Best Roads from the Big Screen
By: Louis Cooper
Last updated: 12 August 2015
Ever wondered what it would be like to drive through a film set? Or seen a superb movie location on screen and wondered where it was? Here are some of the most famous big screen boulevards.
“The best road in the world” once proclaimed Jeremy Clarkson “One unbroken grey ribbon of automotive perfection” is its legend. Transfăgărășan highway in Romania was featured in the 2009 series of Top Gear as the three presenters reviewed the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Ferrari California and Aston DBS Volante. It cuts into the Carpathian Mountains with over 60 miles of tarmac connecting the cities of Sibiu and Pitești.
One of our favourite roads is the awe-inspiring A82, featured in the 2012 Bond sequel ‘Skyfall’, which segues into the Scottish Highlands. The iconic silver-stallion, the DB5, is seen escaping to Bond’s roots in Glencoe as he and ‘M’ leave a trail for villain Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem) to chase. Director Sam Mendes focusses on the rugged landscape between the stunning peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag in this artistic driving sequence. But if you are in search of the Skyfall family residence, then you’ll have no luck in Scotland. The rundown manor and chapel were constructed on Hankley Common in Surrey on a stretch of Ministry of Defence land. Bond estate or not, the drive along the A82 north is stunning! We suggest starting off from Clifton at the intercept of the A85 and A82 and head north towards Glencoe, you’ll see Loch Tulla, Loch Ba, Glencoe Mountain and the two peaks featured in the film on the way.
Moyenne Corniche Highway
Next takes us to the French Riviera to the backdrop of Ronin, the 1998 spy action thriller directed by John Frankenheimer who was famous for his work with car chases because he opted to shoot all scenes live, bringing authenticity to the action without the use of special effects. The scene in which Jean Reno and Robert De Niro’s characters chase the Russian baddies through the narrow hillside is on the Moyenne Corniche highway between Monaco and Nice. The scene sees Skipp Sudduth’s character race a 1998 Audi S8 Quattro between the weaving streets of idyllic seaside village Villefranche Sur Mer.
What would this list be without mentioning one of driving’s blockbuster classics like Drive. The 2011 remake is an ode to American muscle featuring the sleek Chevy Impala, driven by the similarly sleek Ryan Gosling. One scene sees the anonymously named ‘Driver’ take Irene and her son for a ride home and asks “do you wanna see something?” of course she does. The subsequent sequence shows off the infamous concrete bed of the LA River next to Victory Boulevard in Reseda. The exceptional green spot he takes them to is under the Orange Line Busway Bridge, East of White Oak Avenue.
Far from an auto-classic, The Secret life of Walter Mitty may not strike you as a film to make this list. However, there is an iconic sequence where Walter takes a longboard on the winding tarmac of Seyðisfjarðarvegur road into glorious Seydisfjordur, Iceland that is sure to be enjoyed by any petrol head.
Last but not least, is possibly the biggest car franchise of the century, Fast and Furious. The globe-trotting mega movies have gone far and wide to shoot some of the best driving scenes ever seen on the big screen. So to choose just one from the seven films is tough, so we picked two. This opening scene from Fast 6 jumps straight into a race between, old friends, Dom and Brian as they blaze through the tight lanes of Tenerife on the TF-42 road between Buenavista del Norte and Punta de Teno. Dom drives his classic supercharged Challenger as Brian opts for his faithful Nissan GT-R in the hope the winner will influence baby Jack’s affiliation to either American muscle or performance car fandom.
Pacific Coast Highway
Perhaps the most iconic road from the Fast series has to be the Pacific Coast Highway in the rolling hills near Malibu, California in the closing sequence of the latest film. Which sees Vin Diesel as his character Dominic Toretto bidding farewell to the late Paul Walker in an emotional tribute to his personal friend and fellow actor. The final scene sees Paul Walker driving off into the sunset to commemorate his last appearance on screen.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of the best big screen driving there is and let us know if there are any you think we’ve missed.