The car chase scene was certainly extant by the time "Vanishing Point" rolled around in 1971. The Keystone Cops had begun chasing robbers around decades earlier, and what's considered by some as the greatest car chase scene ever -- featured in the Steve McQueen cop movie "Bullitt" -- had hit theaters three years earlier. What's more, the road movie genre had been firmly established by the likes of films like "Easy Rider."
Yet, few had explored the concept of creating a movie that consists pretty much only of a very long car chase, as "Vanishing Point" does. The film's release all but birthed the carsploitation genre. (We must note that many grindhouse enthusiasts believe that "Two-Lane Blacktop," released the same year, is a finer film.)
What places it squarely as the forerunner of modern carsploitation films like "The Road Warrior," "Death Race 2000" and "Death Proof" is the full-octane, amphetamine-fueled high-speed action. As the law becomes aware of the protagonist's attempt to make it from Los Angeles to Denver in 15 hours in a 1970 Dodge Challenger, they make every attempt to stop him as they pursue him across the Western desert.