Nothing says movie nostalgia quite like the cars the characters drive, especially when the film involves racing of any kind. In many cases, these vehicles can become the visual icon for the entire film. They also become extensions of the characters themselves — they’re not just props, they become key elements of the character development. And you don’t have to be a gearhead to appreciate just how cool some of these vehicles are. So, without further ado, here is our curated list of the most famous movie cars in cinema history.

Goldfinger (1964)

1. 1964 Aston Martin DB5

Goldfinger (1964): This one could potentially be the most famous movie car of all time, mainly for its special features. Machine guns, oil-slick sprayer, ejector seats, and an incredible foreshadow to the modern navigation system, Bond’s car boasted a map screen feature back in the '60s. This is a legacy car in Hollywood and one of the Astons used recently sold for about 4.6 million. 

Watch the Aston Martin in a scene from Goldfinger

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

2. 1976 Lotus Esprit Series I

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Generally, not the best plan to drive your car into the ocean, but Bond handles it just fine, driving the iconic Series I Esprit that somehow transforms into a submarine.

Watch the car swim

smokey and the bandit (1977)

3. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am

Smokey and the Bandit (1977): The legacy of the Trans Am can be marked by the steep jump in sales after the film’s release. Or maybe it was the T-top, Burt Reynolds’ appeal or the Special Edition paint job.

Watch the Trans Am in action

Back to the future (1985)

4. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Back to the Future (1985): The car itself wasn’t quite as magical as its outside appearance. Apparently the engine was replaced with a V-8 from the Porsche 928. Regardless of the cool futuristic design, and becoming one of the most famous 80s movie cars, the DeLorean itself didn’t do too hot on the market.

"You built a time machine...out of a DeLorean?"

American graffiti (1973)

5. 1932 Ford Coupe

American Graffiti (1973): Before Star Wars, George Lucas made American Graffiti, one of the best classic car movies. The yellow Ford that smokes Harrison Ford’s car off the road, is one of the most iconic deuce coupes in the world.

Watch the coupe in action

Mad max (1979)

6. 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon

Mad Max (1979): If there were ever a list of the best Australian car movies, Mad Max would have to top it. The Ford Falcon was a muscle machine. The filmmakers added a blazing paint job, a new nose, and outrageously large tires. The supercharger sticking out of the hood however was, in fact, very fake.

Watch it in Mad Max

The dark knight trilogy (2005-2012)

7. Batmobile/Tumbler

The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012): From Adam West to Ben Affleck, the Batmobile has evolved quite a bit over the years. But the Tumbler in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is something to be desired, especially compared to the older models. The rocket thruster is an even cooler addition, as the Chevy V-8 powers the Tumbler to about 60 mph in about five seconds.

Watch the making of the mobile

bullitt (1968)

8. 1968 Mustang GT 390

Bullitt (1968): Steve McQueen isn’t the only factor in why America loves this car. Bullitt’s chase scenes are iconic and this Mustang quickly became one of the most famous movie cars. The car did so well, Ford made a limited edition version...twice.

Bullitt chase scene

the fast and the furious (2001)

9. 1970 Dodge Charger

The Fast and the Furious (2001): The first of the series ushered in a revival of cool car movies. While it does some fantastical things on screen (like a wheelstand and burnout at the same time), people still loved it. The '69 version of this car was first popularized by the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.

Watch Vin Diesel drive it in this scene

john wick (2014)

10. 1969 Mustang

John Wick (2014): Apparently, Keanu Reeves did the majority of the stunt driving himself, which is almost as impressive as the car itself. It reappears in John Wick: Chapter 2.

Watch scene from John Wick

mad max: fury road (2015)

11. The Gigahorse

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): With the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, Fury Road, came a beast of a machine. And it isn’t CG — double ‘59 Cadillac bodies ride on top of a massive truck chassis, that’s powered by twin Chevy big block V-8’s. It’s too massive to do anything crazy in the film, but I think it’s fair to say it’s crazy enough on its own.

Watch the filmmakers discuss all of the vehicles

the blues brothers (1980)

12. Bluesmobile, 1974 Dodge Monaco

The Blues Brothers (1980): Ah, a classic car movie and the definition of a famous movie car. The Bluesmobile is just as known as any other Hollywood 4-wheeled legend, but was smashed up quite a bit more. 

Behold the Bluesmobile

christine (1983)

13. 1958 Plymouth Fury

Christine (1983): We had to put this one because it’s the star of the show — and one of the most famous 80s movie cars. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, Christine is literally about a car who kills people. Apparently almost 30 cars were used in the film, not all Plymouth Furys. 

Watch "The Killer Car"

jurassic park (1993)

14. 1992 Ford Explorer XLT UN46

Jurassic Park (1993): From Jurassic Park, the iconic vehicles people think they remember are Jeeps, which do make an appearance in the film. But the stars of the show are actually Ford Explorers. Six cars were used in the film and some were completely demolished.

Watch a T-rex attack the Explorer

wayne's world (1992)

15. Mirthmobile, 1976 AMC Pacer

Wayne's World (1992): Out of all of the famous movie cars, this might be the least attractive. But it's also one of the most excellent and coolest movie cars. It’s weirdly wide, but a perfect fit for the Wayne’s World duo.

