The Best Racing Movies of the 1980s: Prepare to Qualify!


10. Oxford Blues (starring Rob Lowe and Ali Sheedy)

“He came to Oxford to meet a girl…but he got something even more important. A chance to be a WINNER”

9. Breaking Away

He isn’t Italian!

8. Top Gun

Think about it…

7. Better Off Dead

Lane vs. the car full of Asian Howard Cosell enthusiasts not to mention the K-12 competition!

6. The Running Man

In the year 2017? We’re just 3 years away from this pageantry!

5. Chariots of Fire

4. Personal Best

It nears the top of the list, not just for the hurdling, or lesbian overtones, or Olympic themes, but mainly because it features the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes” in the trailer!

3. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

2. Six Pack

Love will turn you around. It just will. Don’t question it.

1. Cannonball Run

Really, was there ever any question as to what would take the top spot? Captain Chaos would have it no other way.


It's all just pops and clicks within the vinyl groove I'm listening to. Music, movies, commercials, action figures, cassette tapes...anything that you left in your parents' attic when you moved. I want to talk about it.
-DJ Darko, Your Pop Culture Mixologist

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10 thoughts on “The Best Racing Movies of the 1980s: Prepare to Qualify!

  1. I’m not sure these are the ‘best’ but there sure are some good films here. I need to watch Oxford Blues ASAP, it looks like fun! :) I’d make an honourable mention to the chase from The Blues Brothers in here!

  2. I’m sure this was just a oversight, but where is Stroker Ace? Burt Reynolds, Lonnie Anderson, Jim Neighbors, Ned Beatty… A car that looks like a plucked chicken. Bump out the abomination known as Top Gun and it would fit perfectly between Cannonball Run and Six Pack.

  3. Yea, Retroist said the same thing about Stroker Ace, after I had already handed over my list. I would gladly switch out Mad Max for it, though! Kinda felt uneven for 2 Burt Reynolds films to make an appearance in the countdown.

  4. Hayden, I would welcome your suggestions for any others from the 80s that I may have left out. It was hard to not just lean on the car racing motif, which was clearly a popular theme of 80s action movies. (Although, I guess we’ve also come full circle in the past decade with the prevalence of the Fast and Furious franchise, etc)

  5. Better off dead is an overlooked classic. Two movies that spring to mind when I think of racing films are “The Wraith” and “The Heavenly Kid”.
    The heavenly kid is about a 50s greaser who gets killed in a street race & then comes back as a ghost to prevent his son from dying in a replay of almost the exact same race.
    The wraith is about a guy who apparently gets killed in a street race, but then an alien car appears and starts racing & killing the gang who killed the main guy (played by charlie sheen).
    Check out the alien car from the wraith:

  6. I’m happy to hear you guys were thinking about Stroker Ace! The Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham duo were synonymous with racing/car films of the 80’s. 2 would just reinforce that they were the juggernauts of the era.
    Road Warrior, you can not leave that film out! That was a classic.
    I’m tempted to watch the Heavenly Kid, never saw it. But you guys never steer me wrong.
    The Wraith was a Charlie Sheen masterpiece.

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