About a year ago, Hollywood was abuzz with whispers of a feature film chronicling the life of Ferruccio Lamborghini. Variety said Lamborghini: The Legend was going to be filmed in Italy and star Antonio Banderas as the tractor magnate turned supercar maker. Alec Baldwin was signed on to portray his rival Enzo Ferrari. Molto Bene.
Shooting was supposed to start last November but was pushed to April according to The Hollywood Reporter. And in March the director was replaced with writer Bobby Moresco, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Crash. Hopefully Bobby knows something about cars.
All of which got us thinking about Lamborghinis in movies. There have been many, from Countaches to modern era machines like Gallardos and Aventadors, and many have been memorable, while others are a bit more obscure. Check Youtube, apparently Miuras were extremely popular with bad French and Italian moviemakers in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
So we started to make a list of every movie Lamborghini we could think of, doing our best to stay away from kit cars, made up movie cars with fiberglass bodies, and CGI fakery. We’re interested in bulls, not cazzate. Only real cars would do, and the more action the better.
Then we shaved it down to our top seven.
Sadly, the 400GT from The Love Bug and the Italian Stallion’s black Jalpa in Rocky IV, didn’t make the cut. And neither did the slow-motion destruction of the kit-looking Countach from Wolf of Wall Street, which Leo DiCaprio’s character drives while intoxicated. Here are our picks for the best movie Lamborghinis of all time.
Cannonball Run (1981)
The first three minutes and thirty seconds of Cannonball Run is cinematic mastery. Director Hal Needham, fresh off of Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper and Smokey 2, filmed a black 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400S (according to the Wall Street Journal, although some reports say it was a 1980.) screaming through the California desert at sunset, its big, 375-hp V-12 at full song. Then the music comes in. Ball, Ball, Cannonball, Cannonball, Cannonball, Cannnonbaaaaallllll!!!! It’s not what you do it’s how you do it…
It’s one of the greatest opening sequences in car movie history. And one of the greatest helicopter shots of all time. And when that supercar locks its brakes, and the door goes up and the girl jumps out and spray paints the 55-mph speed limits sign. Are you kidding me? My 11 year old mind was blown.
Jeff Ippoliti was 19 at the time and Cannonball Run hit him even harder. Jeff became so obsessed with the movie and the Lambo, in 2010 the Florida attorney tracked down and bought the movie car, which belonged to Needham’s pal Ron Rice the founder of Hawaiian Tropic at the time of filming. Ippoliti then put it through a two and half year restoration to its exact movie specs including its aftermarket gauges, extra driving lights, CB antenna, its massive front and rear spoilers and unique 12 exhaust pipes.
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Second verse same as the first. By 1984 Hal Needham had gotten a little lazy. For the intro of Cannonball Run II he went back to his playbook, putting two beautiful actresses, including Catherine Bach who played Daisy Duke on the Dukes of Hazzard, in a Lamborghini Countach pounding through the California desert playing with police officers in Dodge sedans that can’t keep up. He even pulled the speed limit sign gag again and used the same music.
This time the Lambo is white, appears stock, and isn’t equipped with the big front spoiler. IMDB identifies it as a 1983 LP500S, however, some on the web say it’s an earlier LP400S. But there is a twist. Two minutes into the nearly five-minute sequence the Countach gets its paint hosed off and becomes red, which of course only further confuses the pursuing law. The whole thing isn’t quite as well done as the first time around, but it’s still fun and it’s another opportunity to see and hear a Countach at speed. Some of the fly-by shots are just awesome.
Speed Zone (1989)
Also known as Cannonball Fever and Cannonball Run III, Speed Zone is similar to and pays homage to Needham’s original. The film opens with funnyman John Candy watching the black Lambo intro of Cannonball Run on TV and a four and a half minute sequence of a red Countach running from the cops.
