It’s almost the weekend, and that means you should book in another Gizmodo movie night. This week, pull on your driving gloves, top up on 100-octane racing fuel, and crank over that small-block V8 — these are the best driving and car chase movies and TV streaming online right now.
We’ve re-jigged our existing Netflix Movie Night series, and brought in Australia’s other popular subscription video on demand services — Stan and Presto — to give you a broader selection of movies and TV shows to enjoy. On all three services, you can watch from your tablet or smartphone, on your PC or laptop, through your Smart TV, or through a media streaming dongle like the Google Chromecast, although specifics can vary.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Gizmodo Movie Night suggestions:
Notable exceptions from this list are The Italian Job, Days of Thunder, and all the Fast and Furious franchise, which are genuinely fun car movies — even if the newer ones are a little detached from reality. By the way, if you like car films, you should track down The Hire — it’s a series of eight short fictional films made by BMW and starring Clive Owen, showcasing a whole range of different mid-’00s BMWs sliding around doing crazy things.
Drive is a great — and understated — car movie. Ryan Gosling is the Driver, a wheelman working odd jobs for the Hollywood movie industry, spinning a wrench in his spare time, and also running from the police in a life of crime. Drive isn’t all about cars like a Gone In 60 Seconds or a Need For Speed, but it’s a good movie outside of the car chases and spinning tyres, too — which is rare in this genre. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbour Irene.
The Spy Who Loved Me has one of the best car chase scenes of all time in it. A brand-new-for-1977 Lotus Esprit supercar — loaded, in true Bond fashion, with missiles and bulletproofing — chased by a helicopter and cars, evades capture in just about the best way possible; perennial action hero and super-spy James Bond drives into the ocean, flips a switch, and continues on his way as the Esprit transforms into a submarine. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: When British and Russian nuclear subs start to mysteriously vanish, Agent 007 is assigned to team up with Russia’s beautiful top spy to thwart archvillain Karl Stromberg’s plans for destroying the world with nuclear bombs.
Death Proof is part of the Tarantino Grindhouse double feature, sharing the silver screen with Planet Terror. It’s an obvious homage to the car and sexploitation film era of the ’70s, with big crashes, voluptuous women and fast cars, and it absolutely delivers on all three of those promises. A psychopathic movie stunt driver stalks young women and then coerces them into his “death-proof” stunt car. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: For DJ, Jungle Julia, dusk offers an opportunity to unwind with two of her friends. Tracking their moves is Stuntman Mike, a rebel who leers from behind the wheel of his car. As the girls settle into their beers, Mike’s weapon revs just feet away.
Life On Mars is a left-field choice for a TV show about cars, but bear with me. Sure, the two-series show’s stars are ostensibly DCI Sam Tyler and DCI Gene Hunt, but in every episode and scene that it’s in, the spotlight is stolen by the Mark 3 Ford Cortina. If you like old cars, and the occasional cops-versus-robbers car chase, then this show should be on your list to watch. The ’70s-themed music is predictably awesome. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: John Simm stars as the Manchester detective who, after a car crash, wakes up in 1973.
Ronin has one of the best car chase scenes in any movie that I’ve watched. Throughout the streets of Nice and Paris, a plot to steal a briefcase by a loose coalition of former soldiers, spies and intelligence agents goes awry. There’s a convoy attack, a high-speed highway chase, and a getaway through narrow city streets; the cars in this movie are late-’90s cool, including the hulking Audi S8 and massive Mercedes 450SEL 6.9. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: An international team of former intelligence agents is hired to carry out a dangerous mission in this post-Cold War action adventure directed by veteran filmmaker John Frankenheimer. When the caper goes awry, each member reveals his true self.
Need For Speed may seem like a cynical cash-grab on the back of a long-running video game franchise, but I promise you, it’s not — it’s a bunch of different races rooted in a lot more reality than the Fast and Furious franchise. The cars — whether they’re tuner imports, old-school or new-school American muscle, or million-dollar European hypercars — are beautiful and beautifully shot, and they make Need For Speed a genuinely enjoyable movie for gearheads. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Fresh out of the jail, a street racer puts the pedal to the metal in a wild cross-country event to take down the man who framed him for manslaughter.
