Classic car movies for classic car people!by henrik-wendel | created - 21 Jul 2014 | updated - 9 months ago | Public
Car movies that the new generation of japanese car style drifting movies would probably hate. Classic cars, classic movies. Some trucker and racing movies might also find their way into the list. I put them in the order I think you need to see them, starting from the top. The list is not complete, I will add movies as I watch them. Feel free to comment about movies you think should be on the list, so I can watch them, or give my opinion why I don't want them on my list. Heart Like a Wheel, American Graffiti and Tucker I didn't watch for quite some time, so their # on the list might be changed later. Motorcycle movies were also on this list originally, but later got into a list of its own!
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1. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
PG | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The Bandit is hired on to run a tractor-trailer full of beer over state lines, in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.
Votes: 46,219 | Gross: $126.74M
"The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there's beer in Texarkana!"
Driving fast, driving far, transporting beer! The top three interests of any man, and they are all in this movie. Also great music by Jerry Reed.
2. The Blues Brothers (1980)
R | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Jake Blues, just released from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and his brother Elwood were raised.
Votes: 186,033 | Gross: $57.23M
A 1974 Dodge Monaco sedan takes the Blues Brothers on a mission from God! Great music, with loads of living musical legends.
3. Vanishing Point (1971)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
During the 1970s, car delivery driver Kowalski delivers hot rods in record time but always runs into trouble with the highway cops.
'70 Dodge Challenger, Benzedrine and desert, what could possibly go wrong?
4. Hot Rod (1979 TV Movie)
97 min | Drama
A drag-racer enters a local championship race. However, he runs up against the town boss, a corrupt sheriff who has already made arrangements to ensure that his own son wins the race.
This movie has got everything! Hot rods, gassers, street races, drag racing, fighting big shots and corrupt cops, great music, and a nice story.
5. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
R | 102 min | Drama
While drag-racing through the American Southwest in a Chevrolet 150, a driver and his mechanic cross paths with an alluring hitchhiker and the inexperienced, tall tale-spinning driver of a GTO.
Two guys cruise cross country in their '55 Chevy gasser, to find opportunities to race. Pretty relaxed movie, really worth watching!
6. The California Kid (1974 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 74 min | Action, Horror, Thriller
A deranged desert town sheriff has a murderous habit of forcing speeders to their deaths, until a young man with a souped-up hotrod arrives to possibly end it.
A great movie from 1974, with Martin Sheen and Nick Nolte. Martin Sheen has a 1934 Ford V8 hot rod, the cop has a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere. The "California Kid" '34 Ford 3 window coupe was built by Pete Chapouris.
7. The Last American Hero (1973)
PG | 95 min | Drama, Sport
A young hellraiser quits his moonshine business to try to become the best NASCAR racer the south has ever seen.
Junior is competing in stock car racing to win money to cover the costs of the lawyer, after the cops break down the family moonshine business. Jeff Bridges and Gary Busey as the two brothers, in a really good stock car racing movie.
8. Greased Lightning (1977)
PG | 96 min | Action, Biography, Comedy
The true life story of Wendell Scott, the first black stock car racing driver to win an upper tier NASCAR race.
A great Nascar movie, with Richard Pryor and Cleavon Little! Based on the story about Wendell Scott. It also features a cool custom Cadillac pick-up!
9. Gran Torino (2008)
R | 116 min | Drama
Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, Thao Lor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.
Votes: 729,511 | Gross: $148.10M
This movie maybe shouldn't be in this list at all! Forget car chases, hot rods, drag racing, etc. It's about a man (Clint Eastwood) that grew up in the times when cars were cars and men were men, and how he doesn't really fit in anymore. Oh, and he has a 1972 Gran Torino. Great movie, but probably the one with the least car action in this list.
10. Børning (2014)
89 min | Action, Comedy
The illegal sports car race "Street legal" goes 2000 kilometers through Norway from Oslo to North Cape, and Roy has been challenged to participate. At the same time, he has to look after his daughter.
A great Norwegian movie! Roy is a car fanatic, running a speedshop and a yellow Boss 302 Mustang fastback drag racing car. For a bet, he and loads of people drives all the way to Nordkapp in whatever cars they have, Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros, Porsches, Ferraris, rice-burners, etc, while the cops chase them.
