Journal: What is the Best Car Movie?

What is the Best Car Movie?

Avatar By Benjamin Shahrabani
August 24, 2014
60 comments

Last week’s question caused some issues for people who suggested newer cars like the Subaru 22B. This week it’s open-ended; there is no date limit although you know which way we skew.

Since the beginning, Hollywood has included cars in cinema. It’s a great combination, and there are dozens of memorable cars in film, ones that have influenced a generation, inspired culture, or became the stuff of your dreams. They can be movies with chases in them like Bullitt. They can be movies that haunted your dreams like Christine. Or they could even be movies that inspired like Le Mans. Everyone has a favorite.

At Petrolicious we like to think that the real talent is the car itself. While many “car movies” feature impressive acting talent, when a car achieves recognition and sometimes is even more memorable than the actors in the film itself, that’s when you know you have a great car movie.

So today’s question, “What is the Best Car Movie” comes with a twist: What are your favorite car movies where the car itself was more memorable than the flesh and blood actors, and shone in its own right?

What is the Best Car Movie?

If you need some help, check out our film reviews, here.

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sana
sana

You can watch all the car related movies on terrarium tv app. I watched all car movies on terrarium tv app with HD quality for free. Download terrarium tv app from its official blog: https://terrariumtvforpc.com/

Horacio Romeo
Horacio Romeo

Grand Prix, as a fully related to cars one. Bullit….the chase!

Julie
Julie

FREEBIE & THE BEAN. GUMBALL RALLY

ian
ian

Bought a Dodge Challeger because of Vanishing Point.

Pete McLachlan
Pete McLachlan

Vanishing Point

Udi
Udi

All the Bond movies, Mad Max/ Mad Max 2, The Cannonball Run series, Taxi film series, The Italian Job [2003], Fast & Furious series, Need For Speed.

Buzz Russell
Buzz Russell

As a kid growing up, the original “Gone In Sixty Seconds” was the coolest car crash movie ever made, I’m still infatuated with that movie. But my all time fav is “Le Mans”. Just bought it on DVD so I can crank the surround sound and enjoy those wonderful sounds. Plus being a Steve McQueen fan, this movie just fills the bill. Maybe I’ll paint my FIAT in Gulf/Porsche livery

Nick
Nick

Best car chases: Ronin, The Burglars (Le Casse), , Vanishing Point, Bullitt, Italian Job (original), The Bourne Identity.
Good stories: Le Mans, Grand Prix
Sorry, “Rush” didn’t do it for me.
Doco: Rendevouz

Mark
Mark

Doesn’t matter. If it has driving scenes with hot or beautiful or classic or classy or race cars, trucks, or motorcycles, it is good in my book. I love them all!

Jimmy Pool
Jimmy Pool

For racing, I like Grand Prix. The cinematography is distinctly different from Le Mans, more dynamic, to create a sensation of being in the car or part of the car, whereas Le Mans left me feeling like a spectator and at times a driver who looks only ahead. To me, Grand Prix is the truer “car movie.” For street racing and culture, Two Lane Blacktop is as pure a car movie as they come. For car chase movies, Vanishing Point has to be my favorite. (Ronin has some jaw-dropping chase scenes, but I’d call it a heist movie, not a… Read more »

Jimmy Pool
Jimmy Pool

Sorry, I meant Le Mans was the truer “car movie,” despite my preference for the cinematography of Grand Prix.

Will B
Will B

If I weren’t being serious I’d say Manta Manta or Manta Der Film. And – as much as I love Le Mans, Grand Prix, Gumball Rally, Cannonball Run, Dirty Mary, Two Lane Blacktop, Ronin, Smokey and the Bandit etc. – my vote is for [b]The Italian Job[/b]

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

For me, that award of best car movie goes to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It’s the 1st time I was really exposed to any sort of special cars, it was the only musical made by the same people who did James Bond, it was probably one of the best Dick van Dyke movies of all time, and it just portraits cars and drivingin such a fantastic and joyful manner. If the whole movie we the intro sequence, I’d have to say The Italian Job, or the movie Rush is very good.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

I’d also like to include “The Love Bug” because I’ve met Herbie in person.

