One of the most rad forms of action scenes in motion pictures has been represented by car racing movies. With thrilling and blood rushing scenes, from classic to contemporary movies every genre has been filled with car thrashing scenes to make you feel on the edge. Here’s a list of top car racing movies, whether you are a fan of car racing or not, these movies have a well-written storyline and with extraordinary performances will definitely give you a lot to think about when you’re done watching them.
#10 Rush (2013)
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Stars: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
With stunning performances from the spectacular pair of Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, Rush is a perfect movie with a perfect balance of action, story and acting. Rush is a Ron Howard’s biopic of Niki Lauda and James Hunt, one of the most tenacious rivalries in motorsport. Their hatred towards each other not only pushed both of them to their successes but also failures. It pushed both of them to their extremes. Both of these greatest drivers rose and broke into the big stage in the early 1970s. it didn’t end very well for the both of them, while Hunt fell into the world of drugs and alcohol, Lauda’s unquenchable hunger for victory resulted in his almost-fatal accident in 1976. It is a critically acclaimed movie that even though barely scratched the box office is one of the best movies if you’re a fan of Formula 1.
#9 Speed Racer (2008)
Directors: Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers), Lilly Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers)
Writers: Lilly Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers), Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers)
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox, Christina Ricci
Speed Racer, released in 2008, is a visual feast with beautiful bursts of color with a story that shows a young man troubled by what he chooses to do because of his morals and what he stands for. With gravity-defying sequences and physics laws breaking scenes that feel like a thrill, Wachowskis made all the elements that make Asian cartoons so fun. Speed Racer is one of the best live-action adaptation of Japanese anime ever that made a massive box office display. This movie stars Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox, and Christina Ricci.
#8 Days of Thunder (1990)
Director: Tony Scott
Writers: Robert Towne (story), Tom Cruise (story)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall
Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, the Top Gun team of producers with director Tony Scott reunited with Tom Cruise made a thrilling car racing movie with rumbles of deafening car engines and vroom and rumble of victory. This movie has actual NASCAR races as a backdrop and is high on flashy, high octane races. Days of Thunder is about a hot-tempered racer who enters the world of NASCAR racing and gets himself in trouble with everyone around him and ends up in the hospital with some injuries. The film’s cast includes two Oscar winners, Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall.
#7 Le Mans (1971)
Director: Lee H. Katzin
Writer: Harry Kleiner
Stars: Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen
Starring Steve McQueen, Lee H Katzin, the film’s director went far enough to not just use the footage from 1970 Le Mans but he actually entered a Porsche 908/2 to capture onboard action by fitting full-size film cameras. It depicts a fictional 24 hours of Le Mans auto race. This is a tense and terrifying account of the classic auto race considering this particular period provides the period of endurance for the test of speed, skill, and stamina. “it is life.. anything before or after is just waiting.”, Steve McQueen’s reply to whether driving is worth risking one’s life is exactly how the producers wanted to depict the movie. While it’s tempting to call Le Mans, a vanity project that was produced by Solar Productions (McQueen’s production company), nothing could be further from the facts. McQueen’s character is disappearing into the film’s context. In comparison, Le Mans has relatively little dialogue and is almost entirely focused on the need to push and stay focused on its main protagonist in a subjectively described environment that is about battling off interference with detailed spur-of-the-moment decisions.
#6 Talladega Nights (2006)
Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen
Talladega Nights is a comedy sensation directed by Adam McKay who’s directorial debut was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Alongside some real NASCAR drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray, this movie features Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell plays Rick Bobby who’s a fictional NASCAR driver who faces a new rival, Jean Girard while the world is at his feet. Talladega Nights is an interesting dramatic tale that features a great supporting cast, really cool racing scenes and plentiful NASCAR clichés.
