Movies are memorable for many reasons. They may include an engrossing plot like the film noir “Chinatown,” a gripping direction such as that of Alfred Hitchcock in “Psycho,” a tour de force acting performance such as that of Paul Scofield’s in “A Man for All Seasons,” or sweeping music scores to epics like the one in “Dr. Zhivago” composed by Maurice Jarre.
Those movies are among the greatest of all time. But they are not known for famous cars. For many moviegoers, a particular car or a famous chase scene can make a movie a memorable experience. 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the most iconic cars in film, using, among other sources, Edmunds.com, the online resource for automobile information, to develop our list.
Both the car and movie industries started about the same time and became two signature sectors of the American economy in the 20th century. Automobile companies have known from the beginning that movies featuring a new model vehicle can boost sales. That has given them staying power among the car-buying public. Other brands were not so fortunate. Some car brands, like Tucker, whose creator Preston Tucker was profiled in the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” that appears on our list, no longer exist. These are famous car brands that no longer exist.
Sometimes, the automobile is a cultural touchstone, like the Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in the James Bond film “Goldfinger,” one of the best Bond films of all time. Or it becomes the object of a youngster’s reverie, like the Ford Mustang GT driven by Steve McQueen in “Bullitt.”
Other cars can symbolize something else. The 1966 Ford Thunderbird driven by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in “Thelma & Louise” (1991) is a symbol of defiance, right up until the tragic end of the two women.
Besides the Bond movies represented on the list, we also included selections from the Batman, Mad Max, and Fast and Furious movie franchises — among the greatest action movies of all time.
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the most iconic cars in film. We reviewed sources such as Popular Mechanics and Road and Track magazines, the automobile industry data sources Edmunds, movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and media sources such as USA Today to determine a consensus on the most iconic cars in motion pictures, as well as using our own discretion on what is an iconic car in a movie.
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