Cars are an essential part in movies. From being apart of the plot, to points of conflict, to car chases, cars and movies just work (kinda like cold and pizza). Now, there are many mainstream car flicks, The Fast and Furious series and The Transporter series for example. These movies are all great, and worth a watch, but everyone knows about them. So here are a few, relatively uncommon movies that involve cars and are actually great movies.
This is on my top ten favorite films. It's that good. Simple, thoughtful cinematography, gripping story, unexpected but well placed violence, and a 70s soundtrack gives this film it's own persona. Mysterious tone, brutal fight scenes (like really brutal), and freaking awesome car scenes all flow with the story naturally. Arguably Ryan Gosling's best work. Be warned, this is not a movie for everyone. If you like old school cinematography, a unique take on a simple story, and driving then watch Drive. You will not be disappointed.
Bullit is a 70s cop movie. You have Steve McQueen playing a detective, who is fueled by revenge. He has a leather jacket, wears aviators, and drives 67’ Mustang Fastback. Not drive, whips a 67’ Mustang Fastback through the streets of San Francisco, chasing after a couple of baddies in a Dodge Charger. Stick shift? Check! Double-clutching? Double-Check! Chase music? Nope, just the sound of American muscle. And it lasts for 11 minutes. This was when car chase sequences were real car chases. Not the fakery we have today. The cars in this chase really hit some serious speed and air. Some consider the chase in film to be the best in cinematography history. I don't, that spot is for the last film on this list. But this is still a great film with a great chase.
C'était un Rendez-vous
C'était un Rendez-vous ("It was a date") is a short French film from the 70s that pretty much why we have street racing films today. It is a statement piece, an artist’s (Claude Lelouch) way of showing his love for his car. Basically, the film is shot from the view of a cars bumper. The car (supposedly a Mercedes 450SEL) races through the streets of Paris in the morning to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica where the driver meets his date. And that’s the film. It’s around 10 minutes long, and it was done in one take. And guess what, it was real. No roads were closed, no permits were taken, nothing. Lelouch drove like a complete G, through the streets of Paris and filmed it. Yes he got arrested for it after. Yes he drew criticism for his work. And yes he endangered the lives of people. But, he made one hell of a film, and inspired many filmmakers to touch upon the topic of street racing. And in my opinion, it’s the perfect basis for a longer film.
If you were to read the synopsis of Ronin on IMDB, you would not assume that it would appeal to car people. I mean, it’s a European espionage movie, staring Robert DeNiro, with a pretty complex plot. Not something that appeals to us simple mind gearheads. However, Ronin is on this list for its, not one but two spectacular car chases, arguably the best car chases sequences in cinema history. The first chase involves a Citroen XM, a Mercedes 450SEL, and an Audi S8 fitted with nitrous (for reals) plus a bunch of other Europe’s finest in the background. The second, and the best, car chase involves mainly two cars. The hero car is a Peugot 406 while the villain pilots a BMW M5 e34. Both car chases are realistically done. No excessive sliding, realistic physics, and unedited engine noise. And the best part is that these chases are major points in this film, not just time filler. Definitely worth a watch.