What are the 10 best films about driving fast?
Need For Speed, the hot-headed adaptation of the classic video game, is out next week (July 21st) on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film, which stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots and Dominic Cooper, is about one thing and one thing only: driving expensive, flash cars and driving them very fast.
So, to celebrate, we thought we’d do a little round-up of the best movies about putting your foot down. These are the best films about driving fast…
10. Fast Five
You could justifiably pick any of the film from the Fast & Furious franchise (alright, not Toyko Drift…), but for our money, Fast Five is the pick of the bunch. Having escaped to Rio de Janeiro, Dominic Torreto and his gang are running out of cash and forced to take on a deadly gang, lead by an infamous Brazilian drug lord. It’s loud, it’s brash and there’s a set piece where the team steal most of a bank. Not most of the money in the bank, quite literally, most of the bank…
This only came out last year, but it’s already a bona fide must have for any petrol head. Directed by Ron Howard, this detailed, lovingly created biopic of the fearsome rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt wowed critics and punters. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as the warring drivers, this is a high-octane thriller from beginning to end.
8. Days Of Thunder
Tom Cruise had struck gold once as a hot-headed and quick-handed pilot in Top Gun, so the idea for 1990’s Days Of Thunder was simple; take a character with much the same temperament and stick him in a stock car. It’s not quite as well-rounded or quotable as Top Gun, but there are some very cool action set pieces.
7. Smokey and the Bandit
Burt Reynolds leads this 1967 cult classic about two blundering dudes who are moseying home with a truck of beer when they stop to give a hitch-hiker a lift. Trouble is, this girl has just left her groom at the altar and it just so happens that the groom’s father is the tough-as-granite Sheriff. Once they find out who she’s with, it’s one car chase after another. Superb.
6. Death Race 2000
Sod the remake, this David Carradine-led 1975 original is what it’s all about. The plot is simple; we’re in a bleak, bleak future and it’s the Death Race, a race where top drivers run down innocent pedestrians to gain points, depending on how brutal their run downs are. It’s dirty and nasty, but it’s a thrilling watch, full of white-knuckle smashes and incredible stunts. It’s the mid-1970s too, so you know the stunts are very, very real.
5. Gone In 60 Seconds
Again, we’re going back to the original, 1974 to be precise. There’s a 40-minute car chase where the filmmakers wrecked 93 cars for god’s sake, what else do we need to say?
You can pick any of this series of films, but the first, which came out in 1998, is probably the best. We follow Daniel, a badass taxi driver and Emilien, a straight-laced cop, who are forced to team up to take on a deadly gang. There are so many incredible car chases, in this one and the subsequent flicks, there’s even a chase on where Daniel’s enhanced taxi outpaces the TGV, that’s a train that goes at 200 miles per hour. Phew!
It’s 20 years old now, but the set-up for this is still genius. You’ve got a young cop (Keanu Reeves) and a bomb on a bus full of people that could go off at any moment, the only way to stop it exploding? Keep the speed above 50 miles an hour. It’s inspired so many runaway action thrillers since, but this remains the original and best.
This is less a film about speed and more a dangerous thriller about police corruption, with Steve McQueen at his absolute pomp. It’s in this list because of the incredible car chase, which you can see below.
Ryan Gosling’s transformation from goofy romantic sidekick to cool-as-you-like leading man happens during the stylish 100 minutes that is Drive. This icy cool thriller about an enigmatic stuntman and mechanic who makes cash on the side by working as a getaway driver features some great action scenes which are full of energy and power, offset by the sedate, clipped dialogue. It’s a mesmerising watch.
Need For Speed is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (July 21st).