Thomas Thomsen
Thomas Thomsen

Jacques Tati’s “Trafic” features more cars than people.
“Ronin” is also an alltime favourite if you like car chases.
“Car-napping” may not be the best B-movie ever, but at least it’s based on a true story. 😉

Thomas Thomsen
Thomas Thomsen

Oh, and I almost forgot “Flåklypa Grand Prix” a.k.a. “The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix”!
Il Tempo Gigante will beat Eleanor or The Bluesmobile any day!

Jean-Baptiste Soulliat

Duel
Death Proof

marc
marc

Mad Max.

Taras Odulak
Taras Odulak

I agree the first scene of the original Italian Job.

The Muira, the drivers sunglasses, driving gloves and the soundtrack classic…..

rsdeo
rsdeo

The original [b][i]Italian Job[/i][/b] is the [b][i]best car film ever[/i][/b]. The opening scene is a Muira through the alps. Cars, planned crime and Caine what more could you ask for?

Le Mans, Grand Prix and Rendezvous are good also. Everything else is boring.

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant

I’m surprised at how few people have mentioned Lemans. There is no better car movie. It is strictly about the cars and the racing, so much so that the little dialogue that does go on during the movie seems to be intrusive, almost like nails on a chalkboard. Fantastic camera work and amazing soundtrack (the engines) and Steve McQueen is the consummate cool guy. I’ve seen most of the others mentioned, but for me, none compare.

Steve Buffel
Steve Buffel

Condorman. If you haven’t seen it. Do it 🙂

Bertram Wooster
Bertram Wooster

It’s still Grand Prix. I finally got to see it in a theater last week in Monterey and it’s amazing how details jump off the screen and how well the in-car shots work. It must have been a revelation in ’66.

Last American Hero might not be the spectacle that Grand Prix is, but it just might be a better movie.

Laurent
Laurent

“C’était un Rendez-vous” (it was a date) made in 1967 by Claude LELOUCHE.
Secrets of the film making (driver / car used etc.) have been kept secret for a loooong time !
I’d dream to cross all Paris to my beloved in the aerly morning with my cabrio !

“climb danse” by Jean-Louis MOUREY (with Ari VATANEN) is also a excellent one to my honest opinion.

Anne Kromhout
Anne Kromhout

The problem with c’etait un rendez-vous however, is that the soundtrack and visuals are nice, but it’s actually not a Ferrari he’s driving through Paris.
It’s a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

JB21 – I was watching ” Rendezvous ” back when VCR’s were the only game in town . Its NOT shot from a Ferrari . The entire film was shot from a Mercedes Benz . There was no ‘ real ‘ traffic . What little there was was being restrained by the Paris police . And ….. that information has been made available along with the film maker finally admitting to it after all those years . But not after pocketing a hefty chunk of change filling up his pockets e.g. It was … and obviously still is in light… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson

And the point is?

It’s a film. Steve McQueen didn’t really jump that barbed wire fence either…

I still remember the first time I saw it absolutely spine tingling.

JB21
JB21

TJ Martin, Check out the link that I posted prior, the least of a courtesy a decent person could have before mildly insulting others. Just in case, the video link is of how it was made. Practically everybody who watched it knew the sound was dubbed (it doesn’t match), and for all I remember, Lelouch never said it was Ferrari. Regardless, does it really matter, it’s an exciting 9 minutes, I thought that was what it was about. And one more thing, I watched this for the first time when it was shown in a theatre in Japan in 1977,… Read more »

Anne Kromhout
Anne Kromhout

I’m going to name a car and movie that’s probably a bit off the more original intentions:

The Audi S8 in Ronin (1998)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPI5-TSdC9w

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Not exactly a car film, but the [i]Baader Meinhoff Complex[/i] is a great film set in late ’60s early ’70s Germany featuring a few nice chase scenes in cars we love.

Jose
Jose

Ronin. The cars are spot on.

Anne Kromhout
Anne Kromhout

Hadn’t noticed you’re reply before, but you’re my kinda guy.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson

You can’t beat Two Lane Blacktop

BOY: Chevy block?
DRIVER: Yeah.
BOY: See you got a roll cage.
GARAGE MECHANIC: Lot of work.
BOY: Is it a 396?
DRIVER: 454.
BOY: No shit.
GARAGE MECHANIC: What kind of transmission?
DRIVER: Four-speed.
GARAGE MECHANIC: You build the headers?
DRIVER: Yeah.
BOY: How fast does she go?
DRIVER (vaguely): Depends on who’s around.

