The automobile and the movies became major parts of the American experience at about the same time. Ford Motor was founded in 1903. “The Great Train Robbery,” generally regarded as the first U.S. mass-market film, was released at about the same time. Henry Ford was responsible for one and Thomas Edison for the other. The two men eventually became close friends.
As millions of Americans became car owners, the automobile became a major staple in the movies. The link between the two remains strong today. Among the highest-rated franchises recently are the Fast and Furious films. The first movie was released in 2001, and there have been 10 installments so far.
To choose the best movie about cars, drivers, motorsports, road trips and related matters, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on ratings from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and Tomatometer and Audience scores from Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator.
Chase scenes involving cars have been a staple of films since the industry moved to Hollywood, where outdoor filming became possible year-round, in the early 20th century. Some of them are of the adrenalin-rush variety, such as “The French Connection” and “Baby Driver.” Others are on the zany side, like “What’s Up, Doc?”
Cars have been symbols of rebellion, such as in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” They also have been the subject of riveting car-racing documentaries, such as “Senna,” and dramatic racing stories like “Rush” and “Ford v Ferrari.”
Certain actors have become associated with cars. Steve McQueen, who raced cars himself, was chased by hitmen on the streets of San Francisco in “Bullitt.”
The best car movie of all time is “Grand Prix.” Released in 1966, it was directed by John Frankenheimer and starred James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand. Here are the details:
- IMDb audience rating: 7.2/10
- Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88%
- Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100%
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