Mirthmobile, Wayne's World scene

ghostbusters (1984)

16. Ectomobile, 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor

Ghostbusters (1984): This car is instantly recognizable as one of the most famous movie cars around. The Ectomobile, or ECTO-1 and ECTO-1A was made from a 1950 Cadillac Miller-Meteor.

Famous movie cars: Ghostbusters

the big lebowski (1998)

17. 1973 Ford Gran Torino

The Big Lebowski (1998): The original pick was a Chrysler LeBaron but in order to fit the character, they needed a bigger boat. I think it worked out all right. The poor car is destroyed throughout the film, starting with this unfortunate incident involving a lit joint and a closed window.

Famous cars in cinema

ferris bueller's day off (1986)

18. 1985 Modena GT Spyder California

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): Where would this film be without Cameron’s dad’s ridiculous taste. The “Ferrari” wasn’t a Ferrari at all. It was instead a 1985 Modena GT Spyder California. And actually there were three cars used in the movie — one for the majority of the movie, a second when the car rolls out of the garage, and a third for other scenes.

"I love this car. It is so choice."

national lampoon's vacation (1983)

19. 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983): Chevy Chase’s iconic movie car throughout the Vacation franchise is a bit of an eyesore but it got the job done. Apparently five vehicles were used for this particular movie.

Famous station wagons in cinema!

dumb and dumber (1994)

20. The Shaggin’ Wagon

Dumb and Dumber (1994): The classic Shaggin’ Wagon has got to be one of the coolest movie cars. Under the floppy ears and fur, we have ourselves a regular, old '84 Ford Econoline.

Iconic movie cars: The Shaggin' Wagon

thelma & Louise (1991)

21. 1966 Ford Thunderbird

Thelma & Louise (1991): The build of this car allowed for production practicality. The openness and width of the ride made it incredibly easy to shoot the actors.

This car was perfect for production

the graduate (1967)

23. 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Duetto Spider

The Graduate (1967): Along with the iconic “Mrs. Robinson” hit from Simon & Garfunkel, any fan of The Graduate will surely remember this car making multiple trips up and down California highways.

The Graduate iconic car

little miss sunshine (2006)

24. 1971 Volkswagen T2 Microbus

Little Miss Sunshine (2006): When I think of the film Little Miss Sunshine, I think of the image of this van before I think of anything else. It’s a staple in the film and a super iconic movie car.

Watch this scene from Little Miss Sunshine

grease (1978)

25. 1948 Ford De Luxe Convertible

Grease (1978): Many famous movie cars are used in this film, but the best one is used for Danny Zuko’s daydream in Greased Lightning.

Forget the famous scene? Watch it here

kill bill Vol. 1 (2003)

26. 1997 Chevrolet 2500 Silverado Fleetside

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003): Tarantino apparently took this car home after filming Kill Bill. He even let Missy Elliott use it for a music video, and it was also used in Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.

The writing on the back of the car was apparently changed to "Party"

the dukes of hazzard (2005)

27. General Lee, 1969 Dodge Charger

The Dukes of Hazzard (2005): Apparently, roughly two dozen Chargers were used, but the majority of them didn’t last the stunt scenes. There are many Dodge Charger movies, but there's something pretty special about ol' General Lee.

Iconic cars in film: 69 Dodge Charger

Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

28. 1963 Volkswagen Beetle Model 117 Deluxe Sunroof Sedan

Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005): Aw, remember Herbie? Of course, this had to make the list. One of the great '60s car movies got an update with Lohan at the wheel. Roughly 100 Herbies were used in the making of all 5 installments.

Learn more about the Herbie models

the italian job (1969)

29. 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275

The Italian Job (1969): Probably one of cinema’s most famous chase scenes. The red, white, and blue getaway cars feature a four-cylinder, 75-hp engine, with a top speed of 97 mph. The is one of those rare instances when the association between a movie and a car becomes permanent.

Watch the chase

chitty chitty bang bang (1968)

30. Chitty Car

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968): Writer Ian Fleming took his inspiration for the car from a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s. Hands down one of the coolest movie cars.

Watch the car in the film

baby driver (2017)

31. Subaru Impreza WRX

Baby Driver (2017): Probably the most basic, Average Joe car on this list, but that’s also kind of why it deserves a spot. In Baby Driver, the character races his Subaru Impreza, which is ridiculous, but also...of course a kid would drive that car. Apparently it was supposed to be a Honda, but was switched at the last second.  

Watch Baby Driver opening clip

death proof (2007)

32. 1971 Chevrolet Nova SS

Death Proof (2007): Interesting concept for a film about a killer stuntman who causes accidents to kill his victims. His first weapon is the Chevy Nova and for his second attack, switched it over to a 1970 Dodge Challenger. And there is not a more insane, nail-biting sequence than stuntwoman Zoe Bell swinging around on the hood.

A 2007 Tarantino film


Best Movie One-Liners

Next up is an article dedicated to the most famous lines from your favorite movies. Some lines have become so impactful, we may not even realize they're from movies at all. 

Up Next: Best Movie One-Liners → 
Solution Icon - Shot List and Storyboard

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards.

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows.

Learn More ➜

  • Alyssa Maio is a screenwriter from New Jersey, now living in Los Angeles. She works as a copywriter here at StudioBinder.

Copy link