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25 best racing movies ever

Le Mans (1971)

"Steve McQueen takes you for a drive in the country. The country is France. The drive is at 200mph." That was the brilliant tagline of Lee H Katzin's paean to endurance racing. The plot's badly in need of a pitstop, but it's essential motorsport porn for petrolheads with a couple of hours to burn.

The Love Bug (1968)

The first Herbie movie is exactly what you'd expect from a Disney film about a car with a personality. There's a predictable plot, crudely drawn stereotypes and an overload of cutesy moments. That sugar coating is perhaps down to Walt himself – The Love Bug was the big man's final live-action project.

Days of Thunder (1990)

It was billed as Top Gun on Tarmac, but despite a recognisably slick production from Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise's NASCAR antics failed to live up to its aeronautical antecedent's stratospheric success. It's well worth revisiting for the racetrack histrionics ("He's going high!"), the impromptu desert race (in rental saloons) and to remind yourself how bad Nicole Kidman's acting was.

TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011)

Already one of the most successful British documentaries ever made, TT3D: Closer to the Edge charts the maniacal antics of adrenalin-fuelled bikers at the Isle of Man's famously deadly TT motorcycle race. It's properly terrifying in 3D and, no, you don't have to be a bike nut to love it. Essential watching.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

With cartoon violence, nudity and gangster accents, the original dystopian B-movie starring David Carradine and Sly Stallone won't disappoint your GTA-fuelled blood lust. The real fun, though, comes from the Transcontinental Road Race itself, in which each murderous and reckless driver (from Frankenstein to Matilda the Hun) decks out their motor with guns, knives and teeth to kill innocent pedestrians. And you thought forgetting to fasten your seatbelt was dangerous.

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