Auto Racing Movies
* Recommended Titles
The Speed Kings (1913)… Ford Sterling, Mabel Normand, Billy Jacobs, Fatty Arbuckle. Two racers are involved in a love triangle. The girl is in love with one while her father prefers the other. Racecar drivers Barney Oldfield, Teddy Tetzlaff and Earl Cooper have cameos. Interesting for the historical aspect of early driving.
The Little Mademoiselle (1915)… Arthur Ashley, Vivian Martin. A mechanic-turned-racecar driver helps a woman and her struggling family.
The Race (1916)… Victor Moore, Anita King. A disinherited playboy, working as a mechanic, enters a transcontinental auto race to help pay his bills.
The Roaring Road (1919)… Wallace Reid, Ann Little, Theodore Roberts, Guy Oliver. A salesman (Toodles Walden) for a racing car owner wants to drive in the big race but his boss won’t let him. The three cars arriving for the big race are destroyed in a train wreck. Toodles buys them and combines them into the winning car. His boss then wants him to enter the speed distance race from Los Angeles to San Francisco but he wants to marry his daughter instead. Mayhem ensues. Includes footage of the 1919 Santa Monica Road Race.
Greased Lightning (1919)... Charles Ray. A blacksmith converts an old auto into a race car he names "Greased Lightning."
Speed Maniac (1919)... Tom Mix, Eva Novak. A rancher travels to San Francisco to promote his new engine. Partially filmed at Elysian Park in Los Angeles.
High Speed (1920)... Edward Erle, Gladys Hulette, L. Rogers Lytton. A driver is erroneously banned from racing for accepting a bribe but then becomes the race driver for a wealthy man and his daughter. Partially filmed at Sheepshead Bay Race Track in New York. Ralph DePalma, who won 24 IndyCar races including the 1915 Indianapolis 500, participated in some of the racing sequences.
Double Speed (1920)… Wallace Reid, Wanda Hawley, Theodore Roberts, Tully Marshall. ‘Speed’ Carr enters a cross-country race from New York to Los Angeles.
Excuse My Dust (1920)… Wallace Reid, Ann Little, Theodore Roberts, Guy Oliver. A sequel to The Roaring Road with auto salesman Toodles Walden buying one of his father-in-law's race cars and wining the big cross-country race to San Francisco.
What’s Your Hurry? (1920)… Wallace Reid, Lois Wilson. From imdb.com: Truck driver Dusty Rhoades leads a team of truckers over dangerous roads to deliver emergency supplies before a crucial dam breaks.
Too Much Speed (1921)… Wallace Reid, Agnes Ayres. From imdb.com: Egotistical race-car driver Dusty Rhoades learns that humility pays off even better than acclaim.
Racing Hearts (1923)… Richard Dix, Theodore Roberts, Agnes Ayres. Rival automobile manufacturers compete on the track and for the affections of the same girl. Several real drivers have cameos: Edward Heffman, Jerry Wunderlich, Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Milton, and Ralph DePalma.
Racing For Life (1924)… Eva Novak, William Fairbanks, Philo McCullough, Wilfred Lucas, Ralph DePalma.
The Speed Demon (1925)... Kenneth MacDonald, Peggy Montgomery, Wayne Lamont, Art Manning, Clark Comstock. Racer Speed Sherman loves a Kentucky colonel's daughter. Indy 500 champion Barney Oldfield appears in a cameo.
Speed Mad (1925)... William Fairbanks, Edith Roberts. A young driver leaves home and wins the $5000 big race.
The Checkered Flag (1926)… Elaine Hamerstein, Wallace McDonald. A mechanic designs a special carburetor for the big race. The field includes an entry from his prospective father-in-law.
Speed Crazed (1926)... Billy Sullivan, Andree Tourneur, Joseph W. Girard, Harry Maynard. Gangsters try to prevent Billy Smith from winning the big race.
Speeding Venus (1926)... Priscilla Dean, Robert Frazer, Dale Fuller, Johnny Fox. A woman wins a cross-country race.
The First Auto (1927)… Russell Simpson, Charles Emmett Mack, William Demarest, Barney Oldfield, Russell Hicks, Patsy Ruth Miller. An old man, who gradually looses his livery business after the automobile is invented, becomes estranged from his son when the latter leaves to become a racecar driver. Silent film serves as a loose but interesting history of the automobile from 1896-1906. Oldfield’s part of the driver who sets a world’s speed record at 60-mph is just a cameo. Oldfield, one of the early famous racing drivers, appeared in eight movies, six of them ‘shorts’ prior to this one. Some of them, like “The Speed Kings,” filmed in 1913, had several action scenes of early auto racing. [Mack, who played Bob the son, was killed in an auto accident during production of the film].
The Speed Classic (1928)... Rex Lease, Mitchell Lewis, Mildred Harris. A driver’s girlfriend splits up with a wealthy young amateur because he wants to race in The Speed Classic. Of course, complications arise but everything works out ok.
Speedway (1929)... William Haynes, Anita Page, Ernest Torrance, Karl Dane. An auto racer lets an older rival with heart problems win the big race. The first feature film based on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
* The Crowd Roars (1932)… James Cagney, John Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Eric Linden, Guy Kibbee, Frank McHugh. Entertaining early talkie with a great cast – especially Cagney in his typical outspoken energetic style. Howard Hawks directed. Also known as Indianapolis Speedway. Many Indy drivers of the day have cameos.
Racing Youth (1932)... Frank Albertson, June Clyde, Louise Fazenda, Slim Summerville. A young auto designer builds redesigns a car to race on the fourteen mile drive around the Monterey Peninsula and save the company.
High Speed (1932)... Buck Jones, Loretta Sayers, Mickey Rooney. A race driver turned policeman cleans up the mob-controlled dirt track racing scene.
The Racing Strain (1932)… Wallace Reid, Jr., Eddie Phillips, Dickie Moore, Paul Fix. An alcoholic driver is banned but his girlfriend convinces him to return to racing.
High Gear (1933)... James Murray, Joan Marsh, Jackie Searl. "High Gear" Sherrod quits the racing game to drive a taxi when his mechanic is killed in a crash. He eventually returns to the track and wins the big dirt track race.
Straightaway (1933)… Tim McCoy, Sue Carol, William Bakewell. Two racing brothers become rivals on the track and for the same girl.
Grand Prix (1934)… Milton Rosmer, Peter Hawthorne, Jillian Sand, Lawrence Andrews, Wilson Coleman, John Stuart. British film about the great race.
Burn 'Em Up Barnes (1934)… Jack Mulhall, Lola Lane, Edwin Maxwell, Frankie Darro. A young driver retires after a friend is killed during a race, but then becomes a test driver to make to keep his new business from falling into the hands of crooks. Dirt track racing. Feature film made up of the original twelve-part Mascot serial.
Red Hot Tires (1935)… Lyle Talbot, Mary Astor, Roscoe Karns, Frankie Darro, Gavin Gordon, Mary Treen. Indy racecar driver Wally Storm, who was framed for murder, escapes from prison and flees to South America where he becomes a racing champion as Bulldog Banks. Nice footage in the early nighttime racing scenes and in later dirt track scenes. Filmed at the American Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Roaring Roads (1935)... David Sharpe, Gertrude Messinger, Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman. A wealthy young man takes the place of his lady-friend’s injured brother in the big race. [Daniels and Kornman were in the early “Our Gang” comedies.]
