With the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise hitting theaters that past weekend, and making a killing at the box office, today’s Top 5 takes a look back at some of the best car centric films in cinema history. Obviously, it would be impossible to hit every great film in the genre in just 5 choices, but this should be at least a solid starting point for those looking to get an adrenaline fix!
Fast and the Furious (Series) (2001-Present)
The Fast and the Furious films may not be the best, deepest, or most complex films around, but they know what their audience wants and they will be damned if they don’t give it to us. Over the course of seven films, F&F has attracted a massive, dedicated cult following. I myself boarded the train around part 5. Personally, it’s hard to think of any films that actually got better in the 5th, 6th, and 7th installments. The latest film, Furious 7, is both an awesome, musclebound action film and a drama-fueled, fitting send off work the late Paul Walker. Walker’s last entry into the series before his untimely death may be the finest entry in the series and one I imagine he’d be proud of. Go see the newest in theater or seek out the first 6. Most of them are worth a watch.
For testosterone filled classic features, it’s hard to go wrong with actor Steve McQueen. The guy made a whole career on being a badass “man’s man”. Bullitt, along with the next film on the list, has probably the single best chase scene ever put to film. It’s hard to talk about Bullitt without spoiling or overhyping it, so I’ll just stick to the basic “go watch this movie” and leave it at that.
The French Connection (1971)
It’s essentially impossible to talk about great car movies and not mention the thrilling film The French Connection. While it’s not strictly a movie focusing on cars it’s got a killer director, William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Killer Joe), some fantastic actors, Gene Hackman/Roy Scheider/Fernando Rey, but it also features quite possibly the best of the best car chase in cinema history. It was the first R rated film to win Best Picture at the oscars and while it might not be to everyone’s taste in the end, it’s worth checking out at least once just to experience it for yourself.
Another habit I’ve found myself getting into in these articles is to recommend at least one film that’s under the radar. This late 70’s crime film fits the bill perfectly. Many people are familiar with the 2011 film Drive starring Ryan Gosling. Most people don’t realize though that Drive is a fairly blatant homage (or rip-off if you prefer), of this Ryan O’Neal thrill ride. Starring a nameless driver, a nameless detective and the different nameless people in there world, The Driver is a tough as nails crime caper that should sneak up and surprise anyone who takes the time to find and watch it.
Though it’s certainly not the best film on the list, Cars is a film thats appropriate for all audiences and I think that in itself earns it a spot on my list. Though it’s often considered among Pixar’s weakest films, I thing the comedy packed Cars is actually a very good, and sometimes misunderstood film from the legendary studio. Sure, Cars 2 was basically just a ploy to sell more merchandise, but the first film is a much better and much more endearing film. Owen Wilson and Paul Newman do outstanding voice work, and while the story may be on the predictable side, it’s never less than entertaining to watch. If you have kids this would be the film from the list to watch and even if you don’t, it’s still a movie worth any car fan’s time.
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