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19 of the best films for true petrolheads

If you haven't seen all of these, then you officially hate cars. Why do you hate cars?

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Films, eh? They’re clever things. Lots of individual pictures shown in sequence to give the impression of movement. Marvellous.

Films have come a long way since 1888’s The Roundhay Garden Scene, and now there are plenty of films that feature cars in them as well, which automatically makes any film at least slightly better. Imagine how great The Roundhay Garden Scene would have been if it had a Pagani Zonda in it. It’s a shame the motor car had only been invented two years earlier, and director Louis Le Prince probably didn’t have one. Ah well.

Thankfully, lots of directors have pointed cameras at cars since then, so here, in no particular order, are some of the best that you can watch if you have online movie service Rakuten.

Oh, did we mention you can get Rakuten rentals and subscriptions cheaper if you have a Tastecard? Well, you can. See, 2020 isn’t all bad. Get a Tastecard here.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Full disclosure here; this author thought this film was rubbish, but even I’m willing to concede that the cars and trucks in it are awesome. Also, most people disagree with me and think it’s great. If you haven’t seen them, you can also catch the first three Mad Max movies on Rakuten too, just to add some plot to the last one.

Fastest (2011)

We don’t just love cars here at DriveTribe, we like bikes too, and we like seeing them being ridden to the very edge of their capabilities and beyond. So this movie about the 2010 and 2011 MotoGP championships is right up our street. Seriously, these guys are nuts.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Never heard of it, but someone we know said it was quite good if you like cars and stuff. Apparently they made several more afterwards but presumably they sank without a trace.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Sure, there are ghosts and great actors and it’s a fun romp that’s surprisingly more adult than maybe you remember. But most there’s ECTO 1, the modified 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex Ambulance that the gang outfits to catch the spooks. That’s a top 10 movie car right there.

Baby Driver (2017)

Ansel Elgort drives the wheels off an Impreza. There’s more to it than that, about a getaway driver who listens to music a lot and does bank robberies, but the Scooby stunts are excellent. It's a very good watch.

Drive (2011)

Ryan Gosling is a stunt driver and also a getaway driver, and the more we think about it, it sounds like Baby Driver, but it’s very different. This one has a 1973 Chevrolet Malibu in it, for starters.

The Italian Job (1969)

Michael Caine, “you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”, three Minis ripping it up, the mafia, some gold, a bus – this has all the classic movie elements. You probably know a lot about it already just from popular culture, but if you haven’t seen it, now’s the time to put it all into context.

The Transporter (2002)

Jason Statham is a professional driver, and he'll drive stuff to places, no questions asked, in his black BMW E38 750iL. He later goes on to drive other cars, and there's some high-octane fighting with baddies. There’s a slightly-less-good sequel – Transporter 2 – in which there’s an Audi A8 W12 and a Lambo Murcielago Roadster. There was also a Transporter 3, but it was rubbish.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

If you took the ultimate day off school, what would you do? Correct, you’d steal your friend’s dad’s Ferrari 250 GT California and get up to hijinks. This is a cult classic and you should watch it.

Taxi (1998)

Excellent French director Luc Besson’s excellent French film about a cheeky French taxi driver who has a heavily modified Peugeot 406 and gets into hilarious adventures.

Rush (2013)

James Hunt vs Niki Lauda, the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship, starring Thor as James Hunt and the Nazi poster boy from Inglourious Basterds as Niki Lauda. Tremendous stuff.

Le Mans ‘66 (2019)

Also known as Ford vs Ferrari, this is the tale of when Ford were all like “let’s buy Ferrari” and then Ferrari were like “sure, ok” but then they were like “aaaah, psyche, we’re not for sale” and the head of Ford was like “ugh, Ferrari are the worst, let’s build a Ford GT and beat them at the Le Mans 24 Hours” and they hired Jason Bourne and Batman and went racing.

The Love Bug (1968)

Ever wonder why so many old VW Beetles are white with that stripe and the number on it? This. This is why. The adventures of Herbie, the Beetle with the mind of its own and the washed up race car driver that comes along for the ride. Beep beep! See also, several sequels.

The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)

Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) is an old New Zealand man who wants to build a really, really, really fast motorbike and race it at the Bonneville Salt Flats. So he goes to America and wows everyone with his quaint New Zealand ways.

Bullitt (1968)

Steve McQueen, a Ford Mustang and a kickin’ soundtrack. That’s all you need to know.

Speed (1994)

Pop quiz, hot shot. When is a bus cool? When it’ll blow up if it goes under 50mph, and when it’s got Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock trying to save the day. Coolest bus ever.

I, Robot (2004)

Will Smith is a detective who hates robots but he has to work with a robot to try and save the world from robots. The film features the Audi RSQ concept, which basically turned into the R8.

Cars (2006)

An animated classic about Lightning McQueen, race car extraordinaire, and a movie that rewards repeated viewing – seldom has there been a film made by someone that clearly really, really, really loves cars, and there are all sorts of details to delight a petrolhead. Don’t bother with the sequels though.

Back to the Future (1985)

Yeah, that DeLorean.

Which will you watch first?

Let us know in the comments, and remember to grab a Tastecard subscription to watch any of these films at a greatly reduced rate. Oh, and you'll be able to save tonnes of money eating out at restaurants as and when that's allowed again.

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Comments (53)

  • RONIN!

      1 month ago
    • Yes, 'Ronin' as well, and 'Heat' just for the one scene where Al Pacino kicks his TV out of his Crown Victoria police car. Oh, and Die Hard 4 where Mr.Willis kills a helicopter with a police car (since he was out of bullets), Oh.. and... (could go...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • Exactly........

        1 month ago
  • Some more good bike flicks, TT closer to the edge, dunlop, hitting the apex,

      1 month ago
  • Transporter's E38 was a 735i.

      1 month ago
    • Transporters e38 was a one off 750i with a manual transmission built specifically for the film.

        1 month ago
    • You're more right than wrong. It acted as 735i, while being a donor 735i with a V12 and a manual.

        1 month ago
  • The Italian Job is seriously one of the best movies of all time. Probably my favorite movie is Forrest Gump.

      1 month ago
  • What about Need for Speed?

      1 month ago