Wondering what gift to get your favorite automobile racing fan or car enthusiast? Here are five classic car movies that will surely make the blood redline with excitement. The five films that I have chosen must be special in their own way and must be available in a special edition DVD format, great for a holiday gift to a loved one.
American Graffiti (1973) – George Lucas’ 1973 comedy came about from a challenge thrown down by Francis Ford Coppola for Lucas to write a comedy.make a comedy. The film takes on cruising and street racing in the sixties waxing nostalgic for the era before the Kennedy assassination, when America was still innocent.
The cars are pure Americana with two – a ’32 Ford Deuce Coupe and a ’55 Chevy Two-Door Post – taking center stage. The Ford has a small block and the Chevy a 454 big block even though the 454 was not an option in any car in 1962. However when the big block howls you can clearly tell it’s a modified 454. The two star cars drag race each other a couple of times during the film. Be on the lookout for up and coming star Harrison Ford as the pilot of the black 55. The film was nominated for Best Picture and is available in a Special Edition DVD or Blu-ray.
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) – A couple of guys drive cross country, street racing for a living. That’s it. The film features a beat-up primer grey ‘55 Chevy which is the exact same car featured in “American Graffiti”, repainted and repackaged into a mint condition sixties cruising car for Graffiti. Two-Lane Blacktop paints a story of a more romantic time in America when people didn’t know their destination and the possibility of adventure was everywhere. The 55 visits a drag way on its’ journey and the announcer shouts, “little 55…he will run well into the twelve’s.” Two-Lane Blacktop is available in the Criterion Collection Edition DVD or Blu-ray and includes a printed screenplay.
Fast Company (1979) – Horror auteur David Cronenberg is a car enthusiast and loves road racing, so early in his career, when the opportunity came to direct this film he took it very seriously and is very proud of the final product. The film is about the politics and action of farm league drag racing. There is a lot of Nitro that goes around with my favorite part being a Nitro Funny Car racing on the street. The film is available in a Two-Disc Limited Edition DVD or Blu-ray.
Grand Prix (1966) – This nearly three hour-long racing epic was directed by virtuoso John Frankenheimer. It tells the tale of the razor edge life of Formula One at a time when the cars looked like rockets with four wheels, and the chance of error had to be zero for survival. The camera work and cinematography is breathtaking, and was experimental for the time. The cameras are mounted on the nose of the car, on the rear of the car, on the quarter-panel and on the nose facing the driver. We take these shots for granted in present times, however in 1966 audiences were wowed on the big screen because the film was shot on 70 mm. Grand Prix is available in a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD or Blu-ray.
Bullitt (1968)- The Steve McQueen classic features the greatest on-screen car chase of all time between McQueen’s green ’68 Mustang Fastback and two hit men in a black ’68 Charger. The Mustang’s engine was a heavily modified small block, however the Charger’s was a mostly stock big block. As car enthusiasts you can tell by the sound of both motors roaring. This is also the secret to the chase scene because there is no musical score during the action. All you can hear is the V8 engines screaming and the tires screeching. For me, this is the reason no chase will ever knock it off number one. The film is available in a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD or Blu-ray.