Posted on Thu 9th Apr, 2020 in: General News
With quarantine in full swing and all motorsports events on hold, including all want2race track days and driving experiences, you’re probably missing cars and in need of an automotive fix. Well, on the bright side, with next to no time spent on commuting, you now have more opportunity of escapism to the world of roaring engines and burning rubber. Why not make the most of it and line-up some of the best motoring movies to add to your watchlist?
We’re sure that, like us, your movie must-watch list is looking pretty full already, but it’s not a race (unfortunately, for petrol heads like us), and you’ll still have plenty of time to get through everything. So, without further ado, we present our top five car-filled films and motor racing movies that we’ll be watching to pass the time.
The first film on our list is a high-octane thriller from 2000: Gone in 60 Seconds, starring Nicholas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Christopher Eccleston. While this film was hugely popular amongst petrolheads and movie-goers in its own right, it is actually a remake of the H. B. Halicki original, first released in 1974.
Although the fundamental structure of the original film remained intact, there were several updates made to the plot. Randall Raines, aka ‘Memphis’ (Nick Cage), is a former car thief gone straight. Unfortunately, his younger brother, Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) is not only still in the business, but is less talented and more reckless. After a sloppy boost of a Porsche 996 and an illegal street race, the police coming looking his way. His crew, led by Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), are then forced to abandon their warehouse and all the cars they have already stolen.
As a punishment, Kip is taken hostage by Calitri and Memphis must steal 50 new cars to replace the impounded motors. He has just 72 hours to pull off this enormous feat, or Calitri threatens to put Kip in a car crusher.
Dramatic as the film may be, our favourite part is, obviously, the cars. You get to enjoy all types of vehicles throughout the movie, from Porsche 911s and Ferrari Testarossas to Fords, Chevys and Pontiacs – just to name a few. Although there are over 50 fantastic cars on the list, the pinnacle is the 1967 Shelby GT500, which is not only Memphis’ favourite car but one of the rarest too.
This film gave Mustang a new lease of life, and the GT500 continues to be one of the most popular series of models they have ever produced. It’s an exciting thrill-ride of a film, featuring some of the world’s finest cars from start to finish
Now, no list of car films would be complete without the most iconic series of racing films and, arguably, one of the biggest film franchises in general, Fast and Furious. Now on to its 14th sequel, the Fast and Furious series may have evolved into an all-out action movie category. Still, if we go back to the very beginning and the release of the first film in 2001, this very much became the blueprint for modern car and racing movies.
The film revolves around Brian O’Connor (the late Paul Walker), an LAPD officer who is sent undercover by the FBI to investigate a gang of thieves. To infiltrate the crew, he enters into an illegal drag race against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), wagering his modified Mitsubishi Eclipse against Dom’s Mazda RX-7. Brian eventually becomes part of Dom’s crew, bringing in cars for restoration and courting his sister, Mia. However, when his investigation reveals that Dom’s team are the thieves he is after, Brian is left with an impossible choice.
The next film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, was also a strong candidate to go on this list – mainly because of that unbelievable silver Nissan Skyline, with the blue racing stripes! But, ultimately, we decided the original film set the tone and defined this genre for the next two decades. Without it, we might not have many of the great motoring movies that came after it; therefore, it has to be on our list.
We couldn’t get through this list without recognising the heartfelt film about one of the most significant racing drivers of all-time: Senna (2010). Although categorised as a documentary, it plays out like a drama, an inspirational video, and a romance with racing all at once.
Based around the legendary Brazilian racing driver, Ayrton Senna and his glittering career in Formula One, this film takes you from his humble beginnings a kart racer, through to his rivalries with Prost and Mansell, and up to his tragic passing.
Of course, we love looking back at the beautiful cars from this definitive era in Formula One but, for once, the thing we love more about this film is how it tells the story of an ordinary person. You get to understand his life off the race track, as a celebrity and cultural icon – you even get to see glimpses of his nephew, Bruno, who went on to follow in his footsteps. Throughout all of this, one thing drives the film: his love for racing cars—a genuinely moving motion picture, in every sense of the word.
Moving from well-renowned racer to another, the next on our list is Rush, which was released in 2013 and followed the story of Formula One drivers, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. As you most likely know, these two men shared a fierce racing rivalry throughout the 70s, not too long before Senna took the sport by storm, and this film follows this story, culminating in the 1976 season.
It was an unforgettable season in Formula One history, as not only did the two race drivers battle it out throughout the year, but many surrounding factors had an impact: the ups and downs of being famous, high-profile relationships with famous supermodels and socialites. But the most significant moment is undoubtedly Niki Lauda’s infamous accident.
The film shows his heroic return in the Italian Grand Prix and takes you right to the end of the season, to see who wins the championship, changing each of their lives forever. A truly fantastic film, perfect for any fan of Formula One or motorsport in general.
Finally, we have possibly the most classic of all car movies: Italian Job—no, no, not that awful remake from the early noughties, we’re talking about original from 1969. We’re talking vintage Mini Coopers, not modern ones.
This comical, car-filled caper revolves around Charlie Croker, played by the one and only Michael Caine – then in his youth but still with that trademark cockney accent – as he looks to steal $4 million in gold and escape to Switzerland. Not long out of prison, Croker must get break back in to convince a crime lord to help finance this heist, as well as rounding up a den of thieves to help him. They might be a crack team, but there’s likely to be more cracking up than anything!
Filmed around Turin and the picturesque Italian Alps, not only is this, arguably, the quintessential heist movie, but it features some of the most luxurious automobiles you could hope for. From the Lamborghini Miura in the opening scenes to Jaguar E-Types and Aston Martin DB4s. And, of course, who could forget the classic Mini Coopers that went on to be a cultural icon after the popularity of this fantastic film.
They might have only been ‘supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’, but this classic car film blows our socks off every time. Filled with just as many laughs and memorable moments as it is beautiful cars, we consider it a crime if you haven’t watched this film already!
The team at Want2Race want to remind all of our driving fans to stay safe and stay home. Your health and safety is our priority. We are looking forward to opening for track days again only when it is safe to do so. In the meanwhile, let’s help each other get through this.