Best Car Movies of All Time

by MustangBlast | created - 04 Dec 2010 | updated - 29 Mar 2013 | Public

A list of the best movies and tv series from a petrolhead point of view, in chronological order. The "suspense" is killing me!

For a movie to be on this list, a simple car chase is not enough, the car has to be the protagonist and some sort of racing must happen on the scene. "Good" is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, many of these movies have a thin, if not outright ludicrous plot. However, they should be judged on the one thing in common. The rest is just side dish to the senses.

If it wouldn't be in chronological order, the list would start like this: 1. The Driver 2. Vanishing Point 3. The Italian Job (Original) Anyone who grew up watching the editing-obsessed movies of the recent era, should at least give them a try.

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1. 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.

Director: Arthur Ripley | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Jacques Aubuchon, Keely Smith

Votes: 2,687

2. Goldfinger (1964)

PG | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

87 Metascore

While investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton

Votes: 154,650 | Gross: $51.08M

3. The Great Race (1965)

Passed | 160 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A grand adventurous race takes place between the heroic Leslie and the despicable Professor Fate across three continents.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk

Votes: 14,294 | Gross: $25.33M

4. Grand Prix (1966)

Approved | 176 min | Drama, Sport

American Grand Prix driver Pete Aron is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard. While Stoddard struggles to recover, ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 6,901 | Gross: $20.85M

5. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

R | 111 min | Action, Biography, Crime

81 Metascore

Bonnie Parker, a bored waitress falls in love with an ex-con named Clyde Barrow and together they start a violent crime spree through the country, stealing cars and robbing banks.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman

Votes: 91,086

6. Bullitt (1968)

M/PG | 114 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

83 Metascore

An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon

Votes: 53,485 | Gross: $42.30M

7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

G | 144 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Director: Ken Hughes | Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Benny Hill

Votes: 36,022

8. The Love Bug (1968)

G | 108 min | Comedy, Family, Sport

48 Metascore

A race car driver becomes a champion with a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett

Votes: 12,242

9. The Italian Job (1969)

G | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Comic caper movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam.

Director: Peter Collinson | Stars: Michael Caine, Noël Coward, Benny Hill, Raf Vallone

Votes: 35,988

10. 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.

Director: Richard C. Sarafian | Stars: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Charlotte Rampling, Dean Jagger

Votes: 24,197

11. The French Connection (1971)

R | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Votes: 96,343

12. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

R | 102 min | Drama

A story of two men drag-racing across the U.S. in a primer grey '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson is the mechanic, James Taylor is the driver.

Director: Monte Hellman | Stars: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, Dennis Wilson

Votes: 9,833

13. Duel (1971 TV Movie)

PG | 90 min | Action, Horror, Thriller

A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell

Votes: 55,170

14. Le Mans (1971)

G | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Almost in breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world's hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 14.5 ... See full summary »

Director: Lee H. Katzin | Stars: Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen, Ronald Leigh-Hunt

Votes: 7,651

15. American Graffiti (1973)

PG | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

97 Metascore

A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 72,577 | Gross: $115.00M

16. Herbie Rides Again (1974)

G | 88 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

49 Metascore

The living Volkswagen Beetle helps an old lady protect her home from a corrupt developer.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Helen Hayes, Ken Berry, Stefanie Powers, John McIntire

Votes: 6,385 | Gross: $38.23M

17. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

PG | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

Larry Rayder is an aspiring NASCAR driver, Deke Sommers is mechanic. As they feel they collectively are the best, the only thing that is holding them back is money to build the best vehicle... See full summary »

Director: John Hough | Stars: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Kenneth Tobey

Votes: 5,435

18. Death Race 2000 (1975)

R | 80 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill's brutality.

Director: Paul Bartel | Stars: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Griffeth, Mary Woronov

Votes: 22,140 | Gross: $8.00M

19. The Gumball Rally (1976)

PG | 105 min | Comedy

37 Metascore

A disparate group of drivers take part in a secret and illegal cross country road race.

Director: Charles Bail | Stars: Michael Sarrazin, Tim McIntire, Raul Julia, Norman Burton

Votes: 3,105

20. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

PG | 96 min | Action, Comedy

50 Metascore

The Bandit is hired on to run a tractor trailer full of beer over state lines, in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.

Director: Hal Needham | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry

Votes: 39,408 | Gross: $126.74M

21. The Driver (1978)

R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A getaway driver becomes the latest assignment for a tenacious detective.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakley

Votes: 11,851 | Gross: $4.91M

22. Corvette Summer (1978)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy

A high school grad and a hooker-in-training try to track down his stolen Corvette.

