10 best street racing movies that showcase underground car culture

While we certainly don’t approve of street racing – please take it on the trail – that doesn’t mean there aren’t a bunch of highly entertaining, culture-based films surrounding illegal nighttime exploits on the highways and boulevards that crisscross the world.

In addition to a very famous and almost must-see hit series, there are a number of other must-see street racing films that try to have fun, document or dramatize the antics of those who can’t do it all. just don’t drive 55. Here are our favorites, chosen from the past 50 years of street racing cinema.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Vin Diesel as runaway ex-inmate Dom Toretto in The Fast & The Furious.


Universal Images

What is that?

A fantastic remake of Kathryn Bigelow Breaking point, only this time instead of surfing, it’s import street racing; and instead of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, it’s Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.

What makes him cool?

When this low-budget gem hit theaters in the summer of 2001, no one could have known that a plot about a buster infiltrating a gang of street racers stealing DVD players from 18 moving wheels. would blossom into a billion dollar superhero franchise.

In fact, the movie is much better if you review it for what it was then: the first serious cinematic take on import drag and tuner culture of the late 90s and early 2000s with a plot of capers mixed for more flavor.

Find another way back, pizza chef.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

What is that?

Japanese drift culture gets its only American cinematic moment in a rare $ 85 million film where Hollywood allowed characters of color to dominate the cast.

What makes him cool?

Formula D was in its infancy when Tokyo drift introduces touge racing to the general public. It is also the last film of the Fast and furious a series entirely centered on automobile culture, and more particularly on action on the other side of the Pacific, which until 2006 had been narrated exclusively by Japanese films rarely seen outside the island. American audiences stayed on the sidelines when it hit theaters, but that helped define the international model that would dominate the rest of the franchise’s casting decisions.

Mischief 3000 (2002)

What is that?

Tekademics sneaks up Nonsense series in a first use of the Gumball 3000.

What makes him cool?

In a pre-YouTube world, if you wanted to see videos of people riding in cars and generally making bad decisions behind the wheel, you had to look for specialty VHS and DVD movies prepared by those who were willing to risk being identified. by local law enforcement. (as Toru Kirikae take your Ferrari F40 to 200 mph on a Japanese highway).

This particular Tekademics documentary was for many their first entry into a hitherto hidden world of exotic stickers running at triple-digit speeds across the heart of the United States, with sometimes disastrous results.

Initial D (2005)

What is that?

A live-action adaptation of the drifting manga that has become a global cultural phenomenon.

What makes him cool?

The story of Takumi, the tofu delivery boy, dominating the Mount Akina drift scene in his Toyota AE86 Corolla is one of the most enduring works of street racing fiction to ever be immortalized on film, in animation or on celluloid. Although no cinematic masterpiece, Initial D backdated Tokyo drift putting hard action on the big screen, and remains an important document of its time.

The Specter (1986)

What is that?

Charlie Sheen is a car and a ghost, and potentially just a normal dude, who murders his murderers in street races.

What makes him cool?

What, this description was not enough? Spectrum postulates a world where a street racing teenager can reincarnate as a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor supercar, while still attending high school and hanging out with his pals. Oh, and whenever there’s a street race, he manages to use the “Wraith” (the name given to M4S) to gently and fiery revenge on his assassins. Go for it.

Megalopolis Highway Test (1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996)

What is that?

A six-part film series based on the “Mid Night Club” highway racing scene surrounding Tokyo’s Shuto Freeway that was actually banned in Japan when it was released (and still is).

What makes him cool?

Also known as Shuto Kousoku trial and Speedway highway, this six-part follows the exploits of street racers determined to set the best times – and go door-to-door – on the stretch of Tokyo highway known as the “Bayshore” route, or more commonly Wangan-sen. The original film capitalized on the hottest period of Wangan’s illegal exploits and features stunning footage of classic JDM metal repeatedly breaking Japan’s restrictive speed limits.

Banzai Runner (1987)

What is that?

Japanese highway racing brought to the American deserts.

What makes him cool?

Banzaï runner is based on a real-life series of high-stakes underground races that took place on then-empty freeways crossing the desert landscape outside of Los Angeles, California in the early 1980s. The film adds the element of a man trying to infiltrate this elite group of alien disbelievers in an attempt to bring them to justice for the death of his brother.

It’s utterly ridiculous and very entertaining if you like watching Porsche 928s and even a surprisingly fast pickup truck engaging the afterburner through an abandoned view.

Two-Way Blacktop (1971)

What is that?

James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (of Beach Boys fame) roam the country in a ’55 Chevrolet, earning money on every street race they can catch.

What makes him cool?

Two-way blacktop is emblematic of the ’70s film school that left intrigue aside and just focused on moody visuals and brooding characters with little to say. There is a kind of rivalry with a Pontiac GTO (whose driver is also called… GTO), but that’s okay.

Forget the story and get lost in the eerie dreamlike scenery of street racing and the soundtrack painted by director Monte Hellman, who will direct such notable releases as Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: better be careful!

Burn (2014)

What is that?

Without a doubt, the greatest Norwegian film about street racing.

What makes him cool?

Now waiting for its second sequel, the original Birth postulates a race from Trondheim to the North Cape of Norway by a motley crew of surprisingly adult reducers. The main character and local racing hero, Roy’s Mustang 67, has “Official Chevy Killer” written on the door, there’s a bunch of good jumps and more than just a little photo radar chaos. It’s the kind of local street racing movie that America hasn’t been able to produce yet.

Wangan Midnight (1991-2009)

What is that?
Another take on the Shuto Expressway race, but this time with a supernatural twist.

What makes him cool?

“Freeway racing is cool and all, but you know what would make it better? A haunted Datsun Z! ‘ This is how we imagine the pitch for the original Wangan midnight The film went on after a film director accidentally discovered a copy of the manga that inspired it.

The story centers on a cursed S30 driven by a high school student who both tries to stay alive behind the wheel of his “Devil Z” while fending off the RX-7s, 911s and Skylines that dominate the Bayshore road. Oh, and they made 13 movies and 14 video games based on the same general concept. No kidding.


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