List: The Ten Greatest Movie Cars

By Brandon Turkus

November 09, 2011


1981 DeLorean DMC-12 – Back To The Future We wonder how much of Doc Brown’s time machine is really still a DeLorean. Either way, there are few movie vehicles that are so instantly identifiable as the stainless steel, gullwinged DeLorean. Besides time travel, the modified DMC-12 was able to run on garbage and was capable of flight.


1985 BMW M5 – Ronin Really, we didn’t know where to start with Ronin. The movie is essentially one big car chase. We have to give honorable mention to the Audi S8, but are still partial to the sweet-sounding BMW. Pursued by Robert Di Niro, the E34 M5 zips around Paris, all the while singing in a beautiful straight-six soprano.


1961 Ferrari 250GT California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Let’s ignore the fact that the car that was used in the film was a replica, and just embrace the beauty that is the Ferrari California. There are few cars that we’d rather be truant in, all while gallivanting around Chicago. Just learn how to reset the odometer before coming home.


1969 Mini Cooper S – The Italian Job No, we aren’t talking about the Mark Wahlberg/Charlize Thereon yarn. We’re talking about the original, with Michael Caine, Benny Hill, Nöel Coward, and the Italian Mafia. Three Minis, loaded with Italian gold, proceed to tear around Turin, all while being chased by the classically inept Carabinieri. A great film, if you don’t mind a cliffhanger.


1977 Pontiac Trans Am – Smokey and the Bandit Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and a whole heaping helping of Coors’ beer make up this bootlegging story. The black Trans Am is the focal point of a chase between Reynolds’ Bandit and Jackie Gleason’s Sherriff, or Smokey, Buford T. Justice, whose own Pontiac is slowly destroyed over the course of the film. Reynolds runs block for a very large shipment of beer, traveling from Texas to Georgia.


1970 Porsche 917 – Le Mans A favorite here at the Winding Road offices, Le Mans features an epic battle between Porsche and Ferrari, with Steve McQueen piloting a 917. The film was actually recorded during the 1970 24-hour race, with the camera car (a Porsche 908) entering the race and coming in second in its class.


1964 Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger Perhaps no car is as associated with its particular movie as the Aston Martin DB5. When the James Bond series was rebooted with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale, Bond was shown winning his vintage Aston. Still, the DB5 is best known for its roll in Goldfinger, as well as consequent films where it developed gadgets like an ejector seats, rotating license plates, and machine guns.


1971 Pontiac Le Mans – The French Connection Gene Hackman tears through New York City, chasing a hitman on a train, in a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans. Hackman handled a portion of the driving, but the more difficult bits were handled by Bill Hickman, who drove the Dodge Charger in Bullitt.


1970 Dodge Challenger – Vanishing Point A bit of an odd movie, there’s still no denying that the white 1970 Challenger should be receiving top billing. Despite it’s untimely demise towards the end, the Challenger and its pilot, a delivery driver named Kowalski, were a living, breathing representation of the counterculture that consumed America in the early 70s.


1968 Ford Mustang Fastback – Bullitt There may not be a more indelible image of “cool” than Steve McQueen and his Highland Green 1968 Mustang. This chase has often been called the greatest in film history, with McQueen’s Mustang pursuing a black Dodge Charger through the hilly terrain of San Francisco, and to be honest, we completely agree.

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We like movies. More importantly, we like movies that feature cars as integral parts of the story. So we've put together a list of ten of the most influential, important, and downright entertaining vehicles in cinema history. Quite simply, these cars made the movies as much as any flesh-and-blood actor. Of course, there will be disputes about just whether we should have included Mad Max's Ford Falcon, James Bond's Toyota 2000GT, or Herbie (wait, there probably won't be any arguments about that last one). We’re pretty confident with our choices though. So without further ado, read on for our list of the ten greatest cars from the movies.