A list from the esoteric brains behind Filmhash. If you have a list topic, let us know, and we’ll…come up with something!
Note: This is a list of the most iconic film cars, not car chases.
Cars: 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback / 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum
This film is known for it’s iconic San Francisco car chase, with McQueen’s Mustang chasing the hitmen’s Charger. The film cemented the Mustang’s place in car history, and is one of the greatest car chases in film history, largely due to the editor, Frank P. Keller, who created the 11 minute sequence from 5 weeks of shooting in and around San Francisco. Watch it here!
The Love Bug (1968)
“Herbie” as he is known, is one of only two cars to ever be credited as themselves in a film, and with good reason. He is truly the star character of The Love Bug, which happens to be the last live action film Walt Disney worked on in his lifetime (the original title was Car, Boy, Girl). It was a massive success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1969 and spawning 4 sequels.
The Italian Job (1969/2003)
Both films feature a gold heist with a precisely orchestrated escape in Mini Coopers, making them basically the stars of the film. Show me someone who hasn’t wanted to drive a Mini into some subway tunnels and I’ll show you a liar.
Vanishing Point/Death Proof (1971/2007)
While Bullitt gave the Mustang top billing, the Dodge gets its day in the sun in the 1971 film Vanishing Point, one of the only existential action films ever made. I discovered this film only through Quentin Tarantino’s grindhouse tribute Death Proof, which features the same car year. Neither is a truly great film, but they have some of the best car scenes ever.
Smokey & The Bandit (1977)
It’s hard to get more iconic than this black T-top with the Firebird on the front. Not only has this film basically started its own genre, it also starred in lesser films and TV shows, like Cannonball Run and Dukes of Hazzard.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Blues music, Neo-Nazis, ex-girlfriends, police pursuit, and tax evasion are the cornerstones of The Blues Brothers. However, this movie is mostly on the list because they drive the Bluesmobile through a mall. Epic.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
The only truly fictional car on this list, the Truckster was created simply for this movie, which features superdad Clark Griswold attempting to take his family on a trip to Wally World (basically Disneyland). The screenplay was written by John Hughes, and is semi-autobiographical. The car in Planes, Tranes, and Automobiles, directed by Hughes, shares the Truckster’s paint scheme as an homage.
Ray: Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work and shocks. Brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end.
Peter: How much?
Ray: Only $4800. Also new rings, mufflers, a little wiring.
One of the most iconic film vehicles, this was also my favorite childhood toy.
Back to the Future (1985)
Marty: Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?
Doc: The way I see it, if you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?
That about sums it up.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The second Volkswagen on this list, this film features a highly dysfunctional family on a road trip from Albuquerque, to Redondo Beach, California. The Mircobus was selected in part for the practicalities of filming, and because many of the problems that were included in the plot (a broken clutch, a stuck horn, and a detached door), were based on similar problems that writer Michael Arndt experienced during a childhood trip that involved the same type of vehicle.
What are your favorite film cars? Comment below!