Can you tell the difference between Bullitt's car and the Bandit's? Do you know the make of Christine or Lightning McQueen? If so, you might have the automotive aptitude to ace our famous car films quiz!
It's no secret that a love for cars is deeply ingrained in the hearts of Americans. In 2016 alone, more than 17 million passengers vehicles were sold in the U.S., with an average price of $35,000. For most Americans, cars are the second biggest expense after putting a roof over their heads. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average person in the U.S. spends $9,000 a year buying, maintaining and gassing up their vehicle.
That might seem like a whole lot of money going towards cars, but for many, it's money well worth spending. In fact, the average person in the U.S. spends a whopping 17,600 minutes driving each year. That's almost 300 hours spent commuting, vacationing, running errands or simply riding along the open road.
With driving playing such an important part in American culture, it's no surprise that Hollywood has been quick to give cars a starring role in films over the decades. In fact, there are certain classic car films where the vehicles eclipse the actors themselves, stealing scenes from stars like Steve McQueen, Vin Diesel or Burt Reynolds.
Whether you're looking for speedy chases, crazy crashes or simply the lure of the open road, these films put driving and cars front and center. Take our quiz to see if you can identify each movie from a single picture!
Days Of Thunder was the first movie of three in which Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starred together. It was during the filming of this racing classic that a romance blossomed between the two. In order to get real race footage, the cars used in the movie were raced in three NASCAR events during filming.
Not an exact remake of the 1974 classic, Gone In Sixty Seconds features Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie as car thieves. While it was not well received by the critics, the film was popular with moviegoers, raking in $237 million worldwide.
Thelma and Louise, a movie directed by Ridley Scott in 1991, starred Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. It received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, plus one win. The film kick-started the career of Brad Pitt, who had a small part in the movie.
One of Will Ferrell's most popular movies, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is filled with a number of humorous gags, one-liners, and the catchphrase "shake n' bake." A number of NASCAR drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., make small cameos in the movie.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is loosely based on a book - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car - written by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. It was particularly well received by critics and remains a children's favorite today. The original, fully working Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sold for $805,000 at an auction in 2011. It was purchased by Peter Jackson, famous for his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
Released in 1968, Bullit was loved by the critics and public alike. Rather than making use of sets, director Peter Yates preferred to use real-life locations in and around San Francisco. The film is remembered for its incredible car chase scene, running over 10 minutes, featuring Steve McQueen driving a 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang GT fastback.
A directorial debut for former stuntman Hal Needham, Smokey and the Bandit was intended to be a "B" grade action movie. When Burt Reynolds, a friend of Needham read the script, he agreed to join the cast. This gave the production far more star power and led to a mainstream release. This movie was the second highest grossing film of 1977, losing out on first place to Star Wars.
Set over a single night, American Graffiti is a series of short scenes that tells the story of a number of teenagers. It is a classic coming-of-age movie and remains a firm favorite with movie buffs. In fact, it was deemed so significant that it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1995. The co-writer of this movie, George Lucas is more famous for his Star Wars universe and the movies tied to it. Interestingly, this movie also stars a young Harrison Ford, a Lucas favorite.
Although not a commercial success, 1971's Two-Lane Blacktop remains a cult classic, with appearances by singer James Taylor and the drummer of the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson. In fact, the movie is said to have inspired Brock Yates, the creator of the real-life Cannonball Run. The movie shows Route 66 before the addition of any Interstate Highways. In 2012, Two-Lane Blacktop was added to the National Film Registry, as it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
The Love Bug, released in 1968, introduced a VW Beetle named Herbie to the world. This little racer is instantly recognizable, thanks to his racing stripes and a big round 53 on his bonnet and doors. The movie grossed over $51 million at the box office, while overall, the franchise has brought in $205 million across all releases (U.S. figures). six movies were made featuring Herbie over a 37-year period.
Christine, released in 1983, was directed by John Carpenter and featured Keith Gordon in the lead role. Many would argue, however, that the star of the show was indeed Christine, a bright red Plymouth Fury. Although critics didn't praise the film, it quickly became a cult classic.
