‘I Feel The Need For Speed’: Car Racing Movies

We’re pushing your adrenaline limits these days at TC.com. Wanna see how much you can endure before your central nervous system overloads and you start begging for warm-fuzzy blogs on Tom’s best work with house plants. How much can you take? Well, as the best, most dedicated fans in the world, we know your threshold for insanely intense cinema is somewhere about mid-stratosphere.
 
Tom, as the iconic Maverick in Top Gun, sums up our feelings on this topic:

 
So after loading you up with heaps of muscle car and motorcycle chase scenes in recent days, we’re adding to the adrenal dump with some of the most intense car-racing footage we could find. That means Driving Miss Daisy did not make the cut. (But that old Cadillac sedan could tear it up, if need be.) And when we say car racing, we mean movies based on actual events, well, most of them are real. Death Race, not so much. But they are all races, and in the best vernacular of the time, this footage is sicknasty, double-bomb, dripping eye candy!!!

Right off the starting line, you’ll notice the footage from the 1960′s is particularly intense, seat-of-the-pants entertainment. Why? Because you had to be crazy to race in those days! Safety precautions were minimal at best, and what comes across, even in a movie, is the fine line between control and cartwheeling out of control that drivers tread in those days. And just about the only thing they had for protection were flimsy helmets and goggles. Maybe that’s why few recent movies have managed to capture the gritty intensity of the sport: Too many safety precautions have watered down its cinematic effect. What’s good for prolonging life may not alway be good for movies! But we’re all about safety first. That’s why we’re only showing you clips, not taking you out for a spin at Le Mans.

Tom’s Cole Trickle starts things off below, tearing up the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with his rival Russ Wheeler (Cary Elwes). Steve McQueen makes another cameo. A lover of all things motorized, just like Tom, McQueen has a career filmography filled with cars and motorcycles separating at the welds. A former motorcycle racer, McQueen is always a good bet to turn up on Tomcruise.com when the topic involves the need for speed. But that’s enough yakkin’. The important stuff is below. Enjoy responsibly!
 
Days of Thunder
In the final race of the movie, Trickle becomes a full-on torrent of speed and power.

 
The Last American Hero Trailer
The storied rise of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson makes for some smashing entertainment. These early races were raw!

 
Le Mans
Le Mans is known for its intense racing sequences, which are designed to give you a sense of the endurance required to finish, let alone win, the race. The growl of the engines lingers long after the clip ends.

 
The Grand Prix
More than the others, this clip shows the precariousness of early Grand Prix racing, when the sport was known for horrific crashes.

 
Death Race
So, this isn’t a race you’ll catch on cable, but the driving sequences are a blast–literally, since most of the cars are equipped with machine guns.

 
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