10 Best Car Movies Every Motorhead Should Watch

June 21, 2019Fun Facts and Lists
Steven Rogers

Apart from sharing Captain America's name, our freelance writer Steven is also a big fan of moving, history, and geography.

Since their inception, movies have been one of the favorite pastimes for people from all walks of life. And different people want different stuff from the films they watch. But for those who like fast-paced fun and good chase, the best car movies are a safe bet. Here we will present our list (in no particular order, it’s difficult to rank good stuff) and maybe help you in cutting short the weary hours of autumn rains. Why? To quote Memphis Raines – “I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for the cars.

Why We Always Come Back to the Best Car Movies

Vehicles seem like an indispensable part of everyday life. They can make it a nightmare (driving in New York, for example) or a breeze (if you’ve moved to the suburbs because of the coronavirus pandemic, for another example). After all, even the finest import cars are not beneath the quick ride to the supermarket before friends arrive for an episode or two of the nice TV shows about cars. Or the inevitable rounds of Need for Speed, Forza Horizon, or any other racing game. In short, even though living without a car is possible, it’s not too convenient (even in the worst US cities for driving). But what’s with the films that spin around them?

Well, they are fun, for starters. Hell, some famous franchises can hardly be imagined without iconic vehicles. What would James Bond be without his Aston Martin? Or how would Marty McFly get to the past in any other vehicle than DeLorean DMC-12? Is Batman really Batman without Batmobile? And let’s not forget Transformers (though many undoubtedly would like to) and Chevrolet Camaro. They can provide a lot even for genuine enthusiasts.

Films are a very good medium to follow the evolution of cars, from timeless classic models to modern ones. In some SF flicks from the 1980s and 90s, there are even driverless cars (remember Johnny Cab from Total Recall?), which nowadays become less science fiction and more a very near future.

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Create a Highway Feeling in Your Home With a Movie

Say you already decided to book long-distance moving services and took a fun where should I move quiz. Whether the decision calls for an Alaska car shipping company and a crash course in how to open frozen car doors or perhaps acquainting yourself with driving in Chicago, the essential questions are the same. Should I get car shipping advice and prepare everything for transporting cars from state to state? Or maybe sit behind the wheel and begin a journey along the famous US routes?

Next come administrative questions, such as regulations about registering a car in a new state and the requirements for car insurance. If I opt for driving, what if I have to change a flat tire along the way? And the list goes on and on.

We know that mere thinking about moving to a new city alone while driving across the country can induce high levels of driving anxiety without even putting the key in the ignition. Well, a nice movie might calm you down. Seeing other people handling different situations in traffic with little or no trouble might make driving stress disappear. If Jason Bourne could outrun (and effectively ruin) the entire police fleet of Zurich, or if heroes escape from T-Rex in a Ford in Jurassic Park, how hard can it be to go from some cozy and safe Californian town to the East Coast? Or to Seattle?

And if love is behind your decision to relocate, joint watching some of the best car movies on Netflix might be the good choice for your last long-distance Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Maybe Smokey and the Bandit or Two for the Road. Maybe even Thelma & Louise, a proof that the cars for women are simply all vehicles suitable for driving.

And now, without further ado, let’s head to the names.

Lots of parked cars
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is the movie worth?

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

A remake of a 1974 film, Gone in 60 Seconds with Nicholas Cage as Memphis Raines is one of those flicks that friends insist you watch, even threatening to sever any affiliation with you as “or else.” And it really is a good movie, using a time-tested storyline – a retired professional car thief Randall Raines, called Memphis, is forced back in the game for one last score. And the insanely difficult score, make no mistake.

In short, he has to steal 50 very specific luxurious vehicles (ones usually transported in an enclosed auto transport trailer) in just three days. So he has to assemble a crew, but the problem is that most of his old associates have gone legit (as well as he did, we first see him teaching children to kart-race).

There are all the staples of the arc – death threat from a crime lord, a rival gang bearing a grudge, assembling a crew, and cops breathing down the crew’s neck all the way. With quite a few twists and turns along the way, the film never stops being a fun and joyful ride.

The cast is quite stellar, too, as the job before them deserves. Besides Cage, there are Robert Duvall, Angelina Jolie, Will Patton, Scott Caan, Vinnie Jones, Christopher Eccleston, Delroy Lindo, and Timothy Olyphant. Cars follow suit – on the list to be stolen are Cadillacs, Porsches, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Ferraris, a Ford or two, and even Hummer (among others,) but the star prize is a Ford – 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, the model Raines always wanted to nick but never succeeded.

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Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (1991)

Eleven years have passed since Sarah Connor managed to destroy the killing machine called the Terminator in 1984 and thus, for the time being, prevent the Skynet from eliminating the future leader of human resistance to the machines. Now it’s 1995, Sarah is locked up in the mental hospital, her son John (said future leader) lives with foster parents who wouldn’t exactly win any prize for their parenting performance, and two Terminators are sent back through time – one to kill John (T-1000) and the other to protect him (T-800). Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton reprise their roles, joined by Robert Patrick as T-1000 and Edward Furlong as John Connor.

