HomeCar CultureWhat have been the most iconic movie cars?

What have been the most iconic movie cars?


(Editor’s note: As a followup to our December-long series on our favorite car movies, we present this report on a list of iconic movie vehicles.)

Batman would not be considered as impressive if he had to run around on foot, and Back to the Future would not be quite as exhilarating had it not been for the time-traveling DeLorean,” notes GoCompare.com, a British website that provides car insurance information. 

“While cars are rarely the stars of movies, they often play critical roles in films,” the website continued in announcing its list of the most iconic car makes and models that have appeared in movies since the 1960s.

“We’ve analyzed decades worth of movie data in order to uncover the most iconic car makes and models that have appeared on the big screen every decade since the ‘60s,” the news release continued.

“Our criteria was simple; the car needed to have featured prominently in the film or have been used by a main cast member on screen. From there we found the most frequently occurring makes and models. In order to classify a car as ‘Iconic’ we used IMDb popularity of the film combined with their appearances in film.”

The “most iconic” movie cars by decade:

1960s — 1. Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5, 2. Easy Rider Harley-Davidson Panhead, 3. Bullitt Ford Mustang.

1970s — 1. Mad Max Ford Falcon, 2. The French Connection Lincoln Continental Mark III, 3. American Graffiti Ford.

1980s — 1. Back to the Future DeLorean DMC12, 2. Rain Man Buick Roadmaster, 3. Ghostbusters Cadillac ambulance.

1990s — 1. Back to the Future Part II DeLorean DMC12, 2. Speed GM TDH 5303 bus, 3. Batman Returns Batmobile.

2000s — 1. Gran Torino Ford Gran Torino, 2. Transformers Chevrolet Camaro, 3. Little Miss Sunshine Volkswagen van.

2010s — 1. Mad Max: Fury Road Tatra 815-7, Transformers: Age of Extinction Chevrolet Camaro, 3. The Lincoln Lawyer Lincoln Town Car.

In addition to the list by decades, the website offered two other lists, based on movie appearances since the start of the 1960s:

Top-10 models (with most famous film appearances): 

  1. Ford Mustang (Death Race, Gone in 60 Seconds, Bullitt)
  2. Ford Crown Victoria (Taken 3, Seven Pounds, Superbad)
  3. Chevrolet Impala (Jeepers Creepers, Raising Arizona Saturday Night Fever)
  4. Chevrolet Caprice (The Dukes of Hazzard, Se7en, Point Break)
  5. Ford Econoline (Enemy of the State, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Dumb and Dumber)
  6. Mercedes-Benz S-Class (The Fate of the Furious, 21 Jump Street, The Bourne Identity)
  7. Chevrolet Camaro (Transformers, Spring Breakers, 2 Fast 2 Furious)
  8. Volkswagen Golf (The Guilt Trip, Notes on a Scandal, Home for the Holidays)
  9. Toyota Land Cruiser (Safe House, The Mist, Unfaithful)
  10. Lincoln Town Car stretched limousine (The Hangover Part III, Desperado, The Bodyguard)
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Sorry, but you are soooo way off without a mention of “THE BANDIT” from the 70’s. Love it or hate it, that car cannot go anywhere unnoticed. People loved it, and it’s infamous….

  2. If it wasn’t for movies I wouldn’t know a few cars existed like
    "Back to the Future’s" DeLorean
    "Fast & the Furious" Ford Escort
    "Mad Max" Ford Falcon

  3. People- this is one of those areas where everyone is right. I own a 2004 "Pontiac" GTO, which is in reality an Australian Holden Monaro with a new face.
    In the original "Mad Max", all the Interceptors, as well as the Nightrider’s stolen ride, were Holden Monaros. The Ford Falcon (Max’s ultimate ride) as done Down Under, never came to the States, although I have seen ads for shops to build ya one, roof spoiler, fake blower & all.
    But, my Monaro looks nothing like the "Mad Max" versions, even though you can Google up Monaros dressed in Australian Police livery- really, they did use 2dr Holdens as PD Interceptors. Icky green/white paint, tho’ (imo). Years down that brutal road, the Monaro is a real version of it’s movie persona.
    Let’s just celebrate the fact that automobiles can dominate a film like no other machine (save maybe the "Titanic", and, well, how’d that work for ya? Can you say "glub glub glub…?)
    Gloria is spot on about "The Bandit", tho’- is there really another car outside of McQueen’s ‘Stang that can truly be called an "icon"? The GB ambulance was a prop. All the drool-worthy Euro stuff in "Ronin" was disposable, off-the-rack Euro metal. Cool AF; not iconic.
    If I paint my Monaro bright yellow, with blue & red trim and "MFP" callouts- "Interceptor" prominently blazoned across the rear, will I have an icon?

  4. Let me add a couple more to that list:
    1. The 58 Plymouth Fury from Christine. That movie creeped me out somethin’ bad when I was a kid; and it’s the reason I consider it bad luck today to NOT name a car!
    2&3. Even though they’re not movie cars but TV cars, who can forget the Dukes of Hazzard 69 Charger? That car has spawned more replica’s than any other movie or TV car, EVER! Also I have to mention the 82 Trans-Am from Knight Rider. Again, that TV show put the third-gen F-body Pontiac on the map.
    A couple more from Dukes of Hazzard are Daisy’s Jeep CJ-7 Golden Eagle, Uncle Jesse’s old mid-70’s Ford pick-up, and Rosco’s police car.
    As far as replicas and knock-off’s, the Eleanor Mustang ain’t got nothin on the Duke boys’ Charger! But it’s close.

  5. I have a 79 Trans Am ,National Coach Engineering Convertible listed on your website. Could you be enticed to do some research on these cars ? It is a numbers matching Smokey and the Bandit in excellent condition. I am about to resist the car at double the price. The problem in selling it is there is nothing out there to compare it to. It has been authenticated by Pontiac Historical.


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