The most iconic cars in cinematic and television history
Car-centric movies where the stars are the cars
© Wikimedia/Creative Commons
While a car is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think "movie star," many filmmakers use automobiles as movie and television characters unto themselves.
There are many ways a car can be portrayed in a film, as both prop and as a pivotal plot component. Indeed, think about your own favorite movies and television shows. Think of some of the greatest films ever made. Chances are, many of the titles feature motor cars in a big way.
Some cars are actually the stars of the show, as in the Pixar film 'Cars' (2006). A critical and commercial success, the movie featured dozens of talking vehicles and was praised by one critic as one of the "most imaginative and appealing movies ever."
Some cars have become Hollywood legends. Sean Connery's James Bond is forever associated with his gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5. Who can forget Steve McQueen's character burning rubber in his Ford Mustang Fastback in 'Bullitt' (1968) during one of the most famous car chase sequences ever made? And Batman simply wouldn't be the same without his Batmobile.
Cars have also made a big impact on the small screen. Some of television's most popular shows are distinguished by a set of cool wheels. Think 'Dukes of Hazzard' and The General Lee screeches into view, horns blaring "Dixie." And what about that souped-up van those soldiers of fortune, the A-Team, used to get themselves in and out of trouble with?
Cars hit the screen as Hollywood flourished in the early 20th century. Mack Sennett, the King of Comedy, is especially remembered for his silent-era Keystone Cops movies and the slapstick car chases that always ended up in a collective wreck on the sidewalk. The success of these pioneering two-reelers coincided exactly with the rise of the mass-market automobile, and Hollywood quickly sought mileage out of this desirable new commodity.
Today, entire film franchises are based around cars (think 'The Fast and the Furious'). But it's the unique and singular appeal of a particular model that endures.
Take a drive through this gallery of some of the most iconic movie autos ever and you'll get an idea of why cars are often just as important as actors.
MOVIES Then and now