The 10 best movie Mustangs of all time

Warner Bros. Pictures

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 may have played a starring role in the 1964 British spy film Goldfinger, but a fresh-faced American kid did its best to crash the party.

The appearance of an early-production 1965 Ford Mustang convertible—driven by Bond siren Tilly Masterson—marked the big-screen debut of the now-iconic pony car. And although the white Mustang ragtop was no match for Aston’s tire shredder (or suave Sean Connery) in the third installment of the Bond series, it has more than made up for it in the years since.

Ford says the Mustang has more than 500 movie credits over the last five-plus decades. But which ones are the most memorable? With apologies to the Mustang II, which played significant roles in 1984’s Starman and the more recent Zookeeper, and the SN95, which appeared in movies like Hollywood Homicide and 2 Fast 2 Furious, neither make it to the top of our list. And so far, the sixth-generation Mustang seems to be pretty camera shy. Here are our 10 Best Movie Mustangs of all time:

10. 1991 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, Basic Instinct

The automotive action in this sexy thriller is best remembered for the Lotus Esprit Turbos, but Detective Nick Curran, played by Michael Douglas, is behind the wheel of a 1991 Mustang GT 5.0 automatic convertible in a chase scene that is definitely worth watching. The Mustang drives up a flight of stairs and is jumped like the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard. And those 5.0 sounds are authentic.

09. 1966 Shelby GT350H, Grand Prix

Filmed throughout Europe with real F1 cars on real race tracks, including Monaco and the high banks of Monza, Grand Prix remains the prototypical racing movie. American F1 driver Pete Aron, played by the late car enthusiast and real-life racer James Garner, drives a black and gold 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang hard when not on the track. A similar car—a clone—appears in the Tom Cruise remake of The War of the Words from 2005.

08.1968 Shelby GT500, Thomas Crown Affair

In this remake of the Steve McQueen classic, billionaire Thomas Crown, played by Pierce Brosnan, drives a one-off, off-road prepped 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 convertible complete with roll bar, raised suspension, and knobby tires. It isn’t in the movie long, but it’s unforgettable. More recently, a faithful replica owned by reality TV star Richard Rawlings was often seen on his hit show Fast n’ Loud.

07. 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

In the third installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, an American goes to Japan and gets caught up in the drifting culture. There he puts together a 1967 Mustang Fastback, painted Highland Green as tribute to McQueen’s Mustang in Bullitt. The twist is, he installs a Nissan RB26DETT engine from an R34 Skyline.

06. 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery’s final stint as Bond (not couning Never Say Never Again) in the seventh film of the franchise has 007 blasting around Las Vegas in a red 351 Cleveland-powered 1971 Mustang Mach 1. It’s his escape hatch as the bad guys are closing in. There’s a quality car chase that includes Bond performing a reverse slide, and he and the Mustang make it down a narrow alley on two wheels. It’s also a famous movie gaffe, since he goes in on the right-side tires and exits on the left-side tires. Oops.

05. 2007 Shelby GT500, I Am Legend

If you were the last surviving human on earth, naturally you’d take a blown Shelby GT500 from the local Ford dealer lot and blast through deserted New York City, supercharger whining, with your dog riding shotgun. Right? Well, that’s exactly what Will Smith does in I Am Legend, a 2007 adaptation of the so-named 1954 novel. Coincidentally, there’s a 1970 Mustang convertible in the ’71 vampire classic Omega Man, which is also an adaptation of the book.

04. 1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof, Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)

H.B. Halicki, a wealthy car-loving junkyard owner from Long Beach, California, wrote, financed, produced, and directed the original Gone in 60 Seconds. He also did all his own stunt driving and used many of his own cars in the film. He purchased a pair of identical yellow 1971 Mustang Sportsroof models to portray the iconic Eleanor. Whether or not they were Mach 1s is still up for debate. One car was left stock while the other was heavily modified for stunt duty. The latter one survives, bruised and battered, to this day.

03. 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback, John Wick

Keanu Reeves must have a thing for 1969 Mustang fastbacks. He drives one in both Point Break and the more recent assassin thriller John Wick and its sequels. In Wick, the car is a grey 1969 Mustang automatic complete with hood pins, Magnum 500 wheels, and Firestone Wide Oval tires. Although it’s dressed as a Mach 1 with spoilers and hood scoop, it wears no Mach 1 graphics. And its theft, along with the killing of his dog, sets this revenge flick into action.