In Spite of Danger (1935)... Wallace Ford, Marian Marsh, Arthur Hohl. A dirt track champion retires after a serious crash and helps his friend start a trucking business.
Speed Devils (1935)... Paul Kelly, Marguerite Churchill, Russell Hardy. Two drivers open a garage after they crash in the big race.
* Speed (1936)… James Stewart, Wendy Barrie, Una Merkel, Ted Healy, Weldon Heyburn, Ralph Morgan, Patricia Wilder. The racing scenes are dull but Stewart is not. He plays driver-mechanic Terry Martin who develops a high-speed carburetor. Good supporting cast as well. Partially filmed at the Chrysler testing grounds in Detroit. The land speed record attempt was based on the 301.13-mph record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1935.
Ride 'Em Cowboy (1936)... Buck Jones, Luana Walters, Donald Kirke, George Cooper, J.P. McGowan. A cowboy fleeing from the law joins up with a mechanic to win the big race and save the racecar owner’s ranch.
Speed to Spare (1937)... Charles Quigley, Dorothy Wilson, Edward J. Nugent. An Indy 500 winner finds his younger brother at the orphanage where they grew up who had left before him. They end up racing against each other. Partially filmed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Ascot in Los Angeles.
Born Reckless (1937)… Rochelle Hudson, Brian Donlevy, Barton MacLane. From imdb.com: A champion auto racer takes a job with a taxicab company being harassed by a gangster who wants to take over all the cab companies in town.
Ten Laps To Go (1937)… Rex Lease, Muriel Evans, Duncan Renaldo, Tom Moore, Yakima Canutt. A champion midget racecar driver is in a wreck caused by his rival. They both are after the same girl as well. Gangsters are involved.
Daredevil Drivers (1938)... Dick Purcell, Beverly Roberts, Gloria Blondell, Charles Foy. A racecar driver is banned for reckless driving. He then falls for the beautiful owner of a bus company and helps her save the business. Worth a look only for the dirt track racing stock footage and the semi-customized Packard roadster.
Road Demon (1938)… Henry Arthur, Joan Valerie, Henry Armetta, Tom Beck, Bill Robinson, Jonathan Hale, Lon Chaney Jr. The mob tries try to kill a young race driver at the Indianapolis Speedway just like they did to his dad. Features old footage of Indy car wrecks. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson does a tap dance routine as a junkyard proprietor.
* Indianapolis Speedway (1939)… Pat O'Brien, Ann Sheridan, John Payne, Gale Page, Frank McHugh, John Ridgely, Regis Toomey. The story of two brothers and their rivalry on and off the track with a solid cast – especially Sheridan. Howard Hawks again directs. Remake of The Crowd Roars including the racing scenes taken from the original.
Burn 'Em Up O'Connor (1939)… Dennis O'Keefe, Cecilia Parker, Nat Pendleton, Harry Carey, Addison Richards, Charley Grapewin, Tom Neal, Tom Collins. A young midget driver partners with a car builder who wants to break speed records. The young man also likes the owner’s daughter A hit and miss comedy. Filmed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Roosevelt Field, New York. Based on the novel Salute to the Gods by Sir Malcolm Campbell.
Danger On Wheels (1940)… Richard Arlen, Andy Devine, Peggy Moran. A test driver get a shot to drive in the big race so he secretly installs a banned oil burning engine to gain an edge he needs on the dirt track.
Blonde Comet (1941)… Virginia Dale, Robert Kent, Barney Oldfield. Oldfield, a famous real life racecar driver, plays a mechanic who invents a new type of carburetor. The blonde (Dale) competes in European races such as the Grand Prix series and the Corriere D'Italia to save her father's tire business. Filmed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Southern Ascot Speedway and Oakland Speedway.
Back Street (1941)… Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullivan, Richard Carlos, Tim Holt, Frank McHugh, Frank Jenks. An above-average love story noted here for the racing scenes. Two of Barney Oldfield's racing cars are featured in the Vanderbilt Cup sequence – a 1909 six-cylinder Stearns and a 1912 four-cylinder, sixteen-valve Prince Henry Benz. Oldfield was winner of the 1907 Vanderbilt Cup and worked as a technical advisor in the film.
Born to Speed (1947)... Johnny Sands, Frank Orth, Don Castle, Terry Austin. The son of a midget racer whose father was killed at the track rebuilds the dad’s car with the help of his old-time mechanic. He ends up winning the big race as well as the affections of the mechanics daughter. Decent racing scenes.
Buck Privates Come Home (1947)… Abbott and Costello become partners with a midget racecar driver and enter the Gold Cup race. Costello takes the wheel and havoc reigns. Tom Brown, Joan Fulton and Nat Pendleton also star in this excellent sequel to “Buck Privates.”
The Devil on Wheels (1947)... Darryl Hickman, Noreen Nash, Terry Moore. A teenagers builds his own hot rod but everybody drive recklessly causing many accidents.
* The Big Wheel (1949)… Mickey Rooney, Thomas Mitchell, Spring Byington, Mary Hatcher, Allen Jenkins, Michael O'Shea. Rooney, like Cagney, is a natural for the never-say-die racecar driver role. Here he plays young midget driver Billy ‘Cannonball’ Coy out to clear his deceased father's name on and off the track at Indy. The climax is the Indy 500 with some actual footage of the race and its fans that year, including several crashes one of which was George Lynch after the first lap. Lots of other track footage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Culver City Speedway as well.
Hot Rod (1950)… Jimmy Lydon, Art Baker, Gil Stratton, Gloria Winters, Myron Healey, Tommy Bond, Jean Dean, Bret Hamilton, Marshall Reed. The youngest son of a judge buys an old jalopy but, out of respect for his father, doesn't convert it until he discovers it impresses the girls. Trouble ensues. Hokey plot but lots of vintage rods and customs.
* To Please a Lady (1950)… Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, Roland Winters, Will Geer, Emory Parnell, Frank Jenks. Gable's the driver, Stanwyck's the reporter. Mostly filmed at Indianapolis Speedway; Syracuse, New York; and Culver City Stadium in California with the dirt track sequences filmed in Arlington Downs, Texas. Drivers Duane Carter, Johnnie Parsons, Henry Banks, and Walt Faulkner, and Indianapolis announcer Ted Husing, have cameos.
Army Bound (1952)… Stanley Clements, Karen Sharpe, Gill Stratton Jr., Steve Brody. A racecar driver is drafted but goes AWOL to drive in the big race. His commanding officer happens to be the driver he defeated in the last big race. Features action from Saugus and Culver City speedways.
Genevieve (1953)… Dinah Sheridan, John Gregson, Kay Kendall, Kenneth More, Geoffrey Keen, Joyce Grenfell, Michael Medwin. British comedy about two rivals (in vintage 1905 Darracq roadsters) in the famous London to Brighton cross-country race. This was voted the best film in Great Britain that year. Watch if you like typical British humor and the old English countryside in color.
