Starring not-yet-famous James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, “Two-Lane Blacktop” (1971) is an existential film that cruises the open road to the tune of Easy Rider. The instant cult-classic, directed by Monte Hellman, depicts the two drifters on a cross-country trek, heading east from the West coast. The boys’ journey is punctuated by intermittent drag races and existential angst. The Driver (Taylor) and The Mechanic (Wilson) meet GTO, a dude named after his Pontiac. All agree to a winner-takes-all road race. Their prospective pink slips are up for grabs, and the cars are all each man is.
Cruising the gamut of Americana scenes in a bulked-up modified ’55 Chevy, the Driver and the Mechanic run into a drifter named Girl at a gas stop in a Route 66 town. After stowing away in the backseat, the Girl proceeds to mix things up. Director Hellman says the plot lives almost entirely in subtext. What he creates is arguably the best road film ever made and a lovely contribution to 1970s cinema aesthetic.
Released in 1971, and featuring the legendary Steve McQueen, 'Le Mans' is a quintessential car cult classic. The film is based on the famous '24 Hours of Le Mans' sports car race, the world's oldest and most strenuous race held in the town of Le Mans, France. McQueen plays Michael Delaney, a racer for Porsche who's still riddled with guilt after an accident killed his fellow driver a year back.
Delaney must overcome his trauma and win the great race at Le Mans. Brilliant acting coupled with director John Sturges' unparalleled skills make this a must-watch film for any car enthusiast.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
This story is about an automotive dream that didn’t come true. Ford dreamed of watching thousands of cars roll off his assembly line invention, and his dream created the biggest automotive company in the world. 'Tucker: The Man and His Dream' portrays Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) and his dream to produce his beautiful and amazing automobiles, but frankly, automotive history did not roll in his direction.
Preston Tucker, the tale reveals, built 50 of his lavish 1948 Tucker sedans, but competition in post-WWII Detroit by the top three manufacturers pulled the plug on his ambitions. Corruption from DC were their accomplices. This 1988 film by Francis Ford Coppola also stars Joan Allen, Dean Stockwell, Lloyd Bridges, and Martin Landau.
Two for the Road
Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney star in 'Two for the Road' (1967). It’s essentially a love story that takes place on the road. Accompanying the drives through the South of France are a white Mercedes-Benz 230 SL, a Roadster, an MG TD, an Alfa Romeo, and a Triumph Herald. The various cars from different eras serve to remind the viewer of the setting’s time and place since the story is presented non-linearly. It takes place through a 12-year time period beginning when the couple fall in love.
AV Club calls it “a clear-eyed, openhearted, and ultimately open-ended portrait of a marriage.” Directed by Stanley Donen, 'Two for the Road' was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. It was filmed on location in France.
'Speed' is one of those stressful movies that has you hanging on to the edge of your seat and your jaw clenched tight for the duration. A speeding city bus, full of people, is wired to explode by a crazed bomber, but only if it slows down to under 50 mph.
The race is on for stars Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. This is what they are up against. Reeves plays LA Bomb Squad specialist and Dennis Hopper plays the mad bomber with an explosive extortion scheme. The 1994 movie features a bus most prominently. Critics liked it. Audiences agreed. All told, 'Speed' brought $350 million to the box office.
Rebel Without a Cause
We all know 'Rebel Without a Cause' represents an era of Hollywood cinema that defined ideals of American masculinity. But the film about teenage angst and suburban households was less ambitious. It was billed as “Entertainment of unforgettable emotional impact!” and “A story that daringly meets the challenge of today’s most vital controversy!” without ever mentioning the controversy. It was a decent film and Dean’s first lead role. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
'Rebel Without a Cause' (1955) was an unprecedented success. James Dean’s tragic car crash a month before the film was released surely secured the film’s box office command and placed it in the eternal vault of popular culture. In life and in death, everything he touched turned cool. To the point that Dean, playing Jim Stark, immortalized the 1949 Mercury Coupe in the halls of cool, despite the fact it was considered a middle-class family sedan prior to filming.
'Bullitt' was billed with its chase scene, rightfully so. It’s one of the most famous car chases that has ever hit the silver screen. The trailer screeches and squeals through the recognizable hilly avenues of San Francisco. It’s a classic film that was released in 1968. Frank Bullitt, a tough-as-nails S.F. police detective played by Steve McQueen, the embodiment of ’60s-era cool, goes after mobsters in the city.
He drives the famous green ’68 Mustang Fastback, like a madman. 'Bullitt' also stars Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, and Don Gordon. Robert Duvall makes an appearance as a cabbie. The action-thriller was directed by Peter Yates. The appeal of Bullitt lives on. Just recently, the dark green ’68 Mustang from the film sold for $3.74 million at auction.
Thelma and Louise
Not many car movies star two women behind the wheel. Perhaps that’s why 'Thelma and Louise' is such an iconic road trip movie. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are Thelma and Louise. The women plan a weekend getaway to escape boyfriend problems. To that end, they hop into Louise’s ’66 Ford Thunderbird and unwittingly become outlaws as they wind their way through the vast entrails of the country’s landscape from Oklahoma to Colorado. A cop is on their tail, and he chases them all the way to the Grand Canyon.
'Thelma and Louise' won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Incidentally, this movie was Brad Pitt’s breakout film for which he was paid a paltry $6,000.
In 1966, MGM and director John Frankenheimer did everything possible to make 'Grand Prix' authentic to Formula One racing. In the backroom, the film’s technical adviser was none other than legendary Le Mans racer and car maker Carroll Shelby. The final product won three Oscars for technical, sound, and visual excellence.
Making the film was director Frankenheimer’s dream project. In 1969 he told Motor Sport Magazine, “To be able to indulge your fantasies with ten-and-a-half million dollars is, I think, marvelous.” Star power drove the film’s success. Hollywood heavy-weights James Garner, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford, and Antonio Sabato starred. A savvy film crew optimized 1960s filming technologies. They used helicopters to angle-in on race scenes and utilized multiple screens to produce amazing shots of the action. The fun kicks off once American driver Pete Aron gets launched off the Monaco Formula One course into the Mediterranean. Splash! The near-fatal crash doesn’t stop this racer from contending for the title.
