STEVE McQueen’s gripping pursuit of hitmen through the hilly streets of San Francisco in Bullitt was today voted cinema’s most iconic car chase in a poll by discount offer firm VoucherCodesPro.
It beat The French Connection, The Italian Job and The Fast and Furious to the title.
The sequence in the 1968 thriller featuring policeman McQueen in a Ford Mustang has previously been hailed by critics as among the most exciting car chases in film history.
It won the film an Oscar for editing, with Ford since producing two special Bullitt editions of the car.
The other most popular car chases included The Blues Brothers, The Bourne Supremacy - the most recent film in the top ten - and The Rock.
The top ten was completed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and The Matrix Reloaded.
However, it seems car chases are made memorable for more filmgoers by the actors or cars involved rather than the drama tension.
The poll showed 52 per cent said an admired or respected actor was the key element, while 36 per cent said it was all about the cars, with only 32 per cent saying “how scary they found the scenes”.
The survey also confirmed the impact of car chases on filmgoers, with 87 per cent saying such sequences had stayed in their mind as an “iconic moment on screen”.
The survey was conducted among 2,471 British adults, with an even gender split.
A straw poll of motoring experts by The Scotsman gave The Italian Job - a gold robbery masterminded by Michael Caine - the edge among personal favourites.
Automobile Association president Edmund King said: “In terms of excitement, the Minis in the Italian Job are hard to beat as the scenes appeal to all the family – even my mum loved it.
“The attraction of the older car chase scenes was the lack of special effects.
“They were raw and, even with stuntmen, there was a very real sense of danger.
“The pace and intensity of the movie leading up to a car chase also helped to make it iconic.
“Nowadays, there is a feeling the movie makers try to cram as many special effects as possible into a chase.
“It becomes more of a computer game than a gripping spectacle, and probably less real as a result.”
Motoring writer Alan Douglas said: “It’s definitely the Italian Job - and I was in Turin last week on the rooftop test track of the Fiat building used in the film, for the launch of the new Fiat 500.”
The Blues Brothers got Royal Automobile Club Foundation spokesman Phil Gomm’s vote.
He said: “When it comes to pure crash, bang, wallop, little beats The Blues Brothers’ chase scene through Chicago.
“In these days of computer-generated imagery, it’s worth remembering there was a time when what you saw on screen was what they filmed on the set.”
However, Mr Gomm agreed Steve McQueen was a master of the car chase.
He said: “While Bullitt rightly draws acclaim, Steve McQueen also starred in the 1971 film Le Mans, which is essentially a thrilling two-hour-long car chase between now-classic Porsches and Ferraris.”
VoucherCodesPro chief executive Nick Swan, said: “The car chase is iconic in Hollywood films, providing some of the most exciting and thrilling sequences in cinema.
“They’re absolutely great for petrol heads, whilst providing an exciting view for film lovers.”