16 Great Chase Movies Where Lovable Outlaws Are On The Run From Justice

List Rules
Vote up the outlaw road movies that are worth hunting down.

There are all kinds of road movies, but some of the most entertaining are the ones where outlaws go on the run. The potential is there not only for action, but also for comedy and romance. When you get the right stars and a screenplay that fully develops whatever it is that causes the main characters to flee, the results can be unforgettable.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these movies is that they get us to root for people who are technically fugitives from justice. Having the protagonist be wrongfully accused of a crime or forced to do something illegal for a benevolent purpose is one way of achieving this. On the other hand, you have films like Bonnie and Clyde, where the characters are not only bank robbers but also killers. In cases like that, it's up to the writing and acting to show us something deeper, to find the humanity beneath the criminal aspects. Regardless of which way filmmakers choose to go, taking a ride with antiheroes is a unique kind of cinematic thrill.

Which of the following chase movies where outlaws are on the run from justice gives you the biggest rush? Vote up your favorites. 

  • The Outlaws: Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) are Chicago blues musicians, known for always wearing dark suits and sunglasses. 

    Why Are They On The Run? Their goal is to reunite their old band to earn money for the orphanage where they were raised. Unfortunately, they run afoul of the law, thanks to Elwood's mile-long rap sheet of driving violations.

    How Does It All Go Down? The brothers do indeed reunite their band, traveling around Illinois performing in various bars and clubs. Aside from the police, they're chased by "Illinois Nazis" following an unpleasant encounter with them. There's even a car chase right through the middle of a shopping mall. After the Blues Brothers accrue enough cash to save the orphanage, literally dozens of cops pursue them through Chicago, where they race to City Hall, getting there just in time to turn over the funds. As soon as they do, they're apprehended by law enforcement. Jake goes back to the slammer, taking Elwood with him this time.

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  • The Outlaws: Bo "Bandit" Darville (Burt Reynolds) is a truck driver with a good-old-boy personality and a rebellious streak. Carrie (Sally Field) is the hitchhiker he picks up. She's on the run to avoid having to marry a man she doesn't love. 

    Why Are They On The Run? Bandit has accepted a bet requiring him to illegally transport 400 cases of beer across state lines. That gets Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) on his tail. But Justice's son is also the guy Carrie ditched, so he's after her, too, albeit for more personal reasons.

    How Does It All Go Down? Bandit drives a Pontiac Trans Am while his partner Snowman drives the truck containing the beer. As Justice and his deputies give chase, Bandit relies on trucker friends for repeated assists in dodging the men in blue. A helicopter soon joins the chase, making it more difficult to hide. Thanks to Snowman's aggressive driving, the gang is able to smash through a roadblock and deliver the beer. They're a minute late, though, meaning the bet is lost. Bandit then agrees to a second, double-or-nothing bet that will make him go on a run to Boston for clam chowder. He and his cohorts escape, leaving Justice - in his now badly damaged squad car - in the dust, setting up a sequel in the process.

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  • The Outlaw: Kowalski (Barry Newman) is a Vietnam vet who now works as a professional driver for hire. He's got a dependency to pills. 

    Why Is He On The Run? Reckless driving is the culprit here. He makes an arrangement with his dealer for free pills if he can get a car from Colorado to California in less than 15 hours. That leads to a lot of speeding.

    How Does It All Go Down? Because he's an ace behind the wheel, the cops have a tough time keeping up with Kowalski. He gets encouragement from a radio disc jockey who's following the police pursuit. Because of that DJ's influence, Kowalski becomes something of a folk hero, with people rooting for him to elude the police. The chase extends through the desert, and briefly entails the antihero picking up a couple hitchhikers. Things finally come to a head when the cops set up a road block, utilizing two bulldozers. Realizing he's caught but not wanting to give the police the satisfaction of winning, Kowalski slams into those bulldozers, causing the car to explode with him still inside.

  • The Outlaws: Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) are just about the two most charismatic and charming outlaws you could ever find. They're the leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang.  

    Why Are They On The Run? The guys decide to rob a train. Things don't go as planned when Butch blows up the baggage car by using too much dynamite in his effort to get into the train's safe. That puts them squarely in the sights of the authorities. 

    How Does It All Go Down? Running from the law becomes increasingly difficult, so Butch and Sundance hatch a plan to make a run toward Bolivia. Once there, they find it challenging to carry on in a country where they don't speak the language. They try going straight for a while, but that doesn't work out. They're outlaws at heart. In the end, the men are cornered in a building by lawmen. Perhaps foolishly believing they can still escape, they charge out the front door, guns blazing. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid goes to a freeze-frame on that image, although the intense gunshots in the soundtrack suggest that they're mowed down.

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  • The Outlaws: Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) just escaped from a Texas prison. Needing a hostage to aid in his escape, he kidnaps 8-year-old Jehovah's Witness Philip (T.J. Lowther). 

    Why Are They On The Run? The prison breakout and kidnapping are more than sufficient to get Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood) started on a manhunt.

    How Does It All Go Down? Although Butch is a bad guy, he discovers a softer side, becoming a surrogate father to Philip. He does everything he can to assuage the kid's fears and keep him safe amid the chaos. He even shoplifts a Halloween costume for the boy, who was never allowed to celebrate the holiday at home. Red, meanwhile, intensifies his search. He gets a lucky break when Philip shoots Butch in the stomach to prevent him from killing a man. Red is able to corner Butch in a field, where he's shot by an FBI agent assisting in the hunt. Red is angry that he couldn't simply arrest Butch, and Philip is reunited with his mother. 

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    The Outlaws: Clarence (Christian Slater) is a devoted fan of martial arts movies, comic books, and Elvis. Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is a call girl he falls in love with. 

    Why Are They On The Run? To get Alabama "free," Clarence kills her pimp. Unfortunately for them, he also grabs a suitcase full of drugs, mistakenly believing it's her belongings. When he tries to sell it, the mob, to whom it rightfully belongs, comes looking for them. 

    How Does It All Go Down? Clarence and Alabama take a road trip to Los Angeles from Detroit, where he starts making arrangements to peddle the stuff. Meanwhile, one of the mobsters locates Alabama and savagely beats her. A sting operation is set up to trap Clarence, leading to a massive gunfight that leaves him injured and pretty much everyone else except Alabama dead. Badly bleeding, he takes the money that was intended to buy the drugs, then escapes to Mexico with his true love.

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