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Worldwide gross: $207 million In brief: The one where it all began Characters introduced: Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) – Undercover LAPD Officer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) – Leader of an illegal street-racing gang Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – Dominic's partner in racing and romance Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) – Dom's sister, who runs a café and grocery shop Vince (Matt Schulze) – Brian's main rival in Dom's gang The plot: LAPD Officer and keen petrol-head Brian O'Conner goes undercover to investigate an illegal street-racing gang who are suspected of stealing valuable electronics Best action sequence: An attempted truck hijacking by Dom and his gang turns ugly – cue a high-speed chase with Brian opting to blow his cover and rescue his injured rival, Vince Defining moment: The Fast & Furious films remain iconic for their night-time street races, with flaming exhausts, deafening revving, and NOS (Nitrous Oxide) speed boosts. Typical line: "You break her heart, I'll break your neck" – Dom when he discovers Brian has feelings for Mia Did you know?

• Neither Michelle Rodriguez or Jordana Brewster had a driving license prior to working on the film.

Rodriguez – who’s been caught speeding and DUI since – says that learning for The Fast and the Furious probably gave her some bad driving habits.

• The Race Wars driving contest at the centre of the film saw 1500 car enthusiasts head to San Bernardino International Airport to populate the scene.

• The Volkswagen Jetta that Jesse drives in Race Wars was later bought by Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz.

• The Fast and the Furious was based on a 1989 feature in Vibe magazine by reporter Kenneth Li, who befriended a street racer named Rafael Estevez – a legend who known for winning high-stakes races and outrunning the cops at 200mph in his souped-up Honda Civic.

Estevez now runs a garage in Queens, New York, and recently confessed that "Nowadays, my wife drives faster than me." The verdict: If "cop goes undercover in an extreme sports gang to investigate robberies" sounds familiar, it's because that's the exact plot of Point Break.

Swapping surfing for neon-drenched drag racing, what The Fast and the Furious lacks in originality it makes up for in slick chase sequences and a likeable cast headed up by Paul Walker, sporting the most Noughties-looking blonde curls imaginable, and Vin Diesel, who looks no different 14 years later.

Citizen Kane it ain't, but it still holds up as a great Friday night watch. There are a few dodgy sequels to plough through before the series gets good again.

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