6 Great Auto Based Movies

Updated March 27, 2014

Over the years, automobiles have influenced every aspect of society, including social and family interaction, employment, distribution of goods, and entertainment. There are a handful of automobile-centered movies that have permeated our culture so much so that they have become an integral thread in the fabric of American cinema and pop culture. Check out our top six.


1. Bullitt (1968)

Starring Steve McQueen as police Lt. Frank Bullitt, this movie is often touted as one of Hollywood’s best car chase sequences of all time. Driving a 1968 Mustang fastback, Bullitt pursues a couple of assassins in a black 1968 Dodge Charger through the winding streets of San Francisco. Even by today’s standards, the chase scene in “Bullitt” is exhilarating to watch.


2. Cars (2006)

Don’t let this computer animated film deter you from watching it just because it looks like a “kid’s movie.” Like all Disney-Pixar films, the writing is clever enough to speak to the kids while also sliding in a few lines geared toward the adults. The plot is a little formulaic, but the graphics are stunning and the voice acting from favorites like the late George Carlin and Paul Newman is worth the ride.

Disney Film Cars


3. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Loosely based on Ian Fleming’s novel “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car,” Roald Dahl’s fantasy musical adaptation is a whimsical movie clearly aimed at children. If you haven’t seen this movie, about a car that can float, fly, and think for itself, consider it a needed rite of passage. “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang” is bogged down by a few corny songs and sappy scenes, but it is, for the most part, an entertainingly magical film.

Chitty Chitty Gang Bang


4. Days of Thunder (1990)

While this Tom Cruise flick is often billed as “Top Gun” for NASCAR, it still serves up plenty of exciting moments. From the start of the races to the checkered flag, there are plenty of heart-pounding moments. The soundtrack keeps pace with this 80s classic, making it one of our favorite car films. Some advice when watching: don’t fight the film’s “logic” and simply accept that in Tom Cruise’s world, Nicole Kidman is a brain surgeon.

Days of Thunder


5. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

This turbo-charged action-thriller focuses on a retired car thief (Nicholas Cage) who is pulled back into the crime world to keep his kid brother from being pulled. Yeah, the plot is weak and the film can’t be saved by Cage’s wacky charm; however, this the inventive chases and expert stunts firmly place this film in the “must see” car-film category.

Gone in 60 Seconds


6. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

“The Fast and the Furious” takes audiences inside the world of illegal street racing, providing miles of high-octane action. You don’t watch a movie like this for the plot – it’s all about the chase and crash scenes, which are done extraordinarily well. “The Fast and the Furious” is an unapologetically cheesy flick that offers plenty of white-knuckle thrills.

The Fast and the Furious


Did your favorite automobile-focused film make our list?



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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