The History of Iconic & Classic Cars in Cinema

The union between classic films and iconic cars goes back decades. From the muscle cars of the 1960s to the ultra-light and stylish sports cars of the 1980s, to the formidable custom-built machines of today, film vehicles are often a reflection of their era. These are some of the most memorable machines to ever appear on the silver screen, from the classic era of Hollywood to today. Take a look:
cinematic cars infographic

The Classic Action Era

The late 1960s and early 70s produced some of the most iconic action movies of all time. They also taught audiences that behind every great action hero is an equally great car. The Aston Martin DB5 appeared in the first James Bond film, Goldfinger, in 1964. It made such an impression that it appeared in five additional Bond films and sales of the vehicle increased by 50 percent. In 1968, the American film Bullitt set the gold standard for on-screen car chases, due in no small part to the use of a Ford Mustang Fastback that reached speeds in excess of 110 mph during filming.

The Materialistic 80’s

The 1980s have a reputation as a decade of excess, and there are few cars that capture the feeling of the era better than the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, best known for its appearance in Back to the Future. The car was produced in such limited quantities that few moviegoers were likely to see one outside the theater. However, the 80s also saw the appearance of several iconic movie vehicles that could have been driven by regular guys and gals. Take, for example, the Dodge Monaco driven by the Blues Brothers in 1980. It was nothing flashy, but it got the job done.

The Modern Era

Moviegoers today are a tough lot to impress, so the iconic cars of the modern era need to be something truly special. The Batmobile used in Batman Begins in 2005 was custom built from the ground up to make it look like nothing else that had appeared on the screen before.