bond fends off numerous bad guys from the driver’s seat of the Esprit, all while giving the helicopter pilot the eye as she tries to kill him, too. The use of the various gadgets is fun, with so many cool weapons attached to the Lotus.
The moment the car chase ends up underwater, it becomes eye-rollingly stupid as Bond uses the underwater features to destroy the helicopter still hovering above. However, if you take it with a pinch of salt and suspend your disbelief, the chase scene is a Bond classic.
4. The Tank (GoldenEye)
Despite being one of the better Bond movies, GoldenEye is devoid of any real James Bond-esque car chase scene. It has a sequence featuring his classic Aston Martin DB5 and a Ferrari, but that was more to do with hubris and sexual tension than thrilling life-or-death moments.
That said, GoldenEye does feature one of the most inventive chase sequences in the history of the franchise!
After Pierce Brosnan’s Bond is framed for killing the Russian Defense Minister, he escapes custody and chases after Ourumov through the facility. When Ourumov drives away in a car, Bond hijacks a tank and pursues the rogue general through the streets of Moscow.
Ourumov chokes on his flask as he sees the tank chasing after them—the same reaction we had when we first saw the scene. It may not have the gadgets, but the tank sequence is still one of Bond’s best moments.
3. Aston Martin Skis (The Living Daylights)
Timothy Dalton’s James Bond remains dreadfully underrated by the general public. He was more of a renegade compared to the iterations that came before him.
One of his finest moments as Bond, however, came when he took control of the Aston Martin Vantage in The Living Daylights. The chase sequence saw Bond navigate through a barrage of police as he escapes the villains with Maryam in the passenger seat.
All of the gadgets come out in this one as the Vantage proves itself a worthy successor to the DB5. Rockets, machine guns, lasers—all are utilized during the thrilling chase, but for us, the sequence where the car gains spiked tires and skis is the most fun.
The chase sequence ends with Bond using the rocket propulsion system to jump over a police barricade before crashing into a snowdrift. It remains one of Bond’s most action-filled moments.
2. Vanquish vs. XKR (Die Another Day)
The return of Aston Martin to the Bond franchise was one of the few highlights of Die Another Day. As Bond faces off against Zao in a rapidly melting ice-hotel, he uses his brand new Vanquish to attempt to subdue his enemy and rescue Jinx.
The battle is laden with missiles and gadgets from both vehicles, which makes for a wildly entertaining sequence. The scene taking place on ice gives the film some striking imagery, too, as the two cars trade blows.
Of course, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond finally gains the upper hand through the car’s use of invisibility—and he kills Zao when the Jaguar topples from the top floor of the structure.
This chase is everything that Bond had been growing toward at that point in the franchise: utterly ridiculous but utterly fun.
1. The DB5 and the Ejector Seat (Goldfinger)
The original James Bond car chase sequence—at least, the only one that anybody cares about from the early movies—saw Sean Connery’s Bond fend off Goldfinger’s men while trying to protect Tilly Masterson.
Armed with his Aston Martin DB5, Sean Connery’s defining iteration of Bond is eventually captured and forced to drive into Goldfinger’s compound… though not before ejecting the henchman from the passenger seat and running riot first.
The use of the car’s many weapons is great fun to see, as both the sequence and the film marked a new era for Bond films. Goldfinger was the film that brought Bond out of his shell, with Sean Connery and the Aston Martin DB5 becoming an iconic duo in the process.
The chase sequence might be short, and it may not have the best visuals compared to today, and it isn’t the most gadget heavy… but it’s the one that started it all and remains the coolest to this day.