Hollywood’s obsession with cars has given us some memorable flicks and many of them have gone on to become timeless classics for the sheer excitement they create. Be it realistic, noir, cult standbys, modern blockbusters, or arthouse classics, car movies have never failed to capture the audience’s attention. Their unimaginable fanfare has had filmmakers coming back with some of the most thrilling silver screen experiences that will remain etched in our memories for long. While each film buff has his own set of favourite car flicks, here are the ten greatest car movies that you must watch if you haven’t already:
The Italian Job (1996)
A bubbly cult classic, The Italian Job does what no other film of this segment has been able to do. It makes things look charmingly stylish and ridiculously easy. But what makes it great is that it still manages to convince you with effortless ease. A heist well-executed turns upside down when a gang member decides to play his own game. Several years later, a fleet of Mini Coopers takes revenge most stylishly. That’s what made The Italian Job such a fun watch.
Ford Vs Ferrari (2019)
A classic story made into a modern blockbuster; Ford Vs Ferrari is everything a car movie must be. It’s thrilling, engaging, realistic, and gives the audience a close sneak-peak into the two cars that are running in contention for the win. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are two brilliant actors who made sure that their cars remained the hero throughout the film.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
A dark, dystopian world coupled with some scintillating visual effects, stylized filmmaking, and breath-taking real car stunts make Mad Max: Fury Road one of the most-watched car films of all time. It’s a bewildering artwork that never lets you relax. A relentless ride of amazingly designed cars and trucks, Fury Road is truly a gem.
Taxi Driver (1976)
An all-time classic, this film stamped Robert De Niro’s authority as an actor. Taxi Driver is a journey of a cab driver who sees the dark, dirty city life through the windshield of his taxi. The way Martin Scorsese has shot the film is a brilliant depiction of how there is a clear divide between Travis Bickle’s inside and outside world. Many sequences show a blurred vision of the outside world where most figures only look like shadows, much like the lonely reality of the protagonist’s life.
The Transporter (2002)
Jason Statham’s stoic demeanour and slow-burn swag made a huge impact on the audience as a transporter, who would deliver any stuff (just about any stuff, no questions asked) in his black BMW. This expert driver, who doubles up as a kick-flinging goon spends his life in his stylishly elegant car, which is just as much a hero in the film as is Jason himself.
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
It is hard to forget the sequence where Nicholas Cage vaults his car over and above a fleet of cars waiting on an overbridge to complete his promise to deliver 60 cars in 96 minutes. While this is almost the end of the film, what precedes this scene is what the film is all about. A well-planned robbery to fulfil a promise keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. A thrilling action-flick where every car has a role to play.
Iranian filmmakers are known to break the rules of filmmaking and come up with classics that rattle our brains. And Taxi is one of them. Directed by Jafar Panahi, who was banned to make films by his government, continued his noir efforts. And this film is a clear indication of how Jafar deciphers the world around him. The film is a visual narrative of the Iranian society that subtly exposes the troubling issues of that part of the world as he roams around on the streets in his taxi.
The Hitchhiker (1953)
A perfect sarcastic take on America’s proliferating car culture, the freedom to do anything, and the open road, The Hitchhiker is one of the all-time great noirs by Ida Lupino. It shook the audience for the audacity with which a hitchhiker dominates and dictates the owners of the car and the claustrophobic air it creates. Nothing could escape from the scathing eyes of this man who had only one motive, an undying will to make his prey dread every moment with him.
Death Proof (2007)
A quintessential Tarantino flick, Death Proof is hauntingly slow with long sequences of dialogues that create a kind of tension that is hard to digest. Kurt Russell plays a car stunt driver with an obscure sense of stalking innocent females. The first half of the film shows him following the women in his car and the second is filled with all the action. It is the car the becomes the home of this eerie character.
Fast & Furious
The list of the greatest car movies of all time is incomplete without the mention of the Fast & Furious franchise. As the name suggests, this series of action-packed car films is everyone’s favourite, even those film buffs who don’t like action films. It is this franchise that made stylish cars, action, and glamour all the more popular.
Which one do you think has been your most favourite car-based movie to date?