* The Roar of the Crowd (1953)... Howard Duff, Helene Stanley, Dave Willock, Louise Arthur, Minor Watson. The son of a veteran driver’s dream is to win the Indianapolis 500. Lots of dirt track action, including the famous 14-car wreck at Langhorne. Race drivers Duke Nalon, Johnnie Parsons, Henry Banks, and Bill Vukovich appear as themselves.
Heights of Danger (1953)... Basil Appleby, Freda Bamford. A British man competes in an Alpine auto race to save his family garage.
Jalopy (1953)... Leo Gorcey, Huntz hall. The Bowery Boys use a secret rocket fuel that makes their Model-T Ford unbeatable. Filmed at Culver Speedway with real drivers George Dockstader, Fred Lamount, Harvey Perry, Louis Tomei, Dude Criswell, Dick Crockett, Pete Kellett, and Carey Loftin.
The Cool Hot Rod (1953)… A young teenage hot rodder, looking for trouble, moves to a new town but soon learns the error of his ways. Produced by Sid Davis Productions in association with Hot Rod magazine, the film is more of a documentary using narration by teenagers showing how hot rod clubs contributes to safe driving through its strict membership rules and restriction of speed runs to drag strips. Worth seeing for the hot rod footage.
* Drive a Crooked Road (1954)… Mickey Rooney, Dianne Foster, Kevin McCarthy, Jack Kelly, Harry Landers. This time Rooney is mechanic Eddie Shannon with dreams of becoming famous racecar driver. Unfortunately, he falls in with gangsters. All of Rooney's movies are worth seeing and this one is no exception.
Race for Life (1954)… Richard Conti, Mari Aldon, Peter Illing, Alec Mango, James Copeland, George Coulouris. Formula British quickie put together in hopes of cashing in on Genevieve success. This one is about stock car racing in Europe. Many British racers have cameos. Also known as Mask of Death.
Johnny Dark (1954)… Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, Don Taylor, Paul Kelly, Ilka Chase, Sidney Blackmer, Ruth Hampton, Russell Johnson, Joe Sawyer, Robert Nichols, Pierre Watkin, Scatman Crothers, Ralph Montgomery. A young engineer designs a car that wins a Canada-to-Mexico road race. Auto buffs love it for the rare American Sports Cars in the film like the Woodill Wildfire, the Kurtis Sportscar and the Granthom Stardust. Production cars like the Victress and the Glasspar G-2 were also used. Some footage was filmed at the Packard proving grounds. Remade in 1964 as The Lively Set.
The Racers (1955)… Kirk Douglas, Bella Darvi, Gilbert Roland, Lee J. Cobb, Cesar Romero, Katy Jurado. Douglas lifts average yarn about bus driver trying to win the Grand Prix de Napoli with his homemade car. Filmed on location and worth a look for the racing and the scenery. Filmed at the Mille Miglia, Grand Prix de Napoli, LeMans, Nurbourgring, Spa, and the Grand Prix de Italia, among other races. Formula One racer Phil Hill was the technical coach.
The Fast and the Furious (1955)… John Ireland, Dorothy Malone, Bruce Carlisle. From imdb.com: A man wrongly imprisoned for murder breaks out of jail. He wants to clear his name, but with the police pursuing him, he's forced to take a beautiful young woman, driving a fast sports car, hostage and slip into a cross-border sports car race to try to make it to Mexico before the police get him.
Stock Car (1955)… Robert Rietty, Paul Carpenter, Rona Anderson, Susan Shaw. An American driver helps a British woman save the family garage after her father is killed in a race.
* Hot Rod Girl (1956)… Lori Nelson, John Smith, Chuck Connors, Frank Gorshin, Mark Andrews, Russell Thorson, Roxanne Arlen, Ed Reider, Carolyn Kearney, Dabbs Greer, Fred Essler. Teenage hoodlums steal cars and sell them to a junkyard to make money but get involved in a murder. The light-colored (actually yellow), 1955 T-Bird Nelson drives was hers. “The film was so low-budget they asked me to drive my own car," she said. Shots of the San Fernando Drag Strip are great. Don’t miss the high-speed opening either. Tagline: Teenage terrorists tearing up the streets!
Teenage Rebel (1956)... Ginger Rogers, Michael Rennie, Betty Lou Keim, Louise Beavers. A mother and her teenage daughter reconnect amidst dancing teens, hot rods, malt shops and drag racing.
Checkpoint (1956)… Anthony Steel, James Robertson Justice, Stanley Baker. British film about a European road race driver who becomes involved illegal activities. Includes footage from the Mille Miglia, an open-road endurance race in Italy.
* Hot Rod Rumble (1957)… Richard Hartunian, Leigh Snowden, Brett Halsey, Wright King. The Road Devils cruise around in early-50s custom Mercury’s. One of the gang is run off the road in a fit of jealous rage and dies. Our hero is falsely accused. They all enter the $1500, 100-mile sweepstakes race in San Fernando. The bad guys cheat but the good guys win. The film also features drag racing sequences from Pomona and a great jazz score.
* Dragstrip Girl (1957)… Fay Spain, Steve Terrell, John Ashley, Frank Gorshin, Russ Bender, Tommy Ivo. Low budget AIP quickie generally lumped into the teen exploitation category. Lots of cars and girls but is better than most of the junk of that genre. A few crime scenes were thrown in for good measure. Tagline: Car Crazy!... Speed Crazy!...Boy Crazy!
Teenage Thunder (1957)… Chuck Courtney, Melinda Byron, Robert Fuller, Tyler McVey, Paul Bryar. Teenager tries to sell his father on hot rods and wins the big race to prove it. Not bad for the genre. David Houston, later to become a C&W star, sings "Teenage Kisses." Yawn.
The Devil's Hairpin (1957)... Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Wallace, Arthur Franz, Mary Astor. From imdb.com: Cocky car racer Nick Jargin has retired since he nearly caused the death of his brother at a hairpin bend on a circuit. He now holds a trendy café who keeps him busy full time until one day, Tony Boari, a new champion racer, challenges him. Nick returns to competition and this time around he will have not only to beat his new rival but also his own demons. Kelly, her pretty lover, and Mrs. Jargin, his no-nonsense mother will help him to.
Hot Car Girl (1957)… Richard Bakalyan, June Kenney, John Brinkley, Robert Knapp. Stolen car gang gets theirs behind a bongo-driven jazz score.
* Thunder Road (1958)… Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Jacques Aubuchon, Keely Smith, James Mitchum. The definitive moonshine film about a moonshine driver in Tennessee with Mitchum excellent as usual. Some good scenes with the feds pursuing Mitchum through back roads which is how NASCAR got it's start. Regarding the origins of NASCAR: Legend has it that the 'good ole boys' in the south use to get together once in a while to race their cars against each other. These were souped up stock cars that were built for the moonshine runners to help them get away from revenue agents. Competition evolved from an occasional race between a couple of cars, to organized races at fair grounds and other places, which eventually evolved into NASCAR. Some of the early drivers and car builders got their start in cars built for the moonshine trade. All of the cars in the film had actually been used by moonshiners in and around the Asheville NC area. [Mitchum got a hit record for the title tune... James is his brother in his film debut.]
