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What is the best driving film?

26 February 2015 ( 12 June 2018 )

Classic film The Italian Job has sped away with the number one spot in a survey of the UK’s favourite driving films.

Illustration of a Mini
Classic minis stole the show in The Italian Job

The 1960s comic crime caper, which famously features a trio of Minis navigating their way through a Turin traffic jam, secured a massive 26% of the votes in a poll by used-car dealers The Car People.

Close behind was musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with 20% of the vote. In third place, with 15% of the vote, was The Fast and the Furious film series.

Read on to discover the rest of the results as well as some interesting facts about the driving films that made the top 10...

10. Drive (2011)

When a Hollywood stuntman turns getaway driver, things take a turn for the ultra-violent… This movie was more of cult favourite than a mega box office hit, probably thanks to its ‘18’ certificate. Interestingly, in preparation for his role, Ryan Gosling restored the 1973 Chevy Malibu that his character drives in the film.

9. Rush (2013)

During the filming of Rush, which charts the rivalry between real-life racing drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, actors Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth weren't permitted to drive real Formula 1 cars; instead they had to make do with Formula 3 vehicles fitted with fake F1 bodywork.

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8. Days of Thunder (1990)

Days of Thunder tells the story of two NASCAR rivals who form a friendship when they both find themselves side-lined with injuries. Star Tom Cruise clearly got a little too used to the fast-paced race track as he landed himself with a speeding ticket for doing 85mph in a 55mph zone during filming.

7. Taxi (1998)

We’re talking about the original French action-comedy film here, of course (not the rather embarrassing 2004 Hollywood remake). Luc Besson wrote the script for Taxi in just 30 days, and the racing helmet worn by Daniel at the end of the movie belonged to French Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis.

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6. Bullitt (1968)

This Steve McQueen-starring action-thriller features what is surely one of the most famous car chases ever filmed. The two competing cars reportedly reached speeds of over 110mph at times during the epic 10 minutes and 53 second scene.

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5. Cars (2006)

The only animated movie to make it into the countdown, Cars is a family-friendly film with a cast made up entirely of talking cars! All of the characters were based on real-life vehicles – for example, Ramone was supposed to be a 1959 Chevrolet Impala, while Luigi is a 1959 Fiat 500.

4. Speed (1994)

This high-stakes thriller starring Keanu Reeves was a huge hit, grossing over $350 million at the box office. 12 different buses were used during filming, and lead actress Sandra Bullock actually had to pass her bus driving test so that she could man the wheel of the bomb-carrying bus.

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3. The Fast and the Furious series (2001-present)

The Fast and the Furious franchise, with all its high-octane street racing scenes, has proved immensely successful – in fact the eighth movie, The Fate of the Furious, was released in 2017. Over 1,500 cars were used in the huge scale ‘Race Wars’ scene in the first movie, which had a budget in excess of $500 million.

2. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Seven different ‘Chitties’ were built for use in this iconic musical (and Radio DJ Chris Evans reportedly paid nearly £500,000 for one of them back in 2012). Of course, none of the vehicles could actually fly or swim like they appeared to do in the film – but, judging by the fact that it received so many votes in the survey, the magic car still clearly catches the imagination of movie lovers today.

1. The Italian Job (1969)

Despite the fact that they play such a prominent starring role in the movie, BMC refused to donate any Minis for use during the filming of The Italian Job. This stylish Sixties gem has become a truly iconic film over the years, and the much-quoted line, "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" was voted the most memorable in any film back in 2003. At the time the movie was made, star Michael Caine hadn’t passed his driving test.  Watch carefully and you’ll notice that he’s never actually seen driving a car…

Is your favourite here? Is there a classic that has been missed out? Share your views in the comments section below.  

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.