The Best Car Movies Aren’t About Cars

To Catch A Thief 1955
Grace Kelly falls in love with a retired jewel thief, played by Cary Grant. Not attractive enough? High in the hills of Monaco, Kelly drives the wheels off of a Sunbeam Alpine before pulling over to eat cold chicken and drink beer in the front seat. That did it.

A Man and a Woman 1966
A gorgeous widow and a womanizing wheel jockey fall in love. Voids between heartwarming moments are filled with black-and-white footage of the Monte Carlo Rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Two-Lane Blacktop 1971
A ’55 Chevy and a ’70 GTO race from West Coast to East Coast, but that’s just a backdrop for this captivating, antinarrative film that follows four lost souls trying to figure out their places in the world.

The Seven-Ups 1973
In a very underrated chase scene, Roy Scheider, a New York City cop, goes after a Pontiac Grand Ville for ten minutes before ramming his Pontiac Ventura into the back of a parked semitrailer.

Against All Odds 1984
In the first twenty minutes of this film, there’s a brilliant street race involving a Porsche 911 cabriolet, a Ferrari 308GTS, and a Samoyed dog. If you decide to sit through the rest of this bubbly love story, that’s on you.

Repo Man 1984
A number of American four-doors of yesteryear have roles in this cult classic. They include a 1964 Chevrolet Malibu, a ’71 AMC Matador, a ’72 Plymouth Satellite, and a ’78 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. Not the prettiest lot, but it’s a group that fits squarely into one of the strangest dark comedies you’ll ever watch.

Jackie Chan’s Who Am I? 1998
In this Chinese take on Total Recall, Jackie Chan plays an amnesiac commando named, uh, Jackie Chan. Baddies in two BMWs chase a handcuffed Chan in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV.

Ronin 1998
A group of mercenaries tear up France in an Audi S8. The sedan’s quick maneuvers seem impossible — and probably would’ve been if not for a long list of stunt drivers, including former Formula 1 racer Jean-Pierre Jarier.

Car movies to watch when you’re . . . 

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 1963
Cars, 2006
Speed Racer, 2008

The Graduate, 1967
Two for the Road, 1967
American Graffiti, 1973

Drinking (good wine)
Vanishing Point, 1971
C’était un Rendezvous, 1976
Senna, 2010

Drinking (cheap beer)
The Blues Brothers, 1980
Maximum Overdrive, 1986
Dazed and Confused, 1993