* Hot Rod Gang (1958)… John Ashley, Jody Fair, Gene Vincent, Russ Bender, Steve Drexel, Henry McCann, Maureen Arthur. American International quickie about a hot-rodder who wants Vincent's band to earn money to race his car. Vincent's four good numbers with his Blue Caps band save the picture. Eddie Cochran also makes a cameo appearance. Followed by the unintentionally hilarious sequel, Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow. [Vincent is the rocker of Be-Bop-A-Lula fame who was seriously injured in the same 1960 car crash that killed Cochrane. Jerry Capehart, Cochrane's co-writer and Lou Kimzey, editor of the hip teen magazine, Dig, also had a hand in this one.]
Dragstrip Riot (1958)… Yvonne Lime, Gary Clarke, Fay Wray, Connie Stevens, Bob Turnbull. Low-budget AIP quickie about motorcycles, hot rods and rock and rollers. Lime was a teen exploitation star in the late 50's and Wray is the girl King Kong fell for in 1933.
Speed Crazy (1959)… Brett Halsey, Yvonne Lime, Charles Wilcox, Slick Slavin, Jackie Joseph. Allied Artists exploitation camp that boasts, "From juke joint to drag strip… it's the livin' end!" After accidentally killing a garage mechanic during a holdup, a man flees to a different town and wins the big race. Racing scenes were filmed at Griffith Park. Comic singer Slick Slavin croons “Ghost Town Rock” and the title tune. This was B-movie queen Lime's last role.
Road Racers (1959)... Joel Lawrence, Marian Collier, Skip Ward. The father of a racecar driver blames him for a deadly crash and sponsors a rival racer. Excellent SCCA racing sequences films at Riverside Raceway, Willow Springs, and the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in Southern California. Classic cars like the Scarabs and '58 Vettes are featured.
The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959)… Jody Fair, Martin Braddock, Russ Bender. A group of drag racers move into an old deserted mansion and make it their headquarters. The film features a drag race on the Los Angeles River bottom.
The Wild Ride (1960)… Jack Nicholson, Georgianna Carter, Robert Bean. An amateur dirt track driver is always drinking and looking for trouble. He eventually kidnaps a girl and shoots it out with police.
Thunder in Carolina (1960)… Rory Calhoun, Alan Hale, Connie Hines, John Gentry, Ed McGrath, Troyanne Ross. Stock car racing in the South. Calhoun chases more girls than he does driving. It was released on video as Hard Drivin'. Thunder in Carolina (1960). Includes footage of the Southern 500 race at Darlington.
The Green Helmet (1961)… Bill Travers, Ed Begley, Nancy Walters, Ursula Jeans. Young man waiting for older brother to retire so he can race. Lots of actual Formula 1 footage used. Real life drivers Jack Brabham, Lucky Casner, John Coundley, Steve Ouvaroff, Mike Salmon, Roy Salvadori appear as themselves. [Filmed in Portmeirion, Wales, UK and Snowdonia, Gwynedd, Wales, UK … Australian native Brabham is a three-time Formula 1 World Champion and also became the first rear-engine racer at Indianapolis in 1961. He retired in 1970 with 14 wins and 13 poles. … One of the few movies featuring Jaguars in road races.]
The Choppers (1961)… Arch Hall Jr., Marianne Gaba, Robert Paget. A teenager steals a set of hubcaps for his dragster and then founds "The Choppers," a car theft ring. Another Arch Hall Sr. cheapo that is good for a few laughs. His son sings "Monkeys In My Hatband," which he wrote as an acoustic guitar piece.
Naked Autumn (1961)... Reginald Kernan, Simone Signoret, Alexandra Stewart. An ex-sports car racer returns to the track after an unhappy marriage and an unhappy love affair. French.
The Young Racers (1963)… Mark Damon, William Campbell, Patrick Magee, Luana Landers, Robert Campbell. Roger Corman quickie about ex-driver writing an expose on the sport. Typical Corman script but he decided to film at the actual Grand Prix tracks in France, Belgium, Ireland, Monte Carlo, England and the Netherlands, making it worthy of a look. Good racing scenes including footage of Grand Prix races in France, Belgium, England, and Monaco. Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren, and Trevor Taylor appear as themselves.
The Checkered Flag (1963)... Joe Morrison, Evelyn King, Charles G. Martin. An alcoholic and unfaithful wife of a wealthy playboy driver seduces a young driver to kill her husband. It all ends badly. Partially filmed at Sebring, Florida and the Twelve Hours of Sebring sports car endurance race.
* Viva Las Vegas! (1964)… Elvis Presley, Ann-Margaret, Cesare Danova, William Demerest, Jack Carter, Nicky Blair. The two stars make this film worthwhile along with the energetic title tune. Elvis is Lucky Jackson who romances the luscious Rusty Martin (just like in real life with her). [Elvis holds the final note of the title tune as long as he did on My Way -- both a stunning tribute to the King's great (and sometimes underrated) voice.]
The Lively Set (1964)… James Darren, Pamela Tiffin, Doug McClure, Joanie Sommers, Marilyn Maxwell, Charles Drake, Greg Morris. So-so story of college kid Casey Owens dropping out to become racecar driver. His 1929 roadster with a Chevy 409 engine defeats a Thunderbird. The Surfaris sing Boss Baracuda and Sommers also sings. Many real drivers appear in cameos. Bobby Darin and Randy Newman handled the musical arrangements.
The Killers (1964)... John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Clu Gulager, Claude Akins, Ronald Reagan. Two hired killers stalk a racecar driver. Partially filmed at Riverside Raceway and Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles.
Thunder in Dixie (1964)… Harry Millard, Judy Lewis, Mike Bradford, Nancy Berg, Ted Erwin, Richard Kuss. Dixie 500 racing flick. A driver blames his former partner for the death of his fiancée and settles differences on the track. Better than it sounds with decent acting, a good score and some comic relief. Racing scenes filmed at the Atlanta International Raceway. Richard Petty has a cameo.
Bikini Beach (1964)… Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Martha Hyer, Don Rickles, Harvey Lembeck. Surfers, pretty girls and drag racers. Annette poses with the Mantra Ray, a $50,000 all-aluminum experimental "dream rod" with a King Cobra Ford engine.
The Great Race (1965)… Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn, Larry Storch, Dorothy Provine, Arthur O'Connell, Vivian Vance, Ross Martin, George Macready. Blake Edward’s comedy about a cross-country race tries hard to be funny but often falls short. We'd rather watch It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. However, the impressive color photography, soundtrack and excellent editing all won Oscar nominations.
Red Line 7000 (1965)… James Caan, John Robert Crawford, James Ward, Laura Devon, Gail Hire, Charlene Holt, Marianna Hill. Average story about three Daytona stock car drivers and their problems on and off the track. Caan and director Howard Hawkes try their best but the so-so cast and script are too much to overcome. The racing scenes are well done, filmed at Daytona, Darlington, Charlotte, Riverside, and Ascot (England). Jerry Lewis has a cameo. [Elvis Presley turned down this script.]
White Lightnin’ Road (1965)… Earl ‘Snake’ Richards, Arline Hunter, Ron Ormond, Tim Ormond. Two stock-car racers battle on the track and also off of it. Produced and written by southern exploitation director Ron Ormond. [Richards briefly replaced Buddy Holly in the Crickets and then recorded several country songs.]
