Rare Spares’ Automotive Movie Guide – 5 of our Favourites!

There are some topics in life which are more divisive than pineapple on pizzas. Star Wars versus Star Trek, Holden versus Ford, Connery versus Moore. Best car films in any discussion fall into the divisive category. 

What makes for a good car film, though? Is it the car or cars? The story line? The set pieces? Trying to pin down a definitive list is impossible, so we thought we’d shop around and get an idea of what people thought. One film that was a clear favourite is a homegrown production.

Starring a young up and coming actor named Mel Gibson, it’s a movie that brings in just about everything a good car film needs. Action, pathos, a chase scene or three, “The Goose”, and of course that incredible XB Falcon. “Mad Max” is a film that simply can’t be overlooked. 

Steven Spielberg is best known for a few films starring Harrison Ford and a mind-blowing sci-fi film or two. However, an early part of his career involved a story that is about as simple as it comes. With minimal dialogue it relied on Spielberg’s ability to heighten tension with a simple camera move. Starring Dennis Weaver and based upon a book written by a car driver that had a similar experience with a mad truck driver, “Duel” remains one of the most gripping films of its kind nearly fifty years on.

It’s almost impossible to write a list of car films without including this entry. The stars of the film were three little machines designed by Alec Issigonis. The story line, again, was simple. Money, in the form of gold bullion, a few gags, some brilliant scenery and an amazing chase sequence, toss in the broad Cockney accent of Michael Caine, and you have “The Italian Job”. This one celebrates fifty years of delighting audiences.

It was agonizing to toss out some of the films that could have made the cut. There is the original “The Fast and The Furious” from 1955, and the remake & subsequent series of films. There was Jason Statham’s “The Transporter”, and the sublime recreation of the relationship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in “Rush”. 

But number 4 goes to a Steve McQueen favourite. Based on real life events, and featuring film from one of the races itself, “Le Mans”. Takes our fourth grid spot. Packed with macho appeal, and the sense of unburnt “gasoline” hovering around the screen, Le Mans was notable for the bravery of the cameramen hanging on to the cars and heavy cameras of the time.

Number five features a product of Ford. Debate was heavy as to whether it was the Mustang called Eleanor, or a different hi-po machine wearing the Blue Oval badge. Ultimately it was another Steve McQueen film that won this intense battle and the honour of number five goes to a film that has an unbroken street-based chase scene of nearly ten minutes. Two cars were used, powered by a 325hp 390ci V8 powering down through a four-speed manual. The film is, of course, “Bullitt”

Tell us via our social media links what your top five films are? Is there a “Fast and Furious” in there, perhaps a different Mad Max film? We’d love to know your thoughts and feedback here at Rare Spares. 

 

TOP 5 CAR CHASE MOVIES

3. May 2016 13:47 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Coming up with a ‘Top 5’ list of anything is always going to be subjective. One man’s meat is another man’s poison as the saying goes. A list of the top the ‘Top 5 Car Chase Movies’ is guaranteed to be polarising. While there are dozens of movies that contain car chase scenes, there are certain movies out there that have almost created their own sub-genre. These movies have achieved cult status amongst car enthusiasts and movie buffs alike. So without further ado, here’s a list of the ‘Top 5 Car Chase Movies’. Let the fun begin!

The Blues Brothers (1980)

It’s the movie that defined cool for a whole generation and showed us how to turn a multitude of police cars into scrap metal in style. Dan Akroyd and John Belushi cared little as they roared through the streets of Chicago leaving 103 vehicles destroyed in their wake. Doing all this in a pair of classic wayfarer shades to a soundtrack of James Brown, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway (they didn’t call it the blues brothers for nothing!) didn’t hurt its chances of making it to the list.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Who can forget a young Mel Gibson blasting through the red desert in that monstrous Falcon XB GT Coupe, affectionately known as the “V8 Interceptor.” The film put Australia on the Hollywood map and with a 4 million dollar budget it was the highest amount spent on any Australian movie at the time! The film peaks with an unforgettable chase lasting 20 minutes that features mohawked motorbike riders, a full loaded semi-trailer and a plethora of re imagined post-apocalyptic muscle cars all trying to disrupt one seemingly unconquerable Aussie Icon.

French Connection (1971)

Set in the gritty drug fuelled underworld of New York City, this Academy award winning film (5 to be exact) is known for having one of the most remarkable and intense car chase scenes of all time. Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider play two narcotic detectives who stumble across a 32 million dollar incoming shipment of heroin from France. This leads them to take on the challenge of chasing down a high rise passenger train through the busy and overcrowded streets of the city setting a new standard for car chases and cinematography alike.

The Italian Job (1969)

We all remember the classic movie length advertisement for the Mini Cooper. The iconic British hatch showed its strength in one of the most innovative and imaginative chase scenes to hit the big screen. One of the most nail – bitting moments was when the trio of mini’s went full steam and jumped between two buildings. Although the scene was smooth and portrayed with ease, the stunt was incredibly dangerous with the cars needing to clear a 60 foot gap! Without the help of modern day special effects, this was truly the era of great driving and fearless stuntmen.

Bullitt (1968)

What car chase list isn’t complete without this one? Steve McQueen and his legendary 1968 fastback are touted with providing us with arguably the most memorable car chase ever. Having a high powered mustang chase a charger through the elevated streets of San Francisco was a muscle car lover’s dream come true. With more jumps, near misses and tyre shredding than you can shake a stick at; this film was one of the first to perfect the car chase.

When it comes to movies, there is nothing an enthusiast likes more than a good old fashion car chase. Whether it’s a display of tight and technical driving, the huge pile-ups or breath taking aerial stunts, we are easily entertained. And in the famous words of many pre film safety messages; please do not try this at home.