Alex
Alex

I know it has a bad rep among the more snotty petrolisti, but it would be pure denial to ignore the impact of Gone in 60 seconds (2000) and Eleanor

Emil Aakre
Emil Aakre

Vanishing Point – 1971 (Challenger)
Two-lane Blacktop – 1971 (’55 Chevy and The GTO)
Cannonball Run – 1981 (Black Countach)
Pinchcliffe Grand Prix – 1975 (Il Tempo Gigante)
Le Mans – 1971 (All cars)
GI60S – 1974 (Mustang Mach 1)

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

The Great Race. Bullitt. No Man’s Land. Vanishing Point. Smokey and the Bandit

Stephen Stuart
Stephen Stuart

Certainly not Rush…

Kevin Wahaus
Kevin Wahaus

Some old favorites. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, American Graffiti, Gran Prix, Bullitt and The Great Race.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

#1 with a bullet ….” Grand Prix ” … by a country mile and then some . Then #2 …. ” Ronin ” … for the best car chase sequences NOT CGI’d And on the animation side of things . ” Cars ” THE animated car movie though suitable for the kiddies … made by serious GearHeads … for serious GearHeads . If you haven’t seen it … you’ve missed out … if you have and missed all the references [ such as the Cord mountains etc ] … you’re seriously in need of a remedial class in GearHeaditis As… Read more »

JB21
JB21

Max

I’m actually in the process of starting a podcast with some friends where we watch car movies and discuss them, so this is pretty apropos to my current interests. I’ve been categorizing “car movies” into a few different buckets, though they don’t all have catchy names yet: Car-sploitation: where the cars are plot devices and conspicuous in their presence; movies explicitly about cars and driving (The Fast & The Furious, Le Mans), Car Appeal: movies that aren’t necessarily about cars, but feature some car related set-piece that becomes super memorable (Ronin, Bullitt), Cars as Characters: a movie with a very… Read more »

Edgardo
Edgardo

Grand Prix, but you should include also The Italian Job !

Paul Veysey
Paul Veysey

While not great movies, “Checkpoint” (1956), and Cornel Wilde’s “The Devil’s Hairpin”, has some excellent sports car racing footage.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson

I think we have the expert here! Love your Book Mr Veysey.

Joel Herrera
Joel Herrera

Lemans.

Danny
Danny

Christine, maybe.

JB21
JB21

I really dig “Rendezvous” (1976). “Ronin” had really great driving. “Graduate” had such a right idea casting the Spider – I often wonder if Duetto was the inspiration for the entire movie. I know it may sound a bit weird, but I nominate the “Lupin the Third: the Castle of Cagliostro” (by Hayao Miyazaki) for my introduction to Fiat 500. Though there really isn’t anything memorable about cars in the film, I really liked “Drive.” Finally, “Fast and Furious 6”, for no reason other than just because they had Escort RS1600 in it.

Robert Spina Jr
Robert Spina Jr

C’était un Rendez-vous. if you dont know, now you know.

D Gallo
D Gallo

Some pre disco favorites:
Vanishing Point
Gumball Rally, far superior to the Cannonball Run movies (Cobra vs Ferrari Daytona is epic)

D Gallo
D Gallo

Also, the Herbie movies!

Emerson Shaw
Emerson Shaw

Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 masterpiece “Drive”.

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

VANISHING POINT II
I like it case it has a story board, not only some cars roring for nothing

Karnovo
Karnovo

Gone in 60 seconds from 1974. Although I do have to agree with some of the suggestions by other posters.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Agree all the choices already in comments, and would add The Gumball Rally. No movie will ever feature a genuine 427 Cobra racing a genuine Ferrari Daytona Spyder again. Shame the titled has been hijacked by that terrible event that gives car enthusiasts a bad name.

LArryTheCarGuy
LArryTheCarGuy

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry!!

Bill Campbell
Bill Campbell

VANISHING POINT

Max Pershyn
Max Pershyn

A Man and a Woman by Claude Lelouch. And sure some of USSR movies – Rallye (1978) and Racers (1972)

Evan Bedford

Nothing comes close to Le Mans. The amount of prep-work. Chopping the top off of a GT-40 to fit a camera inside, etc, etc. Plot?…uh, that’s another story.

Cr.
Cr.

Two-Lane Blacktop