Fireball 500 (1966)… Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Fabian, Chill Wills, Harvey Lembeck, Julie Parrish. The beach party crowd on wheels. Announcer Vin Scully has a cameo. Partially filmed at Saugus Speedway and Ascot Park in California as well as Charlotte, North Carolina.
* Grand Prix (1966)… James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, Francoise Hardy. Average story of the lives and loves of racecar drivers is enhanced by international cast and innovative editing techniques (that won an Oscar). Real life driver Jack Brabham has a cameo. [Garner trained with champion driver Bob Bondurant and did most of the driving himself. … Director John Frankenheimer said he used some of the same techniques that television employed during their coverage of the previous year's World Series.]
Spinout (1966)… Elvis Presley, Shelly Fabares, Diane McBain, Deborah Walley, Cecil Kellaway, Una Merkel, Warren Beringer, Carl Betz, Will Hutchins. Elvis plays Mike McCoy, a racecar driver who chases girls on the side. Elvis drives a Cobra 427. [Fabares, long a staple of teen movies and TV sitcoms, co-starred in three Elvis movies. Betz also played her father on The Donna Reed Show.]
* A Man and a Woman (1966)… Jean-Louis Trintignant, Anouk Aimee, Pierre Barouh, Valerie Lagrange. Basically a French-made love story but set against the Monte Carlo Rally with Trintignant driving a Mustang. Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film and Screenplay. Followed by two sequels. [The race scene is the 1964, 24 Hours of Le Mans. Trintignant's uncle is driving a Maserati Tipo 151/1, #2. He is Maurice Trintignant, who won eleven Grand Prix races and the 1954, 24 Hours of Le Mans.]
The Weekend Warriors (1966)... A documentary of gas and fuel drag racing filmed at the 1965 Winternationals in Phoenix. Gordon Collett, Connie Kalitta, Bill Jenkins, and Don Garlits are featured.
The Seven Second Love Affair (1966)... Documentary of California drag racer Rick Stewart.
Hot Rod Hullabaloo (1966)… John Arnold, Arlen Dean Snyder, Kendra Kerr, Marsha Mason. A student decides to enter a drag race for his college tuition money but the opponent plans to cheat or even kill him if he has to. Silly teen flick by Allied Artists features hot rod races and demolition derbies.
Angel on Earth (1966)… Romy Schneider, Henri Vidal, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Michelle Mercier. A racecar driver’s guardian angel helps him win his girlfriend and the Grand Prix de Monaco. Schneider plays a dual role. Originally released in Germany in 1959.
Thunder Alley (1967)… Annette Funicello, Fabian, Diane McBain, Warren Belinger, Jan Murray, Maureen Arthur. Low budget quickie about stockcar racer Tommy Callahan and his troubles on and off the track. Racing scenes filmed at Ascot Raceway in Gardena, California and Darlington Raceway, SC. [Stock car driver LeeRoy Yarbrough, who did the high speed driving in the film, also coached Fabian on the 426 Hemi-powered Dodge. Yarborough won with the car at Daytona and Charlotte.]
Hell On Wheels (1967)… John Ashley, Marty Robbins, Gigi Perreau. Two brothers, a popular racecar driver/ladies man and a top mechanic, compete for the same woman. Robbins, who has driving experience, also sings five songs.
Track of Thunder (1967)… Tommy Kirk, Ray Stricklyn. Something about stock car racing and gangsters. Includes footage from Tennessee racetracks.
Speedway (1968)… Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, Bill Bixby, Gale Gordon, William Schallert. Stock car racer Steve Grayson romances tax accountant Susan Jacks. The title tune is a decent rocker with revving motors heard on the fadeout. Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Tiny Lund and other drivers have cameos. [Elvis and Nancy were long-time "friends." She met him at the airport upon his release from the army in 1960.]
Speed Lovers (1968)... William McGaha, Peggy O’Hara, David Marcus, Carol Street, Glenda Brunson. A stock car driver gets involved with gangsters trying to fix a race. Lots of stock footage of races and crashes shot at Atlanta, Riverside, Daytona Beach, Darlington, Charlotte, and other speedways. Top NASCAR driver Fred Lorenzen plays himself. [Lorenzen quit racing because Fireball Roberts was killed in a crash in 1964. He returned to racing in 1970. In all, he won 26 NASCAR races and 33 poles in 158 starts.] William McGaha also produced, directed and co-wrote the film.
The Wild Racers (1968)… Fabian, Mimsy Farmer, Judy Cornwall, David Landers. Stock car racer Joe Joe Quillico leaves the United States for Grand Prix racing in Europe. Strictly a vehicle to get the fading Fabian's career back on track. It didn't work. Partially filmed in Spain and England.
Fever Heat (1968)... Nick Adams, Jeannine Riley. Ace Jones, a banned stock car racer, helps a woman and her failing garage by racing at the local tracks. Filmed at dirt tracks in Stuart, Oskaloosa, Des Moines, and Dexter, Iowa. Written by Henry Gregor Felsen who authored many juvenile racing novels. Adams final film.
Track of Thunder (1968)… Tommy Kirk, Ray Stricklynd, Faith Domergue. Low budget story of a couple of small-time stock car rivals.
Fireball Jungle (1968)… John Russell, Alan Mixon, Lon Chaney Jr. The mob tries to get involved with tock car racing in Tampa. Excellent stunt driving by famed stock-car driver Joie Chitwood but that’s about it.
* Winning (1969)… Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Richard Thomas, Robert Wagner. Newman plays a driver who feels that winning is the most important thing in his life. Another winner from husband and wife team. Filmed on location at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Indy 500 footage includes the big wreck on the first lap of the 1966 race that eliminated eleven cars. [Newman has a passion for racing his own cars in real life.]
Hot Rod Action (1969)... Documentary of racing, including the Indianapolis 500, Motor Trend 500, Daytona 500, Southern 500, Winternational Drags, Indianapolis National Drags and the World Championship Drags. Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons are among the drivers. Keith Jackson narrates.
Tiny Lund: Hard Charger (1969)... A documentary of independent stock car driver Tiny Lund. He was a four-time champion in NASCAR's Grand American series. Received the Carnegie Medal for Heroism in 1963 for pulling fellow driver Marvin Panch out of a burning car at the Daytona International Raceway. Died in 1975 in a racing accident.
Pit Stop (1969)… Brian Donlevy, Richard Davalos, Ellen Burstyn, Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn, George Washburn. Racing team will do anything to win the big race. Not much here. [George Barris, famous custom car builder for the movies, has a cameo. He built the Batmobile, the Ghostbusters car, the Monkees car, Herbie the Love Bug, the truck from the Beverly Hillbillies, and the DeLorean from Back to the Future.]
The Love Bug (1969)… Dean Jones, Michele Lee, Buddy Hackett, David Tomlinson, Joe Flynn. Disney comedy about a Volkswagen with a mind of it's own and the ability to go beat all other racecars. Lots of good racing scenes from places like Riverside and Laguna Seca. Enthusiasts have fun trying to identify the other racecars. A great scene is where the car breaks in two and finishes first and second in a race. A movie the whole family can enjoy. Followed by three Herbie sequels.
Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969)… Tony Curtis, Susan Hampshire, Terry-Thomas, Eric Sykes, Dudley Moore. British comedy about 1920 cross-country Monte Carlo Rally. Filmed in Italy, France, and Sweden. Average but still not Genevieve.