The Bourne Identity
Even though this is not exactly a car movie, 'The Bourne' saga definitely features some incredible car chases. And it all started with the first movie, 'The Bourne Identity' (2002). The film features a young Matt Damon speeding in a beautiful old school Mini Cooper as he engages in a thrilling car chase through the streets of Paris.
The chase, which pays tribute to the legendary car chase scene in 1969's 'The Italian Job', has Jason Bourne (Damon) and his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) in a tiny car driving up street sidewalks, down stairs, head-on into street traffic, and more. Definitely one of the most thrilling car chases ever filmed.
Gone in 60 Seconds
Eleanor, a custom ’71 Sportsroof Mustang, stars in 'Gone in 60 Seconds'. She’s the only Ford Mustang to ever receive a star title in a movie. Stars Marion Busia, Jerry Daugirda, James McIntryre, and George Cole also share the cast list. Filmmaker, actor, and stuntman H.B. Halicky wrote and directed the film. He was very involved. He filled in to do stunts no one else dared to. Sadly, he was killed when the most dramatic stunt in 'Gone in 60 Seconds 2' (1989) went terribly wrong.
Plenty of other cars co-star, and they all have names, just like in 'Cars'. The movie is about a band of thieves who must steal 48 cars within a strict deadline set by a ruthless South American drug lord. The famous 'Gone in 60 Seconds' chase scene destroyed a record number of cars. In 36 minutes, a total of ninety-three cars were destroyed. By the end of the film, 127 cars were demolished. The seminal chase scene is considered the best in the business, created by actual filming, not CGI.
This action-thriller road flick is about a dude who wants to race cross country to win a bet. He loves speed and the drug too. His gig is to deliver a supercharged Dodge Challenger Race and Track 440 from Denver to S.F. as fast as he can.
'Vanishing Point' stars Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger. Kowalski (Newman), a Vietnam vet, a former race car driver, and a dishonorably discharged police officer, is relentlessly pursued by two cops. He gets some help from a radio station DJ and hippie biker named Angel. On the way, Kowalski also gets propositioned to race a Jaguar E-Type roadster. You know who wins. (The maniac in the Challenger.) It’s a rock and roll movie.
They should not have picked up that hitch-hiking sociopath, but then there wouldn't be a movie. Based on a true story, 'The Hitch-Hiker' is a 1953 oldie starring Edmund O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy on the road, and William Tallman as the murderous fugitive. Directed by Ida Lupino, a prominent British filmmaker, this movie was the first film noir by a woman.
The entirety of the film takes place inside of a generic car. The two men are off to a fishing expedition when they made the fatal mistake of giving the wanted murderer a lift. The hitchhiker is a psychopathic misanthrope wanted for murder in several states. The character was inspired by William Cook, who was ultimately executed at San Quentin for his long list of horrific murders.
Some might be surprised that 'American Graffiti' was directed by George Lucas and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The 1962 coming of age story features a rocking soundtrack, crazy adolescent love, and rockin’ cars. It’s about being a teen in the “good old days” of America. Starring Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Suzanne Somers, Cindy Williams and radio DJ Wolfman Jack, the nostalgic foray hit theaters in 1973. It was nominated for five Oscars.
'American Graffiti' highlighted a fleet of vintage cars. Most viewers remember the 1932 Ford Coupe and the white 1958 Chevy Impala. But there was also a 1956 Ford Thunderbird and a cherry red 1951 Mercury Coupe. Memorably, Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford) drag races a ’55 Chevy sedan in the final match against a yellow Deuce Coupe.
'Duel', as fate would have it, is Steve Spielberg’s first movie. Before 'Jaws' and 'E.T.', there was this TV movie suspense thriller about a car and semi-truck dueling it out on the open highway. Dennis Weaver played the unsuspecting motorist who found himself pursued in murderous contempt by a deranged truck driver. Universal Studios wanted to show the movie at theaters, so they added some scenes and edited it into a 1972 theatrical release. The movie became Spielberg’s break out film.
David Mann (Weaver), cruising his Plymouth Valiant, minding his own business, notices the 1955 Peterbilt truck tailgating him. Then it gets scary. Just picture the Peterbilt as a great white shark with gaping jaws coming after you, then you’ll get a sense of the suspense in 'Duel'. It’s a chase to the death.
The Italian Job
Streets of LA and canals of Venice were shut down to shoot chase scenes for the American action-adventure heist film 'The Italian Job'. According to director F. Gary Gray, the 2003 movie pays homage to the 1969 British original of the same name. A fun cast of Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green and Edward Norton enliven the story of lifelong wealthy criminals and their caper of vengeance. Mos Def is even onboard, contributing to the clever and funny parts.
When Stella’s (Charlize Theron) mob boss dad gets killed by an act of betrayal, a band of high-class criminals work together on a revenge heist. Stella is dragged into their plans, which adds some wild chase scenes in her shiny red Mini Cooper. It is the perfect size for tight alleyways and narrow streets. The playful story shifts from Venice to LA. Three more Minis jump in the action, a nod of authenticity to 'The Italian Job' (1969). Also making an appearance is an Aston Martin DB4 and a Lamborghini Miura.
The Fast and the Furious
Now, on to the contemporary all-time favorite car chase movies. 'The Fast and the Furious' hit the big screen in 2001. The movie starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker raked in $200 million worldwide. One of the reasons audiences loved it is Dominic Toretto (Diesel). The brazen character spits out badass lines in confident monotone: “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time. Nothing else matters. For those 10 seconds or less, I’m free.”
'The Fast and the Furious' is not a plot-heavy movie. It’s got what viewers want—hair raising stunts, rip-roaring reckless street races, and the thrill of danger. Dom’s street racing acumen makes him a local hero. Things get messy when an undercover cop joins their click, especially because Dom and his buddy are crime suspects. It’s mindless fun, and that’s why 'The Fast and the Furious' is so popular.
The car is not the good guy in this 1983 movie. Instead, the car is 'Christine', a demonically possessed self-driving murderer. What do you expect? It’s Steven King’s brainchild. His main character from the novel Christine is a cherry red 1958 Plymouth Fury, and she comes to life in this horror movie by director John Carpenter.
