In developing Road XS this week, we got to discussing the best transport movies of all time and couldn’t agree on which one was the best.
Given that transportation is a central theme in many cinematic masterpieces which allows filmmakers to explore a range of human emotions and societal topics, such as from thrilling chases to metaphorical journeys, we came up with 35 transport movies that we think are the best transport-related-movies of all time.
What do you think of our list below? It’s in no particular order…we just couldn’t agree on that.
Perhaps let us know any we’ve missed in the comments at the bottom of this article?
1. Speed (1994)
“Speed” is a 1994 American action thriller film directed by Jan de Bont, in his feature film directorial debut.
The film stars Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven, a young Los Angeles police officer, and Sandra Bullock as Annie Porter, a passenger who becomes an unexpected ally. The plot revolves around a city bus that has been rigged with a bomb by a vengeful criminal, played by Dennis Hopper. The bomb is set to detonate if the bus’s speed drops below 50 miles per hour, creating a high-stakes, high-speed chase through the city. Jack must keep the bus moving while working to identify and apprehend the bomber, all the while managing the terrified passengers on board.
The film’s relentless pace, creative action sequences, and gripping plot made “Speed” a commercial success and helped establish the careers of its lead actors. It remains a standout example of 1990s action cinema, notable for its intensity and originality.
2. Top Gun (1986) and Top Gun Maverick (2022)
Top Gun” is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The film stars Tom Cruise as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young naval aviator selected to attend the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School, where he competes against the best of the U.S. Navy’s fighter pilots. With stunning aerial sequences, intense rivalry, and a memorable soundtrack featuring Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” “Top Gun” captivated audiences of the time and became a cultural touchstone. Its combination of action, romance, and drama contributed to its massive commercial success and enduring popularity. The film also features Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Skerritt in supporting roles.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is the sequel to the 1986 film “Top Gun,” with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film explores Maverick’s life more than three decades after the events of the original, as he mentors a new generation of U.S. Navy fighter pilots. Among his trainees is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late best friend and Radar Intercept Officer Nick Bradshaw, known as “Goose.” With breathtaking aerial stunts and a nod to the spirit of the original film, “Top Gun: Maverick” brings a new level of excitement and nostalgia to fans of the franchise. The film was highly anticipated, and its release was subject to delays, creating even more intrigue and expectation among audiences.
Let’s be honest, it’s an absolute epic! Top Gun Maverick was also the first of Tom Cruise’s career to reach the $1 billion milestone.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a 2015 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. Set in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, the film follows Max Rockatansky, played by Tom Hardy, who teams up with Furiosa, portrayed by Charlize Theron.
Furiosa is on a mission to cross the desert and reach her homeland, leading a group of female prisoners away from the tyrannical warlord Immortan Joe. The film is noted for its intense action sequences, imaginative design, and exceptional stunt work. Visually stunning and thematically rich, “Mad Max: Fury Road” received widespread critical acclaim and won six Academy Awards, making it one of the most celebrated action films of its time. It’s feminist undertones and focus on environmental themes have also contributed to its lasting impact and influence in modern cinema.
4. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” is a 1987 American comedy film directed by John Hughes. The film stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a high-strung marketing executive, and John Candy as Del Griffith, a talkative and seemingly obnoxious shower curtain ring salesman.
The duo becomes an unlikely pair as they attempt to travel from New York to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving, only to face a series of transportation mishaps. From cancelled flights to broken-down trains and unreliable cars, their journey becomes a frustrating and hilarious odyssey filled with misadventures. The film skillfully blends slapstick comedy with heartfelt moments, as the two characters learn to understand and appreciate each other. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” has since become a beloved classic and is often regarded as one of the quintessential films to watch during the Christmas holiday season.
5. Titanic (1997)
“Titanic” is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, co-produced, co-written, and co-edited by James Cameron.
Set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, the film tells the fictional love story between Jack Dawson, a penniless artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose DeWitt Bukater, an upper-class woman engaged to a wealthy man, portrayed by Kate Winslet. Their passionate romance develops during the ship’s journey from Southampton to New York, but their love is tragically cut short when the Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks. The film meticulously recreates the luxury and grandeur of the Titanic while providing a human perspective on the disaster through the lens of the central love story.
“Titanic” received critical acclaim for its production values, storytelling, and performances, and it went on to win 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. With its commercial success, it became one of the highest-grossing films of all time and has remained a significant part of popular culture.
6. The Fast and the Furious Series
The Fast and the Furious series is a popular franchise of action films centred around illegal street racing, heists, and espionage. Produced by Universal Pictures, the series has become well-known for its high-octane stunts, intense car chases, and charismatic ensemble cast.
Here’s a quick overview of the main films in the series:
- “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) – Directed by Rob Cohen, this film introduced audiences to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), an undercover cop, and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), a street racer and mechanic. The film sets the tone for the series, focusing on street racing culture and the importance of family.
- “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003) – Directed by John Singleton, this sequel follows Brian as he’s paired with childhood friend Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). The action moves to Miami, and the plot involves tracking down a drug lord.
- “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006) – This instalment, directed by Justin Lin, shifts focus to a new character, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), and is set in Tokyo. It explores the world of drift racing.
- “Fast & Furious” (2009) – The original cast returns, and the plot revolves around the pursuit of a drug trafficker. This film marks a shift in the series towards more action-oriented plotlines.
- “Fast Five” (2011) – Directed by Justin Lin, this film expands the franchise with the inclusion of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs. The plot focuses on a heist in Brazil.
- “Fast & Furious 6” (2013) – The team reunites to take down a criminal organization, leading to intense action and significant character development.
- “Furious 7” (2015) – Directed by James Wan, this film is notable for the tragic death of Paul Walker during production. The film pays tribute to him and sees the team facing a new villain played by Jason Statham.
- “The Fate of the Furious” (2017) – Directed by F. Gary Gray, this instalment focuses on betrayal and redemption, with Charlize Theron introduced as the main antagonist.
- “F9” (2021) – Directed by Justin Lin, the ninth instalment continues to explore the themes of family and loyalty while introducing new twists and John Cena as Dom’s estranged brother.
- “Fast X” (2023) – Directed by Louis Leterrier, is the sequel to “F9” (2021) and represents the tenth main instalment and the eleventh overall entry in the Fast & Furious franchise.
