A short preface before we get down to it. This Top 10 Best Getaway Vehicles list takes a lot of things into consideration: difficulty of the escapee’s life, environment, and goals, as well as ingenuity of the writer and director to create new and interesting ways for their protagonist to explore and interact with the world. It is important to understand that the world everyone interacts with is done so with their body, which is an extension of their mind. Once you understand that, you know that the word “Best” is so subjective is almost becomes meaningless if not explained well with specific examples. With this list flydrs has attempted to define our version of what “best” means. Don’t get caught up on semantics and the current meaning of the word “vehicle” either. Just because you make not have used one of these things listed below doesn’t mean a future you or an alternate you won’t as commonly as you use a car today. Flydrs celebrates creativity and pushing the envelope, as well as giving movies that may get overlooked their due respect. Creativity isn’t always measured at the box office! We hope you’ll join us and enjoy this list!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
10. Little Nellie from You Only Live Twice (1967)
Is that a helicopter in your pocket or are your just happy to- holy crap that is a helicopter! Not only was the “Little Nellie” extremely portable, but it came fully equipped with rockets, missile’s, parachute bombs, and a flamethrower. It get’s Bond out of a tight spot in an impressive way, even out-doing his earlier escape of the Grim Reaper to start the movie (showing the main reason I don’t sleep in Murphy Beds). It’s con’s are it’s inability to travel long distances, and how exposed it leaves the pilot. But when you’re James Bond you tend not to dwell on the negative.
After the film Little Nellie’s creator, Ken Wallis, took the autogyro around the world to different air shows and cheated death himself once when Little Nellie crashed and burned during a show in 1986 while Ken was flying. He walked away from the wreck. Insert your own You Only Live Twice joke here.
Here’s the escape scene from You Only Live Twice in it’s entirety. Great vintage Bond!
9. Tesla Machine from The Prestige (2006)
This one will no doubt introduce an interesting discussion about the human “soul” or “spirit” or “being” – just as the movie did. In truth, Tesla’s machine didn’t transport people, but duplicate them. But the way Hugh Jackman’s character Robert Angier used it, it was essentially a teleportation machine. Quick recap: Angier is duplicated into the balcony in the final act of the film while the Angier on stage (the original) in the machine is dropped below and killed. So while the original is not transported physically, his memories are, and the body that holds those memories is duplicated with those memories in another location. Whoa. Then the original is killed and the duplicate lives, taking in the applause in the balcony. So while it’s not ideal – Angier himself admits that he struggles with it at every show – it is effective. As long as you can wrap you head around simultaneously dying and being reborn.
Used without killing the original, the Tesla machine makes Multiplicity look like a child’s play. That introduces a world where one consciousness controls multiple bodies. What that would feel like, I can’t imagine, so I’m glad we didn’t have to. It’s con’s are very few for the time period because it’s so advanced it has not contemporary competition. When you think about it, it’s really the perfect escape. You could jump in the machine and be shot and die by whoever your trying to escape from, meanwhile you’re alive and well a couple hundred yards away (hopefully out of sight). Your pursuer has a body, and what he thinks is proof of your death, while you’re alive and well (that’s kinda easy to understand…right?). Then you get a bed sheet, cut out some eye holes, wait until Halloween or a Friday the 13th, and show up in his bedroom to scare the footie pajamas off him. Genius!
If Tesla was played by someone other than David Bowie I’d probably question it more. If you’re having trouble with it, just take it on a little hyperdimensional faith and remember that it’s rare for the world to make complete sense.
8. The Bikes From E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
Remember how cool riding bikes used to be as a kid. Jumping off the curb, skidding to a stop, going through the woods, taking it to the park or the beach, and flying over all those buildings. Oh wait, that last part never happened. But if it did I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you about it because that’s too much power for young, dumb me to handle. “Power lines? What power li-ezzz ezz zzz!” Yeah. Still, it’s great Steven Spielberg made these bikes fly in his unforgettable E.T. because it does what everyone hopes to do in their lives: take something awesome and make it awesome-er. Flying bikes, I don’t think I need to list all the great ways that would improve your life (almost all of them great, if it wasn’t for America’s propensity for suspended power lines). Escaping from unloving government agents would just be the beginning. Think of the sports that coule be created! And weird COPS police chases.
7. The Millenium Falcon from The Star Wars Trilogy (1977-1983)
As Chewie would say “Arrgghh WArghg Arggggh Argh“. I don’t really need to add much to that, except that this beautiful bucket of bolts essentially saved the universe multiple times. Not too many vehicles can claim that same feat. Plus the guy who drives is is pretty cool, and help Luke and Leia escape out of many precarious situations Oh yeah, and light-speed. Escaping is all about speed, and not too many can’t beat the Falcon in that regard – provided chewy fixed the hyperdrive correctly. “Waarraagh.” Am I right?
6. The Stargate from Stargate (1994)
Much like light-speed the Stargate is fast. A direct teleportation system that travels around to multiple galaxies and can transport things as big as a tank (or a bank vault) is good for offensive and defensive reasons. It was literally an escape vehicle for Kurt Russell‘s character as he had become a recluse after his sons death, and became the only escape for his entire team once they finished bashing some ancient demigod skull! While it isn’t mobile, it is big and fast and anytime Kurt Russell gets combined with ancient Egyptian aliens and lazer staffs I can’t really find too many negatives. Plus, the same technology that makes the Stargate work also sent the atomic bomb up to Ra as he tried to make a run for it at the end. Whenever an escape vehicle contributes to destroying the villain’s escape vehicle that’s a golden star in the poetic win column.
