The Greatest Car Movies of All Time
As the weather gets colder, there’s nothing better than snuggling up on the couch and watching a good movie. Check out our picks for some of the best car movies of all time!
The Love Bug (1968)
A classic Disney comedy, The Love Bug follows the adventures of Herbie, a Volkswagen racing Beetle with a mind of his own, and his driver, Jim Douglas. It was the first in a series of films starring Herbie (Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, and Herbie: Fully Loaded), as well as the inspiration for a five-episode TV series (Herbie the Love Bug) and made-for-television movie (The Love Bug, 1997).
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Another iconic car film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang follows an eccentric inventor who rebuilds an old Grand Prix car into a fantastical machine for his children. The family uses the car to go on a magical adventure to save their grandfather from spies. The film was nominated for the American Film Institute’s 2006 AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list.
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is a classic car chase film based on Richard Unekis’ novel The Chase. The film follows two NASCAR hopefuls who organize a supermarket heist to finance their racing dreams and their attempts to avoid capture by the police. By 1977, the film had earned an estimated $14.7 million in theatrical rentals.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver is a neo-noir thriller about an unstable Vietnam War vet working as a taxi driver in New York City. The film was considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1994.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
The second-highest grossing film of 1977 (after Star Wars), Smokey and the Bandit is an action comedy film starring Hollywood greats such as Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason. Smokey and the Bandit follows “The Bandit” in his quest to run a tractor full of beer over county lines while evading arrest by a persistent sheriff. The film inspired two sequels (Smokey and the Bandit II and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3) as well as a 1994 series of made-for-TV films (Bandit Goes Country, Bandit Bandit, Beauty and the Bandit, and Bandit’s Silver Angel).
Mad Max (1979)
Released in 1979, Mad Max is a dystopian action film set in future Australia starring Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockatansky. The film won three Australian Film Institute Awards and held the Guinness World Record for the highest box office to budget ratio of any motion picture at the time. Since its release, Mad Max has gained a cult following and spurred three additional films: Mad Max 2 (1981), Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Fury Road (2015).
Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Christine is a horror movie about an evil, sentient car (a 1958 Plymouth Fury) named Christine and the effects it has on its new teenage owner. While critics weren’t overly impressed at the film when it was released, it has since become a cult classic among horror buffs.
Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
Gone in Sixty Seconds is a quintessential car-themed action film starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi, among other big names. The film follows a retired master car thief who must steal 50 cars with his crew in one night in order to save his brother’s life. It led all films the weekend it was released, grossing $25 million from 3,006 U.S. theaters.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The first in a film franchise consisting of eight sequels, The Fast and the Furious centers on an LA police officer who goes undercover to crack down on illegal street racing. Things get complicated, however, when he falls in love with the sport and must decide where his loyalties lie. The film has won awards including the MTV Movie Award, Hollywood Breakthrough Award and BMI Film Music Award.
Cars is an iconic animated film about a hot-shot race car named Lightning McQueen and his journey toward discovering the true meaning of friendship and family. The film stars the voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, George Carlin and Michael Keaton, to name a few. Cars was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.