There have also been spin-offs like “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019), focusing on the characters played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
Throughout the series, the importance of family, loyalty, and camaraderie has been consistently emphasized, all while delivering thrilling and sometimes over-the-top action sequences. The franchise has played a significant role in pop culture, appealing to car enthusiasts and action movie fans alike.
7. Train to Busan (2016)
“Train to Busan” is a South Korean action-horror film released in 2016. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, it has become one of the most successful and internationally acclaimed films from South Korea.
The plot revolves around a zombie apocalypse in South Korea, focusing on the passengers of a train from Seoul to Busan as they struggle to survive. Seok-woo, a workaholic father, is travelling with his estranged daughter, Su-an when the outbreak begins. The train becomes a confined battleground as the infection spreads rapidly among passengers.
“Train to Busan” is known for its intense action sequences, well-developed characters, emotional depth, and social commentary. The film explores themes of self-sacrifice, family, class division, and social responsibility.
The movie was widely praised by critics for its unique take on the zombie genre, blending thrilling action with an emotional human story. Its success led to a standalone sequel, “Peninsula,” released in 2020, which expands on the world introduced in “Train to Busan.”
Whether you’re a fan of horror films, action-packed thrillers or creepy transport stories, “Train to Busan” offers an engaging and heart-pounding cinematic experience.
8. Unstoppable (2010)
“Unstoppable” is a 2010 American action-thriller film directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The film was inspired by real-life events, specifically the CSX 8888 incident in 2001, where a runaway train carrying hazardous materials travelled uncontrolled through Ohio.
The plot of “Unstoppable” revolves around two railway employees, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (played by Denzel Washington) and young conductor Will Colson (played by Chris Pine). They discover that an unmanned freight train carrying toxic chemicals is on a collision course with a densely populated area. The train is running at full throttle, and various attempts to stop it have failed. Barnes and Colson must work together, despite their differences, to avert a major catastrophe.
“Unstoppable” was praised for its intense and gripping action sequences, strong performances from the lead actors, and skillful direction by Tony Scott. The film keeps the tension high with a combination of practical effects and CGI, providing a sense of realism and urgency.
The film did well both critically and commercially, earning positive reviews for its suspenseful storytelling and thrilling action. It offers a heart-pounding cinematic experience that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
9. The Great Train Robbery (1979)
“The Great Train Robbery” is a 1979 British heist film directed by Michael Crichton, who also wrote the screenplay based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, and Lesley-Anne Down.
Set in Victorian England, the film tells the story of a daring plan to rob a moving train carrying gold bullion. The plot is loosely based on the real-life Great Gold Robbery of 1855.
Sean Connery plays Edward Pierce, a master thief who orchestrates the heist with the help of his accomplices, including Robert Agar (played by Donald Sutherland) and Miriam (played by Lesley-Anne Down). The film follows their intricate and audacious plan to steal the gold, including overcoming various technological and security obstacles of the time.
“The Great Train Robbery” is known for its meticulous attention to historical detail, witty dialogue, and thrilling action sequences. Michael Crichton’s direction brings a blend of suspense, adventure, and humour to the film, creating an engaging and entertaining experience.
10. Sully (2016)
“Sully” is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. The film is based on the autobiography “Highest Duty” by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.
The film recounts the events of US Airways Flight 1549, which took place on January 15, 2009. Shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, both engines of the Airbus A320 were disabled by a bird strike. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, played by Aaron Eckhart, performed an emergency water landing in the Hudson River.
All 155 passengers and crew survived the incident, and Sully became a national hero. However, the film also explores the subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which questioned Sully’s decision-making during the emergency. The intense scrutiny and self-doubt that Sully faced are central to the film’s drama.
“Sully” was praised for its realistic portrayal of the incident, with particular acclaim for Tom Hanks’ performance. The film’s direction, special effects recreating the landing, and the emotional depth of the story were also well-received.
Clint Eastwood’s skilled direction and the compelling story made “Sully” a commercial and critical success. It not only provides a thrilling recreation of the “Miracle on the Hudson” but also delves into the human experience of being a hero under public and professional examination. It’s a film that resonates with audiences by showcasing both the extraordinary event and the very human reactions to it. This has to be one of the best transport movies to depict the events of real life and the impact this has on the lives of those around individuals embroiled in extreme reactionary circumstances.
11. Drive (2011)
“Drive” is a 2011 action-drama film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, and Albert Brooks. The film is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by James Sallis.
Ryan Gosling plays the lead role of the Driver, a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Known for his precise driving skills and stoic demeanour, he becomes involved with his neighbour Irene (played by Carey Mulligan) and her young son. When Irene’s husband is released from prison and gets into trouble with dangerous criminals, the Driver takes on a job to help him, but things quickly spiral out of control.
The film is notable for its stylish direction and minimalistic approach, including sparse dialogue and a focus on visual storytelling. It blends elements of action, crime, romance, and neo-noir, creating a unique and atmospheric experience. The soundtrack, featuring a mix of synth-pop and electronic music, also plays a significant role in setting the tone of the film.
“Drive” was widely praised by critics for its artful execution, performances, and originality. Gosling’s performance, in particular, was lauded, and Albert Brooks received critical acclaim for his role as a ruthless gangster.
The film’s combination of action and arthouse sensibilities made it a standout release of 2011, earning it several award nominations and wins, including a Best Director award for Refn at the Cannes Film Festival.
Though “Drive” might not cater to mainstream tastes due to its unique pacing and stylized violence, it has become a cult favourite and is often cited as one of the best films of the decade. Its influence can be seen in subsequent films that blend genre conventions with artful execution.
12. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
“The Motorcycle Diaries” is a 2004 biographical film directed by Walter Salles. It’s based on the memoirs of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, recounting his travels across South America with his friend Alberto Granado. The screenplay was adapted by José Rivera, and the film stars Gael García Bernal as Guevara and Rodrigo de la Serna as Granado.
Set in 1952, the film follows the journey of the 23-year-old medical student Guevara and his friend Granado as they embark on a road trip across the continent on a motorcycle. Starting in Buenos Aires, their expedition spans several months and covers thousands of miles, passing through countries like Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Throughout the journey, the duo encounters a diverse range of people and landscapes, leading to a profound transformation in Guevara’s worldview. The experiences they have, particularly their exposure to social injustice and poverty, deeply influence Guevara’s political and social beliefs.
