Man’s inherent need to be first and his enduring spirit of competition have given society the age-old tournament of skill known as the race. Whether you’re a child trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as you rush to the finish line with your leg tied to another’s or a Cold War nation locked in an epic pissing match to get to the moon first, chances are you’ve had your dreams fulfilled or shattered by a race.
In the past, we’ve tackles car chase scenes and the best movie cars, but with Turbo coming out this week and Ron Howard releasing his film Rush this year, we figured it was about time that we took a look at some of the best racing movies that have come out over the years. Unlike our chase scenes list, this list features films that have racers locked in heated competition while they try to get from point A to point B before the other guys do (in vehicles). But this doesn’t mean the movies we picked are filled with nothing but left-hand turns. In fact, lots of our choices are rife with death an mayhem. So, sit back and pop it into park, because we’ve got the top 10 racing movies coming your way!
10. Speed Racer- Please, hold your violent outbursts until I’ve said my piece. Yes, it was not what one would call a masterful work of cinema, and yes, it seemed like it was intended for those audience members who were on mind-altering substances. Still, it’s a hell of a memorable film (we still see Matthew Fox’s career dying every time we close our eyes at night), and the race sequences were actually pretty cool. Not only that, but it’s probably the closest we’ll get to a true live-action adaptation of an anime (Pacific Rim wasn’t an adaptation, people, and we’re still not talking about Dragonball: Evolution). Now, please proceed with your spit takes and trust us when we say that the rest of the list gets better from here.
9. The Love Bug- Who says racing movies have to be for grown-ups, or make sense? That’s why Herbie is making our list (the original, not the abomination that Lindsay Lohan starred in. We aren’t monsters). It’s a film that embodies the spirit of racing, as a Volkswagen Beetle with what can only be described as an automotive version of Tourette’s shows us that things like horsepower and handling don’t matter when you’ve got a big heart (and by that, we mean “slightly engorged”). All joking aside, you’ve got to get kids into the spirit while they’re young, and Disney always had a way with brainwashing. So, if you’re looking for a family-friendly racing film, this is one of the best.
8. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby- We’ve never been much for NASCAR here a Stars & Popcorn, but we imagine that this Will Ferrell movie captured the spirit of one of the South’s greatest passtimes. Ferrell plays the “sport’s” greatest fictitious hero (at least I’m pretty sure he was fictional… Did I mention that we don’t really follow NASCAR?), Ricky Bobby. Of course, like all NASCAR superstars, Ricky flew too close to the sun and his own hubris brought him crashing down. This is a tale of redemption and driving really fast in a circle, ideals on which ‘Murica was built. Plus, it’s pretty damn funny, and it also stars the late, great Michael Clark Duncan. So, it’s staying on the list, O.K.?
7. The Cannonball Run- Burt Reynolds stars in what is essentially a live action version of Wacky Races. The movie is about a cross-country race featuring a colorful assortment of characters forming a who’s who of actors from back in the day (including Dean Martin, Jackie Chan and Roger Moore). The competition is hardly by-the-books as the competitors soon find themselves trying to outrun cops, as well as each other, by employing a variety of not exactly “street-legal” practices (eat your heart out, James Bond). Sure, it’s not a serious racing film, but it’s amusing nonetheless. Oh, and it’s based on a real race that happened, which is pretty awesome.
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