Forma 1 – Nell’Inferno del Grand Prix (1970)… Brad Harris, Olga Schoberová, Hans von Borsody. Two drivers vie for a championship and the love of a woman. An Italian-German movie originally released as Maniacs on Wheels in U.S. Graham Hill, 1962 & 1968 Formula 1 World Champion, has a cameo.
The Challengers (1970)… Darren McGavin, Sean Garrison, Nico Minardos, Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Farley Granger, Juliet Mills, Sal Mineo, Susan Clark. Racers compete in the Grand Prix. This was CBS's first TV-movie.
* Le Mans (1971)… Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Anderson, Ronald Leigh-Hunt. Grand Prix auto racing with good camera work and fine acting from McQueen. A duel between the German in a Ferrari 512LM and the American in a Gulf Team Porsche 917 racing over 24 hours on 3.4 kilometers of country road. But how many picked up the fact that director Lee H. Katzon criticized the profession and the public for it's perverse thrill of the crash.
* Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)… James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, Dennis Wilson, David Drake, Richard Ruth. A 1955 Chevy and a brand new GTO race across the great Southwest in this intense film that has become a cult favorite.
* Vanishing Point (1971)… Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger. A failed stock car racer, working as a disgusted auto deliveryman, has to transport a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Colorado to San Francisco. He makes a bet that he can get there quickly and is chased by the police, developing cult status along the way. Flashbacks reveal his racing career. Remade in 1997. [Five Alpine White Challenger R/Ts were lent to the production by Chrysler for promotional consideration. Four cars had 440 engines equipped with four-speeds; the fifth car was a 383 with automatic. They were maintained by Max Balchowsky, who also prepared the Mustangs and Chargers for Bullitt (1968).]
Drag Racer (1971)… John Chandler, Mark Hopkins, Mark Slade, Jeremy Slate, Kitty Murray, Preston Pierce, Deborah Walley. A young man gets a ride in a Top Fuel dragster. Partially filmed at Irwindale Raceway, Lions Drag Strip and Orange County International Raceway. Also features footage of Gerry Glenn, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury, John Lombardo, Frank Graf, Bill Schultz, Larry Dixon, Norm Wilcox, Ray Alley, Sherm Gunn, Mike Snively, James Warren, Don Moody and Bob Muravez. Excellent racing footage.
Jump (1971)… Tom Ligon, Logan Ramsey. Chester Jump tries to make it as a stock car racer, drag racer to demolition derby driver – anything to break though. Aka Fury on Wheels.
Corky (1972)… Robert Blake, Charlotte Rampling, Patrick O'Neal, Christopher Connelly, Pamela Payton-Wright, Ben Johnson, Laurence Luckinbill, Paul Stevens. Stock car driver becomes so obsessed with his craft that he forgets everything else in his life. Not bad. Features several cameos of real drivers including Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Buddy Baker, Richard Petty, Harry Gant and Cale Yarborough.
The Daredevil (1972)... George Montgomery, Terry Moore, Gay Perkins. A stock car racer gets involved with drug smugglers. Partially filmed at Golden Gate Speedway. Excellent action scenes.
* The Last American Hero (1973)… Jeff Bridges, Valerie Perrine, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Art Lund, Gary Busey, Ed Lauter, Ned Beatty. The entertaining though sometimes cynical story of Junior Jackson, the backwoods, radical NASCAR driver caught up in a dog-eat-dog world. Also known as Hard Driver.
* Wheels of Fire (1973)… Documentary of the top drag racers during the '70s – Don Garlits, Richard Tharp, Don Prudhomme, Billy Meyer and Shirley Muldowney. Includes footage of 2,000-hp top fuel dragsters, nitro–fueled funny cars and sand drags. Produced by Texas race promoter Buddy Boren.
43: The Richard Petty Story (1974)… Richard Petty, Darren McGavin, Noah Beery Jr., L.Q. Jones, Kathie Browne, Pierre Jalbert, Jerry Whittington. Average biography of the NASCAR driver. Good racing footage though.
* Flåklypa Grand Prix (1975)… One of the top animated features of all time. A man enters a car race to defeat his former friend who stole his plans for a car.
Death Race 2000 (1975)… David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sylvester Stallone, Louisa Moritz, Mary Woronov, Don Steele, Joyce Jameson. Roger Corman’s comedy-farce about a future society whose chief sport is the death race. Running down any living thing that crosses your path – including people – scores points and wins the contest. Kind of a Rollerball with high performance engines. A cult classic.
Return to Macon County (1975)… Nick Nolte, Don Johnson, Robin Mattson, Robert Viharo, Eugene Daniels, Matt Greene. Poor sequel to Macon County Line. Nolte’s first film.
The Gumball Rally (1976)… Michael Sarrazin, Tim McIntyre, Raul Julia, Norman Burton, Gary Busey. The best of the American made cross-country race movies. All were inspired by the real life event. Featured are a Ferrari Daytona Spyder V-12, a Cobra V-8, a race-tuned Camaro, a Porsche and a vintage Mercedes 300 six. Also in the race was a Corvette, a Jaguar and a Rolls Royce. Also features real life stunt racer John Morton and others.
Cannonball (1976)… David Carradine, Veronica Hamel, Bill McKinney, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Belinda Balaski, Judy Canova, Carl Gottlieb. Sequel to Gumball Rally is not as good but way better than later bombs. Featured are a black Dodge Charger, a Ferrari, a couple of Trans Am's, a Corvette, a Mustang and a few hot rod roadsters Cameos by Sylvester Stallone, Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese and many others.
Eat My Dust (1976)… Ron Howard, Christopher Norris, Warren J. Kemmerling. Tagline: The craziest driver in town steals the fastest car in the state, and tears up Puckerbush County!
Stockcar! (1977)… Documentary featuring Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons and David Pearson.
Rendezvous (1977)… From www.imdb.com: The most famous motoring footage of all time – or perhaps infamous – a breathtakingly insane sprint across Paris in a Ferrari. Director Claude Lelouch has gone for the minimalist approach – no dialogue, no plot, just the sights and sounds of a headlight's eye view of Paris early in the morning – equal to any racecam footage modern motor sport provides. Half the fun is the reactions of pedestrians, animals and other vehicles as Lelouch thunders through.
Greased Lightning (1977)… Richard Pryor, Beau Bridges, Pam Greer, Cleavon Little, Vincent Gardenia, Richie Havens, Julian Bond. The story of Wendell Scott, the first black racecar driver fighting prejudice all the way, suffers from a poor script. He ran moonshine in Georgia before graduating to the NASCAR circuit. Good cast is wasted here.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)… Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick. The Bandit is hired on to run a tractor-trailer full of beer to the next county but a local sheriff chases him all the way. Features lots of redneck and CB talk if you like that sort of thing
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)… Dean Jones, Don Knotts, Julie Sommers, Roy Kinnear, Jacques Marin. Dean Jones is back as Herbie's race driving owner in another adventure of the remarkable beetle, this time in the Trans-France race. Herbie falls for a Lancia Monte Carlo (Scorpion here) while Dean Jones falls for the Monte Carlo's owner. Jewel thieves add a side plot. To promote this movie Disney gave away a new Lancia Scorpion.
