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Pedal-to-the-Metal Shot

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To heighten tension and drama in a car chase, or other bit of vehicular business, a very common shot is to show the driver aggressively stomping on the gas pedal, often until it can pressed no further. May be accompanied by dramatically and/or aggressively shifting gears. It's common shorthand to tell the audience "this car will be going really fast now," or "the characters are really serious about catching/escaping from this guy." Often used when Overdrive is needed. It's also a good indicator of whether the driver is either starting to get serious or simply Drives Like Crazy.

In Real Life, flooring your accelerator is a bad idea. Most cars have accelerations and top speeds that are just unsafe for the average city driver to attempt, and flooring the pedal can easily cause loss of traction, making you go slower or lose control of the vehicle completely. Smaller increments of acceleration are safer and more effective. But a foot moving a quarter-inch at a time doesn't translate well to camera. That being said, flooring a car does significantly increase the chances of having the tires squeal and leave a cool mark on the ground once the vehicle's in motion, two more requirements for the Rule of Cool. For added effect, a brief shot of the speedometer needle moving rapidly clockwise may also appear.

Sometimes a character will put the pedal to the metal several times in the same scene, when logically they are already at maximum acceleration (and, sooner or later, maximum speed), and there's just no more power to be had.

A Sub-Trope of Rule of Cool. Can overlap with Activation Sequence if the driver is just beginning to head out on the road.

Contrast Brake Angrily.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A staple in Initial D's racing scenes, with multiple shots of the racers' footwork present during each of the races. Any parody or reference of the series will often include at least one of these as part of the homage.
  • Kosuke Fujishima's series tend to feature a great deal of these due to his heavy use of Technology Porn in his works. Particularly noticeable in both You're Under Arrest! and éX-Driver.
  • Shizuka in High School Of The Dead gets a couple of these in the adaptation, including one which changes her perception on the students she used to treat after the outbreak by running the now undead students over with a bus.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! features a shot of Mizusaki describing to Asakusa and Kanamori the process of operating the clutch and accelerator of the robot they are designing during its Activation Sequence.
  • Kill la Kill has a few of these. In episode 4, Ryuko floors the bus Maiko is driving past a couple of RPGs aimed directly at them. A few dialogue shots earlier in the episode are also angled from the view of the bus's floor showing Maiko's feet on the pedals. Episode 8 meanwhile has Gamagoori hit the gas in his new car to escape the Automotive Airsoft Club sent out to attack the main characters.
  • REDLINE features this prominently and often. Some of the most noteworthy include JP feverishly pressing on the gas pedal at the final stretch of Yellow Line, and then Sonoshee kicking her foot on his to give them the necessary speed to reach the outer lane in the titular Redline's last run.
  • In Speed Racer this happens about once a minute during the races. You never see feet being taken off the pedals, creating the impression that Speed is continually accelerating. Even the Title Sequence has one.
  • True to its source material, RWBY: Ice Queendom has a few focus shots of Yang operating the foot controls of her bike. Most notably during her introduction, where it's the first thing she does as she meets up with Ruby.

