Top 20 Classic 80s Car Movies

80s Car Movies

This article takes you back to the 80s car movies you probably forgot or haven’t seen or heard of.

Dating back to 1980, the movie industry produced blockbuster car movies as automobiles were widely appreciated during this period.

The 80s car movies featured many exciting scenes that displayed different uses of cars, the unique designs and engines used to run the car, and the materials used in the vehicles’ production.

In this article is a list of the 80s car movies that you should watch.

Maybe as an older person, this article will remind you of the car movies that made your 80s fun, or if you weren’t around that time, then reading this article will give you a sneak peek of the exciting 80s car movies you missed.

1. Used Cars (1980)

  • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
  • Casts: Kurt Russell, Gerrit Graham, Frank McRae, Deborah Harmon, Joseph P. Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean, Harry Northrup, Woodrow Parfrey, Michael Talbott, and Jack Warden
  • IMDb rating: 6.7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 53mins

Rudy Russo aspires to go into politics to run for the state Senate. Still, as a car salesman working under Luke, he faces excellent competition with Luke’s brother when Luke dies. 

In his bid to preserve the business and gain money for his intended campaign, he uses ridiculous means to achieve this. This is one of the 80s car movies that was released in 1980.

2. The Chain Reaction (1980)

  • Directed by: Ian Barry
  • Casts: Steve Bisley, Arna-Maria Winchester, Ross Thompson, Ralph Cotterill, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Lorna Lesley, and Richard Moir
  • IMDb rating: 5.4/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 32min

In a rural area in Australia, an earthquake occurs, and it causes a nuclear leak. One of the scientists, Heinrich, an engineer, is being chased together with a couple who were on vacation by thugs sent from Heinrich Boss to shut the engineer up as he escapes the facility to warn the public of the impending danger of nuclear leakage. This is another blockbuster movie in the 80s car movies that were produced in that period.

3. The Devil At Your Heels (1981)

  • Directed by: Robert Fortier
  • Casts: Ken Carter, Gordon Pinsent, Evel Knievel, Dark Robinson, Kenny Powers, Jim Deist, Don Branker and Mark Sennet
  • IMDb rating: 7.7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 43mins

In a sports documentary about Ken Carter, a Daredevil and stuntman, the movie features his trials and attempt to jump over a large St. Lawrence River using a rocket-powered car. This is one of the 80s car movies that was produced within that period.

4. Mad Max 2: The road warrior (1981)

  • Directed by: George Miller
  • Casts: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Mike Preston, Max Phipps, Vernon Wells, Emil Minty, Kjell Nilsson, Virginia Hey, William Zappa, Arkie Whiteley, Steven Spears, Syd Heylen, Moira Claux, David Downer, and Jerry O’Sullivan
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Running Time:1hr 35m

Max Rockatansky, in a post-apocalyptic Australia, wanders and roams the desert in the company of a small group who runs a remote oil refinery.

He becomes their hope of escaping a scavenging group of bandits. Mad Max is also one of the 80s car movies.

5. The Cannonball Run (1981)

  • Directed by: Hal Needham
  • Casts: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Adrienne Barbeau, Tara Buckman, Jamie Farr, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Tillis, Jackie Chan, and Michael Hui
  • IMDb rating: 6.2/10
  • Running Time:1hr 35min

The cannonball run is a 1981 action and comedy-packed movie with contestants participating in an illegal car racing competition and using dubious and wild tricks to emerge a winner. It is an exciting movie and one of the 80s car movies released during this period.

6. King of the mountain (1981)

  • Directed by: Noel Nosseck
  • Casts: Harry Hamlin, Joseph Bottoms, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Cox, Seymour Cassel, and Dennis Hopper
  • IMDb rating: 5.4/10
  • Running Time:1hr 30mins

This movie features racers participating in a dangerous race competition on Mulholland’s narrow, winding roads. It is one of the 80s car movies with competitors using sports cars to race.

7. The Junkman (1982)

  • Directed by: H.B. Halicki
  • Casts: H.B. Halicki, Christopher Stone, Susan Shaw, Lang Jeffries, and Hoyt Axton
  • IMDb rating: 6.6/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 38mins

Harlan Hollis, a filmmaker, is being chased by assassins who attempt to kill him as he travels on the road. It is one of the exciting 80s car movies that also starred the writer and producer of Gone in 60 seconds.

8. Freedom (1982)

  • Directed by: Scott Hicks
  • Casts: Jon Blake, Had Capelja, Chris Haywood, Bud Tingwell, Greg Rowe, Candy Raymond, Max Cullen, Reg Lye, Paul Sonkkila, Rob Steele, Lousie Le May, and John Clayton
  • IMDb rating: 6.8/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 42mins

Ron, a young Australian who lost everything but has a dream he cannot fulfill, steals a Porsche Turbo car and drives away with a girl who happens to be a runaway. This is one of the 80s car movies too.

9. Christine (1983)

  • Directed by: John Carpenter
  • Casts: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, and Harry Dean Stanton
  • IMDb rating: 6.7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 50mins

Christine is a movie that features a young boy named Arnie who purchases a supernaturally possessed car, and it affects him negatively and murders people too. Christine, an American horror movie, is one of the 80s car movies.