“The Motorcycle Diaries” is as much a travelogue as it is a coming-of-age story, capturing the youthful adventure and idealism of its characters. The film is visually stunning, with cinematography that vividly portrays the South American landscapes.
Critics praised the performances of Bernal and de la Serna, the film’s storytelling, and its exploration of the formative experiences that shaped one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figures. The film’s score, composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, also received acclaim.
While the film focuses on a specific period in Guevara’s life, before he became a key figure in the Cuban Revolution, it also provides insight into the social and political climate of South America during that time. “The Motorcycle Diaries” serves as both an engaging personal narrative and a thoughtful examination of broader social themes, making it a compelling watch.
13. Snowpiercer (2013)
“Snowpiercer” is a 2013 science fiction action film directed by Bong Joon-ho and based on the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette. The film features an ensemble cast including Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, and Ed Harris.
Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment has killed life on the planet, the last survivors are onboard a train called the Snowpiercer. The train travels around the globe on a perpetual-motion engine, and its society is strictly divided by class, with the elite at the front and the oppressed lower class in the tail section.
The film’s protagonist, Curtis Everett (played by Chris Evans), leads a revolt of the passengers in the tail section. They fight their way through the train’s various compartments, each one more decadent and bizarre than the last, in an attempt to reach the front and take control from the train’s enigmatic creator and conductor, Wilford (played by Ed Harris).
“Snowpiercer” is an allegorical tale that explores themes of class struggle, social inequality, and human survival. The train’s linear structure serves as a metaphor for a hierarchical society, and the journey from the back to the front of the train symbolizes a fight against the system.
Bong Joon-ho’s direction, the film’s unique concept, strong performances (especially from Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton), and intense action sequences earned critical acclaim. The film’s blend of thought-provoking social commentary and thrilling action made it a standout in the science fiction genre.
While “Snowpiercer” was initially released with limited distribution, particularly in the United States, it has since gained a significant following and is often cited for its originality and compelling exploration of social themes. The success of the film also contributed to the rise of Bong Joon-ho as an internationally recognized filmmaker, culminating in his later success with “Parasite” (2019). Additionally, “Snowpiercer” inspired a TV series that further explores the world and themes introduced in the film.
14. Das Boot (1981)
“Das Boot” is a 1981 German war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, adapted from the 1973 novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. The story follows the crew of a German U-boat (submarine) during World War II and provides an intense and realistic portrayal of the conditions faced by submariners of the time.
Set in 1941, the film centres around the fictional U-96, commanded by the experienced Captain-Lieutenant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, played by Jürgen Prochnow. The narrative is seen through the eyes of a young war correspondent, Lieutenant Werner (played by Herbert Grönemeyer), who is on board to document the mission.
“Das Boot” captures the claustrophobic environment of the U-boat, the tedium of the long patrols, the terror of combat, and the psychological strain on the crew. The film’s authenticity, attention to detail, and character development set it apart from many other war films.
Wolfgang Petersen’s direction, combined with innovative cinematography and sound design, creates an immersive experience that conveys the reality of submarine warfare. The film explores themes of camaraderie, disillusionment with war, and the moral ambiguity of combat.
“Das Boot” was both a critical and commercial success and is considered one of the greatest war films ever made. It received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, and won several international awards.
The film was released in various versions, including a mini-series for German television and different theatrical cuts. The Director’s Cut, released in 1997, is often regarded as the definitive version, providing additional character development and context without losing the intensity of the original.
“Das Boot” has had a lasting impact on cinema and is often referenced in discussions of war and submarine films. Its realistic portrayal of life aboard a U-boat continues to be influential and provides a unique perspective on World War II.
15. Baby Driver (2017)
“Baby Driver” is a 2017 action crime film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort as Baby, a young and talented getaway driver who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best at what he does. The film’s cast also includes Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, and Jamie Foxx.
Baby is a reluctant participant in the criminal world, working for a crime boss named Doc (played by Kevin Spacey) to pay off a debt. He’s known for his exceptional driving skills and uses music to drown out a constant ringing in his ears, a result of a childhood accident. When he meets and falls in love with a waitress named Debora (played by Lily James), Baby sees a chance to escape his criminal life. However, getting out proves to be more complicated and dangerous than he anticipated.
“Baby Driver” is notable for its unique integration of music and action. The film’s carefully choreographed car chases, stunts, and even gunfights are all timed to the beat of the soundtrack. This synchronization between visuals and sound creates a stylistically innovative and engaging experience.
The film was widely praised by critics for its originality, direction, performances, and especially its use of music. Ansel Elgort’s charismatic portrayal of Baby and the strong supporting cast added depth to the stylish and fast-paced narrative.
“Baby Driver” was a commercial success and received several award nominations, including three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
Edgar Wright’s distinctive filmmaking style and the film’s blending of genres – combining elements of action, crime, romance, and musical – make “Baby Driver” a standout film that appeals to a wide audience. Its inventive approach to storytelling and action has cemented its place as one of the more memorable films of recent years.
16. Duel (1971)
“Duel” is a 1971 thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg in his feature-length directorial debut. The screenplay, written by Richard Matheson, is adapted from his own short story of the same name.
The film stars Dennis Weaver as David Mann, an ordinary businessman who becomes involved in a terrifying road rage encounter with a mysterious truck driver. While driving through the California desert, Mann overtakes a slow-moving tanker truck, only to find that the unseen truck driver takes offence and begins to pursue him.
What starts as an annoyance quickly escalates into a deadly game of cat and mouse, with the truck driver becoming increasingly aggressive and dangerous. The tanker truck itself becomes a menacing character in the film, symbolizing an inexplicable and relentless force of nature.
“Duel” is unique in its simplicity, focusing almost entirely on the highway battle between Mann and the truck driver. Spielberg’s direction creates a tension-filled and claustrophobic experience, using camera angles, editing, and sound to build suspense. The desert landscape adds to the film’s isolated and eerie atmosphere.
The film explores themes of masculinity, fear, and the anonymity and alienation of modern life. Weaver’s portrayal of an everyday man pushed to his limits resonates with audiences and adds to the film’s sense of realism.