    Films — Animation 
  • Attempted by Killer Frost during her escape in Batman: Assault on Arkham, too bad for her that Bane was throwing police cars at that time...
  • GoGo in Big Hero 6 has this kind of scene after stealing the wheel from Wasabi and floors it. The rest of the chase isn't shy about showing off her footwork several more times throughout either.
  • Despicable Me 2: There is a shot of Lucy stepping on the brakes to get the Minions off of the car. A second shot shows Lucy stepping on the pedal after zapping the Minions.
  • The Incredibles: After Mr. Incredible warns his family that it will be rough driving the truck through the city and there is a brief shot of him stepping on the gas, speeding up and crashing right into the city. After some harried driving, there is another shot of Mr. Incredible stepping on the gas as he crashes into some car. There is one final shot of Mr. Incredible forcefully pressing both his feet down on the pedal, making the truck flip recklessly.
  • Open Season: There is a shot of Shaw flooring the pedal when chasing Elliot in his truck. Later, there is a shot of him flooring through the waterfall to get to Boog and Elliot.
  • Done by Shank and Vanellope von Schweetz in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Shank likes to floor the throttle and snap-shift her vehicle, because she's the protagonist in her game: Slaughter Race. There, Shank drives fast for a living. Likewise for Vanellope, who competes in the racing game Sugar Rush. However, for Shank, Slaughter Race is her home turf, so she'll respawn if she crashes and dies. Not so for the visiting Vanellope, who won't respawn outside of Sugar Rush. Vanellope floors it anyway, because she's a Bratty Half-Pint haywire hellion. Swati also floors the gas pedal of the Sugar Rush cabinet near the beginning of the movie.
  • Linda in Rio gets a brief shot of her foot flooring the pedal during the Carnival parade. Leans towards Artistic License – Engineering in this case as the float she does this in is not operated like this in real life — Floats that take part in the Sambodromo Parade are pulled by a crew, unlike other floats.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as Mario and Luigi are preparing to drive to their customers' house to fix their plumbing, there's a bunch of short shots of Mario getting the vehicle ready, including him pushing the gas. The car breaks down before the driving happens, forcing the Mario Brothers to go on foot.
  • Toy Story has this when the Pizza Planet truck moves.
  • In Turning Red, this shot is seen when Ming gets in her car to chase after Mei.
  • In Zootopia, this trope comes as part of a two-shot sequence of Judy turning the key and then flooring it in order to rush away to the city after a "Eureka!" Moment. Watch it here. Played for Laughs earlier on when she does the same thing in her meter maid cart, and only moves at a slow crawl much to her annoyance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 101 Dalmatians: There is a shot of Jasper stepping on the gas when he is trying to revive the car, blowing the smoke in Horace's face.
  • Back to the Future does this in the "race-against-the-lightning" climax... primarily to demonstrate Marty's desperation when the car won't start right away. Also the "aggressively shifting gears" variant several times during the car chase with the Libyans, which actually plays a critical role in stranding Marty in 1955 in the first place (the "time circuits on" lever is close enough to the gear shift that Marty accidentally bumps it).
  • The Blues Brothers: While chasing the title brothers, there's a nice close-up of Tucker flooring it to get to Jake and Elwood before the entire "Illinois law enforcement community" can. A bad idea, first because he's driving the Good Old Boys Winnebago, and second because Elwood has coated the accelerator and the floor of the RV with glue.
  • The Cat in the Hat: Conrad slams the pedal down in the S.L.O.W. when the Cat commands, "Now punch it!"
  • (Sam Raimis') Crimewave: A bunch of nuns in a late '50s tailfin job are racing to (stop) an execution. As radio commentator continues his countdown, the sister behind the wheel buries the throttle and the picture cuts to a rear wheel getting lspin whilst moving. Impressively, the Cadillac stays in a straight line despite this.
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: There is a brief shot of Vivian flooring the brakes when she is shocked to see Teensy having parked her car in the middle of the road right in front of her.
  • Ernest Saves Christmas: When Harmony runs in front of Ernest's taxi, he slams down the brakes to avoid hitting her. Then when she hurriedly gets in, she forcefully presses her foot onto the pedals to speed off.
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives: Cort slams the pedal down on Nikki's stepdad's RV. Impressed with how the RV drives, he fails to realize he's bouncing Nikki around in the back, or that Jason's in the RV ready to kill them both. Lizbeth also does this earlier in the film in a (failed) attempt to scare Jason on the way to the campsite, after being bugged by Darren to get him to move out of the way. Megan also does this during the Chase Scene between her and her father's squad.
  • In The Gay Divorcee, Dogged Nice Guy Guy Holden pursues his love interest Mimi in what amounts to a vehicular chase. As soon as she leaves London traffic and enters a forested area, Mimi stomps the accelerator to get away from Guy.
  • Hot Fuzz uses it to demonstrate Nicholas' Character Development: He starts off as a By-the-Book Cop who always drives safely and avoids profanity, but towards the end of the film, he evolves into a mild case of a Cowboy Cop. In a particular scene, Nicholas jumps into a police car and yells "Punch. That. Shit!" to his partner Danny. The line is synced to a montage of Danny a) flipping on the blue lights, b) fastening the seat belt, c) flooring the gas pedal.
  • The Human Centipede II has one when a pregnant woman manages to escape from the centipede and is trying to get away from Martin, this film's antagonist. In the car, she gives birth... and in her desperation to escape, stomps on the pedal, which in this case also meant stomping on her newborn.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • Inspector Gadget: Not a pedal, but pulling hard on the Gadgetmobile's "jet thruster release" handle has the same effect. Later on, Brenda slams down hard on the brake when they catch up to Claw's limo.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: Claire tromps the gas on the truck she, Owen, and Franklin are stealing to get aboard the mercs' ship before the erupting volcano kills them. What makes this notable is she floors it as soon as she gets the truck started, while Owen and Franklin are running behind it to hop in. Fortunately for all involved, Rule of Cool means the truck accelerates just enough to make Owen and Franklin climbing aboard dramatic.
