Street racing is a dangerous practice that should be avoided at all costs. BAD. In our opinion, it’s not a good idea. However, watching it on a big screen is a ton of fun. Since the late 1940s, street racing has been a common theme in Hollywood films. Numerous big-budget blockbusters and indie gems have been made about illicit conduct.
We’re no longer discussing automobile chases. Alternatively, you may watch a movie in your automobile. We’ve compiled a list of the top films about street racing. Films in which automobiles compete in time trials on public roads. All but one of these races contain some kind of drag racing, which is what most people associate with street racing. We’ve also included films about cross-country races and battles on winding mountain roads. In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 street racing films of all time. Make sure we don’t miss anything.
1. Against All Odds (1984)
Against All Odds isn’t about street racing like many of the other films on our list, but it does feature one of the most epic public road speed battles ever captured on camera. Races a red 1984 Porsche 911 SC Cabriolet and black 1985 Ferrari 308 down Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Bel Air, one of America’s most affluent communities. Starring Beau Bridges and James Woods.
Ferrari driver Carey Loftin, a six-eight-year-old veteran stuntman who was the stunt coordinator for Steve McQueen’s iconic automobile chase film Bullitt, was in the driver’s seat. Cameras mounted on the two sports vehicles capture all of the action as it happens. There were no gimmicks or tricks of the trade. A series of early Sunday morning shoots were held along Sunset Boulevard between UCLA and the 405 Freeway.
2. American Graffiti (1973)
American Graffiti, a film by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by George Lucas, depicts cruising and street racing in small-town America in 1962. A number of the young performers who appeared in the film went on to have successful careers in Hollywood, including Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, and Richard Dreyfuss.
Our is one of the most highly regarded and financially successful films on this list. John Milner’s small-block Chevy-powered 1932 Ford five-window (the Valley’s quickest car) and Bob Falfa’s equally legendary black ’55 Chevy are two of the movie’s most remembered street racing scenes. A red light scuffle leads to the first race, which is then followed by a race with a flagman out on empty Paradise Road, while the second race takes place in the middle of nowhere.
3. The Cannonball Run (1981)
In the wake of Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, and Smokey and the Bandit 2, Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds were still flying high from their previous successes. This was their fourth film together in five years, and Cannonball Run was yet another box office success. Car and Driver journalist Brock Yates, whose real life Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in 1971 he planned and participated in, wrote the film’s screenplay. In 1979, Hal Needham, who had previously taken on the challenge on a few occasions over the decade, decided to give it another go.
In addition to the iconic opening sequence, which features a black Lamborghini Countach LP400S cannonballing through the Mojave Desert with its big V-12 screaming for the heavens, the film also features many other memorable cars from the era as well as big Hollywood stars such as Roger Moore, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. After such a huge success, a slew of less interesting sequels and rip-offs emerged. Ron Rice, the man who founded Hawaiian Tropic, owned the Lambo that was utilized in the incident.
4. Devil on Wheels (1947)
Ford roadsters with fenderless flathead engines power one of the first Hollywood street racing movies. The dialogue even mentions transporting the automobiles to the desert dry lakes for “legal” racing, despite though the film was shot in Los Angeles. As a reminder, there were no drag strips at the time There are six hot rods racing down the street at the same moment, until a motorcycle cop arrives and some of the racers drop their vehicles in a nearby field, while others take off through the brush to avoid being stopped.
Compared to other hot rod movies that followed, this one does not have as many street racing scenes, but it is a fascinating glimpse at the early days of hot rodding. We’re still figuring it out between Hollywood and hot-rodders. This film also has a brand new 1947 Buick convertible, which you can see in action throughout.
5. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
However, the first chapter of this franchise sparked one of the most popular movie franchises in history and fueled the American import automobile scene, which was on the rise at the time. You either love it or you loathe it. Additionally, it re-ignited the long-dormant national debate over street racing and popularized the acronym NOS. There is some fantastic action, and certain facts are correct, even if the dialogue is a turnoff for actual auto enthusiasts.
The film’s young ensemble, including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and others, became household names thanks to the film’s emphasis on high-performance Honda Civics. There was also a noisily painted Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Supra Turbo and third generation (FD) Mazda RX-7 that became household names. To make matters more complicated, the 1970 Dodge Charger that Diesel was driving at the time became a cultural touchstone.
