Sometimes, the car can be the star of the film, and that's certainly the case when it comes to these classic muscle cars in movies. Many of these films were designed that way, like a film that is centered around a big chase scene. But other times, the actors are simply upstaged by American muscle cars.
These fast cars looked mean and guzzled gas, and in many ways, were symbols of American excess. As gasoline became more expensive, muscle car's legendary fuel consumption and maintenance costs took its toll on the popularity of the muscle car — but their iconic status had already been cemented through movies.
Used to entertain and delight motorheads everywhere, the most memorable muscle cars in movies are creatively designed and feed a need for speed. Keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, the high speed chases and insane stunts earn these classics a spot as the most memorable muscle cars in movies.
Dodge Charger (The Dukes of Hazzard)
This Dodge Charger known as "The General Lee" is one of the most memorable muscle cars in movies — and in television! First seen in the TV series back in 1979, this 69 Charger is more connected to the franchise than any actor or actress in it.
The 2005 film stars Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott, Jessica Simpson, and Burt Reynolds. The whole cast — even Burt Reynolds — is an afterthought and can't overcome the star power of this car. And, if you've seen the movie, that's probably a good thing.
Ford Gran Torino (Gran Torino)
The movie was named after the car, what else do you need to know? If you haven't seen it, Clint Eastwood stars as a crabby and sort of racist war veteran who hates his neighbors. However, he loves his Gran Torino.
He isn't all bad though, and he even makes a meaningful connection with some of his Vietnamese neighbors by the end of the movie. Still, when you think of this film, you don't remember how many Oscars it was nominated for — you remember the muscle car.
Ford Shelby GT500 (Gone in 60 Seconds)
One of the few Nicholas Cage movies since Y2K that is actually watchable, also contains one of the most memorable muscle cars in movies. This Ford Mustang nicknamed "Eleanor" is clearly Cage's co-star. The plot of the movie is stealing cars, so it makes sense that they get a fair amount of love.
The film is a loose remake of the 1974 movie of the same name, but if you ask me, this one is better. It's easy to shit on Nicholas Cage these days, but this one is quite entertaining — mostly due to the fast cars.
Ford Mustang GT (Bullitt)
Bullitt is the ultimate car movie. It stars Steve McQueen at the height of his cool and features some of the most memorable car chase scenes to ever be captured on film. This 1968 film raised the bar for muscle cars in movies.
Steve McQueen plays a cop in a green 1968 Ford Mustang GT who pursues a Dodge Charger around the winding hills of suburban San Francisco in scenes that would set higher standards for car chase movies — giving future filmmakers something to aspire to.
Chevy Camaro (Transformers)
This is the first of the most memorable muscle cars in movies that's a new model of an iconic make. "Bumblebee" from Transformers made the car so popular that it was later released to the public — it was originally designed only for the movie.
Say what you want about the movie, but it made a ton of money. Over $700 million worldwide. And with its subsequent sequels, that is no small impact. This Camaro is basically another character in this blockbuster franchise.
Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey and the Bandit)
Burt Reynolds stars as a bandit who is hired to run a trailer full of beer across county lines. In hot pursuit is a pesky sheriff, but luckily Burt has one of the most memorable muscle cars in movies — his 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.
The popularity of this film helped put the Trans Am on the map, and sales exploded after the movie. It's one of Burt Reynolds' most well known roles, and a fun way to spend a few hours.
1970 Dodge Charger (The Fast and the Furious)
Dom Toretto from the The Fast and the Furious franchise is a huge gear head, and his car of choice is always an American muscle. The black, souped up 1970 Dodge Charger that he races at the end of the first film is one of the most memorable muscle cars in movies of its generation.
The Fast and the Furious is one of the most successful film franchises of all time, mostly built on the back of its cars. The franchise, which is years away from being over, has made over $5 billion worldwide to date.Ff
Chevy Chevelle (Faster)
Faster is an action thriller starring The Rock, Billy Bob Thornton, and a sweet 1971 Chevelle. The Rock plays an ex-con, recently released from prison, and seeking to get revenge on those who put him there.
Sure, we've seen this formula before, but the Chevelle keeps this film from being a total loss — even though it was a dud at the box office. If you're going to make the millionth film centered around vengeance, give the audience something to look at. Well done.
Ford Falcon (Mad Max)
Another from the most memorable muscle cars in movies is this 1973 Ford Falcon from the amazing film Mad Max. Mad Max stars a young Mel Gibson as a vengeful Australian cop out to stop a ruthless motorcycle gang.
The film has gained new life after the success of the remake, but the original still may be the most interesting to watch — if you don't mind sitting through the vehicle that launched Gibson's career.