Movies With Cars As Stars

May 12, 2011
The recent Mercedes-Benz Drive And Seek film featuring the new C-Class coupe is but one example of a very popular marketing ploy manufacturers of interesting cars have called upon in recent years.

All of these films owe a debt of gratitude to the original "Car As Star" film, Rendezvous, released in 1976, ostensibly featuring a Ferrari 275 GTB screaming through the streets of Paris. We say ostensibly as there has been some debate regarding the car the camera was mounted upon. Many have said the camera car is actually a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 and the Ferrari's engine sounds are dubbed into the sound track. Either way, watching the footage will set your heart to racing.

Fast forward some 27 years later to 2003, we find Nissan recreating that famous film with the then new 350Z in a short film entitled The Run. Shot in Prague, with considerably higher production values--nine cameras were used to capture footage of the car--as well as the streets through which The Run was made.

Preceding the Nissan film was an amazingly ambitious project by BMW. The company contracted five of the most gifted action directors of the late 1990s to produce The Hire series of five films, portraying actor Clive Owen as a driver for hire. Clearly the inspiration for the Jason Statham Transporter films, Owen takes on different assignments, using the BMW model best suited for the job.

Here's one of our favorites from that series, featuring Madonna, with direction by (then-husband) Guy Ritchie.

While all of these short films were produced primarily to demonstrate the capabilities of the cars they feature, they went one step farther to become indispensable aspects of car culture. As long as there is cinema, there will be movies featuring whatever the popular mode of transportation we aspire to is at the time. And that's a very, very, good thing. 

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