When muscle cars were made available to the public in the 1960s, it posed a problem for the police all over the world. Suddenly, criminals who got to equip themselves with these vehicles were at an automotive advantage. Trying to catch the bad guys became much tougher and it took a lot longer.
Naturally, this sparked new ideas for filmmakers. Add the fact that cinematic car chases will be amazing for product placements, and the ubiquitous union of movies and car chases were strengthened ever since.
Below, we made a list (which is by no means exhaustive) of some of the most badass films featuring equally badass muscle cars. Suit yourselves, gentlemen.
- Death Proof (2007) ft. a Chevy Nova
Death Proof is written, produced, and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film focuses on a psychopathic stunt man called Stuntman Mike who stalks women and the murders them in staged car accidents using his “death-proof” Chevy Nova SS stunt car.
Aside from the unique and riveting plot characteristic of Tarantino projects, the movie possesses an interesting novelty for paying homage to 1970s muscle car films. In fact, there are multiple references to some of the best films in this genre such as Bullitt, Vanishing Point, and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (which are also in this list!).
- Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) ft. a 1969 Dodge Charger
In this film, an aspiring NASCAR driver robs a supermarket safe to fund his racing team. Upgrading from a 1966 Chevy Impala to a 1969 Dodge Charger later on, Classic American car fans get two kinds of muscle car scenery to guzzle down in this fifth-ranking movie. One word: Awesome.
- Fast Five (2011) ft. A 1966 Ford GT40
There’s little to no surprise that the scene-stealer GT40 just screams “speed demon” from across the screen. Besides, this model won the 24 hours of Le Mans. Aside from the impressive racing history comfortably notched on its dashboard, it’s also arguably one of the best-looking Ford models to date.
Although the unit used in the film was reportedly a replica, don’t let that bum you out. It’s still as exciting and adrenaline-pumping as the original one. Wait ‘til the scene where Vin Diesel and his gang yanked it out of a moving train and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
- Vanishing Point (1971) ft. A 1970 Dodge Challenger
Coming in at number four is the 1971 film Vanishing Point starring a 1970 Dodge Challenger—err, Barry Newman, we mean. Tasked to drive from Denver to San Francisco, he came up with the brilliant idea of betting that he can make the trip in 15 hours. He also decided quite intelligently to put the drug money he was going to use at stake in this gamble. If you’re confused now, that’s sarcasm for you.
Anyway, that meant he must average over 80 mph for the trip. Obviously, the cops in Colorado and Nevada weren’t too happy about it. The movie is complete with a DJ describing his progress and showing what an awesome adventure he undertook—as if the presence of a Dodge Challenger didn’t establish that fact already.
- Bullitt (1968) ft. a 1968 Mustang GT
Another double treat for y’all! In this movie, Steve McQueen uses a dark green 1968 Mustang GT 390 fastback to chase a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T on the streets of San Francisco.
Two 1968 releases in a same-year film!? Yeah. We reckon our brothers back in this era had a hard time containing themselves, too.
- Diamonds are Forever (1971) ft. a 1971 Mustang Mach 1
In Diamonds are Forever, Sean Connery’s Bond shows off his sick driving skills in a badass 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback while trying to run from the police. One of the most memorable parts of the car chase is when Bond managed to wriggle his way out of a dead end… all while keeping his cool and his lady in the passenger seat.
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) ft. a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT
Mad Max 2 shows a post-apocalyptic world where civilization has disintegrated. And it’s okay because Mel Gibson’s 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT still survives. Just kidding. More than anything, this film highlights the type of might muscle cars represent. Obviously, this concept still holds true today.
- Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) ft. a 1971 Ford Mustang
Fact: the 1971 Ford Mustang was painted to look like a 1973 Mach 1. Another fact: All the pedestrians running for their lives depicted in the movie were actually pedestrians running for their lives. Yep, the car chase was filmed in a 100% real setting. Yet another fact: makers of the movie had to buy several Cadillac because the Mustang rammed into a real Cadillac shop in one of the scenes. Convinced yet? We thought so.