11 Good Car Movies

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

These 11 good car movies should get your motor revving, whether you’re a gearhead, adrenaline junkie, or just looking for something different.  Each selection features cool cars, great chases, and more than a few fender benders.  So get comfortable, buckle up, and prepare for this list of 11 good car movies.

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Bullitt (1968) – Steve McQueen was known as “The King of Cool,” so it’s only appropriate that he starred in what many consider the ultimate car chase movie.  As Lt. Frank Bullitt, McQueen takes on the mob, and the film’s famous chase sequence takes place on the streets of San Francisco between a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback and a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum.

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) – A group of car thieves only have a few days to steal 48 cars, with the final prize being a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 nicknamed “Eleanor.”  H.B. “Toby” Halicki directed, produced and starred in this action-packed indie film, plus he sustained numerous injuries performing his own stunts.  The highlight is a 34-minute car chase in which 93 cars are wiped out.  Car enthusiasts will marvel at the amount of classic cars on display, such as a 1973 Jensen Interceptor, 1930 Hudson Great Eight, 1966 Lotus Europa S1 and 1967 Lamborghini Miura.  Considered by many to be the granddaddy of good car movies, it’s way better than the Nicolas Cage remake (even though it doesn’t have Angelina Jolie and her massive lips).

The Cannonball Run (1981) -  This madcap movie about an illegal road race across America features an all-star cast that includes Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Roger Moore, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, Peter Fonda, and many more.  Lots of wrecks, lots of  racing, and loads of oddball vehicles make The Cannonball Run a classic for lovers of good car films.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – Trying to get 400 cases of beer from Texas to Georgia in 28 hours, Bo “Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) enlists the help of fellow trucker Cletus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed) to meet the deadline.  They pick up a runaway bride (Sally Field) along the way, and end up getting pursued by the tenacious Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason).  Sure, it’s plenty corny, but it’s hard to resist Reynolds’ charm and Gleason’s comic timing.  Much better than the sequels that followed.

Taxi (1998) – Don’t mistake this French action masterpiece for the awful American remake starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah; it’s way better than that.  Samy Naceri stars as a wanna-be racecar driver who takes a job as a taxi operator.  But when he exceeds the speed limit one too many times, he’s forced to help out a cop in order to keep his license.  This puts him right in the crosshairs of a gang of German thieves.  Three sequels would follow, and it’s become one of the most successful French film franchises of all time.

Taxi 3 (2003) – Samy Naceri, taking a break from his real-life legal problems, returns as taxi driver Daniel.  Ice and snow play a prominent role in this sequel, and other notables include Bai Ling as a journalist, thieves known as the Santa Claus gang, numerous tributes to the James Bond franchise, and even a cameo from Sylvester Stallone.  Written and produced by Luc Besson.

Vanishing Point (1971) – Kowalski (Barry Newman) is a former racecar driver and Vietnam vet with nothing to lose.  Hired to get a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, he leads the cops on a merry chase and becomes “the last American hero” in the process, at least according to blind counterculture DJ Super Soul (Cleavon Little).  A true cult classic, especially for auto enthusiasts.

Christine (1983) – Featuring a red 1958 Plymouth Fury, Christine was adapted from the novel of the same name by Stephen King.  The film version is directed by John Carpenter, and it stars Keith Gordon as a teenager who fixes up an old car that just so happens to be possessed by an evil spirit.  Predictably, bad things start to happen.

The Transporter (2002) – Jason Statham demonstrates both driving and fighting skills as Frank, a mysterious “transporter” who’ll deliver anything for the right price.  A stickler for following his own code of rules, Frank gets himself into a heap of trouble when he breaks Rule #3: Never look in the package (even if it does happen to be squirming and crying).  Inside is the lovely Lai Kwai (Shu Qi), and she inadvertently draws Frank into a web of murder and human trafficking.  Matt Schulze is great as the villainous Wall Street, as is Francois Berleand as Inspector Tarconi.  Jason Statham fans will not be disappointed.

Death Race 2000 (1975) – Paul Bartel directed this film about the annual running of the Transcontinental Road Race, an event where drivers can pick up extra points by running down pedestrians with their cars.  Our hero is Frankenstein (David Carradine), a veteran driver who represents the fascist U.S. government and “Mr. President” in the race.  He’s opposed by such drivers as “Machine-Gun” Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone in an early role), “Calamity” Jane Kelly (Mary Woronov), Matilda the Hun and Nero the Hero.  Dark humor, a political message, and people getting run down left and right?  What more could you want from a good car movie?

Death Race (2008) – Jason Statham stars as Jensen Ames, a former racecar driver who’s framed for the murder of his wife.  Sent to prison, he soon learns that the whole thing was a set-up in order to get him to compete in the “Death Race,” a brutal and often lethal competition.  He’s promised his freedom if he can win one race, but first he’ll have to get past racers such as Machine Gun Joe, Grim Reaper, Travis Colt, 14K and Pachenko.  Starring Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson and Ian McShane, the film features modern vehicles like the Porsche 911, Dodge Ram, Jaguar XJS and BMW E32.

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That completes our list of 11 good car movies.  So the next time you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, put down that issue of Auto Trader and use the money to rent one of the above good car films, instead.  You’ll be glad you did.  Oh, and also check out the following articles from OGM:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 at 11:34 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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