Top 10 Movie Car Races of All Time

We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 movie races of all time. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.

10. Rush (2013) 89% at Rotten Tomatoes

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English playboy James Hunt and methodical Austrian Niki Lauda were rivals in 1970s Formula 1. Each had a different style, but both were willing to risk everything to be the champion.

Rating: R
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde

9. Driven (2001) 14% at Rotten Tomatoes

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When race-car driver Jimmy Bly starts to lose his focus, car owner Carl Henry recruits former racing vet Joe Tanto in to help. But Tanto is fighting demons from a crash that nearly killed him.

Rating: PG-13
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger

8. Speed Racer (2008) 40% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Speed Racer is a natural and racing the Mach 5 for his Mom and Pops. Royalton Industries wants to recruit him, but he rejects the offer, leading them to pull any stops to keep him from winning.

Rating: PG
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox, Christina Ricci

7. The Cannonball Run (1981) 29% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Based on the real-life Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, this movie brings an all-star cast together for the race of a lifetime. Anything goes in this cross-country competition that takes speed, dexterity, and the willingness to win at all costs.

Rating: PG
Director: Hal Needham
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore

6. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) 71% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Ricky Bobby is the top NASCAR driver in the country, thanks in no part to his best friend and teammate Cal Naughton. That’s all about to change when French Formula 1 driver Jean Girard enters the scene and starts dominating.

Rating: PG-13
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen

5. Death Race (2008) 42% at Rotten Tomatoes

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In an alternate dystopian society, the most popular show in America is a death race between criminals with life sentences on Terminal Island. Steelworker Jensen Ames is recruited by the warden to don the mask of popular champion Frankenstein for a life-and-death race for his freedom.

Rating: R
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson

4. Days of Thunder (1990) 38% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Cole Trickle is a rising NASCAR star with a hot temper. This attitude is guaranteed to drive a wedge between him and the other drivers, along with his own crew.

Rating: PG-13
Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall

3. Cars (2006) 74% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Lightning McQueen is at the top of the race world until he gets stranded in Radiator Springs. Held on trial and forced into manual labor, he’s forced to rethink his life decisions and learn humility in order to compete at the top of his game.

Rating: G
Director: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft
Starring: Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman

2. The Fast and the Furious (2001) 53% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Point Break was a popular movie, so Hollywood decides to remake it with Japanese cars. LAPD officer Brian O’Connor infiltrates a racing gang and ends up going a little too deep. Will he choose the force or Toretto?

Rating: PG-13
Director: Rob Cohen, Mel City
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez

1. Thunderbolt (1995) 56% at Rotten Tomatoes

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Car mechanic Chan Foh To’s sister has been kidnapped and his business trashed. Now he has to train himself to race for her life and the honor of his Hong Kong business.

Rating: R
Director: Gordon Chan
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Yuen, Michael Wong


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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