What are the best car racing movies ever?
Who doesn’t love a good car race? Especially when there is a whole lot at stake. The Speed, the thrill, the excitement, and of course, the sense of danger at every turn. As much as you enjoy watching a NASCAR or Formula 1 episode, it doesn’t get as personal as when you’re rooting for your favorite character to get through.
With that in mind, Sportytell brings you the top-20 best car racing movies of all time. Whether it’s a good old race to the finish line or some of the most dangerous and thrilling car chases ever seen on-screen.
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Table of Contents
The Best Car Racing Movies
1. The Fast and The Furious (2001)
Yes, before all the insane stunts with tanks, drones, airplanes, submarines, and almost every vessel in existence. The first episode of The Fast and The Furious franchise was about street racing. Even the casual enthusiasts got awakened to the world of car tuning. This makes it one of the best car racing movies of our time.
2. Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019)
Witness the epic rivalry between two giants in the automobile industry began when Henry Ford II tried to purchase Ferrari. But Enzo Ferrari, the CEO, backed out of the deal at the last minute, using Ford’s proposal to secure a better deal with FIAT. This ignited a 10-year feud that saw Henry Ford II devote millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours into beating Ferrari at the LeMans.
3. Rush (2013)
Rush tells another true story of the most intense rivalry in the history of Formula 1 between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. With both drivers making their way through the lower ranks and on to the biggest stage in the ’70s. Their intense hostility towards each other ultimately led to their successes as well as their failures as they pushed each other to extremes. If you’re a fan of Formula 1, or just enjoy watching exhilarating car racing, then Rush should be your next movie.
4. Days of Thunder (1990)
Definitely one of the classics. Though not a true story, Days of Thunder tells the tale of a highly ambitious NASCAR driver named Cole Trickle (who is portrayed by Tom Cruise) who delved into the world of stock cars in a bid to win the Daytona 500. If you’re a NASCAR fan, then you are definitely going to love this.
5. Death Race, 2000 (1975)
It’s kind of hard to imagine what the world would look like right now if Death Race 2000 had been right about the year 2000. Thankfully they were dead wrong. But the movie still makes for some interesting viewing with plenty of violence and a little comedy. Plus, you get to see David Carradine and a very young Sylvester Stallone.
6. Senna (2011)
This movie dives into the life and career of an actual Formula 1 Legend named Ayrton Senna. A three-time world champion who is often considered as the greatest racer ever. From his days Karting to his first world championship, to his untimely death in a fatal car crash in 1994. The movie Senna tells his story
7. The Cannonball Run (1981)
Well, this movie is neither about NASCAR or Formula 1. The Cannonball Run was adapted from an actual cross country race. If you have ever seen any episode of the cartoon “Wacky Races,” then you’re definitely going to appreciate this action comedy with real humans and actual cars.
8. Cars (2006)
This thrilling animation takes you to a world populated by all kinds of vehicles, where humans don’t exist, the cars talk, and drove themselves. The main character is a racer named Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), who sort of lost his racing mojo. The whole concept is kinda weird, but the movie was a huge success and inspired 2 more sequels.
9. Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman (2015)
Paul Newman was, without any doubt, a multi-talented individual. He was well known as a great actor and a wonderful philanthropist while he was alive. But this movie delves into one aspect of his life that puts him in the car racing spotlight. From winning multiple National Championships to running his own successful racing team, Paul Newman was definitely a world-class racer.
10. Turbo (2013)
A snail competing in the Indy 500…where does that happen? This crazy animation focuses on a garden snail who yearns for more from life and accidentally gets his wish. This heartwarming thriller sees the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Snoop Dogg, and Samuel L Jackson all lend their voices to make the characters come to life.
11. Grand Prix (1966)
Definitely the oldest movie on this list, Grand Prix is a fictional story centered on an American driver named Pete Aron (portrayed by James Garner) who suffers a wreck in the first race of the 1966 Formula 1 (also fictional) and gets dropped by his sponsors so he goes on to join a Japanese racing team. Watch as he tries to rebuild his career while facing tough tests with a turbulent love affair with the wife of an ex-teammate on the one hand, and the challenge of beating a 2-time world champion on the other.
12. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
A perfect blend of everything NASCAR and hilarious comedy, Talladega Nights portrays the life of a fictional NASCAR superstar named Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrell). As confused as Ricky was, he already had the world at his feet, until a new rival and former Formula 1 champion Jean Girard comes in to make life very uncomfortable for Ricky Bobby. This very entertaining drama is packed with everything NASCAR, including some real drivers like Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13. Le Mans (1971)
If there ever was a truly realistic film on car racing, then this is it. For a 70’s movie, the entire crew really went the extra mile. Which was actually more than two thousand miles when you really consider it. With Steve McQueen playing the lead role, the movie Le Mans was filmed on the location of an actual Le Mans event. If you enjoy car racing, then you’re definitely going to appreciate this movie.
14. Thunder Bolt (1995)
Now, who doesn’t love a good old Jackie Chan movie? Especially one that features him as a racer. In this movie, Chan plays the role of a mechanic and street racer who helps the police to apprehend a notorious criminal called Cougar. But Cougar eventually kidnaps Chan’s sister after escaping prison. A lot of action, racing, and definitely some of the trademark stunts that make Jackie Chan’s movies a joy to watch.
15. McLaren (2017)
Another classic underdog story, except this one, actually happened. McLaren is a documentary that talks about the life of Bruce McLaren, who is the founder of one of the most successful Formula 1 auto-racing team. Who rises from humble beginnings to take on the elites of auto racing and comes out on top.
Other Top Car Racing Movies
|Need for Speed
|Eat My Dust
|The Last American
|The 24 Hour War
|Gone In 60 Seconds
Anything to add to this list Of racing movies?
Please let us know in the comments section below.