“Duel” was initially made as a television film for ABC but was later released theatrically in an extended version outside the United States. It received critical acclaim for its effective storytelling, direction, and pacing, and it has since become a cult classic.
The success of “Duel” helped launch Spielberg’s career, showcasing his talent for creating suspense and handling action sequences. It remains an influential work in the thriller genre and is often cited for its innovative approach to a simple yet powerful premise.
17. Gladiator (2000)
Not just about the Colosseum, but also the journey that brought Maximus there. The horse-drawn carriage scenes are iconic.
“Gladiator” is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. The film stars Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a loyal Roman general who is betrayed by Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix), the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
After the death of the Emperor, Commodus ascends to the throne, and Maximus is ordered to be executed. Maximus escapes, but his family is murdered, and he is captured and enslaved. As a gladiator, he rises through the ranks with his formidable combat skills, driven by a desire for vengeance against Commodus.
The film’s depiction of ancient Rome is both grand and gritty, with impressive set designs, costumes, and action sequences that bring the era to life. The gladiatorial combat scenes are particularly memorable for their intensity and realism.
“Gladiator” explores themes of honour, power, corruption, and redemption. Russell Crowe’s powerful performance anchors the film, and Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the complex and villainous Commodus is equally compelling.
The film was a major box office success and was widely acclaimed by critics. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe, and was nominated for several others.
Ridley Scott’s direction, strong performances, Hans Zimmer’s evocative score, and the film’s blend of action, drama, and historical intrigue have made “Gladiator” a modern classic in the epic film genre. Its influence can be seen in many historical and action films that followed, and it remains a beloved and frequently referenced work in popular culture.
18. The Polar Express (2004)
A heartwarming animated tale of a magical train ride to the North Pole.
“The Polar Express” is a 2004 computer-animated adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film features Tom Hanks in multiple roles, including the conductor of the titular train, the boy’s father, the hobo, Santa Claus, and the narrator.
The story follows a young boy who is beginning to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he is awakened by a mysterious train called the Polar Express, which stops right in front of his house. He boards the train and embarks on a magical journey to the North Pole along with other children.
Throughout the adventure, the boy encounters various fantastical experiences and meets unique characters. The film explores themes of belief, friendship, and the spirit of Christmas. As the children journey closer to the North Pole, they learn about trust and the importance of keeping the belief in something magical.
“The Polar Express” was notable for its use of motion-capture technology, which allowed the filmmakers to capture the performances of the actors and translate them into animated characters. This technology provided a unique and lifelike quality to the characters and the animation but also generated some mixed reactions, with some viewers finding the character design to be in the “uncanny valley.”
The film’s visuals, score by Alan Silvestri, and songs contributed to a whimsical and enchanting atmosphere, capturing the wonder and excitement of childhood. Tom Hanks’s multiple performances were widely praised, adding charm and depth to the various characters he portrayed.
At the time of its release, “The Polar Express” was one of the most expensive animated films ever made, and it found success at the box office. The film received several award nominations and has become a holiday classic, often broadcast during the Christmas season.
While opinions on the animation style may vary, “The Polar Express” is admired for its creativity, storytelling, and its ability to evoke the magic and nostalgia of the holiday season.
19. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
A thrilling Western featuring a dangerous journey to bring a criminal to justice by train.
“3:10 to Yuma” is a 2007 Western film directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. It is a remake of the 1957 film of the same name and is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard.
The film is set in Arizona in the late 1800s and follows the story of Dan Evans (played by Christian Bale), a struggling rancher who takes on the dangerous job of escorting the notorious outlaw Ben Wade (played by Russell Crowe) to the town of Contention, where he will be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison.
Wade is a charismatic and intelligent criminal who has committed a series of robberies with his ruthless gang. Evans, motivated by financial desperation and a desire to prove himself to his family, agrees to help transport Wade after he’s captured.
The journey to Yuma is fraught with danger, not only from Wade’s gang, who are determined to free their leader but also from the complex relationship between Evans and Wade. The two men, despite being on opposite sides of the law, develop mutual respect and understanding, further complicating the moral lines that divide them.
“3:10 to Yuma” is notable for its intense action sequences, strong performances, and exploration of moral ambiguity. Crowe and Bale’s performances provide depth to their characters, and their on-screen chemistry adds to the film’s tension and complexity.
The film received critical acclaim for its writing, direction, acting, and its fresh take on the Western genre. It revitalized interest in Westerns at a time when the genre had become less prominent in Hollywood.
The themes of honour, redemption, and the struggle between right and wrong are central to the narrative, making “3:10 to Yuma” more than just a thrilling action film. It’s a thought-provoking story that challenges traditional Western archetypes and offers a nuanced look at the human condition.
The film’s success with both critics and audiences helped reinforce the continuing relevance and appeal of the Western genre, showing that classic storytelling combined with modern filmmaking techniques can result in a compelling cinematic experience.
20. Redline (2009)
“Redline” is a 2009 Japanese animated science fiction racing film directed by Takeshi Koike and produced by Madhouse. The film is known for its stunning visuals, dynamic animation, and intense racing sequences.
The story is set in a futuristic universe where intergalactic racing is a popular sport. The film follows JP, a daredevil racer with a rockabilly style, known for his traditional racing car equipped with a powerful engine and his refusal to use any weapons during races. His goal is to win the most popular and dangerous race in the galaxy, the Redline, a race held once every five years on a different planet.
The Redline race is hosted on the militarized planet of Roboworld, whose government is determined to stop the race due to security concerns. The race itself is a no-holds-barred competition, with racers using advanced technology, weaponry, and any means necessary to win.
“Redline” took seven years to create, and its animation is entirely hand-drawn, which contributes to its unique visual style. The film’s vibrant colours, detailed backgrounds, and fluid motion give it a distinctive look that sets it apart from many other animated films.
The soundtrack, composed by James Shimoji, is a blend of electronic, rock, and orchestral music that complements the film’s fast pace and contributes to its adrenaline-pumping atmosphere.
While the story of “Redline” might be considered simple or straightforward, the film’s appeal lies in its execution. The thrilling races, imaginative designs, charismatic characters, and the sheer energy of the animation make it an exhilarating watch.