Bobby Deerfield (1977)… Al Pacino, Marthe Keller, Anny Duperey, Walter McGinn. Grand Prix racecar driver romances high-class woman and bores us to death. What a waste of Pacino and director Sydney Pollacks' talents. Based on the novel Heaven Has No Favorites by Erich Maria Remarque.
Checkered Flag or Crash (1977)… Joe Don Baker, Susan Sarandon, Larry Hagman. Walkaway Madden and a female photojournalist are racing through the Philippines in a off-road race. Many scenes, including slow motion and trick camera footage, of race drivers on dirt roads and dangerous terrains involved in terrible crashes.
Fast Company (1978)... William Smith, John Saxon, Claudia Jennings. A champion drag racer and his motor oil company sponsor part ways after a younger driver is picked to represent them. He then steals his car back and races it. Good drag strip action. This was playboy playmate Jennings’ last film. She died in a car crash the following year.
Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus (1978)… Charles Napier, Maud Adams, Robert Stoneman, William Daniels. A fairgrounds and racetracks stunt driver car show featuring a Trans Am and a Peterbilt conventional with a flatbed trailer. Kind of like this web site: http://www.stuntdriver1.com
Hi-Riders (1978)… Mel Ferrer, Stephen McNally, Darby Hinton, Neville Brand, Ralph Meeker. Crappy film about dragsters, gangs, drunks and loose chicks.
Deathsport (1978)… Allan Arkush, David Carradine, Claudia Jennings, Richard Lynch, David McLean, Jesse Flint. Lame sequel to Death Race 2000 only with destructocycles this time.
More American Graffiti (1979)… Ron Howard, Paul LeMat, Charles Martin Smith, Candy Clark, Cindy Williams, McKenzie Phillips, Bo Hopkins, Wolfman Jack. Interesting sequel to the original although critics panned it. The racing scenes with LeMat at the drag strip in a fuel dragster are realistic. His dragster is a small block Chevy, and the factory car he is up against is a Chrysler Hemi big block. Country Joe & The Fish have a cameo. Excellent soundtrack.
American Nitro (1979)… Tommy Ivo. Former actor and ex-racer narrates historical Drag Racing footage.
Hot Rod (1979)… Gregg Henry, Robert Culp, Pernell Roberts, Robin Mattson, Grant Goodeye. Average TV-movie featuring lots of loud engines, drag strips and fixed races. A drag racer enters a local championship race and fights corruption along the way.
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)… Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Dom DeLuise, Sally Field, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick, David Huddleston, Mike Henry, John Anderson, Brenda Lee, Mel Tillis. Same plot except they’re hauling an elephant instead of a truckload of beer. Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Joe Klecko, Jerry Lester, Chuck Yearger and the Statler Brothers also appear.
The Cannonball Run (1981)… Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, Bert Convy, Jamie Farr, Peter Fonda. Another wild and illegal cross-country race with more eccentric entrants than ever.
The Last Chase (1981)… Lee Majors, Burgess Meredith, Chris Makepeace, Alexandra Stewart, Diane D'Aquila, George Touliatos, Harvey Atkin, Ben Gordon, Hugh Webster. In the evil future, everyone is only allowed to drive electric cars. But Franklyn Hart, an ex-racing car driver, decides to drive cross-country at 150 mph by stealing fuel from old gas station pumps and is relentlessly pursued.
Six Pack (1982)… Kenny Rogers, Diane Lane, Erin Gray, Barry Corbin, Terry Kiser, Bob Hannah. Rogers' movie debut casts him as a stock car racer trying to make a comeback with the help of six orphans. Buddy Baker appears as himself.
Safari 3000 (1982)... Stockard Channing, David Carradine, Christopher Lee, Hamilton Camp. A reporter is assigned to cover a three-day, 3,000 kilometer automobile race in Africa and everything goers wrong.
Heart Like a Wheel (1983)… Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Leo Rossi, Hoyt Axton, Bill McKinney, Anthony Edwards, Dean Paul Martin. The true story of female drag racer Shirley “Cha-Cha” Muldowney, the first woman to win the Winston world championship. Bedelia gives a solid performance battling sexism and marriage problems all through the movie. [The real Muldowney served as movie consultant. … James Burton, Ricky Nelson’s original guitarist, is the guitar player in Tex's Band. … Don "Big Daddy" Garlits has a cameo.]
Stroker Ace (1983)… Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jim Nabors, Loni Anderson, Parker Stevenson, Bubba Smith, John Byner. Good old boy racer Burt in a not so good old movie. This one along with his Cannonball Run cross-country race films are big fat duds but fans love it for the action sequences. Several NASCAR Drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond, Harry Gant, Terry Labonte, Neil Bonnett and Cale Yarborough also appear.
Smokey and the Bandit III (1983)… Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick, Mike Henry, Colleen Camp, Faith Minton, Burt Reynolds. Tripe about the guys opening a seafood restaurant. Easily the worst of the three.
Cannonball Run II (1984)… Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jamie Farr, Telly Savalas, Marilu Henner, Shirley MacLaine, Susan Anton, Catherine Bach. Another illegal race, even worse than the last one. Loaded with guest celebrities.
Grandview, U.S.A. (1984)… Jamie Lee Curtis, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ramon Bieri, Carole Cook, Troy Donahue, William Windom, John Cusack, Joan Cusack. The best film we've found about the demolition derby, which isn’t saying much.
The Wraith (1986)… Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Matthew Barry, David Sherrill, Jamie Bozian, Clint Howard, Griffin O'Neal, Chris Nash. Mysterious turbocharger vs. drag racing gang in the Arizona desert. The gang’s been terrorizing a small town and the Turbo Interceptor shows up to teach them a fatal lesson.
Off-Road Warriors (1988)… From www.imdb.com: The real, behind-the-scenes story of the Baja 500 race is told in this spectacularly photographed feature documentary that Off-Road Magazine hails as "...the greatest racing movie of all time." Mickey Thompson squares off against Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart in a no-holds barred race through rough desert terrain.
Born to Race (1988)… Joseph Bottoms, Marla Heasley, Robert Logan, George Kennedy, Marc Singer. Female driver Andrea Lombardo brings a revolutionary engine to the North Carolina stock car races and gets kidnapped. Pretty boring.
Catch Me If You Can (1989)… Matt Lattanzi, Loryn Locklin, Grant Heslov, Billy Morrissette, Geoffrey Lewis, Emmett Walsh. From www.imdb.com: A hotshot, teenage car racer persuades the class president of a small Minnesota high school to gamble on illegal car races to raise money for their school facing closure. Features a cherry 1957 Chevy vs. a Camero.
Speed Zone (1989)… John Candy, Donna Dixon, Matt Frewer, Joe Flaherty, Tim Matheson, Eugene Levy. Lame comedy about an illegal cross-country race, a continuation the Cannonball Run series. Many celebrity guest appearances. Richard Petty has a cameo.
Days of Thunder (1990)… Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Nicole Kidman. Clichéd rehash of Winston Cup racecar driver out to win the disinterested woman he loves. Brought to you by the makers of Top Gun. NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, Harry Gant and Neil Bonnett appear as themselves.
