There have been hundreds of car movies over time, but let’s be honest, not all of them are great. Sometimes you want to unwind and stream a film that revolves, in some way, around your passion for motors, but also pulls off a good story and solid performances.
To help you get started, here are seven of Hoodpin’s favourite films that our fellow petrolheads can enjoy and stream right now.
1. Rush (2013) - Netflix
The 1970s, James Hunt, Nika Lauda, and one of the greatest battles in Formula 1 history. For racing fans, Rush has it all. The script is tight and entertaining, while the set-design and wardrobes offer a nostalgic throwback to more glamorous times. It also depicts the terrifying moment Niki Lauda explained to the mechanics working for Enzo Ferrari – a man not known for being understanding – that his car sucked.
2. The Great Escape (1963) - Prime
Steve McQueen’s career-transforming role as WWII POW Captain Virgil Hilts (incredible name) is still raucous fun. It’s often the first film we think of when “The King of Cool” comes to mind; a daring, hopeful, and sometimes tragic depiction of life in the prison camps. The epic is also notable for the motorcycle stunts toward the end, performed by McQueen’s stuntman Bud Ekins. Apparently, McQueen was able to do the jump himself, but the clip was later removed to prevent issues with insurance. We wonder where it is now…
3. Catch Me if You Can (2002) - Virgin GO
If we were as rich and handsome as Frank Abagnale, the grifter who spent three decades illegally funding a jet-set lifestyle, we might also splash out on an Aston Martin DB5, Chevelle, and Shelby GT500. A fast-paced drama set during the doo-wop fifties and swinging sixties, there are beautiful motors, clothes, and settings to enjoy. But Spielberg also crafts a thoughtful drama that might arguably be DiCaprio’s best performance.
4. Drive (2011) - Amazon Prime
The birth of the new “King of Cool”? Honestly, though, when Drive released in 2011, many of us felt a sudden itch to emulate Ryan Gosling’s nameless driver, don our leather driving gloves and head out on a midnight cruise (preferably in his gorgeous Chevrolet Chevelle.) Drive is still a thrilling, violent ride, with a smart getaway scene and a romance plot that doesn’t become grossly sentimental. It’s also much better than the assumed ‘follow up’ Only God Forgives.
5. The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) - Virgin GO
A controversial choice, but for petrolheads this might be the purest ‘car movie’ out of the entire franchise. Whereas in the other instalments the role of the cars is more like furniture for the heist/detective plot, Tokyo Drift is all about racing. It’s become a bit of a cult favourite, too, thanks to the awkward acting, real stunts (performed by drift king Keiichi Tsuchiya) and nostalgia for the noughties heyday of JDM motors. Seriously, can we go back?
6. Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) - Amazon Prime
Have a Disney+ subscription? No need to feel left out. There are heaps of great films on the platform, but for gear heads this crime caper is one of the best. It stars Nicholas Cage – one of the strangest, most captivating actors of all time – as a car thief in Los Angeles. We won’t spoil the plot, but you can expect a carousel of car cameos that include a Shelby GT500, Porsche 996, Lamborghini Diablo… it just goes on. And all the automotive excellence aside, it’s still a fun action romp in its own right.
7. Greased Lightning (1977) - Amazon Prime
The hilarious tale of Wendell Scott, who went on to become the first African American NASCAR driver. Belly laughs are guaranteed, with an electric performance from Richard Pryor. The rusty stock cars and American heat marries the slapstick humour and some decent performances from the likes of Jeff Bridges.
That wraps up seven of our favourite films aimed at petrolheads that you can stream this January. Did we miss any? Let us know what films you would’ve added to your list.