When the season is over and there are no rallies to watch, motorsport fan can always entertain themselves with some good films about racing and speed. During the past year, we have brought a few to your attention and now is a great time to revisit the whole list.
There are many ways to look at racing and humankind’s eternal desire for speed. You can turn it into a drama of great men battling each other and fighting the odds, danger and even death (especially if you look at old times of automobile racing), or you can make a spectacle of the pure speed and the art of perfect car control. You can also make a feel-good movie for kids and families that will not only make for a great entertainment, but can tell a lot about racing and history as well. Or you can forget about cars and just pick a story of an old man relentlessly pursuing his dream about being faster than anyone else.
The eight films on this list range from epic story about the glorious Formula 1 racing in 1960s to kids’ animated movie about NASCAR and old days of Route 66, to a stunning depiction of rally legend dancing his car towards the clouds in one of the most dangerous hillclimbs of the world. And then there’s a story of an old man with an old motorcycle, going for the speed record.
Whether you have just five minutes of spare time or an afternoon to spend with your family, we have something for you (click to the title to read more about the film)!
Let’s start with the shortest one. If you haven’t seen Ari Vatanen’s breathtaking dance up the Pikes Peak, it’s time to do it now. It’s just five minutes long, but it will stay in your memory forever. And remember – it was shot before GoPro cameras and drones. This was all done with film. And with helicopters.
Got ten more minutes? Then we’ll take you on a date. Or, to be more a precise, a drive to a date. The short “story” about a man driving through Paris to meet his date would not be very interesting had he not driven crazy fast. And had it not been filmed in real traffic…
After a crazy ride through Paris it’s time to spend some quality time with your children. Maybe you will spark their interest in fast cars and racing if you show them the story of Herbie, the sentient Volkswagen Beetle that loves to race.
And when we are talking kids’ movies, we can’t forget about Cars. This time, it’s not about a sentient car in a humans’ world – here we have the whole world populated by cars. And while your kids will cheer to Lightning McQueen and his pals, you may learn something about automotive history or enjoy the part where Paul Newman (who was a great racer as well as actor) as Doc Hudson teaches the young racecar to drive sideways.
A bit of an unknown legend, the 1966 film Grand Prix, directed by John Frankenheimer, is an epic look into the old days of Formula 1. In its almost three hours of running time, it offers one of the most realistic depictions of the highest-level motorsport of its time. And besides stunning shots of real formula cars, you can enjoy great cast with big names like Yves Montand or James Garner.
Steve McQueen wasn’t the only famous actor associated with racing, nor was he the most successful one. Still, his racing background helped him create one of the greatest – and most realistic – racing movies ever made. Most of the racing footage was shot during the real Le Mans race and the result was spectacular.
The latest addition to the genre, the Rush depicts the rivalry between two greats of the late 1970s Formula 1 – a “bad boy” James Hunt and professor-like Austrian driver Niki Lauda. The story of the 1976 season is one of the most interesting you can find in the history of motorsport, and even though the film was made decades after the original events, with no possibility of using real race footage, the filmmakers managed to achieve exceptional level of realism.
To finish our list, we have added one film that isn’t, in fact, even about cars. However, the story of Burt Munro, motorcycle racer from New Zealand who totally rebuilt his Indian motorcycle into a record-breaking machine and managed to get to Bonneville Salt Flats against all odds, will be endearing to anyone who ever felt the need for speed.