Since the car is possessed by Satan, it possesses its driver as well. In this lifetime, her driver is Arnie (Keith Gordon). He’s a scrawny teen boy who doesn’t know what he is getting into once he buys Christine. Everything goes okay until the red Plymouth Fury gets jealous of his new girlfriend. It’s full-blown horror from then on out. Christine is 3,500 pounds of indestructible steel. As a bonus detail, Kevin Bacon was cast to play Arnie, but he went with 'Footloose' instead.
Dukes of Hazzard
The Duke boys’ 1969 orange Dodge Charger racer is truly the star of this movie. Let us introduce you to General Lee. It’s even got a special horn that honks in tune to “Dixieland.” The actual stars are Johnny Knoxville as Luke and Seann William Scott as Bo. Daisy is brought to us by Jessica Simpson. It’s just like the old 1980s sitcom you may have loved as a kid, flash forward to the 21st century.
In 2005, 'Dukes of Hazzard' rounded out the summer with its theatrical release. You’re not going to believe it, but critics hated it. It hit just 14% on the Tomatometer. Apparently, there was no audience reaction worth posting on Rotten Tomatoes. One of its best reviews comes from the Chicago Reader, who calls it, “Good, stupid fun.” But if you like a movie with gratuitous, exploitative, crude sexual content, then it may be your flick.
'Taxi Driver' is legendarily Robert De Niro’s breakout film and the start of his long and dear collaboration with Martin Scorsese. De Niro’s role as the slightly whacked Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle, earned him his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination. Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, and Cybill Shepherd starred in the 1976 neo-noir psych thriller. Most memorable, arguably, is De Niro’s enduring line, “You talkin’ to me?”
Travis Bickle’s 1974 checkered taxicab is the leading car in this film. Taking a ride in the back of his mind is a creepy and sordid affair. The action gets heated when Bickle’s vigilante tendencies find him rescuing a young girl from a life of prostitution. He gets himself in a world of trouble, but he’s hailed as a hero for his efforts.
A juiced-up BMW moves the story of 'Locke' down the road, along with its main character. Behind the wheel is Tom Hardy playing Ivan Locke. He is supposed to go home for dinner with his family, but when he gets a call from his wife wondering when he’ll return from work, he says, “I need you to hold it together.” Obviously, she asks what happened. All she hears back is, “I’ll fix it, and it’ll all go back to normal.” He doesn’t come home that night nor return to work the next day.
Even though a car shines front and center, this 2014 film is less about wild car chase action and more about delving into the deeper passageways of Locke’s complicated consciousness. Have no fear, the dramatic dialogue—a lot of monologue—doesn’t leave you high and dry, a bit of humor is waiting at every turn. 'Locke' is a mystery-suspense drama that will have you reaching to grab the wheel.
John Wick: Chapter Two
Following up on 'John Wick', the sequel, 'John Wick: Chapter Two' is an action-flick extraordinaire. Keanu Reeves leads as a former assassin who must come out of a happily married retirement while they are still newlyweds. Reeves dominates the action star role with finesse, reminding us why we watch suspense thrillers. The humor is spot on. Directed by Chad Stahelski, the 2017 flick 'John Wick: Chapter Two' also stars Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ricardo Scamarcio and Ruby Rose.
For those of us who are car freaks, what is even more exciting than Wick’s assassin impulses are the cars he drives. Prominently featured is a Mach 1 Mustang. Other classics include a 1970 Chevelle SS 454 and a 1969 Mustang Boss 429 that was stolen from the ruthless Wick. (You can bet he wants it back!) He employs his Chevelle for the task. Stay tuned for one of the best ever car scenes. It took about eight takes, but the jump and drift out of the narrow warehouse opening was worth destroying one of the film production Mustangs.
This movie is directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth. Those two facts alone should get you rushing to see this 2014 historical drama about two entrenched rivals battling it out at the 1976 Formula One season. Rush portrays James Hunt (Hemsworth) in a locked competition with Niki Lauda (Daniel Brül). One is an English playboy and the other is a diligent Austrian racer.
The thrill of winning and the addiction to speed drive racers, but it’s a dangerous calling. And why don’t they make it safer? As James Hunt says, “The risk of death turns people on.” 'Rush' looks inward too. At one point, Hunt warns, “Don’t go to men who are willing to kill themselves driving in circles looking for normality.” It’s a philosophical look at death that risks it anyway.
Death Race 2000
Mr. Frankenstein is a national hero in the effed-up futuristic world of 'Death Race 2000' (1975). Costumed like Batman, save for the perky ears, any vestige of a moral world in this film is held by him. Yet, he’s the most ruthless competitor of all. He’s a winner. Past wins took their toll. He’s lost three limbs, and that’s not all. Undeterred, he told his navigator he lost his “right eye in ninety-five, and my nose and my left eye in ninety-seven, and most of my cranium in ninety-eight. I’m held together with patches of plastic and steel plates.” The 2000 race finds him equipped with a newly installed mechanical right arm, engineered for lightning-fast precise shifting.
The cartoonish film takes place during the post-collapse era of the “world crash of ‘79.” It’s a parody of competitive, winner-takes-all American ideals that drives it to its logical conclusion. We wouldn’t have an American story without fan clubs who cheer on the blood sport car race and political protesters who rail against it. The President declares the coast-to-coast race the most popular sporting event in the history of mankind. The protesters call it a gratuitous display of inhumane violence, and the claim is not far off. The transnational race, a race to the death, destination LA, is based on a point system. Running over and killing an elderly person scores 100 points. Toddlers are worth 70. But it has a happy ending.
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry
Based on Richard Unekis’ novel 'The Chase', 'Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry' stars Peter Fonda and Susan George. Released in 1974, the car chase movie also stars a yellow and black striped 1966 Chevy Impala and a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440.
Filmed on location in the back roads of Stockton, California, with plenty of space to race muscle cars, NASCAR hopeful Larry Rayder (Fonda) steals cash from a supermarket to finance racing ambitions. He planned to buy a race car. Fleeing from the heist, the racing enthusiast runs into Mary, she tags along, and they complete their outlaw team. More than a third of the film is dedicated to wild car chases and superbly staged crashes, so don’t look too far for a plot. It is what it is, a summer release with low cinematic ambitions.