Cannonball Run was filmed as a collaboration between Golden Harvest Films of Hong Kong and 20th Century Fox. It featured a number of famous actors, including Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and a young Jackie Chan. The movie was a major success, bringing in $72 million while only costing $18 million to make. It spawned two sequels, Cannonball Run II (1984) and Speedzone (1989).
The Blues Brothers concept originally started out on Saturday Night Live as a sketch. A cult classic, this 1980 movie was directed by John Landis and features comedians Dan Akroyd and John Belushi.Although the movie was a massive success, it was not without its problems, some of which centered around Belushi's partying and drug use. The Blues Brothers band released numerous albums and have performed across the world.
A classic 1970s chase movie, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry wasn't particularly well received by the critics, although it remains a favorite for lovers of the chase genre. Based on a 1963 Richard Unekis novel called The Chase, this movie stars Peter Fonda in the lead role. It was a relative success at the box office as well, raking in $28 million.
The Italian Job is based on a 1969 British movie of the same name and was directed by F. Gary Gray. A classic heist movie, it did extremely well at the box office, raking in $176 million. It includes an epic car chase through the streets of San Francisco featuring Mini Coopers, of which 32 were custom built for the movie.
Director Lee H. Katzin and Steve McQueen went to great lengths to ensure that Le Mans portrayed this legendary 24-hour race as accurately as possible. Filming was carried out at the 1970 race where a Porsche 908/2 was set up as a camera car and completed 282 laps, finishing in 9th position despite the heavy camera equipment inside it. It did not receive an official classification, however, as it had not completed enough laps.
Acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino originally tried to cast a number of actors in the lead role for Death Proof, including John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, William Defoe, and John Malkovich, amongst others, but their prior commitments meant he turned to Kurt Russell, saying, "For people of my generation, he's a true hero." The film also features stuntwoman Zoë Bell in her first acting role.
Tucker: The Man And His Dream tells the story of Preston Tucker, a car designer hell bent on designing the car of the future after World War Two. He eventually manages to build 51 Tucker Torpedos but is accused of stock fraud. In 2011, a Torpedo sold for $1.2 million at auction. In development for over 15 years, Tucker: The Man and his Dream experienced a number of delays. Director Francis Ford Coppola originally wanted Marlon Brando in the lead role. The film was put on the back burner until 1986, when George Lucas came on board as a producer. Jeff Bridges was eventually awarded the part.
The fifth film in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast Five saw a move away from the traditional theme of underground street racing to a more action-oriented scenario - in this case, a heist involving cars. Although set in Rio de Janeiro, this movie was actually filmed in Puerto Rico after the production was given nearly $11 million in tax incentives from that country's government. It was a massive success at the box office and was the seventh-highest grossing film of 2011.
Death Race 2000, released in 1975, involves a dystopian future. Racers earn points by running down pedestrians, with a premium placed on the most brutal killings.
Like Cannonball Run, The Gumball Rally was inspired by the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, which ran five times in the United States during the 1970s. These two movies were responsible for a host of road-race films coming out of Hollywood as the decade wound down.
Risky Business certainly launched the career of Tom Cruise. The movie was very well received by critics, with many considering it one of the top films of 1983. The scene of Tom Cruise dancing in a pink shirt and briefs is one of the most iconic in the movie and has been redone many times over in television, advertisements, and even other movies.
The Italian Job was released in 1969 and features a number of iconic cars of the time, including a Lamborghini Miura, Aston Martin DB4, Vignale Lancia Flaminia, and a host of others. This British classic features a soundtrack composed by Quincy Jones. Lead actor Michael Caine even lends his vocals to Getta Bloomin' Move On! The undoubted stars of the show were the Minis used in the final heist.
Although filmed in black and white, Thunder Road quickly became a cult classic and was still shown at drive-in theaters in the United States in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. Robert Mitchum's son, James, also starred in the movie, in a role originally intended for Elvis Presley. This 1958 film about moonshine runners starred Robert Mitchum, who wrote the screenplay, produced the movie, and had a part in writing the theme song.
