10 Great Race Movies

Saturday, March 5 by A. Hermitt

These 10 great race movies are part of a fun genre that involve lots of action, and often very silly plots.  Watching a great race movie is a great way to spend and afternoon alone or with friends.

  1. "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) - This adaptation of the Jules Verne's novel is about an Englishman who thinks he can get around the world in 80 days using steamships and railways. Of course, the race may only be a distraction. 
  2. "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963) – A race begins after four witnesses to a car crash accident are told by a dying thief on buried money. Good, old-fashioned, hilarity ensues. 
  3. "The Great Race" (1965) – Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Jack Lemmon race across three continents in this turn of the century movie. Cars were brand new, and the reason for the race was to promote auto sales. This movie was dedicated to Laurel and Hardy. 
  4. "The Love Bug" (1968) – Herbie is a Volkswagon Beetle with his own will and personality.  He is purchased by a race driver but his old driver wants him back when he starts winning races.  There have been several remakes of this movie.
  5. "Cannonball Run" (1981) - This slapstick comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise about a race car driver in an illegal Grand Prix race from New York to California is a childhood favorite. Drivers can use all means possible to win, and a modified ambulance is one of the "race cars".
  6. "The Cannonball Run 2" (1984) – The racers from the 1981 movie meet again. This movie was nominated for Worst Picture, Worse Actor, and Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Awards, but bad can also be good. This was also the last movie in which the Rat Pack (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Shirley MacLaine) appeared together.
  7. "The Fugitive" (1993) – This was a different kind of race movie about a fugitive accused of his wife's murder trying to find the real murderer before he is jailed. Starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, the movie is clever, and manages to find some humor as well.
  8. "Rat Race" (2001) – This large ensemble cast comedy with Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rowan Atkinson, and more is about six teams racing from Las Vegas to Silver City New Mexico where money is hidden in a storage locker. The humor is a bit outrageous and includes things like squirrels and cows. 
  9. "Herbie, Fully Loaded"  (2005) - Lindsay Lohan's last Disney Film was a remake of the original "The Love Bug" and pays homage to the movie in many ways.  This time, the hero is a chick, but the car is still in control.
  10. "Cars" (2006) is the only animated film to make this list. Kids both large and small will love this family film where cars talk and humans are strangely absent. The plot involves a race for a championship that may result in the hero getting better sponsorship.
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