This classic 1958 crime-thriller stars Robert Mitchum, a tough-as-nails Korean War vet who served as a military policeman. When he comes home, he leaves law and order behind to run the family moonshine crime ring. Struggling with PTSD and his conscience, he is adamant about not allowing his younger brother to get involved with the moonshine business while battling city gangsters who are trying to take it over. Scenes depicting cars ripping down Tennessee dirt roads at top speed to deliver the goods plus epic car chases make 'Thunder Road' the best moonshine movie ever made.
Mitchum was the executive producer and he wrote the original story. Fun fact: He co-wrote and recorded one of the songs on the soundtrack called “Whippoorwill.” It became a surprise hit.
The animated film 'Cars' came to us from Pixar in 2006. It’s one of Disney’s best successes, adored by children and parents alike. Though these cars aren’t real, individually they represent some of the most popular classic cars on the road. Doc Hudson, voiced by Paul Newman, is a ’51 Hudson Hornet, a famous NASCAR stock car nicknamed “the Fabulous Hudson.” Filmore (George Carlin) is the classic ’60 VW Bus. And lovable Luigi (Tony Shalhoub) is a ’59 Fiat 500. Representing classic 1950s automobiles is Flo, a ’57 GM Motorama show car. And we can’t forget Lizzie, a ’23 Ford Model T.
Owen Wilson voices the main character, an ego-heavy racer named Lightning McQueen, whose problems direct the storyline. It’s no wonder the band of anthropomorphic cars enamored kids. Toddlers sit for hours driving their Matchbox cars around, making them talk to each other in their world of pretend- 'Cars' animated the way kids play.
Here’s a movie that is truly about the cars. Heck, it’s a whole franchise all about the cars. In fact, 'Fast Five' (2011) is the fifth installment of the 'Fast & Furious' franchise. It is also a sequel to the 2009 film. So, why are these movies so popular Universal Pictures has made at least 10 Fast & Furious movies? Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson. Oh, and the cars. 'Fast Five', also known as 'Furious 5: Rio Heist', serves as the pivoting point in the Furious movies from street racing to heist action movies.
The first awesome car featured is a Ford GT40. But the opening scene also includes a classic 1971 Pantera muscle car and a 1965 Corvette Grand Sport. The movie hosts a parking lot full of various cars, it’s like a potpourri of automotive brawn. Notable, however, is the 1970 Charger manned by the strapping Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). O’Conner (Paul Walker) is behind the wheel of a 1972 Skyline. And, to top the list, a Koenigsegg CCX. Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) claims the rare carbon-fiber hypercar. He brags, in the movie, that his car is the fastest car in the world and one of only four ever made.
Billed as a “crash course in revenge,” 'Death Proof' is another foray into cinema by the renowned Quentin Tarantino. The 2007 film stars Kurt Russell, a psycho killer former movie stuntman named Mike, who has a fetish for assassinating young women. Co-stars Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd (there has to be a lot as he kills them off one by one), Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamila Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Zoë Bell are the objects of Tarantino’s sexploitation theme. The exploitation horror flick pays tribute to 1970s slasher muscle car movies.
Most importantly, the car. Mike calls his muscle car death proof, and he uses it to kill the young girls by smashing head-first into his victims. He receives minimal injury since the car was built as a stunt car, the reason he calls it “death proof.” The revenge part, if you don’t mind a spoiler, happens when three of his victims survive and come after him as a team. His murder weapons, incidentally, are a 1970 Chevy Nova, a white 1970 Dodge Charger, and a 1969 Dodge Charger.
In the world of cars, 'Ronin' is a masterpiece. The spy-thriller boasts Robert De Niro, Sean Bean, and Natascha McElhone. The action revolves around an international team of ex-spies and a cryptic briefcase. They go to the French Riviera to track the briefcase down for Russian and Irish sources. But who can you trust? The group of former intelligence officers compete for the mission with eyes wide open trusting no one.
An epic car chase through the streets of Paris makes 'Ronin' one of the best car movies ever made. Directed by car lover Frankenheimer of Grand Prix, this movie features two superlatively real-looking chase scenes. An Audi S8 and a Mercedes screech through Nice, a spectacular battle. But it is in Paris where a stunning street clash features an E34 BMW 535i versus a Peugeot 406. Excellent sound editing keeps it real with throaty engine revs, crunching metal, and screeching tires. If you notice a look of terror across De Niro’s face, that’s real too. He’s in the car while the stuntman maneuvers narrow Paris streets.
Herbie Fully Loaded
The year 2019 might be the last year that Volkswagen Beetles are ever produced, but the adorable VW Bug Herbie will live forever. In 'Herbie Fully Loaded', Maggie Peyton has dreams to modify the magical Herbie into a competitive NASCAR. It’s playful and funny, a car movie the whole family will adore.
The endearing Disney movie stars Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon, Justin Long, Michael Keaton, and Breckin Meyer. Premiering in 2005, the movie is the sixth adventure starring Herbie. Herbie came to life first in 'The Love Bug', released in 1968. Guest appearances by NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon delight. The Herbie Fully Loaded soundtrack features Lindsay Lohan’s single “First,” among a spray of big name artists.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
'Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby' is a 2006 action-adventure comedy written and directed by Will Farrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman). Ebert & Roeper say it’s “One of the stupidest and one of the funniest movies in Will Farrell’s career.” Ricky Bobby, son of parents who conceived him in a roadside café bathroom, makes it big in life. The riotous slapstick tale traces America’s No. 1 NASCAR driver and Wonder Bread sponsor, Ricky Bobby (Will Farrell), from the height of his wealth and glory as a Wonder Bread sponsor, to his game-ending crash-and-burn.
Bobby’s fall is grand. In a fiery crash, he loses everything. Gone is his sizzling-hot trophy wife, lost to his best friend and racing partner. No more is his McMansion abode with a garage full of high-end performance machines. Stuck living with his parents, Ricky Bobby will never race again. And it’s all because of a French Formula One racer named Jean Girard (Sacha Cohen). Will he have a comeback chance?
Crime-action film 'Baby Driver' hit theaters in 2017. Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Lily James and Eliza González, this movie is about Baby finding trouble and also love and money. It’s a sweet ride. The Chicago Sun-Times said, “Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is one of the most entertaining thrill rides of this year, this decade.” People are drawn to the edgy avant-garde style of this flick.
Ansel Elgort is Baby. Baby is a heist accomplice, and he is on the run from would-be assassins. The teenage get-away driver brings a lit soundtrack to life through his earbuds. Part romantic comedy, Baby meets sweetheart Debora (Lily James) at a café. A souped-up red Subaru WRX is one of Baby’s rides. But he also screeches around corners in a Dodge Challenger Hellcat packed with 707 horsepower.