11. Stroker Ace (1983)
PG | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Romance
The title character, a popular NASCAR driver, clashes with the fried-chicken mogul that sponsors his racing team.
Votes: 3,635 | Gross: $13.00M
Stroker Ace (Burt Reynolds) is a Nascar-driver. He's stuck with a horrible sponsor deal he's trying to get out of, and a blonde bombshell Sunday school teacher he's trying to get into. A bit cheesy, but good entertainment.
12. Fast Company (1979)
R | 91 min | Drama, Sport
After his sponsor replaces him with his arch rival, a race-car driver decides to steal the car and race it himself.
The classic Sportmanship vs. Money, going down the 1/4 mile!
13. Convoy (1978)
PG | 110 min | Action, Drama
Truckers form a mile long "convoy" in support of a trucker's vendetta with an abusive sheriff...Based on the country song of same title by C.W. McCall.
Votes: 15,499 | Gross: $45.00M
Kris Kristofferson (trucker) vs. Ernest Borgnine (corrupt cop). A convoy of classic trucks, and a '71 Chevelle flying through a barn. Sometimes enough is enough, great movie!
14. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
PG | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Down-on-their-luck racers Larry and Deke steal from a supermarket manager to buy a car that will help them advance their racing chances. Their escape does not go as planned when Larry's one-night stand, Mary, tags along for the ride.
Votes: 6,396 | Gross: $0.62M
Peter Fonda in a cat and mouse car chase with the cops, in a '66 Impala and '69 Charger R/T 440. Well worth watching.
15. Corvette Summer (1978)
PG | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy
A high school grad and a hooker-in-training try to track down his stolen Corvette.
Votes: 2,849 | Gross: $15.50M
A high school student (Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker) builds a custom C3 Corvette Stingray in the school garage. When it gets stolen, he has to do whatever it takes to get it back! Not a traditional car chase movie, more of a romantic action comedy revolving around this car. The movie seems like an infomercial for GM sometimes, and it includes a car chase between the Corvette and a black '71 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. All in all a nice and different car movie. An original mold of the Corvette is displayed at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
16. Snake & Mongoose (2013)
PG-13 | 102 min | Sport
The untold story of how Southern California drag racers, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen combined with corporate giants to change the face of sports and ultimately became the most famous rivalry in racing history.
Votes: 621 | Gross: $0.15M
Classic 70's funny car dragracing with Snake and Mongoo$e, in a pretty good movie!
17. Hooper (1978)
PG | 99 min | Action, Comedy
Hollywood aging stuntman Sonny Hooper wants to prove that he's still got what it takes to be a great professional in this risky and under-recognized line of work.
Votes: 6,076 | Gross: $78.00M
A 1978 movie with Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and a '78 Firebird Trans Am, sponsored by Coors... Not as good as Smokey and the Bandit, but what is? Hooper is a stunt man, working at a movie set while drinking beer and raising hell.
18. Highwaymen (2004)
R | 80 min | Action, Crime, Horror
Rennie Cray (Caviezel) embarks on a bloodthirsty rampage to avenge the death of his wife who was struck down by a serial killer - a man who hunts and kills women using his '72 El Dorado.
Votes: 8,506 | Gross: $0.37M
Jim Caviezel (Reese from Person of Interest) uses a 1968 Barracuda to chase a freak in a 1972 Eldorado, while both of them are being chased by Frankie Faison (Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell from The Wire), a cop in a 1993 Crown Victoria. Great movie!
19. Heart Like a Wheel (1983)
PG | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,276 | Gross: $0.27M
20. The Lively Set (1964)
Approved | 95 min | Action, Drama, Sport
Casey Owens (James Darren), a young mechanic, has developed a design for a turbine car engine, paving the way for a jet-powered auto certain to set a new land speed record. Wealthy playboy ... See full summary »
A 1964 movie featuring the then-new Chrysler turbine car, in a race. Also featuring a race between a 1923 Dodge hot rod built by San Diego Prowlers member Joe Pirronello in the late 1950s and a 1929 Ford built by the Ayala Brothers at Gil's Auto Body Works in the early 50's.
