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In case of rain, here are our essential car movies
It’s summer, so we’re spending a lot more time behind the wheel of our own cars than we are watching car movies. But hey, if rain should fall and ruin our cruising plans, we’re ready to make the best of it.
We asked members of Hagerty’s Media Team to pick the car-themed movie they can’t live without. Surprisingly, there were very few duplicates. Not surprisingly, some of us couldn’t settle on just one film. Regardless, we definitely didn’t cover them all, so feel free to nominate your personal favorite.
Ben Woodworth: The Love Bug (1968)—I’m going with The Love Bug. I have fond memories watching it as a child with my family. I must have watched it a hundred times. My grandparents owned an old white Beetle back then and I remember sitting in it and pretending I was driving Herbie. I had visions of my grandparents eventually gifting me the car so I could give it the official Herbie #53 paint job, but they sold it long before I was old enough to drive. Recently, I drove a Beetle from Oregon to Michigan. I don’t know how many times I caught myself humming or whistling the theme song to the movie.
Cody Wilson: Fast Five (2011)—Mine would have to be Fast Five. It’s basically Looney Tunes with Vin Diesel as Bugs Bunny, but the movie is extremely entertaining. The ending scene where they tow the bank vault is one of the best climaxes to a movie that I’ve seen. There are much better car movies out there (Bullitt, Smokey and the Bandit, etc.), but in terms of rewatchability, Fast Five is my pick.
Davin Reckow: American Graffiti (1973)—American Graffiti. [Clearly a man of few words.]
Jeff Peek: Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) and Rush (2013)—I could flip a coin here because, as a story teller and history buff, both Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Rush are right in my wheel house. While I realize that Hollywood stretches every “true story” a bit for dramatic effect, both movies are not only entertaining, but they left me wanting to know more. The innovative Preston Tucker couldn’t beat the Big Three, but he managed to build an amazing car (1948 Tucker 48) that has become treasured. And Ron Howard’s story about the 1970s rivalry between Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt offers a fascinating view of racing and the competitive personalities that fuel it.
Jonathan Stein: Rendezvous (1976)—The French short film Rendezvous. The driver, who you never see, races through Paris in a Ferrari 275GTB, presumably to meet his lover. It is exciting, the soundtrack is pure Ferrari, and you see everything from the driver’s seat. It is also fairly short. I once saw it on a chartered Trans-Atlantic flight. Very cool.
Justin Warnes: Cars (2006)—Since the only time I have to watch movies these days is when my kids want to watch something, I’ll go with the Cars movie.
Larry Webster: Le Mans (1971) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)—Le Mans is No. 1. Dang, that story stinks, but the footage and sounds make me weep. And now that I’ve seen the Steve McQueen documentary on the making of the movie and how McQueen went “General Kurtz” for the filming, I dig it even more. Choice No. 2: Talladega Nights. It’s the most spot-on parody ever made.
Matt Lewis: Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)—My favorite is Gone in Sixty Seconds—the newer Nicolas Cage version. It has a ton of cool cars, comradery, great chase scenes, and awesome car noises. I was 20 when it came out, and it was just another thing that reinforced my love of the automobile.
Nick Gravlin: Baby Driver (2017)—Baby Driver is an excellent new movie (by Edgar Wright) about a getaway driver. Not only were the stunts great, but the chase scenes are edited in a way that makes them look choreographed to the movies soundtrack.
Sandon Voelker: Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)—I love the original 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds for the final chase scene with the Mustang Mach 1. Seeing that Mustang sliding through the streets, running over couches, and getting air born is just fantastic. The fact that not all of the stunts in the movie went as planned—such as the crash into the light pole while exiting the freeway—only adds an additional layer of realism to the chaos of the film.
Stefan Lombard: Corvette Summer (1978)—I’m going with Corvette Summer, starring Mark Hamill and Annie Potts. The Corvette in that movie is completely ridiculous, not to mention right-hand drive for some reason, but as a young kid watching that movie I was blown away by how cool it all seemed. Every high school shop class needs a car that cool. And Luke Skywalker.
Todd Kraemer: Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), The Fast and the Furious (2001), and Cannonball Run (1981)—Like Matt, my first choice is the Cage/Duvall/Jolie Gone in Sixty Seconds, but I’d be happy with The Fast and Furious or Cannonball Run.