Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Two drag racers, a grey 55 Chevy and a girl are all you need for entertainment in this classic road movie with a twist for fans of Route 66 (before it became a big, hulking 'Interstate Highway'). Director Monte Hellman throws a healthy dollop of existentialism into the mix and the end scene – a race at a runway in East Tennessee – leaves you guessing who makes it to the Washington DC destination.
None other than Elvis Presley rocks out around the racecourse in this 60s motor musical with cameos from top NASCAR drivers from way back when. The King plays a driver who gets in trouble with the tax man with Nancy Sinatra as his tax inspector/ love interest. If you like cars and you like Elvis, you've hit the jackpot. Just don't count on any hits popping up – instead you'll get treated to a song about tax.
What would you do if you and your mates owned a supercar or two each? We're pretty sure we'd illegally street race them too especially if the collection included an Enzo Ferrari and Lamborghini Diablo. This tale of a hot, female mechanic who gets entangled in these macho races used writer and producer Daniel Sadek's own cars – two of which were destroyed in the making, including the US$1.5m Enzo. Redline was a car crash in every respect as it bombed at the box office – and was funded by subprime loans – but don't let that stop you from gazing at the vehicle-porn all the same.
The Cannonball Run (1981)
The Cannonball Run – based on a real event for the rich – stars Burt Reynolds as one of an eclectic mix of racers tearing across America on a coast-to-coast rally. Roger Moore drove the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr took a Ferrari, and a young Jackie Chan manned a gadget clad Subaru. Bungling brilliance ensued.
This anime science fiction racing film is set in the future – where a deadly racing tournament, held every five years, is about surviving as much as winning. Characters like a giant machine man, a corrupt gorilla traffic officer, and ace pilot, mechanic duo make for colourful racing in a sensory-overload style that only Japan can do properly.