Ex-Special Ops officer Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is available for hire. His price is steep, but he will transport anything, no matter the risk. He’s called the transporter, and everything goes well until it doesn’t.
'The Transporter' hit theaters in 2003. The action-thriller also stars Matt Schulze and Qi Shu. Filmed in France and directed by French director Louis Leterrier along with director Corey Yuen, it was inspired by The Hire series from BMW Films. It’s filmed on location. The transporter’s car is a slick black BMW 735i. Some highlights are shot racing through Nice. Reviews were “meh.” It’s a packed genre, to be sure, but hot-pursuit chases by elite team-level operatives played by Statham are always fun.
Clint Eastwood needs no introduction. In 'Grand Torino' (2008), Eastwood produces, directs, and stars as cranky old vet Walt Kowalski. Riddled with PTSD, he’s not the most pleasant man to be around, but cracks of kindness in his veneer endear the film.
You can imagine the gun-toting old man was not happy when some thieves tried to make off with his precious Grand Torino. He helped build that car on the Ford assembly line when he was a worker. The local gang members, those who torment his neighbors and steal his prized classic car, are no match for this old army dude. Audiences loved it more than critics according to Rotten Tomatoes.
The Blues Brothers
You might not think of 'The Blues Brothers' as a car flick, but its chase scenes are classic too. To wit, its many spectacular high-speed pursuit scenes ending in a smashed-up mess added to the reason this film was one of the costliest comedies ever made. The hilarious “Bluesmobile” is so famous it now lives in Tennessee at Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum.
The 1980 film starring legendary comics John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd created an iconic masterpiece out of a Saturday Night Live skit. The Blues Brothers band played for real, and its fictional characters lived as household names. The movie was chock full of epic scenes. Director John Landis brought the backbone of American soul music into a sprawling collage that is a musical, a comedy, a drama, a production of unmatched cinematic proportions. Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, to name a few, sing, dance, and make 'The Blues Brothers' live on as a gift to American culture.
'Holy Motors' may be an artsy, intellectual French film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with bawdy humor and surreal car scenes. Limousines parked in the Holy Motors garage chit chat. While you’d expect cars to be talking to one another in an animated Disney movie, you don’t expect it in a full-length sci-fi film. The surrealist 'Holy Motors' pulls it off masterfully. In this film’s magical fictional world about a mystery man named Monsieur Oscar, one of those limousines is Oscar’s mode of transport.
When The Guardian asks director Leos Carax why he chose to feature those particular luxury cars, he said, “I always liked [stretched limos]. I thought they were both sexy and morbid, obviously, they’re meant to be seen, but you can’t see who is in them, like a bubble or a virtual world.” He also pointed out that they are always rented, no one owns a limo. Critics at Cannes goggled over it. At that festival, 'Holy Motors' was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Many considered it the best film of 2012. Denis Lavant plays Monsieur Oscar. Édith Scob, Eva Mendes, and Kylie Minogue also star.
The French Connection
Another classic car movie is 'The French Connection' (1971). Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider are an NYC detective team on the trail of a European international narcotic crime syndicate. It’s based on a true story. The movie is legendary. At the Times UK, a reviewer observed, “It’s hard to imagine it now, but there are only two types of cop movies: pre and post-The French Connection. That’s how big it is.”
It wouldn’t be the same movie if not for the cars. We love the Lincoln Continental Mark III that comes over from Marseilles packed with narcotics. More favorites are Sal’s (Tony Lo Bianco) ’71 Ford LTD and ’61 Comet Sedan. There’s a ’66 Pontiac LeMans used for a chase scene inside the subway.
Based on the novel by James Sallis, Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn delivered the downtown LA-based film 'Drive' to the big screen. Director Refn is also responsible for 'Bronson' and 'Valhalla Rising'. The 2011 movie was filmed entirely on the streets of downtown LA, employing helicopter shots lit with spotlights from other cars. No CGI, in other words. The budget movie performs.
The Driver, the only name given to the main character who is a movie stunt driver by day and a back-door delivery agent by night, is played by Ryan Gosling. He mans a sleek 1973 silver Chevy Chevelle Malibu providing a crime scene get-a-way vehicle. But his nighttime work gets him in trouble when one of the heists goes south. Driver is forced into a situation that threatens his love interest, Irene, and her child. He must man-up or risk everything. Carey Mulligan plays Irene, and Oscar Isaac plays her husband Standard, who is just getting released from prison.
Ford v. Ferrari
Directed by the legendary James Mangold, 'Ford v. Ferrari' tells the story of British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and American car designer, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon). They try to defy the odds and build a groundbreaking race car for Ford to beat Ferrari at the famous sports car race, 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1966.
Bale and Damon face petty bureaucracy, corporate meddling, and the laws of physics in this fascinating, brilliant film based on a true story. The film, released in 2019, was critically acclaimed and received four Oscar nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards. It won two Oscars, for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing.
Smokey and the Bandit
That sleek 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in 'Smokey and the Bandit' made the Trans Am a very popular American car for Pontiac. The Bandit (Reynolds) is a vigilante race-car driver who makes a deal to deliver a shipment of beer all the way from Georgia to Texas in just 28 hours. Thing is, shipping alcohol without a permit is illegal. The adventure is rollicking fun. A love triangle tangentially involves Smokey the cop, who is after the Bandit. The Bandit, our suave male lead, is directly involved, to no one’s surprise.
Besides Burt Reynolds, 'Smokey and the Bandit' stars Sally Field as the love-triangle-interest, Jerry Reed, and Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Smokey. It was the number two highest-grossing box office hit of 1977, second only to 'Star Wars'.
In 1978, Warner Bros. studio billed its summer action-adventure comedy 'Corvette Summer', “a fiberglass romance.” And that’s exactly what it is. 'Corvette Summer' is fun and playful and revolves around a Stingray Corvette that is especially precious to one young man who is just finishing high school. The action lights up when the spicy red and flame-licked orange Corvette vanishes. Ken Dantley (Mark Hamill) and his classmates from auto shop poured their hearts into restoring the Corvette, and suddenly, one day, it is gone.