10. Midnight Spares (1983)

  • Directed by: Quentin Masters
  • Casts: Gia Carides, James Laurie, John Clayton, Max Cullen, Graeme Blundell, Tony Barry, Bruce Spence, David Argue, and Jonathan Coleman
  • IMDb rating: 5.1/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 27mins

A sprint car driver goes after a group of car thieves after discovering their involvement in his father’s death and also falls in love with a hot dog vendor. It is one of the 80s car movies.

11. Repo Man (1984)

  • Directed by: Alex Cox
  • Casts: Olivia Barash, Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter, Angelique Pettyjohn, Dick Rude, Jimmy Buffett, Zander Schloss, Jennifer Balgobin, Fox Harris, Vonetta McGee, and Michael Nesmith
  • IMDb rating: 6.8/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 32mins

Otto becomes a recovery agent for a car repossession agency and is on a quest to find a Chevrolet Malibu car that is wanted with a high reward. This is one of the 80s car movies.

12. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

  • Directed by: Martin Brest
  • Casts: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Gil Hill, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Paul Reiser, Lisa Eilbacher, Stephen Elliott, and Brownson Pinchot
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10 
  • Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Axel Foley is a cop whose friend was murdered, and his investigation leads him to uncover the criminals in Beverly hills. One of the 80s car movies loaded with many action and humor-packed scenes.

13. Back to the Future (1985)

  • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
  • Casts: Micheal J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Crispin Glover
  • IMDb rating: 8.5/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 56mins

Accidentally, a young high school student is sent into the past by a time machine and must unite his parents in the past to return to the Future he came from. Back to the Future is one of the science 80s car movies.

14. Black moon rising (1986)

  • Directed by: Harley Cokeliss
  • Casts: Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel, and Bubba Smith
  • IMDb rating:5.5/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 40mins

The FBI hires them to steal a data tape that has a crime recording in it from a corporation, but he is discovered and hides the video in a high-tech prototype car which is stolen from him by an auto thief. This is an exciting movie in the 80s car movies collection.

15. No Man’s Land (1987)

  • Directed by: Peter Werner
  • Casts: Charlie Sheen, D.B Sweeney, Randy Quaid, Lara Harris, R. D. call, Bill Duke, M. Emmet Walsh, Clare Wren, Arlen Dean Snyder, James F. Kelly, Danitza Kingsley, and Lori Butler
  • IMDb rating: 6.1/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 47mins

No man’s land features an undercover officer who joins an auto theft group. As time passes, he is a good friend to his boss and falls in love with the boss’s sister. He later joins the gang to steal automobiles. This is an exciting crime car movie in the 80s car movies collection.

16. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

  • Directed by: John Hughes 
  • Casts: John Candy, Steve Martin, Laila Robins, Kevin Bacon, Michael McKean, Dylan Baker, Oliver Burnette, Eddie McClurg, Diana Douglas, Martin Ferrero, Carol Bruce, and Larry Hankin
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10
  • Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins 

Neal Page, who undergoes a business trip, needs to get home to his family in time for Thanksgiving, but as he misses his flight, he is forced to travel by other means with his companion Del. This is one of the 80s car movies released during that period.

17. Licence to Drive (1988)

  • Directed by: Greg Beeman
  • Casts: Corey Haim, Heather Graham, Corey Feldman, Carol Kane, Richard Masur, Micheal Manasseri, Parley Baer, Harvey Miller, Grant Goodeve, Nina Siemaszko, Michael A. Nickles, and James Avery.
  • IMDb rating: 6.3/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 30mims

Les Anderson fails his driver’s exams and doesn’t get a license. But then he goes out with his friends and lands in trouble. License to drive is an American comedy movie and one of the 80s car movies.

18. Tucker: The Man and his dream (1988)

  • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Casts: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Frederic Forrest, Mako, and Dean Stockwell
  • IMDb rating: 6.9/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 50mins

Tucker, an inventor who loves autos and dreams of an invention for the masses, is forced to defend his plans when he is accused of being a fraudster. This is one of the 80s car movies.

19. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

  • Directed by: Bruce Beresford
  • Casts: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone, and Esther Rolle
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 39mins

This movie is about an elderly Jewish woman who becomes friends and forms a close bond with her driver, who is a black African-American. This movie teaches valuable life lessons such as racial discrimination, love, deaths, etc. This is one of the 80s car movies.

20. Speed Zone

  • Directed by: Jim Drake
  • Casts: Melody Anderson, Peter Boyle, Donna Dixon, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Tim Matheson, The Smothers Brothers, Shari Belafonte, Joe Flaherty, Matt Frewer, Mimi Kuzyk, Alyssa Milano, Brooke Shields, and Carl Lewis
  • IMDb rating: 4.4/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 34mins

Speed zone features an illegal racing competition with new racers that holds despite the police attempts to stop the race from happening. This wild movie is part of the 80s car movies.


With this list, I have given you a sneak peek of the most exciting 80s car movies ever released. These movies spiced up the unique era of the 80s with exciting blockbuster content that would keep you glued to the TV.

And if you haven’t seen them yet, I encourage you to do so, and I bet an older person visiting the movie with you would begin telling you stories of what happened in the film.

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