C’était un Rendez-vous (1976)
An eight-minute high-speed drive through Paris in the early hours of the morning. Pedestrians are clipped, pigeons are scattered, red lights ignored, one-way streets are driven the wrong direction, center lines are ignored, the car drives over the sidewalk to avoid a rubbish truck. The car is never seen, the point of view is from the front of the car. The driver arrives at his destination and …
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Perhaps the ultimate low-budget independent cult classic, Gone is 60 Seconds cost $150,000 to make and has grossed $40 million. The story follows a gang of professional car thieves led by insurance investigator Maindrian Pace (director/writer/star H.B. “Toby” Halicki) out to steal 48 cars in 5 days for a payment of $400,000 from a South American drug lord. Out of the total 98 minute running time, the final 40 minutes were devoted to a police pusuit involving the last of the 48 cars, a 1973 Ford Mustang (code named ‘Eleanor’), and ending up with 93 car wrecks through five Los Angeles suburbs.
Bobby Deerfield (1977)
Much more melodrama than car movie, Al Pacino stars as Formula One driver Bobby Deerfield, all too willing to take unnecessary risks on the track. But after he witnesses a fiery crash that kills a teammate and seriously wounds a competitor, Deerfield becomes unsettled by the specter of death. During a visit to the survivor’s hospital, Deerfield meets Lillian, a quirky, impulsive woman racing against leukemia. They fall in love and, you guessed it, she dies. While there’s not much racing in this fil, there are two excellent scenes. Interestingly, they’re shot during the 1976 season, the year depicted in Rush.
Italian Job (1969)
If you’re a true car fan, you’ve watched the 1969 version of the Italian Job, at least once if not more. If you haven’t, you need to as soon as possible. You can parse this film into two segments: the story itself, which is quite entertaining and engaging, and the stunts, using Mini Coopers, of which there were several that are still talked about today: driving through the wedding, the 60 foot leap between buildings (no net), the barrel roll, loading onto the bus on the highway, and the final balancing act as the final scene. Light-hearted and fun, it’s very different than the 2003 film of the same name.
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