Do you remember the last time you had to sit through a grueling hour and a half of bad cinema just because it was a movie about cars? Gearheads are often denied the simple pleasures of a good story and compelling performances. Yet, there are tales of glorious cars and legendary drivers littered throughout the history of motorsport. Following are tales of ambition, passion, and tragedy, which artfully demonstrates the love of man and machine.

Top 5 Movies For Gearheads Senna (2010)

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Ayrton Senna was a three-time Formula 1 world champion with 65 pole position victories in his ten-year racing career. But his image as a champion was limited to the limelight. In real life, Senna was paranoid about safety standards in F1 and traumatized by the loss of fellow racers to accidents. Until his death in 1994, his cries for a safer work environment went unheeded. Senna is the tale of Ayrton’s struggle, his rivalry and friendship with Alain Prost, and the engineering catastrophe which caused his death. 

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This isn’t your regular 1960’s gritty cop movie. Steve McQueen plays Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, a detective who drives a beautiful Mustang Fastback. Bullitt is occasionally ponderous at times, and true-to-life throughout. Watch this movie for the ten-minute car chase between McQueen’s ‘68 Mustang and a gleaming Dodge Charger as they jump down the slopes in downtown San Francisco and race down twisty highways.

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It was 1966, and Ford was determined to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. British racing driver Ken Miles was in-charge of perfecting the car on the track. We all know the story of the legendary GT40, but its Le Mans victories came after years of toil, millions of dollars, and the loss of two of Ford’s best racing drivers. Ford vs Ferrari puts the team’s sacrifices and commitment on the big screen. With Christian Bales in Miles’ shoes and Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby, this is likely to be remembered as a classic by car lovers in the future.

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Follow the lives of four Formula One racing drivers as they struggle to maintain sanity in their professional and personal lives. Grand Prix features cameos from racing legends of the time such as Phil Hill, Jim Clark, Fangio, and even Bruce McLaren. The storyline is interspersed with real footage of F1 ‘cigar’ cars. Plus, it’s one of the few movies ever to be shot in Super Panavision 70 widescreen.

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The world of automotive cinema is full of well-made movies starring capable actors who portray some of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Watch Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry in Rush (2013), or the life and career of Sir Frank Williams in his eponymous 2017 flick. The recent Netflix docu-series Formula 1: Drive to Survive is another worthy mention. Go out there and enthral your senses with these exciting movies! 

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This movie is about a demonic car which drives around a Western town killing indiscriminately until it is destroyed in a pit full of dynamite. Why does it kill people? No reason, its just pissed off and generally evil. Even if you aren’t a Demolition Derby enthusiast with a penchant forr mindless gore, you’ll enjoy The Car for the exaggerated aggression, casual religious references, and the beautiful canyon views. It is haunting, but not in the way it intends to be. .

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This movie is about a demonic car which drives around a Western town killing indiscriminately until it is destroyed in a pit full of dynamite. Why does it kill people? No reason, its just pissed off and generally evil. Even if you aren’t a Demolition Derby enthusiast with a penchant forr mindless gore, you’ll enjoy The Car for the exaggerated aggression, casual religious references, and the beautiful canyon views. It is haunting, but not in the way it intends to be. .

Rush

The year is 1976, and everyone’s eyes are on Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Rush has all the excitement of Formula 1 alongside the realities of drivers’ lives (remember Lauda’s crash?). You’ll see every important name in F1 being played by a brilliant actor. For original footage of racers, stick around till the end. Rush impresses with its multi-dimensional characters and impeccable cinematography. You don’t have to be an F1 fanboy to get this movie, but you’ll likely become a motorsport enthusiast after watching Rush.

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A mustachioed salesman’s business trip becomes a nightmare when he is tormented by a freight truck which tries to kill him. Duel is a battle of wits set in the dry Western landscape. Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut is 70’s pulp fiction incarnate, but it never fails to pull you in. This is an action thriller which gets your blood pumping despite being fifty years old. There are no outlandish special effects — only well-captured stunt scenes. There is a realness to the acting which wasn’t commonplace in automotive filmmaking back in the day.

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You might not remember it, but the original Gone in 60 Seconds is a thriller you can’t miss. Its action and chase scenes are more real than you might think — there were few hired background actors, so bystanders and law enforcement officials outside the main cast are actual people. Yes, crowd reactions are genuine horror. Non-scripted mishaps and accidents have been kept in the film.

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Robert Mitchum plays a moonshine runner in this well-known classic. His character Lucas Doolin is a Korean War veteran, who transports the prohibited liquor in his sleeper two-door Ford. Thunder Road is shot exclusively in the Blueridge mountains of North Carolina, and along US Route 19. Despite the inconsistencies between scenes and occasional bad dialogue, Thunder Road remains one of the most memorable films of its kind.

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More famously known as Mad Max 2,The Road Warrior is a brilliantly executed work of dystopian fiction. The world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where petrol and water are worth fighting over. This is Mad Max as we know it today — the story of an unscrupulous lone agent who survives a harsh desert and its wild inhabitants. The Pursuit Special V8 Falcon which Max was bribed with in the first movie, might just be single-handedly responsible for making the Mad Max cars famous.

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The fourth Mad Max film came after nearly two decades of anticipation, and is now widely acclaimed as one of the best action films of all time. Max helps Imperator Furiosa escape with five concubines to Furiosa’s childhood home, far from Immortan Joe’s reach. Max has commendable commitment and a heart of gold. Charlize Theron’s performance as Furiosa will bring you back to Fury Road time and again.