Director: Matthew Robbins | Stars: Mark Hamill, Annie Potts, Eugene Roche, William Bryant

Votes: 2,390 | Gross: $15.50M

23. Mad Max (1979)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Votes: 172,211 | Gross: $8.75M

24. The Blues Brothers (1980)

R | 133 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

60 Metascore

Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.

Director: John Landis | Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, John Candy

Votes: 162,859 | Gross: $57.23M

25. 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. Everything from chaotic pranks, drag racing and high school ... See full summary »

Director: Floyd Mutrux | Stars: Tony Danza, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julius Averitt, Steve Ballard

Votes: 3,756 | Gross: $10.00M

26. The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps

Votes: 151,198 | Gross: $12.47M

27. The Cannonball Run (1981)

PG | 95 min | Action, Comedy, Sport

28 Metascore

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.

Director: Hal Needham | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise

Votes: 29,709 | Gross: $72.18M

28. Knight Rider (1982–1986)

TV-PG | 46 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A lone crimefighter battles the forces of evil with the help of a virtually indestructible and artificially intelligent supercar.

Stars: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart, Patricia McPherson

Votes: 25,587

29. Christine (1983)

R | 110 min | Horror

57 Metascore

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky

Votes: 60,556 | Gross: $21.20M

30. Against All Odds (1984)

R | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

42 Metascore

A gangster hires an ex-football player to find his girlfriend. When he finds her, they fall in love, and the twists start to appear.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Alex Karras

Votes: 9,222 | Gross: $25.10M

31. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama

81 Metascore

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer

Votes: 25,081 | Gross: $17.31M

32. The Wraith (1986)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Horror, Romance

39 Metascore

After a young man is murdered by a road-racing gang of motor-heads, a mysterious fast-driving spirit descends from the sky to take revenge.

Director: Mike Marvin | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid

Votes: 12,554 | Gross: $3.50M

33. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Drama

74 Metascore

The story of Preston Tucker, the maverick car designer and his ill-fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 13,113 | Gross: $19.65M

34. Days of Thunder (1990)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, Sport

60 Metascore

A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid

Votes: 69,935 | Gross: $82.67M

35. Speed (1994)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

78 Metascore

A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton

Votes: 293,907 | Gross: $121.25M

36. Ronin (1998)

R | 122 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

67 Metascore

A freelancing former U.S. Intelligence Agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by the Irish and the Russians.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 158,677 | Gross: $41.62M

37. Taxi (I) (1998)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

To work off his tarnished driving record, a hip taxi driver must chauffeur a loser police inspector on the trail of German bank robbers.

Director: Gérard Pirès | Stars: Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary

Votes: 69,762 | Gross: $0.27M

38. Blue Streak (1999)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

46 Metascore

A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.

Director: Les Mayfield | Stars: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle

Votes: 67,570 | Gross: $68.52M

39. Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

35 Metascore

A retired master car thief must come back to the industry and steal fifty cars with his crew in one night to save his brother's life.

Director: Dominic Sena | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, T.J. Cross

Votes: 240,516 | Gross: $101.65M

40. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

58 Metascore

Los Angeles police officer Brian O'Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

Director: Rob Cohen | Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster

Votes: 311,253 | Gross: $144.53M

41. The Transporter (2002)

PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

51 Metascore

Frank is hired to "transport" packages for unknown clients and has made a very good living doing so. But when asked to move a package that begins moving, complications arise.

Directors: Louis Leterrier, Corey Yuen | Stars: Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze, François Berléand

Votes: 263,463 | Gross: $25.30M

42. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

38 Metascore

Former cop Brian O'Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Cole Hauser, Eva Mendes

Votes: 223,648 | Gross: $127.15M

43. The Italian Job (2003)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

68 Metascore

After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron

Votes: 315,262 | Gross: $106.13M

44. Cars (2006)

G | 117 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

73 Metascore

A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.

Directors: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft | Stars: Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy

Votes: 313,312 | Gross: $244.08M

45. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

45 Metascore

A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.

Director: Justin Lin | Stars: Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shad Moss, Damien Marzette

Votes: 211,598 | Gross: $62.51M

46. Gumball 3000 (2009– )

Action, Reality-TV

3,000-mile whirlwind of celebrities, parties, fast cars and disbelieving cops.

Stars: Duane Peters, Matthew Pritchard, Matthew Pritchard, Dennis Rodman

Votes: 21

47. Death Proof (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Action, Thriller

Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito

Votes: 236,909

48. Death Race (2008)

R | 105 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

43 Metascore

Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane

Votes: 183,837 | Gross: $36.32M