6. Gumball Rally (1976)
A great cross-country racing film, Gumball Rally, was released in Hollywood five years before The Cannonball Run. Because Yates owned the trademark on Cannonball’s name, a fictional cross-country race called Gumball was created in its place. New York City’s Union Square Parking Garage was the starting point, while the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, was where the real event finished.
Despite his catchphrase, “What’s behind me isn’t significant,” Gumball is all about the cars and the chase scenes in his movies and television shows. Between the streets of Manhattan and the storm channel of Los Angeles, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Midwest, and the California desert, two authentic 427 Shelby Cobras and 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spiders go head-to-head from coast to coast. They’re also moving. Porsche 944 S Targas, Mercedes 300SL roadster, and four-speed split-bumper Camaro on Crugars are among the other remarkable vehicles. And don’t miss Linda Vaughn at the end of the film.
7. Hollywood Knights (1980)
A automobile club in Beverly Hills, California, on Halloween night in 1965 is the subject of Hollywood Knights, a filthy American Graffiti. Tubby’s Drive-In is set to be demolished to make way for a new office complex, so this is the final night they can enjoy their favorite hangout. Like American Graffiti, it features young actresses like Tony Danza and Michelle Pfeiffer who would go on to have successful careers.
8. Columbia Pictures
Shelby 427 Cobras are used in two street races in the film. When it comes to the most renowned project vehicle ever, Danza’s supercharged yellow 1957 Chevy, also known as Project X from Popular Hot Rodding magazine, is the first to be tackled. The car’s tiny block had to be repaired overnight after it blew up during filming. As the Cobra pursues, you can see a burst of coolant. The Shelby goes up against a turbocharged big-block T-bucket later in the video. The film also has a mean ’65 GTO, a convertible ’65 Mustang, an El Camino ’65, and a couple of Porsche Speedsters.
9. Hot Rod Gang (1958)
Hollywood began generating scores of automobile films as the rock and roll and hot rod cultures matured along with the millions of Baby Boomers. Films like Hot Rod Hullabaloo, Dragstrip Girl and Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow showcase Tommy Ivo and two of his cars as bad boys in cool cars pursuing girls and speed. Hot Rod Gang, starring John Ashley driving Bob McGee’s fenderless small-block Chevy-powered 1932 Ford roadster, is one of the most important and iconic hot rods of all time.
It even begins with a street race between the famed Deuce highboy, a channeled roadster, and another Deuce highboy with bobbed rear fenders. The Pete Hendersen roadster in which he famously raced a quarter horse years earlier is likewise legendary. Even stranger, the two highboys engage in an absurd “curb race.” In addition to George Barris’ Ala Kart and cheesy writing and terrible acting, the movie features additional poles.
10. Two Lane Blacktop (1971)
Located in the hills above Los Angeles, the Mulholland Highway is one of the world’s most renowned street racing routes The first paved two-lane road in the mountains was originally used for racing in the 1920s, and the real-life action lasted until the 1980s. Mulholland’s speed contests have been documented in periodicals, newspapers, books, and even movies, according to legend. James Dean and Steve McQueen are said to have raced on Mulholland.
Racing on Mulholland is the main focus during King of the Mountain. Thunder Road, a 1978 New West magazine piece by David Barry, is based on real-life racers such as Chris Banning, who commanded the road in the late 1970s with a modified silver Porsche 911 RSR. The “Fast One,” played by Harry Hamlin, drives a customized Porsche Speedster replica in the film (silver, of course). Many spectacular automobiles, including a Ferrari 308 and a Jag E-type, a 1969 Mustang fastback, a 1979 Trans Am, and an old ’67 Corvette, are featured in the film’s action-packed night racing sequences.
11. Two Lane Blacktop (1971)
Cult classic Monte Hellman’s Monte Hellman’s low-budget cult classic shows street racing better than any other film.
Two young hippies, The Driver and The Mechanic, embark on a cross-country road trip in their primer-grey, big-block, four-speed 1955 Chevrolet and compete for cash prizes along the way. Among the cast, James Taylor plays the Driver, while Beach Boys’ original drummer Dennis Wilson plays the Mechanic, who is known for his obsession with the Chevy’s carburetor’s jets. A cover piece on the picture appeared in Esquire magazine in April of 1971, deeming it the best of the year.