Critics praised “Redline” for its technical achievements and creativity, although the film’s reception was mixed in terms of its storytelling. Nevertheless, it has gained a cult following and is often cited as a must-watch for fans of animated films, especially those who appreciate innovative visuals and high-octane action.
21. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Three brothers rediscover their relationship on a train trip across India.
“The Darjeeling Limited” is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. The film stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman as three estranged brothers who embark on a train journey across India.
The story follows the brothers, Francis, Peter, and Jack, who have not seen each other since their father’s funeral a year earlier. Francis, the eldest, organizes the trip to reconnect with his siblings and find spiritual enlightenment. Along the way, they encounter various challenges, unexpected adventures, and personal revelations.
Set aboard the titular train, “The Darjeeling Limited,” the film explores themes of family, grief, and self-discovery. The journey serves as a metaphor for the brothers’ personal growth, their efforts to overcome past resentments, and their struggle to understand one another.
Wes Anderson’s distinctive visual style is evident throughout the film, with his use of symmetrical compositions, bold colour palettes, and a carefully curated soundtrack. The film features music from classic Indian films and original compositions, reflecting the cultural backdrop of the story.
The performances of Wilson, Brody, and Schwartzman are praised for their authenticity and chemistry, capturing the complexities of sibling relationships. Supporting roles by Anjelica Huston and Amara Karan add depth and nuance to the narrative.
“The Darjeeling Limited” received generally positive reviews from critics, who appreciated its wit, emotional resonance, and artistic craftsmanship. Some, however, found the film’s portrayal of India and its cultural elements to be superficial or stereotypical.
Despite these critiques, the film has been admired for its unique blend of humour, emotion, and visual elegance. Like many of Anderson’s works, it offers a quirky and thoughtful examination of human relationships, set against a visually rich and culturally vibrant backdrop. It’s a film that resonates with those who enjoy character-driven stories infused with a sense of whimsy and introspection.
22. The Aviator (2004)
“The Aviator” is a 2004 biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, the legendary aviator, filmmaker, and business magnate.
The film chronicles Hughes’ life from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s, focusing on his contributions to the aviation industry, his success in Hollywood as a film producer, and his personal struggles, particularly with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The story begins with Hughes’ ambitious foray into filmmaking, producing and directing expensive and groundbreaking films like “Hell’s Angels.” Parallel to his film career, Hughes’ passion for aviation leads him to design and build innovative aircraft and set multiple world air-speed records.
His relentless pursuit of perfection, both in aviation and filmmaking, drives him to the edge of obsession, leading to both triumph and turmoil. Hughes’ relationship with actress Katharine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett) is also a significant part of the story, showcasing a more personal and vulnerable side of the enigmatic entrepreneur.
“The Aviator” delves into Hughes’ psychological complexities, his visionary ideas, and the high-stakes world of business and politics. Scorsese’s direction, combined with impressive set designs and visual effects, recreates the era with authenticity and style.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Hughes earned praise for its depth and intensity, capturing the charisma and inner torment of the character. Cate Blanchett’s performance as Katharine Hepburn also received acclaim, and she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
The film was a commercial and critical success, receiving eleven Academy Award nominations and winning five, including Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.
“The Aviator” offers a captivating look at a multifaceted historical figure, whose innovations and eccentricities left an indelible mark on the worlds of aviation and cinema. Its exploration of ambition, mental illness, and the price of success provides a rich and engaging narrative that resonates with audiences.
23. The French Connection (1971)
“The French Connection” is a 1971 American action-thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D’Antoni. It stars Gene Hackman as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle and Roy Scheider as Buddy “Cloudy” Russo, two New York City police detectives. The film is based on the non-fiction book by Robin Moore, which tells the true story of one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history.
The plot follows Doyle and Russo as they uncover a massive heroin smuggling operation, known as the “French Connection,” run by a French criminal named Alain Charnier (played by Fernando Rey). As the detectives dig deeper into the criminal network, they become obsessed with catching Charnier and shutting down the operation.
“The French Connection” is renowned for its gritty realism, intense performances, and groundbreaking cinematography. One of the film’s most famous sequences is a high-speed car chase through the streets of New York, in which Doyle pursues an elevated subway train. The scene, expertly choreographed and filmed, has become one of the most iconic chase sequences in cinema history.
Gene Hackman’s portrayal of the tough and relentless Popeye Doyle is widely acclaimed, and his performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Friedkin’s direction brings a raw and unpolished edge to the film, reflecting the chaotic and dangerous nature of police work in the 1970s.
The film itself won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was also a significant box-office success.
In addition to its entertainment value, “The French Connection” is praised for its realistic depiction of police procedures and urban life during that era. The film’s unflinching look at crime, corruption, and the moral ambiguity faced by law enforcement officers set a new standard for police dramas and had a profound influence on the genre.
“The French Connection” remains a classic of American cinema, celebrated for its intense storytelling, innovative filmmaking, and unforgettable performances. It continues to be studied and admired by filmmakers, critics, and audiences alike for its contributions to cinematic art.
24. Cars (2006)
“Cars” is a 2006 American computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Joe Ranft, the film is set in a world populated entirely by anthropomorphic vehicles.
The story follows a race car named Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, who ends up in a small forgotten town called Radiator Springs while on his way to the Piston Cup Championship. Initially arrogant and self-centred, Lightning learns the value of friendship and discovers that there’s more to life than racing and fame.
Throughout his time in Radiator Springs, Lightning forms friendships with various quirky characters, including Mater, a lovable tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy; Sally, a classy Porsche voiced by Bonnie Hunt; and Doc Hudson, a wise, older car voiced by Paul Newman.
The film explores themes such as humility, community, and the importance of slowing down to enjoy life. It showcases Pixar’s talent for combining engaging storytelling with visually stunning animation. The design of the cars and the depiction of the world they inhabit are imaginative and detailed, reflecting the personality and function of each character.
“Cars” was a commercial success and received generally positive reviews from critics, particularly for its animation, voice acting, and character development. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature.
The film’s success led to a franchise, including sequels “Cars 2” (2011) and “Cars 3” (2017), as well as merchandise, video games, and theme park attractions. It has had a significant impact on popular culture and continues to be beloved by audiences of all ages.