The Wraith, a horror-action flick, was released in 1986. This independent movie was directed by Mike Marvin and stars Charlie Sheen in the lead role. It was well received by the public but panned by critics. One of the stars of the movie is undoubtedly the Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor, driven by Sheen.
Fast and Furious 6 or Fast 6 as it is more commonly known was a huge success, making a $135 million profit for its producers. It was also the highest grossing Fast and Furious film outside of America. This movie features an epic stunt in which a Dodge Charger crashes into the nose of a massive cargo aircraft. Over 200 crew were needed to make the stunt a success, while 350 visual effects were added later.
Corvette Summer, released in 1978, featured Mark Hamill in the lead role. It was his next acting gig after the massive success of Star Wars the previous year.His co-star, Annie Potts, was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category Best Motion Picture Acting Debut - Female for her portrayal of Vanessa. Corvette Summer was a hit at the box office but received mixed reviews from critics.
Released in 1977, The Car is featured in The Official Razzie Movie Guide list as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made. It was slated by critics for a terrible script and even worse acting. It remains popular, however, and received a DVD release in 1999 and Blu-Ray release in 2015.
Cobra, starring Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nelson, was released in 1986 and panned by critics despite taking in $160 million worldwide. It fared well at the Razzie Awards with six nominations, including Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Screenplay and Worst Film. This 1986 movie was written by and starred Sylvester Stallone and although he was not named the director of the film, he was heavily involved in setting up each scene.
Ronin, released in 1998, is widely regarded as one of the best heist movies of all time and is filled with spectacular car chases, including some that used 300 stunt car drivers at a time! Starring Robert de Niro and Jean Reno in the lead roles, it placed 72nd on a list of top action films as voted by actors, directors, critics, and stuntmen in 2014.
Hollywood Knights, released in 1980, starred Tony Danza, Michelle Pfeiffer, Fran Drescher, and Robert Wuhl. It centers around a 1950s-style car club becoming more of a social group in the mid-1960s, and it's considered to be a poor rip-off of American Graffiti. Even so, it took in $10 million dollars at the US box office.
White Lightning, a 1973 movie about a moonshine running convict, starred Burt Reynolds in the lead role and was typical of the muscle car movie genre that was popular at the time. It features many different vehicles, including a 1971 Mercury Monterey, 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, 1963 Mercury Comet and a 1962 Ford Fairlane amongst others. Reynolds, however, spent much of his time driving a 1971 Ford Galaxie Custom 500 in the film.
The second in the Transporter franchise, Transporter 2 sees Jason Statham reprise his role as Frank Martin. Although the movie was well received by critics, it managed to take $43 million in the United States and $85 million worldwide.
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, the third movie in the Herbie franchise, sees actor Dean Jones reprise his role as Jim Douglas. Herbie takes part in the Trans-Frans race from Paris to Monte Carlo,
A typical action movie of the time, Vanishing Point was released in 1971 and featured the little-known Barry Newman in the lead role. Gene Hackman was the original lead man wanted by director Richard C. Sarafian, but 20th Century Fox decided otherwise. The iconic vehicle of the movie is the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. A 1997 made for TV remake of the same name featured Viggo Mortensen in the lead role. It was not well received!
The original Gone in 60 Seconds, filmed in 1974, was a labor of love for H.B. Halicki, who not only wrote the outline but also directed and starred in the movie. Interestingly, the movie did not have a script, just an outline of some of the dialogue. Much of the movie was ad-libbed as filming went along. 93 cars were destroyed during the chase scene filmed for this movie! Gone in 60 Seconds was remade in 2000, starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie.
This Herbie movie, although a massive success, suffered from major continuity problems as both 1963 and 1965 VW Beetles were used. The only problem, however, was that the 1965 Beetle had far bigger windows, something people quickly picked up on. Herbie Rides again was released in 2,178 theaters and 1,761 drive-ins in the United States in 1974.