  • In Kangaroo Jack, there is a shot of Charlie flooring the brakes when he accidentally runs over. Later, after Kangaroo Jack regains consciousness runs off with the jacket and the money, Charlie and Louis hastily get into the jeep; there is a shot Louis flooring the pedal as they take off to retrieve the money.
  • In Kermit's Swamp Years, there is a close-up of Mary flooring the pedal to escape from a barking Pilgrim on Dr. Krassman's orders. The same shot is shown later when Mary drives, again on Dr. Krassman's orders.
  • Man's Best Friend: There is a shot of Perry trying to step on the brakes, only to fail due to Max having torn out the brakes. There is a second shot of this when he starts to approach a truck.
  • Used in the opening chase scene of Mad Max to show the Nightrider is driving barefoot when he slams on the brakes.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road:
    • Furiosa's War Rig invokes this: When the accelerator is pushed to its maximum extent, a small catch engages to keep it there, allowing her to focus on fighting without slowing the Rig down. Especially when leaning out the window, since she naturally wouldn't be able to reach the pedal to begin with.
    • Straighter examples can be seen when Nux enters the dust storm, when Max uses the People Eater as a Deadfoot Leadfoot, and when Toast commandeers the Gigahorse.
  • Mortal Engines:
    • In the opening chase, when London's Lord Mayor orders it to "Run [Salthook] down," the navigators are seen pushing a whole array of throttle levers that require multiple people moving in concert to accelerate the city.
    • Salthook, the other half of this chase, does this at least twice during the chase. Downplayed in that Salthook's "throttle" is an Engine Order Telegraph, while the actual controls are an array of valves and levers that this trope can't easily be applied to.
  • My Date with the President's Daughter: When Hallie is driving Duncan's father's car, they are annoyed by thugs at a red traffic light. At one point, Hallie threatens the thug, then he gets out of his truck and tells them to get out of their car. Duncan tells Hallie to run the red light, but she does not want to do that. Duncan insists on the fact that she has to do it and also tells her to smash the gas. After a while, Hallie gives up to Duncan's insistence and we can see her high heeled foot slam the gas to the floor and get away from the thugs.
  • In Norbit, there is a shot of Rasputia flooring the pedal when she speeds up to run over Lloyd, who was eyeballing her.
  • Parodied in O Brother, Where Art Thou?: The boy who helps our heroes escape a burning barn in a Ford Model A has fruit crates strapped to his shoes. What's more, the car can't go very fast anyway, and then breaks down shortly after their escape.
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • Used when Butch hits Marsellus with his car. What's interesting about this instance is that it was shot from behind the pedal rather than from somewhere in the driver's lap as usual.
    • Cab driver Esmeralda Villa Lobos also does this. She's barefoot, so she's an early example of Quentin Tarantino's foot fetish.
  • In Rumpelstiltskin, there is a shot of Shelley Stewart's naked foot stepping on the brakes to throw Rumpelstiltskin off of her car, sending him rolling into the middle of the road. Then there is a second shot of her flooring the pedal when she speeds into Rumpelstiltskin, running him over.
  • Spice World: Near the end of the movie, Victoria (aka Posh Spice) takes the wheel of the Spice bus because Meat Loaf, the driver, is missing. We have at least 5 close up shots of Victoria’s stilettoed foot flooring the gas pedal and hard brakeing the bus.
  • Stuart Little 2: Stuart steps on the brakes to stop his car once Margalo crash lands in it next to him.
  • Twister has one during the climactic chase. The antagonist, Jonas, and his driver are told by the hero storm chaser Bill that the tornado could shift and come at them. Jonas tells his driver to keep going and the driver hits the gas, which is where the shot is, continues onward, and both are killed by the twister a few moments later.
  • Also used in Underworld: Evolution right after Selene hijacks a truck during her and Michael's escape from Marcus. Extra points for her wearing heeled boots while she does it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Starting with Season 4, the realistic outcomes of such a move are shown in Canada's Worst Driver, where the camera shots in the test cars are used to show if the contestants have bad pedal control (which happens quite often). If they floor the gas or brake (and in rare occasions, a manual clutch), it tends to end badly in a challenge.
  • Knight Rider: KITT is frequently seen pressing his own gas pedal. In a subversion, KITT rarely floors it, the pedal moving in reasonable increments. Later seasons add green lights on the sides to display a rough percentage, for no discernable reason.
  • Any Super Sentai or Power Rangers series where Cool Cars are the theme will have this somewhere. Oftentimes the car-shaped mecha/Zords will use pedals to move the robots forwards and back once they've combined. The best example also combines this with Brake Angrily — the Carrangers/Turbo Rangers would complete the transformation of the RV Robo/Turbo Megazord by slamming on their brakes all at once. As the Power Vehicles/Turbo Zords would combine at high speeds, this caused the whole thing to rise into a standing position from sheer momentum. No random flight or jet engines, they simply let gravity do the work. They'd also step on the accelerator when they went to the finisher, the Gekisou-Giri/Spinout (where the robot would start spinning like crazy and slash their sword through the monster).
  • Teen Wolf: Frequent shots of Stiles tromping the gas pedal and aggressively downshifting, as he tries to get away from (or more frequently, get to) dangerous supernatural entities. No wonder his Jeep is so temperamental, with all that abuse.
  • Top Gear has an episode where Jeremy showed how to make a car seem like it was going fast. Shift gears rapidly, show tachometer at high levels, make a face, and MASH the accelerator. The compiled tape makes it feel like he's going fast. he's actually doing about 25.

