Go back to Need for Speed: The Run

Written by: Rik

Date posted: March 9, 2019

Need for Speed: The Run is clearly inspired by the world of film, specifically daft road racing capers where people are required to drive a long way for fairly spurious reasons. Here’s a look back at some of the movie world’s various versions of The Run:

Vanishing Point (1971)

The Film: Delivery driver Kowalski decides to complete his latest job in double-quick time, attracting the attention of the police, media and public along the way.

The Run: Denver to San Francisco.

The Car: 1970 Dodge Challenger.

The Spurious Reason: To get free pills. Or to work through some issues caused by previous life traumas. Or for no good reason at all.


Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The Film: Trucking legend Bo “Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) switches to running blocker for pal Cledus “Snowman” Snow as they take on an unlikely bet, accompanied by runaway bride Sally Field, and pursued by countless members of law enforcement, led by Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason).

The Run: Texarcana to Atlanta.

The Car: 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am.

The Spurious Reason: Some rich men want some Coors beer, apparently unavailable east of Texas, and they’re willing to pay silly money for it. Sequels would involve even dafter quests, including taking custody of a pregnant elephant, and transportation of a big plastic fish.

The Cannonball Run (1981)

The film: In a more direct parallel with The Run, and based on some real-life cross-country races that took place in the 70s, Burt Reynolds (yes, him again) leads a star-studded cast of celebrity racers across the US.

The Run: Connecticut to California.

The Car: Various, including a Dodge Tradesman Ambulance.

The Spurious Reason: I’m not sure there is one, actually.

The Chase (1994)

The Film: Jack (Charlie Sheen), wanted by the police for a crime he didn’t commit, decides to go on the run, kidnapping wealthy heiress Kristy Swanson and nicking her car in the process. Pursuing officers are led by Henry Rollins (yes, that one).

The Car: BMW 3-Series.

The Run: Newport Beach to Mexico.

The Spurious Reason: He’s facing 25 years in prison. So maybe not such a spurious reason after all.

Hit and Run (2012)

The Film: Ex-con Charlie (Dax Shepard) violates his parole in order to drive his girlfriend Annie (played by real-life partner Kristen Bell) across California. Getting in their way are an incompetent parole officer, Annie’s unhinged ex-boyfriend, and some unsavoury acquaintances from Charlie’s past.

The Car: Various (many from Shepard’s own collection) including a Lincoln Continental.

The Run: Milton to Los Angeles.

The Spurious Reason: To get to a job interview at a university.

Need for Speed (2014)

The Film: Tobey (Aaron Paul) has 45 hours to get to the starting line of a prestigious supercar race known as De Leon. If he makes it, he’ll face off against preening baddie Dominic Cooper.

The Car: Various, but mainly a Ford Shelby Mustang.

The Run: New York to San Francisco.

The Spurious Reason: To avenge a friend killed in a car crash, while causing several thousand others in the process.

That’s obviously not an exhaustive list of all films that cover this territory, although please do feel free to write in anyway and let me know about any I missed – you could win a prize.

An appearance in the list does not constitute an endorsement, and many of these films are objectively Not Good, although they are all better than the story told in Need for Speed: The Run.