You can expect spectacular car chase scenes on par with those the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise created decades later. This movie is also extraordinary because it stars Mark Hamill right off the heels of Luke Skywalker in the epic 'Star Wars' trilogy. His co-star Annie Potts shines as Vanessa, a would-be prostitute who is thrown off track after meeting Ken. Watch it and see what happens!
Reminiscent of 'Taste of Cherry', Jafar Panahi’s 'Taxi' (2015) is a docu-fiction film that takes place in Tehran. Due to political dissent, director Panahi has been banned from filming in Iran for twenty years. Undeterred, he has made three internationally acclaimed movies since then, and 'Taxi' is one of them. He produced, directed, wrote, and starred in the movie. He did everything, including music and cinematography.
Obviously, a taxicab features predominately. Panahi mounted a camera on the dash of his yellow cab and drove around the streets of Tehran transporting people to their destinations. Meanwhile, he is recording the conversations which are often touching and philosophical. As a political dissident, he’s well known, and the self-aware commentary serves as documentary of his exile from filmmaking.
The Cars That Ate Paris
Deadpan comedy, 'The Cars That Ate Paris', is a classic B-movie from 1974. The absurdist plot finds townsmen plotting car accidents on unsuspecting travelers after an economic downturn besieged the town of Paris, Australia. Scrap parts becomes the most lucrative business in Paris. Plotting against random drivers, the townsmen convert the local dirt road into a hellish path that heads straight into a ravine. Enter, a twist of horror. Following the crash, parts are scavenged and resold or repurposed.
'The Cars that Ate Paris' is a surreal sci-fi, horror-suspense that predates the scavenger economy of 'Mad Max'. One of its unforgettable creations is a VW Bug covered in sharpened steel spikes.
Hell or High Water
'Hell or High Water' premiered at Cannes in 2016 and hit the big screen in August of that year. The film received four Oscar nominations. Movie studio Film 44 brought the neo-Western drama-suspense directed by Englishman David Mackenzie to theaters. 'Hell or High Water' stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, and Dale Dickey.
Critics loved it. Vulture magazine wrote, "Hell or High Water" is a rare humanist Western: Finality is the true villain.” A masterful score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis leads the mood. It takes place in Texas, where a pair of bank-robbing brothers (Pine and Foster) stalk small-scale banks for quick cash. For a Western, it’s dialogue-heavy, and the commentary of its final scene outdoes any Western in the genre, according to Vulture. And, of course, there is a car in the picture. The brothers use a 1987 Chevy Camaro as their get-away vehicle. Plenty of other vintage cars co-star.
Need for Speed
'Need for Speed' is a 2014 movie based on a gaming franchise of the same name. If you’re a fan of the popular video game, this is your film. Directed by Scott Waugh and starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, and Rami Malek, it’s a product of Disney Studios and DreamWorks. Michael Keaton makes an appearance, as does Dakota Johnson. Aaron Paul stars as Tobey.
The action-thriller is based on a street racing maverick named Tobey who gets thrown in jail for no reason. He knows the reason, he knows who framed him, and revenge themes take shotgun throughout the film. If watching hypercars race wildly in fast-action suspense is your kind of thing, 'Need for Speed' delivers. Featured is a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, a McLaren P1, and a GTA Spano, to start. But can you believe a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and a Koenigsegg also feature in the same flick?
'Collateral' is a 2004 neo-noir crime thriller starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. A cab driver named Max (Foxx) becomes a hostage in the middle of a contract killing orchestrated by Vincent (Cruise). Directed by Michael Mann, Collateral co-stars Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, and Bruce McGill, plus Jada Pinkett Smith as Annie, a Los Angeles attorney.
In essence, Max is bargaining for his life (and others on the killer’s list) with a would-be assassin. He tells stories to extend people’s lives by distracting the murderer as they drive. His task becomes even more vital when he finds out that his pretty friend Annie, the one he gave a cab ride to earlier and shared a conversation with during the opening scene, is on the hitman's list. Besides the Los Angeles cab, featured in many scenes, there’s a 2003 BMW and a 2000 BMW X5 that feature finely.
The Last American Hero
Jeff Bridges and Valerie Perrine star in this 1973 NASCAR movie based on the true story of Junior Johnson. 'The Last American Hero' is one tough dude. Junior Johnson (Bridges) is a Southern boy who drove moonshine runs through North Carolinian backroads. He trained as a ruthless demolition derby driver and dominated as a stock car racer. He and his Mustang raced to the top of the professional stock car circuit. Junior Johnson became one of NASCAR’s first celebrity drivers.
The story is based on two articles by Tom Wolfe. And, with Junior Johnson on board as a technical adviser for the film, the end product is an authentically told story brought to the big screen by director Lamont Johnson.
The Cannonball Run
In 1981, 'The Cannonball Run' was a wildly popular movie at the box office. And why not? It’s got a fantastic cast, and it was directed by Hal Needham, former stuntman and movie maker. 'The Cannonball Run' is a coast-to-coast street contest, racing from Connecticut to California. It’s known as America’s illegal Grand Prix, and anything goes. Dodging the law and sprinting to the finish line, plenty of fun is packed into this road adventure.
The American comedy starred Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, and featured appearances by Jackie Chan, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Some of the vehicles racing the Run are a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 manned by Seymour (Moore) and a Chevy Chevelle Laguna with Terry (Bradshaw) and Mel (Tillis) behind the wheel. The most implausible, a 1978 Dodge Sportsman ambulance, is driven by the film’s stars playing Victor and J.J.
Everyone is after the Orange Crush-colored ’64 Chevy Malibu in 'Repo Man', but one team is paid to track it down. Emilio Estevez plays Otto, a repo man in-training, as it were, by the quirky Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a longtime repo man showing the rookie how to play the game. Car repossession is a dangerous gig. Most people don’t want to lose their vehicles, some of those people are 6’10” and aggressive. After the Feds put a bounty on the car, every other repo man in the LA area is after the vehicle too. It seems aliens may be involved with that Chevy, and the CIA is on a mad search to find it.
The film received rave reviews from critics. It’s a distinctly LA film that hits home with Bud’s running commentary. Filmed mostly on location, 'Repo Man' is an unconventional film that took spectacular risks that paid off spectacularly. The organic and original comedy hits spot on with a continuous string of hilarious surprises.