21. The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy
Cousins Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke, and their uncle Jesse, egg on the authorities of Hazzard County, Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane.
Votes: 76,188 | Gross: $80.27M
Of course, both the General Lee ('69 Dodge Charger) and Daisy Dukes are originally from the series with the same name. Here you get these top two of confederate cultural icons served up in a movie with a bit of Willie Nelson, Jessica Simpson and Burt Reynolds.
22. Drive Hard (2014)
Not Rated | 92 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A former race car driver is abducted by a mysterious thief and forced to be the wheel-man for a crime that puts them both in the sights of the cops and the mob.
Pretty cool Australian movie with John Cusack. It features a lot of car chase scenes, mainly with a Ford Falcon XA GT 351 and a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. A new movie with the classic getaway driver plot, with a bit of a twist.
23. Dazed and Confused (1993)
R | 102 min | Comedy
The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
Votes: 169,658 | Gross: $7.99M
A newer version of American Graffiti basically, but taking place in the 70's. Great cars and great music!
24. Rush (I) (2013)
R | 123 min | Action, Biography, Drama
Votes: 442,017 | Gross: $26.95M
A movie about Niki Lauda vs. James Hunt, interesting and exciting!
25. American Graffiti (1973)
PG | 110 min | Comedy, Drama
A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.
Votes: 83,304 | Gross: $115.00M
26. The Hollywood Knights (1980)
R | 91 min | Comedy
Led by their comedic leader, Turk, the Hollywood Knights car club raise hell throughout Beverly Hills on Halloween Night, 1965.
Votes: 4,266 | Gross: $10.00M
A movie similar to American Graffiti, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Fran Drescher. One night in the life of the Hollywood Knights high school car gang, with racing, pranks and chicks. Lots of cool cars and great music!
27. Moonrunners (1975)
PG | 110 min | Action, Comedy
Grady and Bobby Lee run moonshine for Uncle Jesse, who prides himself on his old-school moonshining methods, and refuses to buckle in to the 'big business moonshine' of Jake, who controls these parts for New York mobsters.
Classic moonshine movie! A predecessor to Dukes of Hazzard, unfortunately without General Lee and Daisy Dukes. Great music by Jerry Reed and Waylon Jennings!
28. Six Pack (1982)
PG | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport
A race car driver is driving to a race in a motor home with his race car on a trailer. His car gets stripped of parts. He ends up with 6 orphan kids on his way to the race.
Votes: 2,737 | Gross: $20.23M
A very nice movie with Kenny Rogers and Buddy Baker! Kenny Rogers ends up with six orphaned siblings tagging along in his rv, while trying to get back into Nascar racing!
29. White Line Fever (1975)
PG | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama
In the 1970s Arizona, a young married man becomes an independent long-haul driver and he risks his life fighting the corruption in the local long-haul trucking industry.
A great trucker movie from 1975, with great country music. Jan-Michael Vincent (Hawke from Airwolf), Slim Pickens (Taggart from Blazing Saddles) and Martin Kove (Sensei Kreese from Karate Kid and Ericson from Rambo: First Blood Part II) doesn't make it any worse!
30. Fast Five (2011)
PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.
Votes: 357,339 | Gross: $209.84M
Finally, five movies into the series, it becomes like an Oceans 11 but with cars and driving in focus.
31. Thunder Road (1958)
Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and the police who are trying to put him in prison.
Classic moonshine movie! Pretty good! Fun fact: The role as Robert Mitchums younger brother in the movie was intended for Elvis Presley! Colonel Tom Parker asked for more money than the entire movie budget, so the role went to Robert Mitchums son James. James Mitchum is also featured in Moonrunners, another classic movie on this list.
32. Speed Zone (1989)
PG | 94 min | Action, Comedy, Sport
Despite the police's preemptive strike, the illegal coast-to-coast car race is still on with new drivers. It's a race where fair play, red lights, stop signs, police roadblocks and traffic rules in general have no validity.
