Car Movie Enthusiast Reviews


Title and Review
Back to the Future. 1985. 

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in a great film about an inventor who houses his time machine in - what else - a 1981 Delorean DMC-12. Followed up by Back to the Future II 1989 and  Back to the Future III 1990. Nice comedy, not really a car movie, although the DeLorean spawned dozens of copies and you can't go to a DeLorean car show without seeing reference to it.

These are probably the defining roles of their careers for Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Everybody relates to Marty McFly, the teen at just the right age to be - almost - in control of his world. And Doc Brown, the nearly - but not exactly - mad scientist.

2nd Tier! Basic Instinct. 1976.

Absolutely a car film! Michael Douglas plays a cop (similar to so many of his roles, but this one was made during his self-confessed sex addiction years and the film reflects that). Two interesting chases of note: Espirit against the copy car, and Espirit against Douglas' Mustang (a fox-body 'vert - so obviously the Espirit wasn't driven well).

There are several versions of this film available, with and without the infamous interrogation scene "detail". Be sure to get the "director's cut"!

The DVD is available in several different packages as well - one particularly interesting version comes with an ice pick (a must have after seeing the film!). This is the one shown to the right.

  • Starring: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Jean Tripplehorn
  • Label: Warner Brothers 
  • Year: 1992
  • Color
  • Format: VHS - NTSC, several DVD cuts now avail.
  • Available: yes
  Betsy, The: 1978.

The plot is typical 70s: for some undefined political or big-money interest, the big-three won't design a fuel-efficient car. So - the plan, do this utilizing a race car engineer. The movie is more soap opera than not, more like Dynasty than Dallas (my personal favorite soap). Laurence Olivier "acts" for money. Same for Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones - and we know that both can do a lot better!.

2nd Tier! Big Wheel, The: 1949.

Mickey Rooney (apparently out of money, and/or newly divorced again?).

About racing at Indianapolis, and the demons that drive the character Mickey plays - his own father was killed there. It's an interesting film because of the strange yet familiar Indy - different grandstands and trees all around. And driving his car in the mid-120s in a short sleeve shirt and no seatbelt is outright scary. And the actual race footage that is used in the film is also scary - including actual footage of terrible crashes during the big finale at Indy. One driver is actually "thrown clear" - it's hard to believe he wasn't killed. We won't tell you how it ends, but then you know how all Mickey Rooney films end.

Blacktop. 2000.

Meat Loaf Aday, Kristen Davis. Absolutely terrible film. Kristen Davis in a series of poor judgments decides to leave her boyfriend and accepts a ride from a trucker - played by Meat Load Aday. Yes, that's the actors real name - not the character (and I never would have guessed that he has 56 films to his credit). And as you might have guessed he turns out to be a psychopath. Of course. Meanwhile the boyfriend decides to give chase in his old Edsel .And during the chase picks up a roadside strumpet whom Meat Loaf shoots for the fun of it. Yes, it's that kind of film. Avoid wasting your time on this stinker.

Black Moon Rising. 1986.

Linda Hamilton, Tommy Lee Jones, Richard Vaughn. Linda is the top car thief in the world. Her task is to steal the Black Moon - a prototype car of the future.

Car chases are the inevitable result, along with some sack time with Tommy and Linda. Ever notice that Linda seems to have the exact same position in the sack in most of her films?

Fans of Linda Hamilton will want this film, it was a good one for her. Tommy Lee Jones fans can do better.

  Blonde Comet. 1941.

Score one for Women's Lib when a winning European female racing driver decides to try her skills in America. But her competition eventually becomes her love interest and the key to wining. So much for women's liberation.

Note that one of the stars is Barney Oldfield - himself! The first racer to hit 60 miles per hour!

We have not seen this film yet... but we've noticed that it's available from Amazon as a DVD and also via live streaming.

Blues Brothers, The: 1980.

A classic Belushi film, also stars a visibly thin Dan Aykroyd.

Many strange cameos, including Twiggy, Frank Oz, even Steven Spielberg. Also John Candy, Henry Gibson, Carrie Fisher. Unlike some other celebrity-cameo laden films, this one has a great story and is well done.

For car enthusiasts, the attraction will be the old cop car the Brothers bomb around in on their way to gigs and trouble.

Roger Ebert has referred to this as the "Sherman Tank of musicals". We'd say it's more like a funky bluesy "General Patton" of musicals - the band must get through no matter what! Demolition crashes reign in this film! Directed by John Landis - who also did Animal House.

  Bourne Identity, The. 2002. 

Not an automotive film, but it does have one good chase scene involving a classic Mini. And it does have the intriguing Franka Potente.

  Boy. 1969. Japanese.

A man who was injured in the war uses his wife and 10 year old son in automobile accident scams.

Bullitt. 1968. Our #5 "best car film of all time".

A fair detective story and an incredible chase scene shot in the streets of San Francisco. And the best car movie chase scene ever, with a 1968 Mustang GT 390 and a 19689 Dodge Charger.

It's possible to drive nearly the full length of the chase in San Francisco. The roads are a bit obscure now, you'll need a GPS system and maps. DVDs and VHS collections have been released several times. We have several variations of the collections, with posters, "making of" videos, and more.  The new Bl;ue-ray version has commentary by Director Peter Yates, and two feature-length Documentaries:
(1) Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool - The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing in 1080p High Definition; and (2) Bullit: Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality. Be sure to see the "making of" documentary with scenes of McQueen practicing his driving on a defunct SCCA road course outside of S.F. 

Also worth considering is the sound track - many films had great sound tracks in the 60s and this is one of the best examples. Note that Lalo Schifrin also did Dirty Harry.

Ford has built and sold thousands of modern interpretations of the Bullitt Mustang. Details and images on the 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt can be found here. There has is also 2008/9 Bullitt from Ford.