    Music Videos 
  • Two of these shots are shown briefly in the Fear Factory music video, for their cover of Gary Numan's "Cars" (featuring him). The first shot is on the accelerator and the second is on the brake.

    Video Games 
  • Halo: Reach: Immediately prior to gameplay commencing, Kat does this with a Warthog when trying to jump the broken bridge at the beginning of Tip of the Spear. Notably, the 'Hog doesn't have a traditional accelerator, but instead uses the large handle between the seats in a manner similar to the throttle on a large aircraft. Fun fact aside, when she approaches the bridge, she can be seen pushing this handle forward, resulting in a non-standard (though still valid) example of this trope.
  • The Movies has this as part of the Stunts & Effects expansion pack.
  • The opening cinematic of Need for Speed: Underground: Melissa puts her foot down in a Mitsubishi Eclipse while racing against a Toyota Supra. She's also seen wearing black leather boots in this closeup.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake): Ada Wong has a close up shot of her high heeled foot flooring the gas pedal of a SWAT truck to save Leon from Mr. X.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Yang has a few of these with her motorbike Bumblebee during Volumes 4 and 5. "Welcome to Haven" in particular follows her foot as she starts up her bike while the bandit she fought just a few seconds earlier inside the store regains his bearings in the background.
    • Volume 8's "Fault" has her do this on her hoverbike during the chase with the Hound as it flies away with Oscar. "Refuge", from earlier in the volume, also features a shot of her foot as part of the introduction of said hoverbike.

    Western Animation 
  • Done multiple times in Blaze and the Monster Machines, usually when AJ is "giving Blaze some speed".
  • Thea Stilton does this in a Geronimo Stilton episode.
  • Parodied in the Green Eggs and Ham episode "Car", when Michellee decides to shift into Overdrive, or rather her idea of it, and only speeds up to just barely above running speed when driving away from Guy.
  • Kappa Mikey:
    • In "The Lost Pilot," there is a shot of Speed Racer stepping on the gas.
    • In "Lost in Transportation", Mitsuki floors the brakes to the battle wagon when Mikey is unable to get in due to its small size.
  • Littlest Pet Shop: In "Sweet (Truck) Ride," there is a shot of Roger slamming down the brakes of the truck after he catches it rolling down the road.
    • In "Littlest Pet Shop of Horrors", Roger floors the car to a halt when he sees a red light.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Just Desserts", when trying to destroy the Powerpuff Girls from their car, Marianne tells Harold to ram them and there is a brief shot of Harold stepping on the pedal. There is a second and final shot of Harold stepping on the pedal when he reverses the car when he finds the Powerpuff Girls behind him.
  • Played for Laughs by Rainbow Brite. After Murky Dismal discovers his accomplice has betrayed him, he and Lurky go to steal Rainbow Brite's color belt to undo their scheme. While they are escaping, Murky tells Lurky to step on it. So, we see him push the pedal to the floor...then through the floor.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:In "Boating School," SpongeBob keeps losing his driving test because of his impulse to "floor it!" When Patrick is coaching him, he stops him from flooring it and use his big toe instead. The camera shows SpongeBob's foot screeching to a halt, then sticking his toe out of his shoe and gently pushing the accelerator with it.
  • The Wild Thornberrys: In "Valley Girls", there is a brief shot of Debbie stepping on the gas to try to drive the Comvee out of the mud.


Video Example(s):


Keeping Score

Initially, Ada is annoyed at Leon constantly getting into trouble. When she says how many times she's saved him, Leon's responds that he didn't know she was keeping score. Later, when Leon saves her, Ada is surprised at his willingness to stick with her and reflects his earlier "keeping score" comment back at him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / IronicEcho

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