The Top 10 Carsploitation Movies of the 1970’s
Carsploitation – the beautiful marriage between cars and exploitation- is prominently known for the drive-in flicks of the 1970s. Muscle cars, sports cars or some junk yard wreck it doesn’t matter as long as it’s driving fast, evading the police and at some point crashing into something. It also spawned some of the most amazing man cave worthy posters to come out of the 1970’s. I like cars almost as much as I like movies; I daily drive a Camaro SS that spends its 95% of its time stuck in Dallas traffic going 20MPH begging to be set free. Thanks to carsploitation flicks I have to fight the urge just to floor it down the service road and drive across an open field at 100 MPH, is that still frowned upon?
Let’s get your heart racing and take a look back at the top ten carsploitation movies of the 1970’s as chosen by the users of Flickchart.
10. Race with the Devil (1975)
Directed By Jack Starrett. Two couples on an RV trip from Texas to Colorado are terrorized by a cult after they witness a murder during a Satanic ritual. Starring Peter Fonda and Warren Oates, Race with the Devil is a mixture of a car chase & horror film and remains a cult favorite to this day. Watching the ritual scene gives you a good example of what qualified for a PG rating in the days before PG-13. The RV in the movie was a 1975 Vogue 32′ Villa Grande, 32 feet and gleaming!
• Currently ranked #5202 of all-time
• Ranked 2004 times by 129 Users
• Wins 47% of matchups
Directed by Elliot Silverstein. A black beast of a car- with no plates and no driver -goes on a murderous rampage, terrorizing the residents of Santa Ynez, Utah. This flick is listed as one of the 100 most enjoyably bad movies ever made in the book “The Official Razzie Movie Guide”. The evil car in the movie was a customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III designed by famous car customizer George Barris. Barris built many custom vehicles for the film and tv including the 1966 Batmobile (POW).
• Currently ranked #4154 of all-time
• Ranked 3790 times by 323 Users
• Wins 34% of match-ups
8. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
Directed by John Hough and based on the novel “The Chase” by Richard Unekis. Race Car driver Larry and his mechanic Deke rob a supermarket to fund the purchase of their dream race car. Along for the ride is Larry’s one night stand, Mary, as they are chased by police who will stop at nothing to bring them down. Starring Peter Fonda, Vic Morrow and an uncredited cameo from Roddy McDowall ( Cornelius!), this movie is pure muscle car mayhem. The starring car was a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 painted the 1971 color “Limelight” yellow, which can appear as more of a green color depending on the transfer you are watching.
• Currently ranked #3790 of all-time
• Ranked 4046 times by 201 Users
• Wins 45% of matchups
7. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Directed by H.B Halicki. With a front as Insurance investigators, Maindrian Pace and his team work as car thieves. A South American drug lord offers them a deal to steal 48 cars, and everything appears to go smoothly; that is until it’s time to get Eleanor. This flick has a 34-minute car chase in which 93 vehicles are destroyed, what else do I have to say? The star car “Eleanor” is a 1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof made to look like a 1973. Halicki had bought the cars in 1971, but it took him almost three years to raise the money to make the movie, so he just redressed them to look like 1973 models.
• Currently ranked #3607 of all-time
• Ranked 2907 times by 374 Users
• Wins 40% of matchups
6. The Driver (1978)
Directed by Walter Hill – The unnamed driver makes his living stealing cars and using them as getaway vehicles for robberies around Los Angeles. A Detective becomes obsessed with catching the driver, even if it means destroying his career. Starring Ryan O’Neal and Bruce Dern, this flick has fantastic shots of Los Angeles, and some of the best realistic car chases ever filmed. You may also notice some similarities between this flick and Drive. The best chase involves a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am and a 1974 Chevy Stepside and runs almost 10 minutes.
• Currently ranked #1917 of all-time
• Ranked 5623 times by 275 Users
• Wins 53% of matchups
5. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Directed by Monte Hellman. The story follows two men, who make their living street racing locals from town to town, that decide to take on 1970 GTO in a race across the Southwest. Starring Warren Oates, singer James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, this flick is a time capsule of Route 66 and was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2012. The star car is a 1955 Chevy, which recently sold at auction for almost $160,000
• Currently ranked #1797 of all-time
• Ranked 5247 times by 259 Users
• Wins 53% of matchups
4. Death Race 2000 (1975)
Directed by Paul Bertal. In the not-so-distant future, a nationwide road rally called “the Annual Transcontinental Road Race” takes place. The winner is not who finishes first but by who scores the most points along the way by running down innocent pedestrians. Starring David Carradine, Martin Kove (Sweep the leg) and Sylvester Stallone. This flick features some crazy customized cars by Dick Dean, like the Shala-Vette below driven by the most feared driver Frankenstein.
• Currently ranked #1315 of all-timem
• Ranked 16109 times by 1506 Users
• Wins 42% of matchups
3. Vanishing Point (1971)
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian. Auto-delivery driver Kowalski takes a bet to get a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T from Denver to San Francisco in 15 Hours. Determined to make the drive he pops some Benzedrine and stops at nothing to reach San Francisco in time. This whole movie is one long car chase set against the backdrop of a beautiful barren desert. Most of the high-speed shots were filmed at around 50mph with the film rate slowed to half speed, then when projected at normal speed they appeared to be going a lot faster.. The Challengers in the flick were on loan from Chrysler and had to be returned to in reasonable condition, so the production used a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro for stunt shots.
• Currently ranked #1050 of all-time
• Ranked 9198 times by 793 Users
• Wins 48% of matchups
2. Mad Max (1979)
Directed by George Miller. Max Rockatansky is a Policeman, who patrols stretches of highway in a post-apocalyptic Australian outback. When his family is murdered by a gang of outlaws Max goes a bit “mad” and straps in for some high-octane revenge. Featuring Mel Gibson at his best, Mad Max is stunning with some over-the-top car stunts and a great script. Just make sure you don’t accidentally watch the dubbed American version. The U.S Distributor, American International Pictures, thought that audiences wouldn’t want to a movie with Australian accents, so they had the whole movie dubbed by American actors. Max’s ride is a modified 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT, a car that sold exclusively in Australia.
• Currently ranked #688 of all-time
• Ranked 100,685 times by 11949 Users
• Wins 44% of matchups
1. Duel (1971)
Directed by Steven Spielberg. An electronics salesman driving cross country in a Plymouth Valiant is stalked along the open road by a mysterious driver in a 1955 Peterbilt tanker truck. Spielberg’s directorial debut has a simple plot but plays out so well, very much Jaws on the open road. The script is based on a short story from Richard Matheson that was originally published in Playboy magazine. Matheson was a superb talent who wrote the novels I Am Legend and The Shrinking Man, along with some of the best Twilight Zone episodes.
• Currently ranked #490 of all-time
• Ranked 42,960 times by 3250 Users
• Wins 45% of matchups