There's been a lot of cool movies, a lot of cool cars, and a lot of cool actors driving cool cars.
We've seen endless lists of all the classics; whether its Connery's Aston Martin or Steve McQueen's Mustang GT, we know those cars and we know them well. Still, icons are made everyday, and these are our picks for the five most famous movie cars and their popular drivers found in modern American cinema (from oldest to most recent).
Marty McFly’s DeLorean Time Machine
This car verges on the historical at this point, but its modernity is exactly what made it stand out back in 1985.
There’s a few things different about McFly’s DeLorean compared to the average DMC-12 – it travels through space and time, contains a flux capacitor, and requires 1.21 “jigowatts” to successfully start the engine. (Side note: the science advisor for the first film pronounced ‘gigawatts’ with a ‘j’ sound. Mistaking the pronunciation for a separate term, ‘jigowatts’ remains the spelling on the closed captioning for the Back to the Future films).
This vehicle was only manufactured from 1981-83, so by the time the film was released to the public, nobody could get their hands on one. However, even today there are still some out on the market. Ebay alone has several DeLorean’s available for purchase. Good luck finding one for the original price, though.
Also, in combination with the iconic imagery, excellent storytelling, and wisecracking attitude of a young Michael J. Fox (and his chemistry with Christopher Lloyd), Marty McFly and the Back to the Future saga soon became an American favorite.
Gonzo’s 1971 Cadillac El Dorado
While Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas can never be considered a blockbuster, its strong cult following has contributed greatly to the film’s delayed success.
Starring a young Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, the two actors take their 1971 Cadillac on a road trip to Las Vegas. To say anymore might proceed beyond the limitations of this blog’s G-rating. In either case, the Terry Gilliam-directed cult classic puts the two well-respected actors in the most obscene of situations – with a few of them occurring in El Dorado.
And though it isn’t as much of a focal point as Back to the Future’s time machine, the red El Dorado is the car you might keep an eye out for on Interstate 15. And if your trip is going anything like Raoul Duke’s and Dr. Gonzo’s, you might have a good enough chance of crossing paths.
Benjamin Button’s Indian Scout Motorcycle
If “Brad Pitt (bearing a marked resemblance to James Dean) in a leather jacket, wearing aviators, steering his classic Indian Scout with one hand” was a Jeopardy answer, the question would ultimately be “What is cool?”
Even though this scene lasted but a few seconds, it was this clip that may have brought an extra couple hundred thousand heads to the theaters. When it was shown in the trailer, screenshots of the image were plastered all over the internet; and while people search for a lot of things related to the movie, the “motorcycle scene” is one of the most searched terms associated with Brad Pitt. It may not be grouped with the other famous movie cars, but this vehicle will go down in history as one of the coolest cinematic rides ever.
Taking it all into consideration, anyone could look cool on an Indian Scout….but that cool? That’s a question I’m not prepared to answer.
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5
The Bond car to trump them all – the Aston Martin DB5.
By and large one of the handsomest cars manufactured in the 1960s, the DB5 perfectly suits the personality and appearance of the world’s greatest secret agent. It’s appeared in countless 007 media, including the films and video games, and is one of the most highly-sought automobiles in the market. There were just over 1,000 of these manufactured between 1963-1965.
While it is a classic car, its appearance in Daniel Craig’s Skyfall was the best example of the Aston Martin DB5’s timelessness. Daniel Craig’s more-rugged Bond was a fan favorite, but many fans were dismayed by the second film’s derivation from the original “feel” of the Bond series; when Craig rolled away in his DB5, a horde of Bond fans were overwhelmed at the blatant pandering to their fanboyism. It was a new Bond, but he felt much like the Bond of old. Of all the famous movie cars, this has got to be the most well known.
Since then, Craig’s screen-time with the DB5 is perhaps the best tribute to long-time Bond fans and automobile aficionados.
Mad Max Rockastansky’s Ford V8 Interceptor
It was way back in 1973 when the Ford Falcon was first manufactured.
Six years later, and Mel Gibson made his big screen debut in Australia with his portrayal of Mad Max, a policeman turned wanderer and revenge-seeker. Thirty-some years later, pre-production began on Mad Max Fury Road, starring a world-famous Tom Hardy.
In spite of many of the original fans hoping to see an appearance from Gibson, they eventually came around, praising the film as one of the best of the year and one of the greatest action films ever made. Fortunately, Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Max was greatly revered, and his homage paid to the character (this included a dinner date with Gibson, himself) won him a great deal of new fans.
Still, the tribute that went beyond the character was the appearance of the V8 Interceptor. Perhaps the coolest car in movie history, this tank in a hot-rod body has now seated two versions of Max Rockastansky – the ultimate renegade anti-hero.