02. 1968 Ford Mustang GT, Bullitt

Bullitt was the first movie to put cameras in the cars to give the audience the feeling of riding along with their heroes, and many still consider it to have the best car chase ever put on film. Steve McQueen’s Highland Green Mustang, a 390-powered fastback with a four-speed and a steering wheel from a 1967 Shelby GT500, has become an icon—as has the bad guys’ black 1968 Dodge Charger.

01. 1967 Shelby GT500, Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

In this big-budget Nicolas Cage remake of Haliki’s 1974 classic, Eleanor is now a restomod 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500. The car made such an impression that it triggered a cottage industry of six-figure replicas that continues 23 years after the film hit theaters. The Shelby Eleanor is also credited for igniting the restomod and Pro Touring trends that have exploded since the movie. Even Carroll Shelby himself got involved, producing the Shelby GT500 E (E for Eleanor), an official Shelby-approved version of the movie car. Designed by artist Steve Stanford, a dozen cars were built for the film, and many survive today. The “hero” car sold for $1,000,000 at auction in 2013.




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    The Hagerty writers are showing their (lack of) age.
    They also probably like the Fast and Furious franchise more than Grand Prix.

    I remember some teenage type movie where one of the protagonists had a mustang and at one point he drives into the school parking lot and yells “Deploy!” and speakers pop out of the roof. Just don’t know the name of the movie.

    Absolutely true. This is objective. It’s one of the greatest car-chase scenes in history, and it’s McQueen, not Cage.

    Wow! Everything was fine until you got to the top two. No way Eleanor tops the original Bullit Mustang! What are you, a Bowtie guy? Everyone knows the original Bullitt story and the legend that drove it and groundbreaking cinematography that led to how action scenes and chase sequences are shot. Wicked sound to the 390 V8 too.
    For your penance please go to the chalkboard and write: ” Steve McQueen please forgive me” 200 times.

    Yes, I agree with all the others: The Bullitt Mustang will ALWAYS be Number 1 ! As soon as I saw the title of this story, I just assumed that #1 would be Bullitt. I mean, c’mon.

    There were at least 3 Buliltt Mustangs used in the film and it is very noticeable with the film car and also the one that was sold to someone with more money than brains, there was an absence of real body damage and dents and other clues to wonder what was the real car that was sold. and I am sure there are many obsessed Bullitt Mustang lovers that will dissagre

    There are so many stories and Myths about The Bullit Mustangs we may never know the real truth. I know a lot of people think they do but do they really? I like the mystery of it all. I agree it should have been number 1

    Hollywoodism and recentism, or else “Un Homme et Une Femme” would be right up there as the greatest Mustang movie ever.

    Bullit would still be #1, but I totally agree that the Mustang in Un Homme et Une Femme (as well as the music) would have to be in the top 10.

    Yes, the driving in the rain in the Mustang in Claude Lelouch’s 1966 ‘A Man And A Woman’ is great. It also is a much, much better film, artistically, than most all on the list!

    “Un Homme et Une Femme” ?????
    Never heard of it. Sounds like a love story. Hate it when they screw up a good movie with a love story 🙂

    In English – A Man and A Woman. One great scene was playing on the beach, IIRC Yes – also had great music.

    Another automotive step connection with “Un Homme et Une Femme” – its director, Claude Lelouch, was the maker/director of the short film “C’était Un Rendez-Vous”/“Rendevous”. This is the glorious film of a Mercedes (dubbed with the sounds of a Ferrari) blazing through the streets of early morning Paris (Arc de Triomphe to Sacre-Coeur).
    It looks like it has been removed from YouTube, but can be bought on DVD.

    The Halicki car was the hero car! What we saw is what actually happened during shooting. There were only two ’71’s used, the chased car and the (undamaged) car wash car. And if one looks close, some of the same police cars get wrecked in multiple scenes. Low budget meant getting the most out of what H.B. could afford. My vote for #2 behind the Bullitt car.

    I have to switch 2 with 1 (or 1 with 2) The Bullitt is so iconic and cemented “Mustangs” as iconic and it left Ford a legacy to recreate the car twice years later. Also it was more pure Mustang than the Eleanor was pure Shelby. Finally, Steve McQueen vs. Nicolas Cage is really a no brainer!!

    1976 Ford Mustang II Ghia in “Charlie’s Angels, 1976-1981” Not a movie, but still…

    Wait, the remake gone in 60 seconds mustang above the original gone in 60 seconds mustang and the bullitt mustang, no way. You get two thumbs down for this ranking..

    The mustang from The Last American Hero is pretty cool and could have made the list:

    Eleanors are lame compared to the Bullitt mustang. Every single one, the movie cars and the bajillion kit clone Eleanors built by silly folks wishing they were as cool as Nick Cage. They also wouldn’t exist without the Bullitt car.

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