The Best Hollywood Films Based Around Racing

If you’ve watched the latest Fast And Furious film you’ll know that the franchise has long since gone into fantasy territory. Yes, the Fast And Furious movies are entertaining, but they hardly do the real world of motorsport any justice. There are, however, some Hollywood films that treat racing with the respect it deserves.

If you’re serious about racing and interested in learning more about the sport, these are the Hollywood films that deserve your attention.

Grand Prix (1966)

If you want to see real, unabashed practical racing done right you need to go back in time. Hollywood today is happy using CGI for just about everything, dramatically watering down the experience. In 1966, of course, there was no CGI, so everything had to be done for real.

Grand Prix is based around American racer Pete Aron, telling the story of how he got involved with a teammate’s wife. The story is interesting enough, but what really makes this film legendary is the incredible racing. Forget about dodgy green screen effects, the filmmakers in 1966 strapped cameras to cars and went all out.

Le Mans (1971)

Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen, was a tragic flop when it released in cinemas in 1971. But that certainly doesn’t mean that this isn’t one of the greatest motorsport films of all time. The stunts and racing scenes are some of the best ever committed to film, with a few crashes that truly defy expectations. No, they really don’t make films like this anymore.

There are a few scenes between the action that are perhaps slightly tedious, so don’t be afraid to check out Super Bowl betting on your phone while you wait for the next race.

Days Of Thunder (1990)

Top Gun was great, it’s just too bad Tom Cruise never showed the same enthusiasm for racing, right? Hollywood culture may have forgotten about Days Of Thunder, but racing fans around the world certainly haven’t. In comparison to other films on this list Days Of Thunder has far better acting, and a much deeper focus on plot. But that doesn’t mean that Days Of Thunder isn’t still spectacular in the racing department.

Hopes are that Cruise will do a modern sequel, like with Top Gun, and give Days Of Thunder the respect it deserves.


Rush (2013)

When Stallone released Driven many thought the racing genre had dead. Yes, Driven was pretty cool, but its heavy reliance on CGI and melodrama made it a snooze fest for real racing fans. Then came Rush, releasing in 2013. Dramatically better in every way, Rush explores real life racing legends Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

It’s debatable how much respect these real life legends are given in the film, but there is no question that this is one of the best films about racing ever made. Exciting and unbelievably tense, but also tragic and a little depressing, it simply doesn’t get much better than this.

Yes, the racing is incredible, but so is the earnest look at the real challenges faced by professional motorsport racers.

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