A fierce debate ensued.
What had started as an innocent enough seeming question, asked at random across the Fircroft marketing department office, soon escalated into a full-scale feud as comments were thrown back and forth in answer to the question: “What are the top car films of all time?”
With such a rich and varied canon of films to choose from, the list grew and grew. It took some ruthless pruning to get it down to our ‘top ten’. So read on to find out which films made the cut in this month’s Film Club.
• The Italian Job (1969)
“You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”
Surely one of the few car films in which a traffic jam is key to the vehicular action. Featuring Michael Caine in fine fettle, the real star of The Italian Job must surely be the three Mini Coopers that terrorise the streets of Turin as the Brits steal gold from under the noses of the Italian Mafia.
• Bullitt (1968)
Possibly Steve McQueen’s most well-known role; Frank Bullitt is the hard bitten cop that is determined to find the underworld gangster that has killed his star witness. Plot aside, Bullitt features possibly the most famous car chase ever committed to film. Tearing across the vertiginous streets of San Francisco the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger chase has become forever immortalised in automotive history.
• Cars (2006)
One for old and young alike. Plucky race-car Lightning McQueen is on his way to the final race of the Piston Cup when he gets lost and accidentally damages the road of the small town, Radiator Springs. Sentenced to repair the road, Lightning McQueen, in true Disney fashion, finds the true meaning of friendship and family in the heart of the small town.
• The Transporter (2002)
Disengage brain and suspend disbelief in this all-action, car chase packed thriller. Jason ‘the Stath’
Statham plays Frank Martin; an ex-special forces operator who transports packages for clients- no questions asked. When he collects a package that begins to move and turns out to be a gagged women on investigation - life gets complicated. Very complicated.
• Christine (1983)
A car with a mind of its own begins to alter the nature of its owner- a nerdish teenage boy, and carnage ensues. Thrills, spills and an excellent 50s soundtrack make this a Stephen King must-see.
• Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
Master car thief, Randall Raines, had walked away from his life of crime. But when his brother is threatened with death by a criminal gangster, he must return to his old ways and steal 50 exotic cars in one night.
• The Fast and the Furious (2001)
“Live life ¼ mile at a time”.
Focused on the antics of street racer Dominic Taretto, The Fast and the Furious sees LAPD officer Brian O’Connor venturing undercover to infiltrate Toretto’s gang. But O’Connor soon becomes enamoured with the high octane world of illicit street racing. Will he go native? Where do his loyalties really lie?
• Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Featuring the acting (and dancing) talents of Dick van Dyke as an inventor whose imagination and mechanical prowess lead to the creation of a magical vehicle. Said vehicle then leads him and has family on a fantasy adventure to a far-off land. A story by non-other than Ian Fleming (for those with anoraks out there).
• Duel (1971)
Think your commute to work is bad? It can’t be as bad as David Mann’s in Duel. Travelling through the desert to an appointment, Mann is pursued and terrorised by a psychotic truck driver whom he inadvertently enrages. Using his massive tractor-trailer as a weapon the driver relentlessly pursues the hapless Mann until a thrilling conclusion looms.
• TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011)
It’s about motorcycles, not cars admittedly. But TT3D is a fascinating, beautifully shot documentary film that recounts the history of the Isle of Man TT and profiles some of the bravest, fastest, and unhinged motorcycle road racers in the world.
So there we have it. Our top ten ‘car’ films. But do you agree? Have your say in the comments below…