5. S.W.A.T. Van from Ocean’s 11 (2001)
Hiding in plain sight carries high risk, but also high reward, because if it works you can literally walk out the front door of a crime scene and not get caught. Just like Brad Pitt and his A-list crew did in Steven Soderberg’s update of the Rat Pack classic Ocean’s 11. If I was smart enough to pull this off you can be sure I would. Who wouldn’t? Beside being shot by security, beaten up by casino cronies, or getting caught by the real police and spending the rest of my life trading my corn bread for shower protection what’s the downside? You can check out the whole teams smooth moves in the video below, and enjoy the perfectly selected swanky tunes and great color schemes from one of best. Moving through the lobby into the strip is perfect filmmaking.
4. The Kick From Inception (2010)
Like the movie itself, this list is about to get a little surreal. We’ve been talking a lot about speed, and while light travels fast, your mind travels faster (physic’s – prove me wrong!). It is also great that the world you’re operating in is fake and you don’t even need a kick (provided you’re not heavily sedated) if someone kills you, you’re out too. Also, the fact that almost anything can be a kick – a song, an ice bath – makes it endlessly customizable and continuously gives you the edge in whatever operation (read: scam) you and Leo are working. For more on Inception and to find out what the heck might’ve been going on check out the video below from Google Talks by Kyle Johnson entitled Inception and Philosophy. It may blow your mind, so don’t be surprised if you start to hear music after it’s finished.
3. The Transporter from Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)
Most recently this appeared in the Star Trek reboot. The speed of the transporter is a huge plus, but this technology is also limited by range and the skill required to control it. Also, I don’t care how classy and calm the crew of the Enterprise look when they use it, being dematerialized and rematerialized has got to make you at least a little bit queasy. But maybe Scotty’s just that good. The fact remains, if you were in a hot spot during some intergalactic battle and needed to get out quick you’d be real happy beaming up. If you haven’t checked out flydrs coverage of Star Trek Into Darkness, check it out here.
2. The Delorean from the Back to the Future Trilogy (1985-1990)
Here we are. You knew either the Hoverboard or the Delorean herself would show up, and here is the latter in all her glory. Marty first uses it as to escape the Iranians, but it’s more than just a getaway car. Time travel and paradoxes aside, this baby can do anything. And takes the idea of “escaping” to perhaps it’s most psychedelic in that having this car can render escaping irrelevant. Case in point: the letter Marty is able to give to Doc back in 1955 warning him of his death in the future allows Doc not to run away, but do what he normally did, just with a bulletproof vest on. The event, in which one would hope to escape – thus changing the future and sending a ripple through the universe – instead goes as previously experienced, but with a different result: an alive and well Doc! Let’s just take a moment and remember how great these movies are. They have such power!
1. Phone Booth from The Matrix (1999)
Hold the phone. This escape is faster than a barreling dump truck and a speeding bullet. It is instantaneous and while the one time we see Trinity dissolve as she picks up the phone takes a second or so, she is gone instantly, it is her residual self image that takes a moment to disappear. We know this because Neo proves that the human mind is faster and more powerful than the Matrix. Outside of Inception this is the only escape in movie history that is this close to instantaneous (Thought, if you believe Leo never got out of the last level of sleep and is still dreaming, he didn’t escape anything). While it is not mobile, and hardlines can be cut their are plenty of phone booths in the Matrix. The number of Exit’s paired with the super human abilities and endless firepower of Zion operatives make these problems easier to overcome if encountered. Life isn’t easy, so knowing that you have up to the moment an Agent’s trigger finger is squeezed to pick up the right ringing phone must be some small relief. You don’t need to dodge bullets if you’re no longer there to be hit by them.
Thanks for checking this out! We hope it tickled your brain a little, and made you remember some great parts of movies you may have forgotten about. It should be noted that we have enough “vehicles” for an entire other list – and we’ll probably share that with you someday in the future (maybe it’ll include some of your wonderful thoughts about this list). As one last treat, an honorable mention:
Honorable Mention: Peter Panning’s Happy Thoughts and Fairy Dust in Hook (1991)
If you’re aware of the inescapable fact that reality begins and ends with your brain, then you’ll at least entertain the idea that taking some happy thoughts from your dome and adding some fairy dust (don’t read: Angel Dust) can take you places. Being able to fly thanks to some glitter and being positive sounds like a pretty easy way out of any situation. It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of flying – heck, I used to have a recurring dream that I was flying over a huge canyon and would wake up on the ground of my room choking on my clock chord because I’d kick myself out of the bed with excitement – but let’s get back to the real message. J.M. Barrie may have been rolling on opium in a bath tub of scotch (read: flying) when he wrote Peter Pan, but regardless of that what he’s really paying homage to is that everyones escape, the great escape, is your own mind and imagination. Once you know there’s no situation you can’t escape, on at least one level. Daaawwww, how cute, we’re learning so much about ourselves…NOT!
Thanks again! Come back next week as we sift through the naughty and nice of Top 10 Best Christmas Movies!
Harrison Hickok is a contributing writer for flydrs.com