Top Gear is the car lover’s TV show. If you’re a die-hard fan, you’ll want to hunt down the earlier seasons, but especially in 2015, season 17 or so onwards is where the show really hits its stride with amazing production values, beautiful cars and incredible challenges and driving journeys all around the world. There’s probably not a great deal that you don’t already know about Top Gear — we can’t wait for the new and improved Amazon Prime reboot. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Jeremy Clarkson and his crew of car lovers test the limits of luxury vehicles in this hit show that also features celebrities racing on a test track.
xXx is ridiculous. There’s no denying that. But it’s a ridiculous action movie filled with cars and fast driving, and some serious vintage American muscle — no surprise considering it’s
Dominic Toretto Vin Diesel in the driver’s seat. Oh, the plot? An extreme sports athlete is recruited by the NSA to infiltrate a wealthy Russian crime gang. Seriously, just tune out and enjoy the black-on-black Pontiac GTO. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A notorious underground rush-seeker deemed untouchable by the law is coerced into cooperating with the government to infiltrate a Russian crime ring.
Speed Racer gets a lot of bad press, but you just have to be in the right mood and you’ll love it. It’s based on the Japanese manga and anime of the same name, and is a faithful live-action intepretation of Speed’s mission to become the best racing driver of all time, competing in the Casa Cristo 5000, a cross-country racing rally. This Wachowskis flick is beautiful, too — amazing CGI and beautiful futuristic vehicles. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Emile Hirsch stars as Speed in this big-screen adaptation of the popular 1960s-era Japanese animated series from directors Larry and Andy Wachowski.
Death Race is a Statham masterpiece, a remake (almost a prequel, really) of the 1975 film Death Race 2000. In a future America torn apart by crime, with private mega-prisons run for profit, being captured and incarcerated is not only a death sentence, but a license to print money. The Death Race is a pay-per-view rolling gladiator contest, and Jason Statham’s Jensen Ames is its unwilling — and framed — participant. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: An ex-con turned speedway champion is framed for a grisly murder and forced to compete in a grueling three-day race against his fellow inmates.
The Transporter is another Statham masterpiece (that’s all his movies, really) about a driver who will take any job moving goods or people, anywhere, with no questions. Bank heists? No problem. Mysterious packages? Why not. Mysterious struggling packages? Probably not. That’s the point where the driver’s comfortable life is turned upside down and he’s hunted almost to the point of extinction. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: A taciturn driver will deliver anything anywhere, without question. But when a beautiful Chinese woman is sold into a slavery ring, the transporter takes the wheel of a getaway car.
Easy Rider is technically a motorcycle movie, not a car movie, but they’re pretty much the same thing, right? Either way, it’s an Oscar-nominated road movie starring some beautiful choppers, based on late ’40s and early ’50s Harley Davidsons, and it’s the kind of thing that’ll make you want to pack a bag and take a road trip across the United States of America. Don’t anger the locals, though. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Two drugged-out bike riders and a spaced-out lawyer go on an odyssey in search of the real America only to find violence and bigotry.
Fury is a car movie. It’s a movie about a particularly big car, with tracked wheels and a giant turret-mounted gun on top. Fury is a World War II film about a tank, and the soldiers inside it — tasked with an impossible mission and trapped behind enemy lines. It’s brutal and raw, and a hell of a lot more realistic than most of the other World War II films out there — and it stars real World War II tanks alongside its Hollywood cast. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: On a deadly mission behind enemy lines a wily WWII sergeant, his loyal Sherman tank crew and a rookie soldier find themselves hopelessly outnumbered.
The Town is notable for an amazing armoured car robbery scene, with a climactic car chase through the twisting, winding streets of Boston. Beyond that, it’s also a gripping movie about crime and criminals, especially interesting because it’s written by, directed and acted in by Ben Affleck — who also directed Gone Baby Gone in Boston as well. This is a classic cops-versus robbers car chase. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: A bank robber falls in love with a former robbery hostage and decides he wants out of the life. With the Feds closing in he must choose: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves.
Locke isn’t a movie about a car, it’s a movie set in a car, over a single car ride between Birmingham and London in the middle of the night. In Locke’s BMW X5, he is the only occupant, and the entire movie is just him and the people to whom he talks on the phone. It’s a fascinating character movie, and it was actually acted and shot in real time on the journey between the two major UK cities. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul — all taking place over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.