1971's Duel tells the tale of a motorist who is shadowed by a sinister truck while on a business trip. It is based on a short story written by Richard Matheson and somewhat based on true events. Matheson also wrote the screenplay for the movie. This movie is credited as Steven Spielberg's directorial debut.
1978's The Driver, directed by Walter Hill, featured Ryan O'Neal in the lead role. O'Neal, however, was not the first choice. Hill had originally wanted Steve McQueen for the movie, but he turned the role down because he was attempting to move away from action movies at that point in his career. Although the film did not do well on home soil, it was well received outside the United States. Featuring a main character with no name, this movie is massively influenced by the 1967 French-Italian film, Le Samouraï.
The Great Race, released in 1965, cost $12 million to produce - the most expensive comedy ever made at the time. And it's easy to see why. One scene in the movie calls for a pie fight. Over 4,000 pies were used in the scene, with the pastry costing $18,000! Written and directed by Blake Edwards of Pink Panther fame, this movie stars Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis.
Fireball 500 was a planned effort by AIP studios to start producing movies which did not deal with the beach party themes that still did well in the mid-1960's, but were becoming less popular. Frankie Avalon, a former teen idol, was the perfect star to draw audiences to the movie. He sang five songs on the soundtrack. Some of the racing footage shot in Fireball 500 found its way into the Love Bug later in the decade.
After turning down the main role in Dirty Harry, John Wayne jumped at the chance to star in McQ a few years later. Critics didn't like the movie and suggested that Wayne stay with the Westerns for which he was known. This movie features an excellent car chase scene in which Wayne drives a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Green Hornet.
The tenth Bond film made and the third to feature Roger Moore, the Spy Who Loved Me sees Bond team up with a female Russian agent to stop a madman from destroying the world. The movie introduced one of the most famous Bond henchmen ever, Jaws, played by Richard Kiel. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards and grossed $185 million worldwide. Although the title for this James Bond movie is taken from an Ian Fleming book about the secret service agent, the similarity stops there. Nothing further in the book is carried over into the film.
2 Fast 2 Furious, directed by John Singleton, sees Paul Walker reprise his role as Brian O'Connor. Vin Diesel, a star of the first movie, did not appear in the second installment in the series. He was filming XXX at the time.
Grand Prix is widely regarded as one of the best racing movies of all time. It needed the buy-in of Grand Prix teams at the time, including Ferrari. The Italian manufacturer, after playing hardball at first, was so impressed with footage filmed at the Monte Carlo that they let the film crews have unlimited access to film further scenes. This movie features some incredible racing photography, so much so that it won three Academy awards for its technical brilliance.
Drive was extremely well received by the public and critics alike, so much so that Rolling Stone gave it 4 out of 4 stars! This movie is based on a novel of the same name written by James Sallis. It grossed over $75 million at the worldwide box office and only cost $15 million to produce. Nicolas Winding Refn was named best director at the 64th Cannes Film Awards.
The Hitch-Hiker is widely considered as the first movie in the United States to be directed by a female - Ida Lupino. Loosely based on a real-life killing spree undertaken by Billy Cook in 1950, Lupino spoke with two victims that Cook kidnapped and worked aspects of their story into the movie. Billy Cook murdered six people over a 22-day period.
Locke, a film from 2013, is unique in the fact that almost all of the film features Ivan Locke, played by Tom Hardy, driving in a BMW X5. His only interactions are through the phone calls he has with his boss, wife, and others. Many critics raved about Hardy's performance in the movie; he was awarded the LA Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor for his work.
The third Bond film, Goldfinger introduced numerous ideas that would become staples of future movies in the franchise. These included gadgets and humorous lines, as well as a pre-film action sequence that was in no way connected to the main story. The movie was a massive success, grossing $124.9 million worldwide at a cost of just $3 million.
Rush, directed by Ron Howard, is set in the 1970s and follows the rivalry between F1 Grand Prix racers, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Although the movie was well received, it is filled with minor inaccuracies. Lauda himself called the racing aspects of the movie "very accurate."