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Home / Features / The best racing and motorsport movies: speed demons unite

The best racing and motorsport movies: speed demons unite

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best racing films

Are you a speed demon who loves to watch racing movies? You’re in luck: we’ve compiled a list of the best racing movies of all time, with most available to watch on your streaming service of choice right now.

There’s something about racing movies that gets our hearts racing and our adrenaline pumping. These films captivate audiences with their high-speed action, heart-pounding suspense, and thrilling plotlines. Whether it’s the classic car chases or the intense rivalries on the race track, racing movies have a unique appeal that keeps us coming back for more. From the iconic classic Grand Prix to the beloved Cars franchise, we’ve got something for everyone here.

Why we love racing movies

best racing films

One of the reasons we love racing movies is the excitement they bring. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching cars zooming down the track at breakneck speeds, or witnessing a daring chase scene through city streets. The best racing films are able to capture this excitement and convey it to the audience, leaving us on the edge of our seats and craving more.

While the heart-stopping race sequences are undoubtedly a highlight, these films often explore deeper themes such as friendship, love, and the pursuit of dreams. From the determined underdog seeking redemption to the seasoned veteran looking for one last shot at glory, we become invested in their journeys, cheer for their victories and hold our breath during their moments of peril.

Racing movies also provide a window into a world that many of us can only dream of. They transport us to the streets of Monaco, the dirt ovals of the American Midwest, or the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. We get to experience the exhilaration of being behind the wheel, escape from our everyday lives and immerse ourselves in a world where speed and skill reign supreme – even if only through the eyes of the characters on screen.

The top 10 racing movies of all time

These films have it all: heart-stopping action, thrilling races, and unforgettable characters. Get ready to rev your engines and experience the ultimate rush as we speed through this list.

10. Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby

This hilarious comedy starring Will Ferrell takes a satirical look at the world of NASCAR racing. With its over-the-top characters and outrageous race sequences, this film is sure to keep you entertained from start to finish.

9. Rush

A gripping biographical drama that tells the true story of the intense rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. With its breathtaking race scenes and compelling performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, this film will have you on the edge of your seat.

8. Senna

This documentary chronicles the life and career of Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna. The film provides an intimate and emotional portrait of one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history and is a must-watch for any racing fan.

7. The Italian Job

This classic heist film has a racing twist. Starring Michael Caine, this movie combines thrilling car chases with a clever plot and unforgettable characters. It’s a perfect blend of action and suspense that will leave you wanting more.

6. Ford v Ferrari / Le Mans ’66

This film tells the incredible true story of how Ford built a race car to challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. With its exhilarating race sequences and stellar performances from Christian Bale and Matt Damon, this movie is a winner.

5. The Art of Racing in the Rain

This heartwarming film follows the story of a race car driver and his loyal dog as they navigate the ups and downs of life on and off the track. With its touching storyline and charming characters, this movie is a true gem.

4. Drive

This 2011 crime drama has become an instant classic. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, this intense and stylish film tells the story of a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. With an all-star cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks, this critically acclaimed movie has gained a cult following and has been hailed by critics and audiences alike for its thrilling story, intense performances, and stunning visuals.

3. Grand Prix

An iconic racing film directed by John Frankenheimer. This 1966 classic takes viewers inside the world of Formula One racing and features stunning race footage and a gripping storyline. It’s a must-see for any racing enthusiast.

2. Cars

From Lightning McQueen to Mater, these animated films have captured the hearts of both kids and adults alike. With their charming characters, heartwarming stories, and vibrant animation, the Cars movies are a delight for the whole family. We couldn’t pick a favourite, so the whole franchise gets the nod here.

1. Days of Thunder

This adrenaline-fuelled film starring Tom Cruise tells the story of a talented race car driver trying to make it big in the competitive world of NASCAR.

Notable Mentions and Honorable Races

The world of racing movies is vast and filled with incredible films that deserve recognition. These movies may not have made it onto the main list, but they certainly deserve a spot in the spotlight.


A classic film starring Steve McQueen. While not solely focused on racing, this movie features one of the most iconic car chases in cinematic history. McQueen’s character, Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, speeds through the streets of San Francisco in a Ford Mustang, pursued by the bad guys in a Dodge Charger. The thrilling chase sequence has become a benchmark for all car chase scenes that followed.


A film that explores the world of open-wheel racing. Starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by Renny Harlin, this movie follows the journey of a talented rookie driver who is taken under the wing of a seasoned veteran. Driven offers a unique look into the high-pressure world of racing, complete with intense rivalries and dramatic twists.

Speed Racer

For fans of animated films, Speed Racer deserves a special mention. This colorful and fast-paced movie brings the beloved 1960s Japanese anime series to life, following the adventures of Speed Racer as he competes in high-speed races around the world. With its vibrant visuals and exciting race sequences, Speed Racer is a fun-filled joyride for audiences of all ages.

The Transporter

A film series that combines action-packed car chases with thrilling fight sequences. Starring Jason Statham as a skilled driver and martial arts expert, these films deliver non-stop excitement and adrenaline-fuelled thrills. While not solely focused on racing, the Transporter series showcases the importance of speed, skill, and precision when it comes to driving.

The Fast and the Furious

The Fast and the Furious franchise has left such an indelible mark on the racing movie genre we thought it deserved more of a deep dive than a fleeting mention in the list above. This film series, which began in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, has become a global phenomenon, revving up audiences with its high-octane action, heart-pounding car races, and a diverse cast of characters.

What sets the Fast and the Furious franchise apart from other racing films is its unique blend of fast cars, thrilling races, and a focus on family and loyalty. The series started off as a simple story about street racing in Los Angeles, but it quickly evolved into a thrilling saga filled with high-stakes heists, international espionage, and jaw-dropping stunts.

One of the key reasons the Fast and the Furious franchise has been so successful is its ability to evolve and reinvent itself with each new instalment. From the early street racing days to the high-tech, adrenaline-fuelled adventures of recent films, the franchise continues to push the boundaries of what can be achieved on screen. With each movie, the stakes get higher, the action gets more intense, and the cars get faster, ensuring that audiences are constantly on the edge of their seats.

The series has showcased actors from various backgrounds and ethnicities, breaking down barriers and creating representation in an industry that has often lacked diversity. This commitment to inclusivity has resonated with audiences, allowing them to connect with the characters and see themselves represented on screen.

The Furious franchise has had a significant impact on car culture and has introduced a whole new generation to the world of racing. Iconic cars featured in the films, from the legendary Dodge Charger to the sleek Nissan GT-R, have become symbols of speed and style. The franchise has also sparked a renewed interest in modified cars and street racing, inspiring fans to customize their own vehicles and participate in local racing events.

Beyond its cultural impact, the Fast and the Furious franchise has also revolutionized the way racing movies are filmed. With its innovative use of practical effects and breathtaking stunts, the series has set a new standard for action sequences. From daring car jumps to death-defying chases, the Fast and the Furious films have raised the bar for what audiences expect from racing movies, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved on screen.

Profile image of Bryan M. Wolfe Bryan M. Wolfe


Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including iMore, TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education.

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