It's easy to put cars in a movie, but deceivingly difficult to make it a good car movie. And in order to appeal to true gearheads, car movies need to display the right passion and commitment to the automobile art. Today, we're taking a trip through the recent history of cinema to reveal the 10 best movies that are sure to appeal to any car enthusiast and gearhead alike. So, whether it's fast and exotic cars, exciting high speed pursuits, or incredible driving skills that raise your heartbeat, the following movies have a little bit of everything, and if there's a movie on this list you haven't yet checked out, we strongly encourage you to get on it. These are the ten best movies for gearheads.
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10 Death Race (2008)
Inspired by the 1975 classic Death Race 2000, this thrilling action movie stars Jason Statham in the role of a wrongfully-accused prisoner forced to take part in modern gladiator battles with tricked out armored cars. While this is not your typical race movie, a lot of attention is put on the cars, some of which include a 2005 Fordt Mustang GT, a 2004 Dodge Ram, a 1991 Jaguar XJS, and many more. Viewers knowing what to expect from a Jason Statham action flick will have a great time with the movie's intense and humor-injected races and thrilling action sequences.
9 Baby Driver (2017)
Starring names like Ansel Elgort, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey, Baby Driver is a refreshing and entertaining action drama exploring the story of a young professional getaway driver who found himself on the unfortunate path of working for a crime boss. The movie is rich with well-conceptualized heist and police chase scenes that display the main character's thrilling driving skills (most notably behind the wheels of the bright red Subaru Impreza WRX STI). Ansel Elgort effortlessly blends into the role of the reserved, music-loving and brilliant driver whose life changes when he meets a young girl. In many ways reminiscent of the movie Drive (also on this list), this movie's plot also explores a young driver's struggles of trying to balance an innocent love life with a dangerous criminal lifestyle.
8 Drive (2011)
Based on the a 2005 James Salis novel of the same name, Drive is an action-packed drama starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver slash professional getaway driver. Featuring names like Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, and Carey Mulligan, the movie puts a strong emphasis on cars and thrilling high-speed chases while also relying on a myriad of nail-biting scenes. When it aired in 2011, Drive was extremely well received with the audience and praised by critics for its music, action, and dramatic effect, with Gosling proving to be the perfect casting choice for this quiet and cool-headed driver.
7 Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
A loose remake of the 1974 Original, Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) puts together multiple Hollywood stars in a heist plot featuring a myriad of iconic and interesting cars. Gearheads will enjoy cameo appearances by cars ranging from the '67 Ford Shelby GT500, '57 Chevy Impala and 1966 Shelby Cobra to Ferrari F40 and even the 275 GTB4. Though not well critically appraised, this Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie movie was able to gross $237 million at the box office due to it's entertaining plot and thrilling action sequences.
6 Taxi (1998)
Surrounding the story of a quirky gearhead taxi driver played by Samy Naceri, this 1998 French action comedy provides automotive enthusiast viewers with an abundance humor-injected high-speed chases and thrilling car stunts. The first movie's success prompted the release of four more consecutive titles, each injected with a fair dose of action and car rush. After its inception in 1998, the french Taxi franchise has gone one to earn over $200 million for the first three movies alone.
The first movie is arguably the best, and every gearhead viewer remembers the first moment Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri) flicked the switches on his iconic white Peugeot 406. The functions immediately lowered the suspension and released a massive rear wing, side skirts, and a front splitter before Morales floored it through the streets of Paris at 180 mph, to the complete shock of his passengers. The main starting point for the movie's plot was the moment when one of these passengers had turned out to be a cop (a likable and comedic character who would later partner with Morales because of his badass driving skills).
5 Rush (2013)
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, Rush pays homage to the legendary Formula One rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the '70s. The story the movie tells, with all of its thrills and drama, is mostly true. Even the vehicles used in the film were assuredly accurate, with Hunt's (Hemsworth) Mclaren M23 and Lauda's (Bruhl) Ferrari 312T2, being supplied from the actual collectors who own them. Seeing these legendary Formula One cars in action again is worth the watch in and of itself; however, the movie manages to bring so much more to the table. Ignore the occasional minute historical inaccuracies, and you will find the movie will keep you bolted to your seat, offering a thrilling plot based on real events and absolutely beautiful race shots.
4 Le Mans (1971)
Few car movies can compete with this 1971 classic. Along with astonishingly well-recreated and engaging race sequences, Steve McQueen's iconic performance helped make Le Mans undoubtedly one of the greatest car movies ever.
The faithful Le Mans race scenes, including many of the original cars, such as the Ferrari 512 and the Porsche 917 will mesmerize classic car enthusiasts and gearheads alike.
3 The fast and the furious (2001)
Although this title has now grown into a global action phenomenon, when the very first movie came out in 2001, its sole focus was on the cars and the tuner subculture. Whether you are a fan of muscle cars, tuners, or sports convertibles, the Fast and the Furious really brings illegal underground street races and the car tuning culture to the mainstream.
This is why it's now cemented as a go-to gearhead car movie, and one of the very best at that. Unfortunately, the whole racing aspect of the franchise had been increasingly neglected with the newer installations, and culminated with the third one titled Tokyo Drift (2006). But, when we talk about car movies, it hardly gets any more iconic than The Fast And the Furious.
2 Bullitt (1968)
Another Steve McQueen Classic, Bullit is an action thriller created by the star's own Solar Productions company. Given the actor is a race car enthusiast and an amateur race driver himself, most car stunts in the movie were performed by McQueen himself, and the car chase scene through the streets of San Francisco, featuring McQueen's legendary Ford Mustang, is now forever cemented as one of the best and most iconic in television.
Fetching numerous awards and starling reviews, Bullit is definitely of the greatest and most enjoyable gearhead-oriented classics.
1 The Road Warrior (1981)
Mel Gibson delivered one of his best roles in this '80s post-apocalyptic action franchise. Apart from the snappy dialogues and remarkable landscape scenes, the second movie dubbed The Road Warrior is most likely to tickle any gearhead's fancy due to fast-paced action sequences featuring Mad Max's iconic police Ford Falcon upgraded with a stupendous blower and massive tires. The movie was met with abundant praise and received multiple awards, including the Best International Film award, Best Director award for George Miller, and Best Actor award for Gibson. With the fourth sequel already out in 2015 starring Tom Hardy and the fifth one in the making, this cult classic is not only one of the best movies for gearheads, but also one of the cinema's greatest action movies in general.