Car movie of the day: ‘Ronin’

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Editor’s note: Car guys, and even car girls, can take only so much of those Hallmark holiday movies that fill the airwaves and cable systems this time of year. As an automotive alternative, we’re offering our own suggestions of our favorite car movies for your viewing pleasure. Check out more of our favorite car movies here.


Contrary to popular belief, the best motion picture car chase wasn’t the one in Bullitt. It was in Ronin, the 1998 crime caper by John Frankenheimer — yes, the same man who directed Grand Prix, one of the best motorsports movies ever shot.

Because of budget restraints, Frankenheimer used much of the same equipment from Grand Prix to film Ronan, which likely added to the realism of the choreographed car chases. No computer graphics involved.

As expected, Robert de Niro is a tour de force in <i>Ronin</i>. | United Artists Screenshot
As expected, Robert de Niro is a tour de force in Ronin. | United Artists Screenshot

The movie stars the likes of Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Natascha McElhone, and the acting is, quite obviously, very well done, but the car craft is downright amazing.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Bullitt and Ronin were good but your award of the greatest car chases is clearly misplaced, the greatest car chases (and car movie) were found in the 1971 classic Vanishing Point.

  2. Hopefully the show isn’t 5-6 different frames per second like the trailer,I get a bad headache when watching it this way. I wish it could go back to normal speed

  3. While I enjoyed watching the big Mercedes (I restored a 450 SEL in the same colors) and some of the other car action in the movie, the movie itself was way, way too long. The denouement took about an hour to unfold, with too many improbable turns.

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