For as long as there have been movies, cars have been sharing the limelight with the stars. The recent showing of Fast and Furious 7 is the latest example of this after initially shining the light on the import tuning scene and customization in 2001.
As a tribute to cars and movies, we list down the films which we think a car enthusiast must have in his (or her) library.
Days of Thunder (1990)
“Top Gun on wheels!” is what the New York Times said about this movie. Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder revolves around Cole Trickle (Cruise), a young driver with aspirations to enter the world of stock car racing. Under the guidance of a veteran crew chief, played by Robert Duvall, chases his dream of winning the Daytona 500. Apart from the on track action, Days of Thunder shows you what not to do with Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Lumina rental cars.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
For the 90's James Bond got the keys for a BMW 750iL with a unique feature, a drive by mobile system which can control the big Bimmer with a phone track pad. Watch the 750iL weave through a carpark while using all its gadgets to get away from the baddies. Bike fans are in for a treat too with a chase scene involving a BMW R 1200 C flying though the streets of Beijing.
Often regarded as the best car chase scenes to come out of the 90's, Ronin serves up the action not just with bullets but with cars as well. Starring Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno, Ronin sees an Audi S8 making full use of its Quattro system, a Mercedes Benz 450 SEL bobbing and weaving through the Corsican mountain side and a battle between a BMW 535i and a Peugeot 406 wherein it shows front wheel drive cars can in fact go sideways.
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Say Eleanor to a car enthusiast now and the first thing that will pop up in mind is a 1967 Shelby GT500, thanks in part to this film, which was a remake of the 1974 movie of the same name. With 50 cars to steal in one night, Gone in 60 Seconds shows on screen a variety of dream cars ranging from Aston Martins to Lamborghinis. The chase sequence is one of the longest in modern film going well past the ten minute mark.
Think Days of Thunder but this time, with open wheel race cars. This time, our main hero is more successful in his rookie year than Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder. The film is also a way of familiarizing yourself with the Champ Car series as the who's who of of that industry appear in cameos. Driven is an insight into the risk open wheel drivers face every weekend. Critics views are mixed but Driven is entertaining nonetheless.
The Transporter franchise (2002-2008)
“Rule Number 1: Once the deal is made, it is final, Rule Number 2: No names, and Rule Number 3: Never open the package." These are the basic rules Frank Martin, played by Jason Statham, made for himself. When he broke rule number three, Frank Martin's life would change and his job as a transporter would spawn two more sequels.
If you're a fan of big German sedans then this movie will be a treat for you. For the first series, you will see a BMW 735iL carrying out transporter duties such as evading the bad guys, the police and delivering packages. In the second installment onwards, Frank Martin swaps the BMW roundel for the four rings of Audi with the A8. Just when you thought these luxo barges are only for wafting, this franchise proves otherwise.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
A comedic twist on the racing movie genre, Will Ferrell takes us to the lighter side of NASCAR with his character Ricky Bobby. From wheel to wheel action, bizarre crashes and invisible fires, Talladega Nights is one of the few racing genre movies of modern times to put comedy in racing.
If you want to start them young, let this be the first car movie your child should watch. Cars is a nice way of getting your child started in the world of automobiles with is beautiful animation and cameos from automotive personalities like Michael Schumacher, Richard Petty and Jeremy Clarkson. Being a Pixar movie, the film is packed with moral lessons.
Rush saw the epic battle of Niki Lauda and James Hunt, which started long before the title fight in 1976. Seen here are the differences between James Hunt, who partied all night right before race, and Niki Lauda, who was the complete opposite of Hunt. The film beautifully shows the rivalry between the two, a fantastic storyline and more excitement than the 2014 Formula One season. If Niki Lauda approves of this movie, then it's a definite must watch.
Need for Speed (2014)
Another movie that features another Shelby GT500 but this time, in its modern form. What sets Need For Speed apart from other action flicks was the filmmaker's refusal to use computer generated imagery. This means all the action sequences and crashes you see in the movie are real. Without the use of CGI, you can expect raw, in your face action, white knuckle racing and gratuitous automotive carnage.
Screencap credits: Buena Vista International, Columbia Tristar, Disney, Europacor, Universal Studios