MotorTrend Picks the Best Car Movies of All Time

At MotorTrend, we love car movies. Not just movies about great cars, but also great movies that happen to have cool cars in them. So you know that when our editors debate which car movies are the greatest of all time, it’s going to be a lively discussion. And the results are as varied as our staff’s individual interests—keep reading for some of our favorites. You never know—you might just find a couple to tack onto your never-ending list of movies to rent.

Diner (1982)

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This isn’t a movie about cars, but it’s a great movie (what a cast!) featuring cars that time has forgotten. These aren’t the gleaming trailer queens you’ll see in most period pieces; rather they look used and a little tatty from years of neglect, as you would expect from hand-me-down cars owned by guys just out of college in 1959 working-class Baltimore. The list includes a Triumph TR3, Hudson Hornet, Chevy Bel Air, Nash Metropolitan, Studebaker Hawk, Cadillac 62, and Packards galore. Best of all, during a scene of intense dialogue, in the background plays a cheery ad for the Renault Dauphine, featuring its “city horn” and “country horn.” – Mark Rechtin

Back to the Future (1985)

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Any list of the best car movies would be incomplete without Back to the Future. Sure, it doesn’t boast the elaborate chase scenes, but how many feature a sleek sports car that serves as both a time machine and a hover craft? And is fueled by plutonium? We might have forgotten about the short-lived but remarkable DeLorean DMC-12 had this movie not etched it into our collective memories. – Kelly Lin

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

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Based on the 1970s film of the same name, Gone in Sixty Seconds centers around a car thief on a mission to steal 50 vehicles, resulting in a heist of epic proportions. From the chase scenarios to simple panning scenes that gave you a glimpse of all the tasty automotive eye candy right before they’re stolen, the film made you appreciate cars in their unmodified state and want to be in on the action. – Stefan Ogbac

Furious 7 (2015)

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I’m not afraid to say I shed a tear at the end of the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious franchise. Leading man Paul Walker was killed in a single-car crash halfway through filming, and the final goodbye between his character, Brian O’Conner, and the family-obsessed Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) is a genuinely touching cinematic moment I never expected from one of the F&F movies. Not to mention that every frame is packed with supercars, muscle cars, and tuner cars, and they jump a seven-figure Lykan Hypersport between not two but three skyscrapers in Dubai. It’s huge and silly and ridiculous and I love it. – Duncan Brady

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

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The Triplets of Belleville’s strangeness is delightful. Toward the end of this 2003 animated film, the bad guys fumble over themselves to catch (or kill) our heroes who make their escape—slowly—in a bicycle-propelled vehicle while comically stretched Citroën 2CVs successively meet their end. As cartoonish as some action movies can get, for me, they’ve got nothing on watching Belleville’s blocky bad guys bash up their cars in amusing ways in this memorable film. – Zach Gale

Grand Prix (1966)

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Besides its three Academy Awards (editing, effects, and sound), much of what you see in the Fast & Furious car movies today owes it all to Grand Prix. Its director, John Frankenheimer, and cinematographer, Lionel Lindon, essentially invented the camera rigs, booms, and so on that now define the genre. Taking place during the 1966 Formula 1 season, the race cars are real, and so are some of the drivers (and cameos). You might’ve heard of Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jochen Rindt, Jack Brabham, Richie Ginther, Joakim Bonnier, and Jo Siffert. If you haven’t seen Grand Prix, you’re not a real car enthusiast. – Chris Walton

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

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I am a cinema aficionado, and the films by Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are car porn. Before I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Goodfellas was my choice. As much as I like that red 1966 Chevrolet Corvette that belonged to the dude Henry Hill beat up in Goodfellas, I LOVE the blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (ode to Kill Bill) that Brad Pitt’s character rides in like the badass that he is along Cielo Drive in this latest movie. And don’t get me started on the black 1968 Porsche 911 or the 1966 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. This Tarantino bona fide gem is packed with an insane amount of classics (more than 2,000!) and QT even had the Hollywood freeway and iconic Hollywood streets closed down for extremely epic framings of cars that once cruised there in 1969. – Erika Pizano

Death Proof (2007)

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As someone who is only casually aware of newer movies, it seems like most car stunts are nothing more than computer generated…

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