Written by Andre James
The cancellation of auto shows, concours and new releases from manufacturers has left car-lovers wanting, so we polled motoring enthusiasts inside and outside the Sophisticated Living family for their top auto-centric flicks.
Bullitt (1968) & Le Mans (1971)
Jeffrey Cohen, Editor-In-Chief, Sophisticated Living Indianapolis
“Steve McQueen’s unforgettable car chase through the precipitous streets of San Francisco behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang GT 390 in Bullitt ensure its place in automotive and cinematic history. Directed by Englishman Peter Yates, this well-crafted movie would belong in the ranks of middling police procedurals were it not for its riveting and unprecedented car chase. Today, however, Bullitt is justifiably considered a trailblazing classic, and neither Ford Mustangs nor the streets of San Francisco have looked quite the same since.
Even though Le Mans was not especially well-received at the time, I am particularly fond of this action-packed film for its authentic racing scenes and dramatic story line. Each time I glance down at my square-faced Tag Heuer Monaco, I am reminded of McQueen’s Gulf-liveried Porsche 917.”
Casino Royale (2006) & Mad Max (1979)
Jason Yann, Art Director for Sophisticated Living
It was hard for Jason to choose a favorite among these two, but in the end, Bond took the top spot. “I do love the DBS V12,” he said wistfully.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Bridget Williams, Co-Founder, Sophisticated Living
“I love every second of this classic movie, and even though I can nearly recite it word-for-word, my heart drops each time I see Cameron’s father’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder crash through the glass-walled garage, an affront to both a car and a house I covet.”
Ford v. Ferrari (2019)
Amelia Jeffers, publisher of Sophisticated Living Colombus
“I am not even a "car" person necessarily, though I always appreciate the lineup of stunning Ferraris from the Ohio Ferrari Club, who we host at the annual Sophisticated Living Columbus Polo tournament. I was captivated by the movie and moved by the sheer passion and competitive spirit in Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari. And, the appraiser in me loved gaining some understanding of how the American muscle car got hold of the market - and has held market share even today!”
Laura Schwab, President of Aston Martin the Americas
“While it may seem obvious, I'll never forget the moment when James Bond sees the Aston Martin DB5 -- one of the world's most iconic cars -- for the first time, and he's walked through all the gadgets. Also, my home state of Kentucky is referenced repeatedly, because of Fort Knox, which is pretty exciting.” Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Eric Williams, co-founder of Sophisticated Living
“This is a great movie for anyone that loves automobiles as much as I do, blended with action and suspense. The 50 high-end cars that are stolen give car lovers the opportunity to ogle everything from American muscle to Italian icons.”
No Time To Die (2020)
Andy Vine, owner of Blue Grass Automotive in Louisville, KY
Vine, who is a member of the Jaguar Land Rover National Dealer Council, is looking forward to the release of the 25th official James Bond film, in which Land Rover’s New Defender 110 will make its motion picture debut.
Rush (2013) & Senna (2010)
Neil Charles, Contributing Editor, Sophisticated Living Indianapolis
There are surprisingly few movies that capture the technological superiority, visceral excitement and labyrinthine intrigue of Formula 1. As a piece of historical fiction, Ron Howard’s Rush comes probably as close as Hollywood will ever get: the story of the legendary rivalry between dandyish Brit James Hunt and the icy German Niki Lauda needs no embellishment to convey the extraordinary events at the center of the 1976 championship. One can only marvel at the derring-do of the drivers and the cavalier attitude of the race organizers for whom the show had to go on, regardless of the human cost.
Although there have been huge advances in automotive safety since 1976, both on and off the track, it took the death of three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna and driver Roland Ratzenberger in the space of one weekend to put driver safety into focus. Since Senna’s death in 1994, there has only been one fatality in the sport. The loss of this extraordinary racer is the subject of an equally extraordinary documentary, Senna. Told without narration, the film charts the meteoric rise to glory and shocking, eerily foreshadowed, death of this Brazilian legend entirely through contemporary footage. The scenes where Senna expresses grave concerns about the fateful race weekend ahead are particularly chilling.
The Italian Job (2003)
Martin Fritsches, President & CEO, Rolls- Royce Motor Cars Americas
“I love the way it shows Mini as a cool car. I like the classic version, but the driving scenes are incredible and exciting and the Mini is almost as big a star as the actors.”
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
John Kraman, Director of Company Relations and Lead TV Commentator for Mecum Auctions
“Two-Lane Blacktop stands out as an authentic car movie that also taps into the pop culture of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The 55’ Chevy and 70’ Pontiac GTO, as the stars, represent the opposite car spectrums and their owners accurately portray the generational gap as well.”