Now, this isn’t exactly a movie about cars (nor does it truthfully present the realities of driving in Los Angeles). Still, vehicles feature heavily in it – bikes, cars, vans and pickups, trucks, and a chopper. And to add to the flavor, protagonists mostly acquire them by murder or theft (so, in this instance, the answer to what things to keep in your car would be nothing. Nothing at all!). Some of the chases are among the best action sequences ever filmed, and they mostly end up with one or both involved vehicles being totaled. Speaking of wrong ways to dispose of a car battery

And if you wish a closer look at the world of T2’s contemporary machines, take a look at this video, made by an obvious fan.

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Drive (2011)

This action-packed drama didn’t hold back when it came to the cast. Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, and Oscar Isaac kind of guarantee a good show. Ok, maybe not for Disney Star Wars or Aquaman, but you get the point. It earned its director, Nicolas Winding Refn, a Best Director Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. While largely very positively rated, Drive features moments of quite brutal violence, so everyone should be ready for it.

Gosling portrays a stuntman and a getaway driver known only as “Driver” – those people really don’t like names, do they? His work, and bonding with his neighbor and her son, lead him to entanglement with different branches of the mob, heists, betrayals, many deaths along the way, and some damn good driving scenes on the streets of Los Angeles and surroundings. It looks like this.

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Fast and Furious (Various)

Spanning over 20 years now, with the first film out in 2001, The Fast and the Furious franchise established itself among the best race car movies ever. Though the franchise has its ups and downs (you’ll find some of its sequels on the worst car movies list), it introduced massive CGI in the genre, and it rarely fails to entertain. Whether with an ever-growing cast of star actors or with fast cars and witty heroes outsmarting and outspeeding rivals, both from law enforcement and the criminal milieu.

The main protagonists are Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) though there are flicks in the series without one or both of them.

Toretto is a street racer, car thief, and owner of a custom car shop (to put it politely) where the cars are beefed up for racing – definitely the guy who knows how to disconnect the car alarm. He is, to paraphrase Agent Smith, guilty of every car crime there is a law for. He has led cops on a wild goose chase probably countless times, so they send an undercover officer (O’Conner) to get him. Needless to say, the two become friends and partners (and family,) and the series goes on from there, from races to heists, from the US to Brazil and Japan.

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Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster starred as Toretto’s girlfriend and sister in the first film and in some of the others. The Rock joined the cast in the fifth installment and Jason Statham in the sixth. The tenth part of the series, Fast X, will feature Jason Momoa and Brie Larson. However, despite its overall success, the series suffered a devastating blow when Walker died in a car crash in 2013. It happened during the filming of Furious 7, and everything was put on hold but finally went on.

From the beginning, the series put a strong emphasis on friendship and family bonds, which was even more heavily accentuated in The Fate of the Furious and F9. In fact, watching those might compel you into buying a family car.

The Italian Job (1969)

Long before Mark Wahlberg went on his quest for gold and vengeance, Michael Caine did the same as Charlie Croker. After being released from prison, Croker goes to Italy to meet his old friend, only to learn that he’s been killed by the Mafia. What he left behind is the plan of a complex heist of four million dollars in gold bars on the streets of Turin, Italy. So Croker decides to follow the plan and (you guessed it right) assemble a crew.

What sets this movie apart (besides lots of crazy driving though and over most unlikely places (this, for example) is that it ends with a cliffhanger. A literal cliffhanger. But at least Charlie has a great idea.

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Duel (1971)

When you head on a business trip in your car, you likely expect to worry about whether a spark plug is bad or (if you have a pet) how to remove dog hair from the car. Yet, that wasn’t the luck of David Mann (Dennis Weaver). In the middle of the desert, he overtakes a rundown tanker truck.

Unfortunately, not only does whoever’s behind the wheel not appreciate that, but he enters probably the coldest and most calculated road rage ever. Hence, Mr. Mann will spend the rest of the movie trying to stay alive and escape from the trucker on a chase while having all sorts of misfortunes along the way. Including his car actually beginning to fail and getting worse as time passes.

The movie was highly rated when it appeared. Based on the short story by the SF writer Richard Matheson (author of the classic novel I Am Legend,) it’s Steven Spielberg’s second (but first really noted) work. The main part of the suspense is that we never actually see the trucker’s face, only his arms and feet on several occasions (he is played by a well-known stuntman Carey Loftin). There is very little dialogue, and Spielberg himself said that the main protagonists of the movie are vehicles – a red 1970 Plymouth Valiant and a 1955 Peterbilt 281.

