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Top 10 Rooftop Chase Scenes in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Shannon Stovall They're adrenaline pumping, fast-paced, acrobatic, and at times, gravity-defying. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Rooftop Chase Scenes in Movies. For this list, we're taking a look at movie chases that reach new heights – literally – as they take place on rooftops. Keep in mind we're limiting this countdown to one entry per franchise. Also, be on the lookout for possible spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our user kenn1987, Jacob Koopmann and RazerWolf for submitting this idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Rooftop Chase Scenes in Movies


They're adrenaline pumping, fast-paced, acrobatic, and at times, gravity-defying. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Rooftop Chase Scenes in Movies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at movie chases that reach new heights – literally – as they take place on rooftops. Keep in mind we’re limiting this countdown to one entry per franchise. Also, be on the lookout for possible spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Enter Trinity
“The Matrix” (1999)

In this sci-fi classic by the Wachowskis, the laws of physics just don’t apply, and this is perfectly highlighted as Trinity takes to the rooftops to avoid capture. The police following her watch in amazement as she leaps from one building to another while audiences are treated to a view of her soaring over the street below and coming in for a graceful landing. The police halt their pursuit, but Agent Smith continues with this building-bounding chase. Neo isn’t the only one chasing a white rabbit - or a latex-y rabbit in this case.

#9: Ness vs. Nitti
“The Untouchables” (1987)

Mix in a one part notorious mobster, one part legendary federal agent, gunfire, and a dramatic chase across the rooftops of Chicago and you have our number nine pick. In this scene, Eliot Ness dodges not only gravity, but also bullets as he races to apprehend Frank Nitti, who flees to the courthouse roof in an attempt to escape. While the film may have taken some historical liberties with this scene, watching Ness avenge his fallen comrade with another fall at the end of the chase is truly satisfying entertainment.

#8: Take My Hand
“In the Line of Fire” (1993)

Protecting the president is serious business. It requires that no stone, or shingle as the case may be, be left unturned and unsecured. This thrilling chase scene from “In the Line of Fire” is filled with ladder climbing, building leaping and ledge hanging action. Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan, played by Clint Eastwood, races to apprehend a would-be presidential assassin, played by John Malkovich. Malkovich’s Leary ascends to the building tops to give his pursuer the slip, leading to several difficult decisions that’ll leave everybody in the audience on the edge of their seats.

#7: Up on the Housetop Comes Michael Myers
“Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” (1988)

There are few things scarier than being chased by a knife-wielding killer. “Halloween 4” ups the ante and takes us to another level of fear. Michael pursues his niece and her foster sister onto the roof of the house, blade in hand. The elder Rachel tries to protect herself and Jamie while simultaneously trying to escape and battling the steep slope of the roof, with the danger of falling and the masked serial killer lumbering after them. At least Michael strikes during Halloween and not Christmas. Otherwise, Santa would be having a very silent night.

#6: Vantage Points
“Enemy of the State” (1998)

You can run, but you can’t hide, especially when it’s the NSA chasing you. This scene from “Enemy of the State” treats the audience to multiple vantage points of the chase, as satellites, security cameras, and other sources are all manipulated to help catch Jason Lee’s character as he tries to escape with stolen information. Throughout this daring run, he jumps from building to building, while his moves are tracked and relayed to the agents following him on foot and by helicopter. Now that you know how big brother sees the whole world, there’s nowhere to run.

#5: Bourne to Be Wild
“The Bourne Legacy” (2012)

The only thing better than one chase is two, and this scene from “The Bourne Legacy” offers up a double dose of towering action. After Marta alerts Cross to the police’s presence in an effort to save him from arrest - or worse - the cops give chase to apprehend her. While the police pursue and corner Marta in the streets below, Cross races across the tops of the adjoining buildings, trying to seek out a way to rescue her from the rooftops and evade capture himself.

#4: Kim in Danger… Again
“Taken 2” (2012)

And you thought her father was tough. Kim proves that she inherited her father’s survival skills as she flees from her kidnappers across the roofs of Istanbul in this scene from the sequel to “Taken.” Her dad instructs her to leave her gun and run, which she does in adrenaline pumping fashion, manoeuvring from one roof to the next. She manages to lose one of the armed men as she leaps onto another rooftop, but must continue to race for her life as the second follows her. Gee, Kim attracts kidnappers like honey attracts bees.

#3: A Fear of Heights
“Vertigo” (1958)

This Hitchcockian psychological thriller is by far the oldest movie on our list to depict a rooftop chase. Our leading man, played by James Stewart, joins the police in pursuit of a fugitive across the rooftops of San Francisco. John slips while leaping from one rooftop to another and clings to the drainage pipe hanging over a terrifying drop. A fellow officer attempts to save him, but instead plummets to his death, resulting in John developing vertigo and audiences holding their breath for the rest of the film.

#2: A Fast & Furious Flee
“Fast Five” (2011)

The “Fast and Furious” movies specialize in car chases, but they have their fair share of exhilarating foot chases as well. Without a vehicle in sight, Mia and Brian are forced to flee for freedom upward. While men with automatic weapons follow close behind, they must both duck and dodge bullets while keeping gravity from taking over. This scene winds across several rooftops, ending with a dramatic leap off of one building and through the rooftop of the dwelling below, as the two do whatever it takes to get away.

Before we climb up to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Take the Elevator
“Johnny English Reborn” (2011)
- Yield to the Captain’s Shield
“Captain America: The Winter Solider” (2014)
- Climb! Climb!
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014)
- A Killer Chase
“Killer Elite” (2011)
- One Jump Ahead of the Breadline
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010)

#1: Motorcycle Chase
“Skyfall” (2012)


This list just wouldn’t be complete without a chase from the Bond franchise, and this one stands out above all the rest. After all, if you want to make a rooftop chase seem even more exciting, why not add in a few motorcycles? This scene from “Skyfall” perfectly depicts what we love in our chase scenes: foreign locales, narrow paths, daring leaps, and heart racing action. Add in an iconic super spy and you have a rooftop chase that we won’t soon forget.

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite rooftop chase scenes? For more electrifying top 10 lists published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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