Mad Max Rockatansky is legendary. He’s a badass cop who survives an apocalyptic disaster in the Australian outback. 'Mad Max' is a 1979 futuristic sci-fi taking place during the not-to-distant future after the collapse of society. It’s a ruthless world and he’s seen the worst of man. The worst of the worst is a bloody, murderous pack of motorcyclists who were furious after Mad Max gutted one of their guys. In retaliation, the biker gang slaughtered Max’s entire family. He has nothing left to do but go savage on them to avenge the murders.
Written by James McCausland with director George Miller, the film sparked a massive franchise with Mel Gibson as Mad Max. The modified black Ford Falcon, a ferocious V-8, is Max’s vehicle of choice that is a constant in the franchise. The car stunts are epic.
Taste of Cherry
Here’s a predicament. Suicide is illegal under Islamic law, and Mr. Badii, living in Tehran, is searching for someone to bury him after he commits suicide. Specifically, he wants to be buried under a cherry tree. This film by Abbas Kiarostami won the 1997 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
On Mr. Badii’s search to find someone to provide his wish, he runs into a Turkish taxidermist who drives him around the dusty roads of Iran while trying to convince the suicidal man of life’s beauty. Critics liked it. Time wrote, “The talk flows persuasively; the picture pulses with art and humanity.”
Mad Max 2
'Mad Max 2' is another movie dense with automobiles. It’s one of those sequels that rivals the original. Released in theaters as 'Road Warrior' in 1981, it follows up on the original 1979 Mad Max story inhabiting a post-apocalyptic desert landscape where everything is scarce, especially the fuel that powers each machine across the vehicle-heavy wasteland. The cars aren’t recognizable, this movie is full of modified machines from a dystopic future.
Mad Max, played by Mel Gibson, is stranded in a wilderness of dust and dirt and lives as a nomad having lost his wife and child. Cruising in his modified Ford Falcon, a ruthless-looking black V-8, road battles are a common theme, and Max faces villain Wez (Vernon Wells) in one of the epic road battles. He also pairs up with Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence). Plots to acquire black gold, oil in other words, drive the action. It’s one of the most classic action-adventure sci-fi films ever made. It’s a must-see.
'Senna' is a British documentary released in 2010. It reviews the life of Brazilian motor-racer Ayrton Senna (hence the title), as well as his untimely death after sustaining fatal injuries at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The film was directed by Asif Kapadia, who chose to focus on Senna's career from his 1984 debut race until the crash that ultimately killed him.
The film also reviews Senna's rivalry with racer Alain Prost. Despite the fact that Senna was famous in his time and was publicly interviewed in several different occasions, Kapadia chose to use footage provided by Senna's family and video recordings of Senna's races.
The Love Bug
'The Love Bug' from 1968 is the film where Herbie, probably the most famous Volkswagen Beetle, makes its first appearance. The film was made by Walt Disney Productions, which would explain how it gained its iconic status. Interestingly enough, Herbie was never specified as a Volkswagen Beetle before the film's production.
Much like Hollywood's best actors and actresses, there were many cars that came to audition for the part. If things would have gone differently, Herbie could have been a Toyota or a Volvo. The final choice was made after crew members literally felt compelled to pet the pearly white car when they saw it.
Not a very original name for a car film, 'The Car' was released in 1977. The plot of the film, however, is anything but seen before. In this deranged motion picture, a black car, that may or may not have been forged in the bowels of hell, wreaks havoc on a small town. James Brolin plays the lawman who tries to stop it.
The oddity of this film is also its best forte. After all, you rarely know what to expect from a possessed car. Elliot Silverstein, the director of this unusual horror film, chose a 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark III for the evil car, but it had to be heavily customized before it could terrorize people on screen.
Mercedes, Mon Amour
This Turkish film is not half as recognized as it should be. It has elements reminiscing of both 'The Old Man and the Sea' and 'The Bicycle Thieves'. It tells the story of a Turkish villager who finds a job in Germany and saves every penny in order to buy a yellow Mercedes, his dream car.
When trying to drive his Mercedes back to his village, he encounters numerous obstacles along the way. One such obstacle, for example, is other Turkish drivers. This story manages to deliver strong messages about human nature as well as a great sense of humor.
Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov is the person behind this 1990 film. L'autostop was meant to be a short promotional video for Fiat, but it sort of blew out of proportion and became a lovely short film. The story here is that of an Italian racer who needs to drive a car to Russia from Italy.
During his road trip, the racer, who apparently has no real family, ventures into the Russian forests and creates himself a fully fictional family. What starts out as a road trip movie ends up being a cautionary tale about the choices we make in life.
Ryan O'Neal plays a tough stuntman in Walter Hill's film, 'The Driver'. The stuntman in the film also has a side hustle as a getaway driver. The film has also inspired the later feature, 'Drive'. O'Neal's stuntman makes sure not to get emotionally involved in his less-than-legal activities, but that proves to be easier said than done.
The stuntman/getaway driver, who never lets anyone into his head or heart, forms a special relationship with another person. The emotional cocoon he lives in slowly starts to crack. His relationship with his car is a beautiful analogy to that inner process.
This underrated film was released in 2001 and never got the praise that it is really due. Paul Walker and Steve Zahn play two brothers. Walker plays Lewis, the romantic, doing-the-right-thing kind of guy, while Zahn plays Fuller, the more dangerous type who plays a practical joke that goes a little too far.
Fuller's dangerous practical joke was done over CB radio and played on a mysterious trucker known as Rusty Nail. Rusty Nail himself turns out to be a psycho killer intent on getting his revenge on the man who pranked him. The film is worth watching even if you aren't fans of the genre, thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Walker and Zahn.
Unlike other films on this list, this one doesn't necessarily have cars as a meaningful part of its plot. Still, it has some motorized eye-candy you would love to see if you enjoy vintage vehicles. Seeing as the cars in the film are supposed to be owned by young people who don't have much money to spend, there are many cool old cars to see there.
The film enjoys a cast of Hollywood stars, such as Mickey Rourke and Kevin Bacon. There is also an impressive cast of cars starring in the film, like a Chevy Bel Air, a Cadillac 62, a Hudson Hornet, and a Nash Metropolitan, just to name a few.
