5 Things

March 31, 2015

Cinema’s Top Five Best Car Movies

Car movies are mostly thought of as B-movie schlock and probably always will be. But even schlock material sometimes deserves respect! And there has never been a shortage of love for these types of movies, historically speaking.

This week we are going to take a look at some of cinema’s best movies spotlighting the appearance and actions of burnt rubber, floored pedals and dashing speed all in the name of robberies, racing and whatnot.

Buckle up!

1. Fast And the Furious

The Fast and the Furious franchise is probably past its peak by now but its longevity spanning thirteen years cannot be denied and the stunts seemingly get bigger in each installment. And so do their plots. The sad passing of Paul Walker in 2013 will no doubt spark people’s curiosity since Walker filmed some of the upcoming sequel, Furious 7 set to come out in the coming days. Its not the best car movie franchise ever made but it is probably the right one for the 21st Century. I am very excited to see what director James Waan brings to the table. Justin Lin has really done a fantastic job with the past two films, changing the direction to more of a heist movie

2. Italian Job

This is a movie that is actually best known for its car chase more than anything else. Starring Michael Caine, him and a few of his pals get the idea to rob Italy of its gold supply using three Mini Coopers. The film spends its first hour with the crew practicing for the heist with some hilarious results, but its when they go on their escape after the robbery is complete is when the fun starts. Unfortunately the movie ends with a cliffhanger (visually, too) that has never been resolved but it does make for thought provoking discussions with your family and friends should you watch this action comedy flick.

3. Smokey And The Bandit

Probably one of the most famous, Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed star as bandits who transport stolen beer across various states while eluding capture of the frenzied Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by the eccentric Jackie Gleason. Part action, part comedy and featuring a 1970’s Pontiac firebird that is pushed to its limits, Smokey and the Bandit is a fun romp for almost everybody. Its two sequels never really lived up to the original, as is often the case, although Gleason probably makes them worth watching. Just be aware that the third and last sequel lacks that much needed presence of Reynolds.

4. Vanishing Point

A more obscure title, Vanishing Point stars Barry Newman as Kowalski, the driver of a 1970 Dodge Challenger who has to deliver the vehicle in a matter of fifteen hours. Along the way he meets a variety of strangers that make for a great adventure while we also get brief insights into Kowalski’s reasoning for doing what he is. Featuring great cinematography by John Alonzo, there is much spectacle here. And Vanishing Point certainly shows the striking difference in what Hollywood’s vision was for a “car movie” in the 1970’s compared to today’s more superficial teen orientated Fast and the Furious series.

5. Cannonball Run

Another Burt Reynolds vehicle (no pun intended), Cannonball Run features a star studded cast including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Roger Moore, Dom Deluise and even a young Jackie Chan who all compete against one another in a cross country car race. Made in 1981, the movie is quite intentionally camp and comedic in tone but there are some genuine laughs to be found. Each driver has their own “image.” You have the shiek, the priest, the cool wannabe secret agent who you can probably guess is played by and a crazy syringe whielding psychotic doctor among many more making the characters just as interesting as the machines they operate. Cannonball Run could be considered to be a decent companion piece to Smokey and the Bandit. And it also had a couple of sequels. Having only seen the second chapter, it can be said that it was not honestly that bad although established film critics would have you believe otherwise.


About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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