There’s good Lambo action here with a real 1985 LP5000 QV with Euro-bumpers (although it may be an earlier LP500S) being driven hard on asphalt and sliding around in the dirt under the opening credits. Just look away when the kit car goes across the lake. The fake is easy to spot, and although the real Countach appears in most of the movie, the fake is unfortunately seen in a few too many other shots later in the flick. The exotic’s driver is kept secret until the end. Spoiler alert, it’s Mr. Bo Duke-himself John Schneider who climbs from the kit car dressed in a confederate flag driving suit.
Although it was designed in the 1970s, the production Lamborghini LM002 wasn’t unveiled until the 1986 Brussels Auto Show. The Countach-powered, four-wheel drive SUV had a front-mounted 5.2-liter V-12, a five-speed manual transmission, 450 hp, and three locking differentials, and Lambo says it could hit 62 mph in 7.8 seconds and top out at over 130 mph. Nicknamed the Rambo Lambo, the evil looking SUV also had an aluminum and fiberglass body and weighed nearly three tons.
From 1986–93 Lamborghini only built a little over 300 LM002s. Many were owned by celebrities, including John Rambo-himself Sylvester Stallone, as well as Eddie Van Halen, and one, a black 1992 model, appeared in the movie Toys with Robin Williams. Footage includes some brief dirt road action and you do get to hear the V-12.
Transporter 2 (2005)
Usually Jason Statham drives a black German sedan in his Transporter franchise, but in the climatic ending of the first Transporter sequel, Statham jumps in a black Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster and pits it up against a Gulfstream jet. The hottest and most expensive Lambo available, the open top version of the supercar was introduced in 2004 and it’s fun to see Statham use its paddle shifters and its 6.2-liter, 580-hp V-12 sounds great.
Why a Lamborghini? Well, simple product placement. Lamborghini has been in the hands of the VW Group since 1998. VW also owns Audi, and Audi signed on to supply The Transporter with W-12-powered Audi A8s. It was a simple package deal.
The Dark Knight (2008)
What does Batman drive when he’s living incognito as Bruce Wayne? A black Lamborghini, of course. Although an obvious addition to the superhero’s list of toys, the supercar’s inclusion in the caped crusader movies only began with the appearance of a Murcielago Roadster in Batman Begins in 2005, and continued with Murcielago LP640 coupe in The Dark Knight three years later. Although murcielago is after all Spanish for bat, in 2012 he upgraded to a 691-hp Aventador LP 700-4 for The Dark Knight Rises.
For car guys, the best of the three Lambo appearances is the action in The Dark Knight. Not only is the 632-hp LP640 driven hard, the footage includes a solid V-12 soundtrack, and the $320,000 exotic is T-boned by a Ram dually.
(For additional superhero Lamborghini goodness, we’ll give an honorable mention to the Huracan that Dr. Stephen Strange wrecks in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Don’t text and drive, kids.)
The Italian Job (1969)
Not the remake in 2003 with Marky Mark. This is the original The Italian Job with Michael Caine and its opening sequence is to Lamborghini movie appearances as McQueen’s Bullitt is to movie Mustangs. The caper film opens with an orange 1968 Miura P400S (chassis number 3586), supplied by the factory, being driven through the Italian Alps by cigarette smoking actor Rossano Brazzi. Soon it screams into a dark tunnel and into an awaiting bulldozer, which pushes it off a cliff, finishing the mafia assassination of Brazzi’s character.
The smashed supercar is obviously an authentic Miura, but don’t worry, it’s not chassis 3586. Instead a previously destroyed Miura was stripped of its drivetrain, hastily painted Arancio Miura and tossed off the mountainside. The real car, 3856, survives today. After three days of filming on the Great St. Bernard Pass during the final week of June of 1968 it was returned to the nearby factory and sold. And then it went into hiding until 2015 when it was found in perfect condition, with its still original white interior and only 19,000 km on the odometer. It is the holy grail of Lamborghinis and absolutely the most valuable car on this list.