Back to the Future
We could never have a list of car movies and not include 'Back to the Future'. Many of you have probably heard about Marty McFly and the DeLorean he used to travel back in time with. Not many people, however, know that the car was a horrible mess, both sales-wise and in terms of performance. The car became widely known for its disappointing lack of power and performance, which was very disappointing considering its high price tag and Lamborghini-style appearance. The car was only sold for about 3 years and sold less than 10,000 vehicles before production stopped.
The car suffered from many technical difficulties, one of which was the horrible battery. When driving the car with all the lights and electrical options on, the battery wasn't able to supply enough power to charge the car, causing it to gradually discharge and eventually leaving the driver stranded on the road. The DeLorean has since gained a cult following. To this day, it is considered one of the best cars of all time by some slightly obsessed individuals who appreciated its attempts to make you feel like you’re driving inside a spaceship.
The Triplets Of Belleville
We know a cartoon is a pretty surprising choice when compiling a list of car movies, but trust us when we say this one is well worth your time. 'The Triplets of Bellville' features vehicles of all kinds, be it bicycles, boats, or cars. The most memorable vehicle in the film is a car-bicycle hybrid the good guys use to make their great escape.
This 2003 French film was even nominated for two Oscars (Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.) It won the Cesar Best Film Music Award, the BBC Four World Cinema Award, and the Genie Award for Best Motion Picture.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Long time film fans know that movies by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino have an impressive array of four-wheeled showstoppers. 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' is no different. Certified car aficionados would love to see Brad Pitt driving a blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia on the Cielo Drive.
Two other gems featured in the movie are a 1966 Cadillac Coupe DeVille and a black 1968 Porsche 911. The latter truly lives up to its name, as anyone looking at it will start hyperventilating and ultimately call an ambulance.
The Day of the Jackal
'The Day of the Jackal' may not be a classic car movie, but it has a car playing a key role in its plot. The film starts with an attempted assassination on former French President Charles de Gaulle's life. The underground organization behind the attempt is the OAS, which recognizes the President's car as a Citroen DS.
We won't reveal how the rest of the plot unravels from that point on. We will, however, reveal that other motorized road-blazers, such as an Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider and a Renault R16, can be found there too.
In this 1989 film, international heartthrob Patrick Swayze is just as swoon-worthy as he is in 'Dirty Dancing'. Swayze plays the role of Dalto, a nightclub bouncer in Missouri who fights against a corrupt businessman threatening his town. There is obviously a romantic love story worth watching, but the cars featured in the film are also a good reason to do that.
Swayze's car in the movie is a Mercedec-Benz 560SEC, which is later joined by a 1965 Buick Riviera (you'll have to watch it to understand why.) The bad guys in the film drive a monstrous Big Foot Ford F250, which car fans would love to see in action.
Having a car-themed movie party with your friends? This 1973 feature is a great one to put on your viewing list. Donald Sutherland plays Andy Hammon, an insurance investigator who suspects an attractive young woman (Paula Booth, played by Jennifer O'neill) is fencing stolen diamonds. The romance, as well as the rush of a good heist and even better car chase scenes, are a delight to watch.
The '70s cars seen in the movie are most definitely drool-worthy. Sutherland's character drives a Maserati Ghilbi Spyder, and O'neill's character sports a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. Both cars are driven to perfection, which makes for some satisfying scenes for car lovers.
We know there is a 2019 Netflix film by the same name, but now we are talking about this 2004 feature. 'Highwaymen' tells the story of a man who wants to avenge his dead wife by killing the serial killer who murdered her. One of the main characters in the film is not even human. We are talking about the killer's 1972 Cadillac El Dorado.
The man is driven (see what we just did there?) by revenge as well as his 68 Plymouth Barracuda. While the Barracuda is normally an attractive car that makes heads spin, the man in the movie was intent on laying low, so he modified it in order for it to draw less attention. The epic chase scenes in the film might as well be used in the next 'Fast & Furious' installment.
Running on Empty
This 1982 Australian film was released in America under the name 'Fast Lane Fever'. It tells the story of Mike, a young street racer, and his best friend Tony. Both Mike and Tony have a day job as steelworkers, but their night careers as a racer and a mechanic are their true passion. When dealing with the cars that they do, who could blame them?
When it comes to Australian actors that don't belong in the Hemsworth family, people may know very little. However, the featured cars are a whole different story: a Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III, a Dodge Challenger and a 57 Chevy are the real babes seen on screen.
Days of Thunder
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are only two of the stars playing in this raging motors film, but that's hardly the best part about it. The movie also has guest appearances by actual NASCAR racecar drivers! Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a young racer intent on having a NASCAR driver, and Kidman plays Dr. Claire Lewicki, a neurosurgeon and Trickle's love interest.
The plot here might not be as groundbreaking as some might hope (it was criticized for its similarities to 'Top Gun'), but whatever it lacks in originality, it makes up for in great cars. There were even NASCAR professionals inspecting them and driving them for the racing scenes. Also, Tom Cruise is known for his preference of doing his own stunts, but in this film he had to step aside from that for insurance reasons.
Another Australian film on this list is 'Midnite Spares'. Released in 1983, this car flick also serves decent portions of comedy. The tale being told here is that of Steve Hall, a young racer (did you notice how all the racers are young? It's almost as if older people aren't interested in adrenaline or something) whose father disappears.
Hall then finds out about a group of people running a "chop shop" operation, and that those people might have something to do with his father's disappearance. Of course, there is also a romantic side to the story, as well as epic racing scenes, but we'll leave those for you to watch.
Apex: The Story of the Hypercar
Supercars and hypercars are not the same, and once you watch this documentary you'll understand exactly why. This film documents the very creation and initial development of hypercars, and it does that by going through all the people who take part in that creative process.
Car designers, engineers, manufacturers, and even sports journalists get to share their insights about the field and their passions. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film looks like it could appeal to more than common racing fans.
This 1969 film is not half as famous as it should be, and here is why more people should know about it – let's start with how this was one of the first movies to be realistic when it comes to racing and the passion of the people involved. Then, there is the fact that this film inspired Paul Newman, who stars in it, to start a racing career of his own.
Actually, there is another film called 'Winning', a documentary, which follows Paul Newman's racing career. We can only hope that, for Paul Newman, the whole backstage intrigue depicted in the movie didn't happen in real life.