• Matteo Licata

The 5 Most Badass Italian Movie Car Chase Sequences

Although thrilling car chase sequences certainly aren't what Italian cinema is most known for, they became a staple of the various police dramas that Italian studios churned out regularly throughout the 1970s.

For the most part, these were low-budget productions whose poor storylines, one-dimensional characters, and lackluster acting have been widely mocked since then. Still, I must say there's also plenty for car enthusiasts to indulge, so here are my five favorite car chases in Italian movie history: buckle up and hold on tight.

"Banditi a Milano" (1968)

Banditi a Milano is actually a rather good movie, depicting the real story of the "Banda Cavallero," a gang that operated in Northwestern Italy between 1963 and 1967. The movie's climax is the gang's escape through Milan's streets while chased by the Police's Alfas in a stolen Fiat 1100D. Although it isn't the most incredible chase scene ever shot, the movie as a whole is an authentic piece of Italian history well worth checking out.

"Piedone Lo Sbirro" (1973)

I grew up on a steady diet of Bud Spencer movies, and the first installment of the "Piedone" trilogy, where Bud played a tough Neapolitan cop with a big heart, is a favorite of mine.

The car chase scene gains its place here mainly because of the impossibly glamorous vehicles involved: a Fiat 130 Coupé and no less than a Lamborghini Espada. Thankfully, both cars survived the ordeal undamaged, and I'd be curious to see whether they still exist today.

"Poliziotto Sprint" (1977)

This 1977 flick's plot amounts to little more than filler that connects the various chase sequences, performed by the legendary French stunt-man Rémy Julienne and his team.

What sets this movie apart is that, alongside several Citroen DSs and Giulias, a Ferrari 250 GTE gets trashed as well. This plot element was inspired by the same model that served in the Italian police between 1962 and 1968. However, this movie stretches believability a bit too far, as the Citroens used by the bad guys seem more than fast enough to keep up with the Ferrari and its three-liters V12 engine.

"La Mala Ordina" (1972)

"La Mala Ordina" from '72 is an enjoyable gangster movie starring a great Mario Adorf. The protagonist, out to avenge the killing of his family, chases a Ford Transit through Milan with an Opel Admiral, a saloon that must have been quite rare in Italy even at the time.

But the best bit comes later when the fugitive steals a Lancia Jolly, to which our protagonist hangs to for dear life, in a genuinely thrilling scene that's, sadly, kind of ruined when our man smashes the van's windscreen with his head. I guess even Chuck Norris would think that's a bit much.

"Roma Violenta" (1975)

This 1975 flick starring the late Maurizio Merli truly is a guilty pleasure: far from Oscar-worthy material, of course, but it's good fun nonetheless if you're into this genre.

Especially so when our hero jumps into his Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, equipped with a rather snazzy set of alloy wheels, to chase two bank robbers escaping in a silver BMW 2000. The two cars are pretty evenly matched, and this long chase scene truly is a rather brilliant piece of cinematography, as the speed and risks do look and feel very real indeed, keeping you on edge until the end.