Votes: 3,153 | Gross: $3.08M
An unofficial third Cannonball Run movie! Not so many famous actors, but at least John Candy! Jamie Farr has a small role as the sheik from the first movies. Appereances by Lee van Cleef(!), Carl Lewis, Richard Petty, Michael Spinks and Brooke Shields. Not so many cool cars either. On the other hand, it's all together a better movie than Cannonball Run 1 and 2.
33. Hit and Run (I) (2012)
R | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Former getaway driver Charles Bronson jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend get to Los Angeles. The feds and Charles' former gang chase them on the road.
Votes: 34,909 | Gross: $13.75M
Pretty much a new version of Grand Theft Auto, featuring a '67 Lincoln Continental, a 2012 Cadillac CTS-V, a C6 Corvette and some semi-famous actors. Not bad!
34. Pink Cadillac (1989)
PG-13 | 122 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Skip tracer Tommy looks for bail-jumper Lou Ann. Her crime is marrying Roy, who left counterfeit money in their mobile home and got her arrested. She leaves Roy in his pink Cadillac full of money. His psycho friends want their money back.
Votes: 10,953 | Gross: $12.14M
A movie with Clint Eastwood and a Caddy '59 convertible can't be bad! It's not an amazing movie, but worth watching anyway.
35. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
PG | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
The story of Preston Tucker, the maverick car designer and his ill-fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.
Votes: 17,105 | Gross: $19.65M
36. Cannonball Run II (1984)
PG | 108 min | Action, Comedy
The original characters from The Cannonball Run (1981) race across the country once more in various cars and trucks.
Votes: 15,133 | Gross: $28.08M
Also a classic, and I like it more than the first one. It has even more cool cars, and even more famous actors (even Frank Sinatra, Richard Kiel and Jackie Chan...).
37. The Cannonball Run (1981)
PG | 95 min | Action, Comedy, Sport
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.
Votes: 33,684 | Gross: $72.18M
A classic! Unfortunately, with all the great cars (even the cops has Firebirds!) and famous actors (even Roger Moore and Sammy Davis Jr!), it's not more than an hour and a half of decent entertainment.
38. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline-rich community escape a horde of bandits.
Votes: 168,813 | Gross: $12.47M
More entertainment for your money than in the first movie, and some cool cars! A classic!
39. Return to Macon County (1975)
PG | 90 min | Drama
Two young men in a fast car travel through Georgia in the summer of 1958 en route to enter the National Championship drag races in California. In Macon County they pick up a wild girl who brings trouble and attract the ire of a local cop.
Similar to the "first" movie, but revolving more around the car this time. A yellow Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupe from 1957, classy!
40. Furious 7 (2015)
PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
Votes: 364,530 | Gross: $353.01M
They somehow managed to make the seventh movie in the serious both the most far-out and the most believable at the same time, amazing! That's how far cutting out all the scenes of gear-shifting will get you!
41. Macon County Line (1974)
R | 89 min | Action, Drama, Romance
A vengeful Southern sheriff is out for blood after his wife is brutally killed by a pair of drifters.
Votes: 1,257 | Gross: $18.77M
Almost not making it to this list, since the cars don't play a big enough factor. Anyway, the movie got here, it has a beautiful 1949 Chrysler Town & Country convertible, a 1954 Ford Customline Ranch Wagon and a 1956 Pontiac ambulance. Also great music!
42. Safari 3000 (1982)
PG | 92 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Reporter J.J. Dalton (Stockard Channing) wants to write a story about a gruelling three thousand kilometer auto rally through Africa. When her deal to ride with a driver falls through, she ... See full summary »
David Carradine vs. Cristopher Lee in this silly movie. A rally in Africa, the animals are cooler than the cars. Worth watching.
43. White Lightning (1973)
PG | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama
An ex con teams up with federal agents to help them with breaking up a moonshine ring.
A non-moustached Burt Reynolds is hauling moonshine in a '71 Ford Custom 500, while trying to get back on the corrupt cop that got his brother killed.
44. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
PG-13 | 108 min | Comedy, Sport
Number one NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby's talent and devotion are put to the test.
Votes: 170,028 | Gross: $148.21M
A Nascar comedy movie with Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Clarke Duncan and a '69 Chevelle! Good entertainment!
45. Sex Drive (2008)
R | 109 min | Comedy, Romance