While “Cars” may not have the same level of critical acclaim as some other Pixar films, its heartfelt story, charming characters, and innovative animation make it a standout family film that continues to resonate with viewers.
25. The General (1926)
“The General” is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, who also stars in the lead role. It’s inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story from the American Civil War.
Buster Keaton plays Johnnie Gray, a train engineer in love with his locomotive, The General, and his fiancée, Annabelle Lee. When the war breaks out, he tries to enlist in the Confederate Army but is rejected because he’s considered more valuable as an engineer. His love interest and others mistakenly think he’s a coward for not joining the army.
The plot takes a turn when Union spies steal The General with Annabelle on board, leading to a thrilling and comedic chase as Johnnie tries to rescue both his beloved train and his fiancée. The film is filled with remarkable stunts, clever visual gags, and innovative technical achievements.
Despite its initial lukewarm reception, “The General” has since become regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Keaton’s incredible physical comedy, the film’s inventive action sequences, and the detailed recreation of the Civil War era have all contributed to its lasting reputation.
One of the film’s most celebrated aspects is a spectacular train crash scene, which was one of the most expensive stunts of the silent era. Keaton performed most of his own stunts, adding to the authenticity and excitement of the film.
Critics and audiences alike have come to appreciate the genius of Keaton’s performance and direction, his impeccable comedic timing, and the film’s overall blend of humour, romance, and adventure.
“The General” is a timeless classic that showcases Buster Keaton’s unparalleled talents as a comedian, actor, and filmmaker. Its influence can be seen in many subsequent films, and it remains an essential viewing experience for anyone interested in the history of cinema.
26. Hell Drivers (1957)
A tale of ex-convicts and dangerous truck driving.
“Hell Drivers” is a 1957 British film noir action film directed by Cy Endfield and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, and a young Sean Connery in one of his early roles.
The story follows Tom Yately (played by Stanley Baker), an ex-convict who takes a job as a truck driver for a corrupt and exploitative haulage company. The company puts intense pressure on its drivers to complete their deliveries in impossibly fast times, leading them to take dangerous risks on the road. The drivers are pitted against each other in ruthless competition, with the fastest driver receiving extra pay and recognition.
Tom becomes determined to beat the current record-holder, Red (played by Patrick McGoohan), who drives recklessly and is willing to endanger others to keep his status. As Tom gets drawn into the cutthroat world of the trucking company, he starts to uncover corruption and criminality at its core.
The film is notable for its gritty portrayal of the working conditions faced by the truck drivers and its thrilling, action-packed driving sequences. The depiction of speed and danger on the roads is intense, giving the film a suspenseful and edgy quality.
“Hell Drivers” is also remarkable for its strong performances, particularly from Stanley Baker and Patrick McGoohan. The relationship between their characters, filled with rivalry and tension, is central to the film’s dramatic impact.
Despite not being a major commercial success upon its release, “Hell Drivers” has gained a cult following over the years and is now regarded as a classic of British cinema. Its influence can be seen in later action and car chase films, and its unflinching look at corruption and exploitation in the workplace gives it a lasting relevance.
The film’s combination of social commentary, character-driven drama, and thrilling action sequences make it a standout example of 1950s British filmmaking. It’s a must-see for fans of classic cinema and those interested in the darker aspects of labour and industry during that era.
27. Flight (2012)
A character study of an airline pilot facing moral dilemmas following a crash landing.
“Flight” is a 2012 American drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by John Gatins. The film stars Denzel Washington as William “Whip” Whitaker Sr., an airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a catastrophic failure, saving nearly everyone on board.
While hailed as a hero initially, an investigation into the crash reveals that Whip was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time. The story follows Whip’s personal and legal struggles as he grapples with his addiction, the scrutiny of the investigation, and the moral dilemma of whether to tell the truth or protect his career.
The opening sequence of the film, featuring the dramatic crash-landing, is particularly intense and visually stunning. Whip’s skill and calm under pressure during the incident contrast sharply with his self-destructive behaviour on the ground.
Denzel Washington’s performance is a standout, capturing the complexity of a character who is heroic in one aspect of his life but deeply flawed in others. His portrayal earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
The supporting cast includes Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, and Bruce Greenwood, all of whom contribute to the film’s emotional depth and thematic exploration.
“Flight” is not just a thriller about a plane crash; it’s a character-driven drama that delves into issues of addiction, responsibility, and redemption. The film examines how public perception can quickly shift and how a person’s private struggles can become entangled with their professional life.
Robert Zemeckis’ direction and the film’s well-crafted screenplay combine to create a gripping story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The technical aspects of the film, including the depiction of the crash, are executed with precision and realism, adding to the film’s impact.
“Flight” received critical acclaim for its storytelling, direction, and performances, and it engages audiences with its compelling character study and moral complexity. It’s a film that resonates on multiple levels, providing not only thrilling entertainment but also a nuanced exploration of human vulnerability and integrity.
28. Skyfall (2012)
James Bond’s thrilling motorcycle chase and train fight sequences are unforgettable.
“Skyfall” is the 23rd instalment in the James Bond series, directed by Sam Mendes and released in 2012. The film stars Daniel Craig in his third appearance as the iconic British spy, James Bond.
The plot of “Skyfall” revolves around Bond’s loyalty to his superior, M (played by Judi Dench), as her past comes back to haunt her. The villain, Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem), is a former MI6 agent who has turned against the organization and is seeking revenge against M. Bond must track down Silva and stop him before he can carry out his threats.
“Skyfall” delves into Bond’s backstory and explores themes of aging, trust, and the relevance of old-school espionage in a modern, technologically driven world. The film is noted for its stunning cinematography, with Roger Deakins providing visually arresting scenes that range from the neon-lit streets of Shanghai to the desolate landscapes of Scotland.
Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Silva is particularly memorable, creating a charismatic yet menacing antagonist. His complex relationship with M adds depth to the film’s narrative and serves as a counterpoint to Bond’s own loyalty.
The film’s action sequences are thrilling and well-executed, including an opening chase scene that sets the tone for the rest of the film. The production design, score, and overall direction contribute to making “Skyfall” one of the more artistically accomplished entries in the Bond series.