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Drive is dark and captivating, often touted as one of the best movies to come out in 2011. It is a throwback to the noir films of the 1950s and ‘60s. Ryan Gosling plays the protagonist, an unnamed stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver. Drive won its Danish director Nicholas Refn the Best Director Award at Cannes. It even received an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, and four British Academy Film Award nominations. Fun fact: Ryan Gosling wears a jacket with a scorpion on it, a reference to the animal fable about the frog and the scorpion, which is also referenced by the villain near the end of the movie.

Witty and proud, the original The Italian Job is a quintessentially British film, a true classic. Michael Caine plays Charlie Croker, our villain who conspires to avenge the death of his friend by executing his plans to rob $4 million worth of gold in Turin. His co-conspirators are a myriad of colourful people who are all seemingly inept to pull off the heist. The Italian Job is underhanded and adventurous with its humor and has some memorable, iconic dialogue. Watch it for the car chases with three diminutive Minis, the intro with the Lamborghini Miura, and the numerous forms of British pride.

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Jason Statham plays the protagonist, a brutally punctual driver who will transport anything, no questions asked. That is, until he finally breaks one of his own rules and opens his trunk. The Transporter relies on action scenes more than a plot to impress you. Some of the stunts are highly imaginative and outlandish. But once you take off the Men In Black sunglasses and get over the Hollywood-ness of the action, Corey Yuen’s direction and Statham’s self-executed stunts and gravelly British accent stand out. In the movie, Statham’s E38 BMW 7 Series has a manual transmission. It’s a one-off, since the V12-powered 750i was sold exclusively with an automatic.

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Four decades on, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry still gets your blood pumping with its endless action and realistic stunts. The plot revolves around three characters — Larry and Derek, two NASCAR drivers looking to build a faster car, and Mary, who is mad at Larry for running off after a one- night-stand. They get their cash, but law enforcement is hot on their trail. The trio drive around in an Impala SS, then later swap it for a big-block Dodge Charger (after all, the cops have Dodge Polara 440s). Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is a fast-paced thriller.

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This is the story of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, who raced in the 1950s and ‘60s. Before he became one of the greatest drivers in the sport’s history, he was a moonshine runner in North Carolina. The Last American Hero tells you how and why Johnson went from evading cops in his Mustang on mountain roads to winning five races in the ‘55 NASCAR Grand National Series. The movie also highlights the behind-the-scenes struggle of a racer on his way up from the bottom. It portrays the lows of exploitative promoters, cheating lovers, and prohibitive racing elite, to the highs of becoming one of the most well-known celebrities south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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One of the most iconic films of the ‘90s, Thelma and Louise is a road trip story with twists at every corner. The protagonists, played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, slowly fall into a crime spree after they become fugitives from the law. Their journey gives them strength and reinforces their relationships, both with each other and with the people in their lives. Thelma and Louise is critically acclaimed for its impeccable script and acting. It makes for a timeless classic, a movie you would love to watch time and again.

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Robert De Niro plays Vietnam War veteran Travis Bickle, who is disillusioned by the corruption of humanity which he sees around him. To help his depression and insomnia, he becomes a night-shift taxi driver in New York City. Taxi Driver is about the melancholy which sits dormant in our chests until it is stirred by empathy and injustice. The movie was mired with controversy before its release, but became a roaring success afterward. No, there are no crazy car chases or heart-stopping explosions. This is one man’s attempt to realise his depression and combat it by doing what he thinks is right.

Dennis Wilson from the Beach Boys plays the Driver, who drives a ‘55 Chevrolet 150 with his Mechanic. They drive from town to town winning drag races for cash. This is a movie about their cross-country journey in the pre-interstate era, which turns into a drag race against GTO. Watch this movie without reading the reviews. All we’ll tell you is that Two-Lane Blacktop was an inspiration for Brock Yates when he came up with the Cannonball Run. Since most of the movie is shot on Route 66, along with a trip to the Tail of the Dragon, it serves as a glimpse of a bygone era.

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Audrey Hepburn and Adam Finney play a well-heeled couple on a trip through France in a beautiful Mercedes 230SL roadster.The entire movie is a series of flashbacks they have as they reminisce upon their marital past. This critically acclaimed drama qualifies for our list because of its excellent choice of cars. Apart from the SL, there is an MG TD, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and a Triumph Herald, among other iconic cars. There is great chemistry between the actors themselves. Two for the Road is refreshingly modern and iconic.

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If you’re a car nut, you’ve probably watched or, at least, heard high praise for Baby Driver. Ansel Elgort plays the protagonist, a fearless young getaway driver. He drains out his tinnitus with a constant stream of music. His nemesis is his business partner Doc, played by Kevin Spacey. All Baby wants is to get out of the world of crime, but he has one last heist to pull off. Baby Driver features some breathtaking and unbelievable stunts perfectly in-sync with a rock playlist. If car choreography is a real thing, Baby Driver is indeed a musical.

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Kowalski is a Vietnam Veteran, stock car racer and ex-police officer who now delivers cars. He starts on his mission with no sleep, to get a supercharged Dodge Challenger R/T from Denver to San Francisco. He’s running on Benzedrine pills and speed, and he stops for no one. Meanwhile, a blind radio jockey is tracking his movements and egging him on to run from the cops who are on his tail. Vanishing Point features interesting characters and brilliant views of the pre-interstate midwest. It served as an inspiration for other films on this list.

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In 1950, 23-year old Billy Cook went on a murdering spree across the United States. He would hitch a ride, hold his victims hostage, and then kill them and claim their vehicles. That’s the true story behind Ida Lupino’s first noir film, The Hitch-Hiker. Two friends are on a fishing trip in Mexico, when they pick up a hitchhiker. The stranger makes them drive around Baja California, tormenting them and foiling their plans to sabotage or escape, perhaps in the same way as Cook himself had.