There have been some terrific, all action car racing movies over the decades. Some have become classics, some have blossomed into franchises and many have a place deep in the hearts of petrol heads young and old.
Here’s a reminder of some of the greatest racing movies ever made.
The Fast and The Furious
Who’d have thought when Vin Diesel and Paul Walker starred in the first movie back in 2001 just how things would take off? These movies might not be nominated for the Oscars but they sure are entertaining. Paul Walker tragically died in a car accident while filming an amazing seventh in the series. This is surely one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.
Pixar brought the world of Nascar into the lives of ordinary children in 2006 when stock car Lightning McQueen raced onto the screens voiced by the ever popular Owen Wilson.
Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby
Will Ferrell, John C Reilly and none other than funny man Sacha Baron Cohen starred in this admittedly crazy movie at the race track. The movie had a typical Ferrell / Anchor Man flavor and was well received by any race car lovers who didn’t take themselves too seriously. It’s all about “”Shake ‘n Bake””.
Days of Thunder
A young Tom Cruise met a young Nicole Kidman on the set of this movie in 1990 which follows the ups and downs of a hot shot racer determined to follow his dreams to NASCAR. Just to add authenticity to the movie there were some cameo appearances by real NASCAR stars including Neil Bonnett, Rusty Wallace and Harry Gant.
Two Lane Blacktop
Perhaps not so well known to general movie goers, this 1971 drama became a cult classic with the unlikely pairing of James Taylor (yes, the singer) and Dennis Wilson (the same Dennis Wilson who is the drummer with the Beach Boys). The excitement builds as the guys drag race their way across the Southwest on Route 66.
This 1981 movie had wall to wall stars headed by Burt Reynolds with Dean Martin, Roger Moore, Sammy Davis Jr, Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Dom DeLuise, Peter Fonda, Jamie Farr, Jack Elam . . yes, the list is almost as long as the race. This movie was so successful that it was followed by two sequels, Cannonball Run II (that’s original) and Speed Zone.
The Love Bug
How can you have an article about movie race cars without including Herbie, the loveable Love Bug? Answer – you can’t. The first movie hit the screens in 1968 as the VW Beetle with a mind of his own carried driver Dean Jones to an unlikely victory. The rest, as they say, is history.
This movie was so lifelike that it was more of a documentary. Self confessed petrol head Steve McQueen superbly captured what life was like for a racer in the 24 hour Le Mans France car race.
James Garner starred in this 1966 movie which focused on car racing and affairs of the heart . . . never a great combination. This is one car movie which actually did pick up a couple of Oscars for editing and sound.
One of the more recent racing movies to hit the screens tells the real life story of 1976 F1 World Champion James Hunt and his rivalry with Nikki Lauda. Not to be missed.
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