“Skyfall” was a critical and commercial success, earning over $1 billion at the global box office and receiving five Academy Award nominations. It won two Oscars, one for Best Original Song (the title song performed by Adele) and another for Best Sound Editing.
With its mix of classic Bond elements and fresh, contemporary themes, “Skyfall” resonated with both longtime fans of the series and new audiences. Its success helped rejuvenate the franchise and cemented Daniel Craig’s status as one of the definitive actors to have played the role of James Bond. The film’s combination of thrilling action, complex characters, and artistic craftsmanship ensures its place as a standout entry in the long-running series.
29. Bullitt (1968)
Known for its groundbreaking car chase through San Francisco’s hilly streets.
“Bullitt” is a 1968 American action thriller film directed by Peter Yates and starring Steve McQueen as the titular character, Lieutenant Frank Bullitt. The film is widely recognized for its groundbreaking car chase sequence and McQueen’s iconic cool demeanour.
The story follows Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco cop who is assigned to protect a witness set to testify against a mob syndicate. When the witness is killed under his watch, Bullitt takes it upon himself to find those responsible, uncovering a web of corruption and deceit that goes deeper than he anticipated.
The film’s most famous scene, a car chase through the streets of San Francisco, set new standards for action filmmaking and remains one of the most influential chase scenes in cinema history. McQueen, an avid car enthusiast, did much of the driving himself, adding to the scene’s authenticity. The chase is renowned for its realism, speed, and intensity, eschewing a musical score to focus on the sounds of roaring engines and screeching tires.
“Bullitt” is not just a showcase for vehicular action; it also delves into the character of Frank Bullitt, a man who is both tough and ethical. Steve McQueen’s understated performance gives depth to the character, making him more than just an action hero.
The supporting cast includes Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Don Gordon, and Robert Duvall. Lalo Schifrin’s jazzy, moody score complements the film’s stylish aesthetic and urban atmosphere.
Critical reception for “Bullitt” was generally positive, and the film’s influence can be seen in numerous car chases and action sequences that followed in its wake. It won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing, and its blend of action, intrigue, and character study has helped it endure as a classic of its genre.
“Bullitt” is often celebrated for its contribution to action cinema, but it also offers a nuanced portrayal of its protagonist and a cynical view of institutional corruption. The combination of compelling drama, groundbreaking action, and Steve McQueen’s magnetic presence makes “Bullitt” a must-watch for fans of classic cinema.
30. Thelma & Louise (1991)
A journey of self-discovery and freedom in a classic Thunderbird convertible.
“Thelma & Louise” is a 1991 American road film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri. The film stars Susan Sarandon as Louise Sawyer and Geena Davis as Thelma Dickinson, two friends who embark on a road trip that quickly takes a dark and unexpected turn.
The plot begins with Thelma, a housewife, and Louise, a waitress, deciding to take a weekend road trip together. Their adventure takes a traumatic turn when Louise shoots and kills a man who attempts to rape Thelma. Fearing the consequences, they decide to flee, setting off on a journey that leads them further from the law and deeper into a life of crime.
As the two women travel through the American Southwest, they encounter various characters and challenges, and their bond strengthens. Thelma undergoes a transformation, shedding her submissive persona and embracing a newfound sense of freedom and self-assurance. Louise’s complex backstory is gradually revealed, adding depth to her character and motivation for her actions.
The film was groundbreaking in its portrayal of women as lead characters in an action-oriented story, dealing with themes of friendship, liberation, and rebellion. Its depiction of strong female friendship and empowerment resonated with many viewers, while its controversial ending sparked debates and discussions.
“Thelma & Louise” features standout performances from both Sarandon and Davis, and their on-screen chemistry is a driving force in the film’s success. Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, and Brad Pitt, in one of his first major roles, provide strong supporting performances.
The film’s cinematography showcases the beauty of the American landscape, and Hans Zimmer’s score complements the film’s blend of drama, humor, and tension.
“Thelma & Louise” was both a critical and commercial success, receiving six Academy Award nominations and winning Best Original Screenplay for Callie Khouri. Its cultural impact has been substantial, with the film being analyzed and celebrated for its feminist themes and bold storytelling.
Over the years, “Thelma & Louise” has become a symbol of female empowerment and a classic of modern cinema. Its engaging story, memorable performances, and significant cultural relevance make it a film that continues to resonate with audiences.
31. The Italian Job (1969)
A heist film famous for its Mini Cooper chases through Turin.
“The Italian Job” is a 1969 British comedy caper film directed by Peter Collinson and starring Michael Caine, Noël Coward, and Benny Hill. The film has become iconic, particularly for its memorable car chase scenes featuring Mini Coopers.
The plot follows Charlie Croker (played by Michael Caine), a recently released convict who plans to steal a shipment of gold in Turin, Italy. With the help of his former prison mates and a carefully selected team of criminals, Croker sets out to execute the elaborate heist. The plan involves creating a massive traffic jam to distract the police, allowing the team to escape through the congested streets in their nimble Mini Coopers.
“The Italian Job” is known for its humour, wit, and stylish execution. Michael Caine’s charismatic performance as Croker, along with the colourful supporting cast, adds charm and flair to the film.
The car chase sequence, with the red, white, and blue Mini Coopers darting through narrow alleys, down stairways, and even across rooftops, is a highlight of the film and has become one of cinema’s most famous chase scenes. The Minis become characters in their own right, symbolizing British ingenuity and daring.
The film’s ending is famously ambiguous and has led to much speculation and debate over the years. It leaves the audience on a literal cliffhanger, with the characters and their stolen gold teetering on the edge of a precipice.
Quincy Jones provided the score for the film, including the catchy theme song “On Days Like These” and the instrumental “The Self Preservation Society,” which add to the film’s quirky and upbeat tone.
While “The Italian Job” received mixed reviews upon its initial release, it has since gained a cult following and is regarded as a classic of British cinema. Its blend of humour, action, and clever plotting, along with its quintessentially British sensibility, makes it a beloved and enduring film.
The film’s influence can be seen in various heist movies that followed, and it even inspired a successful 2003 American remake starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Edward Norton, which pays homage to the original while taking the story in new directions.
32. Le Mans (1971)
A love letter to motor racing, capturing the essence of the famous 24-hour race.
