At their best, they are masterpieces of cinematography and editing. But the car chase is too often overlooked as a serious piece of film-making.
Anyone who has ever tried to put together a family video, say, at a cousin's wedding - or the ever-swelling armada of digital lens jockeys that point their ground glass eyes up the hill at Goodwood every year - will know how difficult it is to create a coherent, well-paced and exciting story out of dispirate images of moving vehicles.
Imagine then, having to coordinate a few of million dollars of Hollywood budget and a brace of cameras, sound equippage - let alone members of the Hollywood A-list like De Niro and Jean Reno.
You really have to take your hat off to the team that put this great car chase together. It's not in the same class as our favourite of all time, The Driver, but it's pretty damn good.
The film is actually pretty good generally - though it never made much money at box office despite the draw of De Niro.
According to IMDB actor Skipp Sudduth, who plays one of the central villains of the piece, requested to do his own stunt driving during the car chases. Director John Frankenheimer agreed.
Frankenheimer apparently told Sudduth "I don't wanna see any brake lights."
Hair raising stuff. And we want that 450 SEL 6.9 Mercedes...