Having all that happened to David Mann, it makes you think twice about buying a used car and investing in some of the faster exotic autos instead. Sure, maybe they won’t go on an open trailer of any company shipping cars in the USA, but you’ll at least be able to outrun anybody. Ok, maybe not anybody – after all, bad guys often have cool wheels too.

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Driver (1978)

In what is without a doubt one of the best car movies of all time, Ryan O’Neal is the Driver – an expert in getting robbers in LA away from the scenes of their crimes. In one such operation, he is seen by the female casino patron (known as the Player). The Detective, of course, wants to catch the Driver, and to achieve that, he enlists three criminals to help him in return for letting them go. As there’s no honor among thieves, they accept, and the rest is history.

O’Neill is joined by co-stars Isabelle Adjani and Bruce Dern, while Walter Hill directed it. And that guy simply can’t make a bad movie. Trust us, we watched them all, and it’s classic after classic. Just to get a taste of it, here’s the sequence of a night chase with the police.

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Taxi (Franchise)

Another European flick(s), Taxi is a French action/comedy series following the unlikely partnership of taxi driver and speed (physical, not opiate) junky Daniel (Sami Naceri) and not the cream-of-the crop cop Emilien (Frederic Diefenthal).

Daniel drives his clients around Marseille in a heavily modified 1997 Peugeot 406, and if there’s anything he has nothing but contempt for, it’s the police. That’s the fact he gladly shares with people. He probably shouldn’t have told that to Emilien, though, while at the same time breaking every existing traffic law. So, Emilien offers Daniel a deal – he won’t arrest him if Daniel agrees to help the law enforcement to nab a gang of German robbers. That Daniel does, and the two become friends.

Each of the five flicks in the series means a new gang is in town, and Daniel, Emilien, and his colleague and girlfriend Petra (Emma Sjoberg) need to execute complex plans of theatrical police chief Gibert. To complicate matters further, Daniel’s gigs with the police mean a lot of discussions about his priorities with his beautiful girlfriend Lilly (Marion Cotillard) and her father, an army officer.

All in all, Taxi is great fun for singles, couples, and families, especially if fans of street racing are present. And here’s a look at Daniel’s car and how to get from home in the city center to the airport in a very short time.

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Death Proof (2007)

Now, you didn’t really expect any list without Tarantino, right? In an homage to the exploitation films of the 1970s and the 1980s, Tarantino presents to us Mike McKay (Kurt Russel,) a stuntman in Hollywood who uses his car to kill women. According to him, the vehicle is “death proof,” but only for the person behind the wheel.

True to the form, the film looks like a B-production from a few decades back, giving you the feel of some seedy cinema in the back alley of an industrial US city. And Russel manages exactly the same.

Mad Max – The Road Warrior (1981)

A worthy sequel to the first Mad Max, The Road Warrior brings us back to the ravaged post-apocalyptic Australia, its society brought to ruin by the shortage of oil. There, in the middle of the desert full of punkish Marauders, drives Max Rockatansky, a former police officer who lost virtually everything. All that is left is his dog and worn-and-torn but very much functional black V-8 Pursuit Special (Ford Falcon GT).

The plot is spinning around the need for fuel – folks are fighting for it, helping each other in return for acquiring it, and stabbing one another in the back to get it. With Max coming out alive in the end, of course (as there was a need for a third movie).

Besides good stunts and action, the Mad Max franchise sports many vehicles perfect for off-road driving (usually “good” guys,) while some Marauders are more fond of moving on motorcycles and all types of custom-made vehicles. Adds to their badassery, probably.

Mel Gibson once again did brilliantly as the titular character, accompanied by Bruce Spence, Mike Spence, Emil Minty, Vernon Wells, and others. To get a feel of the atmosphere, here’s one of many a chase in the series.

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With the List Completed, You’re Ready to Go

Relocations are difficult, and not everyone is tailored for long drives. It’s not something to be taken lightly either by beginners in the driving world or experienced hands. So, the obvious solution is the company. But how to choose one? How to check if it’s legitimate and not some kind of moving scam?

Well, for starters, there are auto transport reviews from previous customers. And the FMCSA database. Then, you can contact each company (if you can’t, that’s a red flag by itself) and ask any question you might have about their bill of lading or prices of door-to-door auto transport and terminal-to-terminal car shipping (again, if they don’t answer clearly, walk away). Professionals can safely ship a car cross country, whether it’s a simple vehicle for city driving or some of the most expensive cars in the world. It’s all about the service details.

If you do your homework on the company properly, you’ll be able to relax, buy a subscription to Netflix or any other platform (if you don’t already have them,) and enjoy the films and shows about cars. And maybe think about whether your chosen home is among the best US cities to drive in, whether there are good car shows in the vicinity, how to cut down car expenses, and whether the next chapter of your life requires you to get an RV to be able to fully immerse yourself in the future surroundings.

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