Checkered Flag (1990)... Billy Campbell, Rob Estes, Amanda Wyss. A mechanic for an egotistical race driver falls in love with his girlfriend and marries her. Story and racing scenes are equally pedestrian.
Deuce Coupe (1992)… Kieran Mulroney, Brian Bloom, Danielle von Zerneck, Ashley Lauren, Cameron Dye, Larry Hankin, Candy Clark, Jamie Seibert. Two brothers love drag racing and the same woman.
Born to Run (1993)… Richard Grieco, Jay Acovone, Joe Cortese, Shelli Lether, Christian Campbell, Brent Stait, Martin Cummins, Wren Roberts, Ken Kirzinger, Tony Romano. TV-movie about Brooklyn drag racer Nicky Donatello who is threatened by the mob when he tries to save his brother from their clutches.
Ride With the Wind (1994)… Craig T. Nelson, Helen Shaver, Bradley Pierce, Max Gail. TV-movie about a boy and his mother who inspire a washed-up motorcycle racer to compete again.
Full Throttle (1995)… Rowan Atkinson, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Ken Kitson, Geoffrey Palmer, Gavin Richards. The story of Sir Henry Birkin, a British race car driver of the 1920s and 1930s.
Red Line (1996)… Chad McQueen, Dom DeLuise, Michael Madsen, Jan-Michael Vincent, Roxana Zal, Corey Feldman. A car mechanic who’s been stealing cars falls in with a big time gangster and regrets it. Lots of action and decent stunt driving.
Super Speedway (1997)… A very good documentary featuring Mario and Michael Andretti. Narrated by Paul Newman.
Steel Chariots (1997)… John Beck, Kathleen Nolan, Ben Browder, Heidi Mark, Randy Travis. A Fox made-for-TV film that has poor acting and an even worse script. A couple of racing scenes are good but that’s about all. Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons appear as themselves.
Last Road (1997)… Julie Strain, Tim Cavanaugh, Michael Callan, Joe McCutcheon, Marcia Swayze, J.P. Mullarkey, Petra Verkaik, Sprague Lombardi, Suzi Simpson, Heather Beeman, Mathew Margulies, Marc Revivo. A widowed mechanic defends her husband’s honor when a creepy drag-racer attempts to break his record.
Vanishing Point (1997)… Viggo Mortensen, Christine Elise, Jason Priestley, Keith David, Steve Railsback. Jimmy Kowalski, an ex-race car driver and a former Army Ranger, drives a muscle car (1970 Challenger R/T 440 Magnum) across four states trying to avoid police (who switch to a Dodge Charger R/T for the chase through Monument Valley in Utah) to be with his wife about to give birth with serious complications. Kind of a remake of the 1971 film of the same name without the original's mystical elements.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)… Paul Walker, Vin Diesel. From imdb.com: An undercover cop infiltrates an underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers looking to bust a hijacking ring, and soon begins to question his loyalties when his new street racing friends become the prime suspects. Followed by several sequels.
Driven (2001)… Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, Burt Reynolds, Stacy Edwards, Estella Warren, Gina Gershon, Robert Sean Leonard, Brent Briscoe. A CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) racecar driver is hired to coach a younger hotshot racer. They are also both after the same woman.
Land Speed (2001)… Billy Zane, Ray Wise. A racecar driver tries to break the sound barrier to win $50 million.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)… Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson. From imdb.com: Set in Miami, Officer O'Conner, stripped of his badge, is recruited to infiltrate the Miami street racing circuit in an effort to redeem himself. [The Fast and the Furious 2]
* 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)… Barry Pepper, Elizabeth Mitchell, J.K. Simmons, Sean Bridges, Greg Thompson. The life story of a top racer who died in 2001 during the last lap of the Daytona 500. The movie looks at the relationship he had with his wife, his son, his father and also fellow racers Neil Bonnett, a close friend, and Darrell Waltrip, his greatest rival.
* Dust to Glory (2005)… A documentary of the dangerous Baja 1000 race. Robby Gordon, Mario Andretti, Jimmy Vasser and Motorcycle Supercross legend Mike Mouse McCoy are featured. From imdb.com: Rivaling the Indy 500 and 25 Hours of Daytona, the race across Baja's peninsula is unpredictable, grueling and raw--just like the uncharted American West of yesteryear. To capture the vast desert panoramas and intense action of the race, the film team utilized, fifty-five cameras, four helicopters, a four-passenger buggy camera car and a crew of over eighty people.
* The World's Fastest Indian (2005)… Anthony Hopkins, Iain Rea, Tessa Mitchell, Aaron Murphy. From imdb.com: The life story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years building a 1920 Indian motorcycle -- a bike which helped him set the land-speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967. Also includes footage of the Bonneville cars.
Herbie Fully Loaded (2005)… Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon, Justin Long. Herbie, the Volkswagen bug with a mind of its own, becomes a NASCAR competitor at the Daytona 500. Disney.
Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby (2006)… Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sasha Baron Cohen. Imdb.com: #1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby's talent and devotion are put to the test.
Short Track (2006)… Pepper Sweeney, Barbara Niven, Joshua Snyder. From imdb.com: The daily life experiences of Carolinian, Blake Beckett, a five-time stockcar racing short track champion, are exposed through unique characters that work and play through weeks that culminate in 120 mph Saturday nights. Sparks fly as Beckett's country-singing teenaged daughter falls for a young California race driver. Blake longs to make it to the sport's top series, while struggling to find a way to help his deaf son follow in his race driving footsteps.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)… Lucas Black. From imdb.com: In order to avoid a jail sentence, Sean Boswell heads to Tokyo to live with his military father. In a low-rent section of the city, Shaun gets caught up in the underground world of drift racing. [The Fast and the Furious 3]
Speed Racer (2008)… Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, Scott Porter, John Goodman, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox. Speed (Hirsch) strives for the top in his high-tech Mach 5 race car. He wants to win The Crucible, a cross-country race that previously took the life of his older brother, Rex Racer. Along the way he battles corruption and a failing family business.
Death Race (2008)… Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane. From imdb.com: Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
Fast & Furious 4 (2009)… Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Micelle Rodriguez. From imdb.com: Brian O'Conner, now working for the FBI in LA, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.
Fast Five (2011)… Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson. From imdb.com: Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent. [Fast & Furious 5]
* Rush (2013)… Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruehl, Natalie Dormer, Olivia Wilde. Ron Howard’s version of the fierce 1970s rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The English playboy Hunt (Hemsworth) vs. disciplined Austrian Lauda (Bruhl) culminating in their legendary 1976 race. Great racing scenes.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)… Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson. From imdb.com: Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all.
Snake & Mongoose (2013)… Jesse Williams, Richard Blake, Ashley Hinshaw, Kim Shaw, Fred Dryer, John Heard, Tim Blake Nelson, Noah Wylie. True story of Southern California drag racers, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen. Together with corporations, they become the most famous rivalry in racing history. Mongoose made the business deals and McEwen the safety innovations. It squeezes in their 20-year history, culminating at the Indianapolis NHRA U.S. National Championships, in 1978. Some vintage racing footage – but not enough. [The two security guards are played by the real-life "Snake" and "Mongoose"…. Mattel as a sponsor, with the Hot Wheels toy promotions.]
Need For Speed (2014)… Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi. From imdb.com: Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.