America’s love affair with the pickup truck is fast approaching 100 years. More new pickups are sold each year than hardly ever before, and older pickups are among the hottest segments of the collector car hobby as vintage examples surge in popularity and value.
Hollywood’s relationship with the pickup truck began in the 1930s, and it remains hot and heavy today. Movie makers still appreciate the way the right pickup truck makes a statement about a character, but they also understand that a pickup has the ability to take on a character all its own.
Here are the seven best movie pickup trucks of all time.
7. The Expendables (2010)
Built to Sylvester Stallone’s specifications by West Coast Customs in Corona, California, the 1955 Ford F100 in The Expendables is a fully custom, matte-black street machine with a lowered suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a 347-cubic-inch small-block Ford mated to an automatic transmission. Three trucks were built for filming in just three weeks, one for Sly to drive in the close-up shots and two stunt trucks for the big action-packed and destructive chase scene.
6. Twister (1996)
Storm chasers need a tough truck. In this action flick, a red 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 Club Cab SLT stars along with Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, who take on tornados through Oklahoma. The V-10 Ram battles Mother Nature’s worst, surviving multiple bouts with extreme weather, including massive hail and a flying semi-truck which explodes and forces the 4x4 to be driven through a wall of fire. Truck lovers will also appreciate the rare 1982 Jeep Pickup Honcho Townside that appears in the film.
5. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
This is the Clint Eastwood pickup truck trifecta. In Every Which Way But Loose, released in 1978, Clint drives a 1955 Chevrolet 3100. In Gran Torino, which hit theaters in 2008, he drives a 1972 Ford F-100. But Clint’s best pickup truck co-star was in The Bridges of Madison County. In this sappy 1995 love story, also starring Meryl Streep, Eastwood drives a green 1960 GMC 1500 Wideside. After filming, Clint displayed the truck around Carmel, California, where he lives. Bridges also features a 1959 Chevy Apache and a 1951 Ford F1.
4. The Cannonball Run (1981)
In this action comedy about a cross-country automobile race, there’s a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari 308, and an Aston Martin DB5. But it’s a 1980 GMC 3500 Indy Hauler dually pickup that steals the show and jumps a train. The Indy Hauler was a special package available on GMCs that included two-tone paint, a screaming-chicken hood decal from the Indy 500 Pace Car Pontiac Trans Am, and other sizable graphics. Starring Burt Reynolds and directed by Hal Needham, who were still enjoying the afterglow of Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run was written by Brock Yates, who invented the real Cannonball cross-country race in 1971.
3. Back to the Future (1985)
For an entire generation of moviegoers, Marty McFly’s black 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab 4x4 is the ultimate movie pickup. Maybe it was the lifted suspension, tube bumpers, roll bar, and six KC lights. According to Autoweek, the only truck used for filming was given away in a contest to promote the film and was ultimately destroyed in a crash, which forced the studio to create a clone for the sequel. That truck, which has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, was later stolen, and it ended up orange—and in Mexico. Today it has been meticulously restored by BTTF ultra fan Patrick Shea. It resides in his private collection, which includes DeLoreans that were also used in the film series.
2. Hooper (1978)
GM’s square-body pickups, manufactured from 1973–87, are exploding in popularity and value. When new, these trucks were all over television and movies, including a Chevy in Red Dawn and GMCs in Chips, The Fall Guy, The Rockford Files, and, of course, The Cannonball Run. Plus Chuck Norris drives one in 1985’s Invasion U.S.A. But the best of all is the red 1978 GMC 4x4 K15 stepside driven by Burt Reynolds in Hooper, which was also directed by Hal Needham. Supplied by GMC and modified with Dick Cepek parts by The Vista Group, the truck featured a chrome roll bar, KC lights, and custom pinstriping. A second truck was heavily modified with a reversed body for the famous scene when the pickup is driven backwards on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway.
1. Take This Job and Shove It (1981)
Bob Chandler’s original Bigfoot monster truck has appeared in many motion pictures, including Cannonball Run II and Road House. But the monster truck’s first big screen role was in this silly comedy. Bigfoot was even featured front and center on the movie’s poster. The supercharged 1974 Ford F-250, with 48-inch tall tires and four-wheel steering, was first built in 1975 in Ferguson, Missouri. In 1979, Bigfoot began making appearances at truck and tractor pulls. In 1981, Chandler drove the truck over a car for the first time. After its movie debut, Bigfoot began driving over cars in stadiums packed to capacity, and the monster-truck craze took off. Over the years, 22 Bigfoots were built; the original was retired in 1987. Bigfoot #1 survives and is still owned by Chandler. Recently, the two appeared at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It is absolutely the most significant and most valuable truck on this list.