Cars chase and racing scenes in movies are always thrilling to watch! For car lovers, the cars are just as important as the actors in the movie. There are lots of memorable cars in the film, but get on the top of the list, the vehicle must have to influence, at least, a generation. Here are some of the most iconic movie cars enlisted below (in no particular order):
1. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the Future films (1985, 1989, 1990)
The winged-door DeLorean rose to iconic status when it appeared in ‘Back to the Future’ film trilogy as a modified time machine built by Doc Brown. It instantly became every kid’s dream car; now those kids, who are now grown-ups, might be reading this article.
2. 1932 Ford Coupe – American Graffiti (1973)
Four years before Star Wars, George Lucas wrote and directed this coming-of-age drama based on his own teenage years. He was a lover of hot rods and this film, set in 1960s California, certainly attests to it. The movie features some great hot rods, but John Milner’s 1932 Ford is easily the standout.
3. 1970 Dodge Charger – Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) and The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The Dodge Charger is genuinely a movie and TV legend; it first appeared on the Dukes of Hazzard TV series and then in the cult car chase film ‘Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry’. It returned in 2001, this time as a mean black racing machine for Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel). What made this car so memorable was Dom’s driving style and the car’s beast looks!
4. 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto – The Graduate (1967)
The Graduate‘s critical and box-office success not only elevated Simon & Garfunkel into pop stars but also boosted the sales of the Alfa Romeo Spider. The car had become so iconic that it eventually inspired the release of the car’s “Graduate” edition.
5. 1963 Aston Martin DB5 – several James Bond movies and The Cannonball Run (1981)
The Aston Martin is very much part of James Bond legend — it features incredible gadgets such as machine guns and an ejector seat, all the things that James Bond needs to carry out his espionage adventures. The car was first featured in Goldeneye (1964) with Sean Connery, and can also be seen in other James Bond films: Connery driving it again in Thunderball (1965), Pierce Brosnan drives one in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and Daniel Craig using it in Casino Royale (2006). Even Roger Moore steered an Aston Martin DB5 while spoofing on his own James Bond character in the comedy film The Cannonball Run (1981).
6. The Tumbler – Batman Begins (2005)
The Batmobiles, like the James Bond’s Aston Martins, have become part of the Batman lore. But the menacing and military-like Tumbler in ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ is possibly the worst Batmobile since the George Barris’ designed Batmobiles during the 60s.
Here’s an interesting read by David Featherston that brings to life some excellent creations designed and built by George Barris: “Barris TV and Movie Cars”
7. 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon – Mad Max movies
When it comes to cars, Australians are equally enthusiastic and power hungry as Americans. Falcon XB (produced by Ford Australia), also known as the “Pursuit Special,” got its power from a 351-CID V-8. The body was depicted with huge flares, and the crew posted a new nose on the front end. The legendary supercharger-equipped muscle car appeared in three out of four Mad Max movies.
8. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T – Vanishing Point (1971) and Death Proof (2007)
The Muscle Car boom during the 1970s inspired a lot of car-chase films such as the ‘Cult Classics: Vanishing Point’. It stars Barry Newman as Kowalski who delivers hot rods (such as the Dodge Challenger R/T) on record but always gets in trouble with the highway police. The same Challenger appeared in the 2007 action-horror movie Death Proof as well.
9. 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback – Bullitt (1968)
Steve McQueen was considered one of the coolest actors during his time, and any vehicle driven by him was instantly guaranteed to become cool, too. This is no exception with the Ford Mustang that McQueen’s titular character drove in the film ‘Bullitt’. Two identical Mustangs were used for the movie’s classic car chase scenes. For car addicts, this movie is amazing as it is full of magnificent cars and thrilling car chase scenes. Honoring the Mustang GT’s starring role in the film, several editions of Mustangs were released by Ford.
10. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, Smokey and the Bandit
The sales of the outrageously-designed Pontiac Trans Am were remarkably boosted, thanks to the box-office success of ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ and the star appeal of its lead actor, Burt Reynolds.
11. Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 – Bad Boys (1995)
The Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 was driven by Will Smith in the movie bad boys. The 964 Turbo’s badass looks starstruck the fans!
12. 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.– Baby Driver (2017)
Although baby driver movie is quite the latest one, Subaru lovers would easily recognize the car in the movie. The car with black wheels and painted red was the star of the amazing opening scene. Subaru WRX was heavily promoted and advertised until the release of the movie.
13. Lotus Esprit S1 – The Spy Who Loved Me (1997)
How fascinating it is to see James Bond in a Lotus Esprit ‘submarine car’ driving into the ocean that no one can even think of. It was one of the best spy movies of the 70s, and the people couldn’t even think of such fascinating cars!
14. 1974 Dodge Monaco – The Blues Brothers (1980)
The film “The Blues Brothers” utilized 13 different cars as the blues mobile. All these cars were previously California Highway Department’s patrol cars which were made to look like Mount Prospect patrol cars. Depending on the scenes, the cars were transformed for speed, jumps, and high-performance maneuvers. It is the factual statement that over 60 old police cars were purchased for shooting film’s many chase scenes. The legendary stunts man, Dean Jeffries who worked in Blue Brothers said that they had smashed a couple of hundred cars in that one (movie).
15. Plymouth Fury – Christine (1983)
When talking about action thriller movies, how can we not talk about a horror movie centered around a 1958 Plymouth Fury? According to different sources, about 23 to 28 cars were used in the film, not all of them were Furys. Majority of the cars were used on-screen while remaining cars were used for the spare parts only. An interesting thing about this movie was that the sound we hear from Christine’s car engine wasn’t actually the sound of Plymouth Fury. Instead, the filmmakers used some kind of recording of a 1970 Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet engine and synched with the car’s sound.
16. 1992 Ford Explorer XLT – The Jurassic Park (1993)
In Jurassic Park, although the cars apparently were jeeps, they were actually Ford Explorers. These jeeps were an integral part of the movie; a number of fans had been inspired to duplicate the car. It took many years to recreate this 90’s icon.
Want to know about some more favorite cars from Hollywood movies and TV shows? Check out this exciting book “Hollywood TV and Movie Cars” by William Krause.