Road movies for your living room this Christmas
So, after turkey, crackers and pudding if you're trying to avoid the Queen's speech and re-runs of 'Only Fools and Horses', Autoblog UK brings you 10 of the best car films to watch over Christmas 2011.
Let us know what you think and if you disagree.
1. The Italian Job (1969)
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if Michael Caine's caper film wasn't on the schedule. The 27th greatest British film of all time (according to Loaded magazine) gets off to a good start with one of the most beautiful cars in the world, the Lamborghini Miura being driven through a tunnel and into the front of a bulldozer.
The plan to rob a four million dollar shipment of gold involves an Aston, two Jag E-types, an Austin van, a coach and of course the stars of the show, the Mini Cooper S's. Highlight of the film has to be the Mini's escape from Turin. Jumps, driving down stairs and through tunnels all feature in one of Remy Julien's best. A must watch even if the end is a bit rubbish.
2. Cars (2006)
This animated family film produced by Pixar, is about what could be a car enthusiast's dream, a world populated entirely by talking cars and other vehicles.
Much more than a just a film for kids, it's a slick production given credibility by voice credits including Owen Wilson in the lead role of Lightening McQueen, plus Paul Newman, Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson and former F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher as an animated Ferrari F430.
3. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
There's no better film to sum up the 'Max Power' modifying generation than the original Fast and the Furious film. There is a storyline, but the real stars of the show are a twin-turbo Mazda RX-7, three modified Honda Civic Coupes, a Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible and the famous bright orange twin-turbo Toyota Supra, all being modified and thrashed within an inch of their lives.
This film won the hearts of tuners and owners across the world, started the careers of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and three more not so good sequels followed.
4. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
This 2000 remake of the 1974 hit features Nick Cage as Randall "Memphis" Raines, a retired master car thief, forced to return to his former trade to steal 50 cars in order to save his younger brother Kip. And the stage is set, with Memphis stealing the cars on a list including the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, or codename "Eleanor," a car which Memphis had unsuccessfully tried to steal numerous times before.
Supercars featured in this film included various Ferraris and a Jaguar XJ220.
5. Herbie: The Love bug (1968)
One of the most famous cars in film has to be the '53'- liveried Volkswagen Beetle, or Herbie as he's better known. Herbie first raced onto our screens in 1968's 'The Love Bug'. Again, the story about the car with a heart is largely forgettable, but the giant-killing racing against exotic cars such as the Austin Healey 3000, Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari 250GT and Shelby Cobra certainly aren't.
Apparently, the reason for Herbie's supercar performance was that many of the Beetles used had Porsche engines.
6. Ronin (1998)
This Robert De Niro and Jean Reno film made me realise how cool, understated and quick the first-generation Audi S8 was. It was certainly no match for the baddies in their Citroen XM. The second is a tad unrealistic, as what look like a standard Peugeot 406 manages to keep pace with a moody looking BMW 535i that looks almost like an early M5.
Overall, Ronin is a slick and stylish film, with high quality car chases and Paris as an elegant backdrop.
7. Taxi (1998)
Another totally improbable story, I mean when was the last time you saw a 180mph Peugeot 406, even if it was heavily modified. The story is about a pizza delivery boy, Daniel, who qualifies for a taxi permit and then promptly gets nicked for driving too fast. The only way he can keep his licence, is to agree to chauffeur a non-driving police officer?!?
It might not be believable, but it's a humorous and neatly produced film which led on to two sequels.
8. Vanishing Point (1971)
Kowalski (Barry Newman) plays a former racer turned delivery driver, who had to worry about the American forces of law and order in his quest to shift a Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco (950 miles) in 15 hours. Cue many high speed car chases, a bevy of wrecked police vehicles and surprisingly a naked female motorcyclist.
One for American muscle car fans, but along with the famous Dodge Challenger, a Jaguar XK-E, Chevrolet Impala, Plymouth Belvedere and a Ford Thunderbird also feature.
9. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
This film is based on Ian Fleming's book and is possibly the most endearing caricature of a car ever, well apart from Disney's Herbie films. The films star car was based on the aero-engined racing Chitty Bang Bang, built and raced by Count Zborowski at Brooklands in 1921. While racing, it had a Mercedes chassis and a 23-litre, six-cylinder Maybach engine.
It was fast, but the car in the film never looked that quick or stylish with its body fashioned from a boat. Harmless, timeless fun for kids and adults alike; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang should be staple Christmas car film watching. Even if it's just to listen to Dick Van Dyke's dodgy British accent.
10. Le Mans (1971)
It might be lacking in plot and dialogue, but there's no doubt this film is beautifully shot. You only have to look at the title sequence with Steve McQueen hustling a Porsche 911S along deserted French lanes. Not enough for you? What about the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S, which look good even when they're standing still which doesn't happen often in the film!
The crowd and atmosphere are also really realistic, giving us a real feel for what still happens in a French town for one weekend every year. Awesome.