“Le Mans” is a 1971 sports action film directed by Lee H. Katzin, starring Steve McQueen. The film provides an authentic depiction of the Le Mans 24-hour auto race in Le Mans, France, one of the oldest and most prestigious endurance races in the world.
Steve McQueen, who was a racing enthusiast in real life, plays Michael Delaney, a driver competing in the race. The film’s plot is minimal, focusing instead on the race itself and the intense competition, with personal rivalries and the physical and mental challenges faced by the drivers.
What sets “Le Mans” apart from other racing films is its dedication to realism. McQueen and the filmmakers sought to capture the true essence of the race, using real footage from the Le Mans event and including professional drivers in the cast. The film avoids the use of any dramatic musical score during the racing scenes, relying on the natural sounds of the engines, tires, and crowds to create atmosphere and tension.
The result is a visceral and immersive experience, placing the audience in the driver’s seat and conveying the thrill, danger, and exhaustion of endurance racing. The film’s racing sequences are expertly shot, using various camera angles and techniques to bring the race to life.
While “Le Mans” received mixed reviews upon its release and struggled at the box office, it has since gained a strong following among racing fans and is considered a classic sports film. Its dedication to authenticity and the way it captures the raw energy of the race continues to be influential and admired.
For fans of motor racing, “Le Mans” is a must-see, providing an unvarnished look at the sport and showcasing Steve McQueen’s passion for racing. The film’s unique approach and commitment to realism make it a standout entry in the genre of sports cinema.
33. Gravity (2013)
This visually stunning space survival film showcases the perilous journey of two astronauts stranded in space.
“Gravity” is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who co-wrote the screenplay with his son Jonás Cuarón. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the film is set in the vastness of space and follows the story of two astronauts struggling for survival after a catastrophic accident.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first space mission, while Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is a veteran astronaut in command. During a routine spacewalk to service the Hubble Space Telescope, a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite causes a chain reaction of debris, which strikes their shuttle. This leaves Stone and Kowalski stranded in space, tethered to each other, with limited oxygen and no communication with Earth.
The film’s plot revolves around their desperate attempt to return to safety, facing a series of increasingly dire challenges and life-threatening situations. The story is as much about the physical journey back to Earth as it is a psychological exploration of Stone’s character, who is dealing with a personal tragedy that has left her emotionally adrift.
“Gravity” is celebrated for its groundbreaking visual effects, which create a breathtaking and terrifyingly realistic portrayal of space. The film’s long, uninterrupted takes, including a 17-minute opening shot, immerse the audience in the experience, adding to the tension and sense of vulnerability. The 3D effects are used to enhance the storytelling, rather than as a mere gimmick.
Sandra Bullock’s performance is central to the film’s success, conveying a wide range of emotions and carrying much of the film on her own. Her character’s growth and transformation are central to the narrative, providing an emotional core to the harrowing survival tale.
The score by Steven Price, which won an Academy Award, complements the visual spectacle, providing an auditory experience that heightens the tension and emotion of the film.
“Gravity” was met with critical acclaim upon its release, earning accolades for its direction, performances, visual effects, and sound design. It won seven Academy Awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, and was a major box office success.
“Gravity” is more than a survival story; it’s a film about resilience, rebirth, and human connection. Its innovative technical achievements and emotional depth make it a standout film of its genre, and it has had a lasting impact on the way space is portrayed in cinema.
34. Gran Torino (2008)
“Gran Torino” is a 2008 film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the movie. It’s a drama that centers on Walt Kowalski, a retired auto factory worker and Korean War veteran who has recently lost his wife. He becomes increasingly disconnected from his changing neighborhood, where he’s one of the few remaining Caucasian residents.
The title “Gran Torino” refers to Walt’s prized 1972 Gran Torino car. The plot thickens when Thao, a young Hmong teenager, is pressured by a local gang to steal the car as a part of his initiation. Walt catches him in the act, and the event sets off a chain reaction that leads to an unlikely friendship between the two.
The movie explores themes of racism, stereotypes, redemption, and personal transformation. It has been praised for its strong performances, especially from Eastwood, and its thoughtful storytelling. Some critics have raised concerns about the portrayal of certain characters and cultural aspects, but overall, it was well-received both critically and commercially.
35. Murder on the Orient Express (1974 and 2017)
“Murder on the Orient Express” is a 1974 British mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, produced by John Brabourne and Richard B. Goodwin, and based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.
The film features an ensemble cast, including Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective. The story follows Poirot as he travels on the luxurious Orient Express train from Istanbul to Calais. During the journey, a wealthy American passenger named Ratchett is murdered. Poirot is asked to investigate, and he discovers that many of the passengers have secrets.
The plot revolves around Poirot’s investigation, as he interviews the passengers and examines clues, leading to a famous and unexpected conclusion that reflects on justice and morality.
The film’s production design aimed to capture the glamour of train travel in the 1930s, and its sumptuous visuals contribute to the film’s overall charm. Lumet’s direction, along with the screenplay by Paul Dehn, effectively translates Christie’s intricate plot to the screen.
“Murder on the Orient Express” was well-received upon its release, with particular praise for its writing, direction, and performances. It was also noted for its faithfulness to Christie’s novel, which has made it a classic in the mystery genre.
The 2017 remake was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as the famous detective Hercule Poirot, this film is a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel. The plot remains largely the same as the original story: while traveling on the luxurious Orient Express train from Istanbul to Calais, Poirot is asked to investigate the murder of a wealthy American passenger named Ratchett.
The 2017 version is noted for its star-studded ensemble cast, including Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, and others. It features stunning visuals, with an emphasis on lavish production design and cinematography.
While the film adheres to the core plot of Christie’s novel, Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot and certain stylistic choices give it a distinct feel from earlier adaptations. The movie received mixed to positive reviews, with some critics praising its aesthetics and performances, while others felt it didn’t add enough new elements to stand out from previous versions.
Summary of the Best Transport Movies of All Time
This article discusses the best transport movies of all time, acknowledging the central theme of transportation in cinematic masterpieces.
The list includes movies such as “Top Gun” and its sequel “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”
All of these movies in our list are praised for their stunning visuals, intense action sequences, and memorable characters, making them enduring favourites among audiences.
Do you agree that these are the best transport movies? Let us know we’d love to hear some more favourites we might have missed.