Car themed movies are my favourite type. I have extended it into movies with really good car chase scenes. I have been carrying a list of around 60 movies to add to my existing collection for the past 2 years and adding them slowly one at a time when I find them. These are Hollywood movies in English and range from 1900 till 2009. I still have not built up a non-English collection (just noticed that there seems to be a good number of Japanese and French movies that fit the car theme). This weekend, I delved a bit deeper into the data of movies available and tried grouping them into categories and also sorted them by year. In the process my list of 60 suddenly became 135. I have added this list as a free pdf download. As of now, I own around 30 movies that I call car themed movies. If you have to ask who Eleanor, Bumblebee, Herbie, The Judge and General Lee are you should probably stop here and decide if you want to read the remaining.
The current decade (2000’s) seems to have the maximum number of car themed movies and movies with car chases occupying key parts of the storyline.The next closest decade was the 70’s. We are indeed in car-crazy times :-). The 80’s and 90’s didnt seem to be that into cars, did they ?
The movies can be grouped into racing movies(including all forms of racing like NASCAR,Champ car, Drag strip, street racing, illegal racing), chase movies (car chases and crashes), Bio-pics(about famous racing legends), Horror , Drama (deeper story around car theme) and also finally about driving( typically high speed driving, stunts, long distance, getaways). Chases in movies comprise close to 35% of movies on my list and Race themed movies comprise 46% of the list. Interestingly the percentage of movies having critically acclaimed chase scenes in the 70s was around 18% and race themed movies at 76%.In the last 9 years the ratio is 57% chase scenes and 28% on race themed. The ratio has turned 180 degrees around in 30 years !
The earliest car themed movie I could find was the 1913 movie –Speed Kings, based on automobile racing. If there is anything earlier than that please let me know. There was a movie called Speed in 1935 that was also based on auto racing which was pretty popular then.
All time popular cars and movies they appeared in:
- The Bond movie Goldfinger (1964) was the first movie the Ford Mustang appeared in (it was launched in 1964 as well). Also this was the first movie the Bond car was set as the Aston Martin DB5. The same car now owned by Spielberg appears in 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can.
- The Herbie Series is probably the most loved series with the VW Beetle Show up in 5 movies from 1968 till 2005.
- The DeLorean in the Back to the Future series shows up in 3 movies from 19855 to 1990.
- The Mustang Fastback “Eleanor” shows up in two movies of the same name Gone in Sixty Seconds from 1974 & 2000. The second GISS movie seems to be the first of many car themed movies that were released after 2000.
- Ford Mustang: Bullit(1986),Gone in 60 Seconds(1974),Gone in 60 Seconds(2000),Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift(2006), I Am Legend( 2007), Death Race (2008)
- Mini Cooper: Italian Job(1969),Italian Job(2001) & Bourne Identity(2002).
- Ford Gran Torino: Charlies Angels : Fullthrottle (2004) , Starsky & Hutch (2004) and Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino (2009), Fast and Furious (2009) has a 1972 Gran Torino Sport.
- Pontiac GTO: Two Lane Blacktop(1971),Bullit(1986), XXX(2002). The Last Ride(2004) a TV movie featured the GTO “Judge” and also had the latest iteration of the Pontiac GTO.
- Chevrolet Corvette: 1970 Corvetter in Death Race 2000(1973), 1973 Stingray in Corvette Summer (1978)
- Chevrolet Camaro: Transformers (2007) had the 1977 and 2009 Camaros, 2 Fast 2 Furious(2003) had a 1969 Camaro, 2009 Fast and Furious has a 1973 Camaro.
- Dodge Charger: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry(1974),The Fast and the Furious (2001),Dukes of Hazzard(2005) – “The General Lee”
- Dodge Challenger: Vanishing Point(1971), 2 Fast 2 Furious(2003)
- Scary Cars: Modified 1971 Lincoln Continental in The Car(1977), 1958 Plymouth Fury in Christine(1983) , 1954 Buick Roadmaster in From a Buick 8(Upcoming movie for 2009).
- Upcoming Car Themed movies for 2009 and beyond are:
- From a Buick 8 ( Horror movie based on a scarily good Stephen King book expected in 2009)
- Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen (The transformers sequel expected around June 2009)
- Cars II (The sequel to Pixar Cars expected in 2012)
- The Limit( A movie on Grand Prix racing with Toby Maguire expected in 2012)
(Do check up on www.carsplusmovies.com for more updates. Its a great site with tonnes of car movie related links. I got the above list from there.)
Download: You can download my list of movies as a free PDF file download. Do take a look and let me know if you come across any good car themed movie I may have missed from the list. Also do pass on the pdf to your friends who may be interested.