The Guardian asked several film directors to choose their favorite movie scenes. Ryan Fleck chose the chase scene from The French Connection and discovered that the 80+ mph chase was done through normal traffic with Hackman just driving like a crazy person.
I did a little bit of research about how they shot the scene. Phenomenal. Basically they just did it. There was no security blocking off other traffic, just Hackman in a car with a camera mounted on the front. They went crazy, lost their minds, and went for it. It was the kind of thing that you just would never get away with these days.
I don’t know if it’s my favorite or not, but the opening scene in The Matrix where the cops walk into a dusty old building to find Trinity working alone at a computer and then she flies up in the air and the camera circles around her as she kicks those cops’ asses, well, let’s just say I want to be that excited about seeing the rest of every single movie I watch. (via @brainpicker)
Update: The FC chase scene was actually done by stunt driver Bill Hickman. (thx, jason)