#5 Grand Prix (1966)
Director: John Frankenheimer
Writers: Robert Alan Aurthur (screen story), Robert Alan Aurthur (screenplay)
Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand
Grand Prix is one of the best studio efforts of the ’60s. The ninth highest-grossing film of 1966, Grand Prix is a three-time Academy Award Winner. It is directed by John Frankenheimer and follows four fictional racing drivers through a fictional 1966 season. This modern motorsport film had most of the F1 grid on the credits, including appearances from Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Chris Amon, Lorenzo Bandini, Bob Bondurant, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Dan Gurney, Jo Schlesser, and Jochen Rindt. Pete Aron, the main racer was played by the Hollywood legend James Garner. Grand Prix is replete with reality from the opening scenes of the film: Saul Bass, the title designer for several of Hitchcock’s most famous films, designed and edited each of the races, juxtaposing various physical and thematic elements using split- techniques and different editing rhythms. The end result is a vivid, ‘you-are-there’ sensation, where the viewer is catapulted into the driver’s seat quite literally.
#4 Death Race 2000 (1975)
Director: Paul Bartel
Writers: Robert Thom (screenplay), Charles B. Griffith (screenplay) (as Charles Griffith)
Stars: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Griffeth
A futuristic, action movie directed by Paul Bartel is set in America in a dystopia. It features Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine, and Simone Griffeth is an innovative, violent form of national entertainment that involves a Transcontinental Road Race filled with murderous plots and activities. In colorful themed cars, drivers race against one and another and they score additional points by killing innocent bystanders. It’s a low budget, rock-solid piece of memorable filmmaking. Tak Fujimoto, an award-winning cinematographer, has also worked on this unadulterated cult entertainment. If you’re not a cult enthusiast, Death Race 2000 might not interest you but it’s a pretty witty socio-political commentary that makes up for its flaws, although the blood-spattered violence might not sit right by some people. If you’re looking for a cult gem, Death Race 2000 will definitely feed your appetite with colorful commentators, intimidating anti-heroes, great villains, biting satire, and tactful metaphors. What really makes Death Race 2000 such a classic, though, is that Bartel manages to present the perfect balance of ruthless satire, sincerity, and absurdism without ever compromising any of them.
#3 The Cannonball Run (1981)
Director: Hal Needham
Writer: Brock Yates
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett
This classic comedy came out in 1980 and with a perfect mix of hilarity with a bit of action and serious racing quickly became a favorite. The all-star cast consists of Burt Reynolds in the lead role along with Dom DeLuise, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett and a lot of beloved stars support roles in the film. Surrounded by such a prominent cast of actors that it almost defies explanation, this ride brought Burt Reynolds one of his biggest hits. The Cannonball Run also marked one of the last appearances of the Hollywood legend, Dean Martin. It’s filled with dated prejudices, graphics, and even the occasional critical commentary.
#2 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Stars: Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shad Moss, Sung Kang
This action was directed by Justin Lin and is the third installment in the franchise. It stars Lucas Black, Sung Kang, Bow Wow, and Brian Tee. Different from the basic plot of the franchise, a car racing loving student from a broken home gets into trouble and ends up in Tokyo as a punishment by his mother. There is where he is introduced to a new world of drifting. He competes with the antagonist and beats him in the final drift race. This is movie is now being made a sequel of, Fast and Furious 9 where Han Lue comes back.
#1 The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Director: Rob Cohen
Writers: Ken Li (magazine article “Racer X”), Gary Scott Thompson (screen story) | 3 more credits »
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
The Fast and the Furious is an adventure film of criminal action movie directed by Rob Cohen in 2001 and produced by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. It is the Fast & Furious franchise’s first installment and stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Big, and Ted Levine. The FBI wants to bring down a syndicate who runs an illegal car racing business and all sorts of robberies. FBI plants special undercover agents in this syndicate group. The undercover special agent then decides to leave his life behind due to the hospitality, kindness, and acceptance of the syndicated family. In the adrenaline-fuelled Fast & Furious 6-Movie Set, buckle up for nonstop action and mind-blowing motion. An all-star cast put the pedal to the floor as they sprint from L.A. to Tokyo, Rio, and London in search of freedom and life. This turbo-charged thrill coaster, filled with full-throttle action and jaw-dropping stunts, brings you behind the wheel of the most exciting film franchise in history. Rob Cohen’s high-octane hot-car meller, a rugged and gratifying cheap rush, is a genuine gem these days, a really good opportunist, the sort of thing that would rule at drive-ins if they still existed ranked number 1 on our list.