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Top 5 NASCAR Movies

top 5 nascar movies

Table of Contents


  1. Days of Thunder
  2. The Last American Hero
  3. Cars
  4. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  5. 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story

1. Days of Thunder

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

At the top of our list is Days of Thunder. This racing movie is all about Cole Trickle, a young confident driver entering the intense world of NASCAR. His arrogance proves to make the transition challenging. His quick temper makes him unpopular amongst other racers as well as his own team.

The 1990 film features a great cast with Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, and action movie legend Tom Cruise. In fact, the movie is even compared to Cruise's Top Gun. Also, the movie has a lot of real chemistry between Kidman and Cruise since they met from this movie and married soon after.

Days of Thunder is so special because it truly focuses on NASCAR. A lot of the footage of the races were from actual pros racing. Additionally, the sound in the movie is incredibly realistic. The film's sound was even nominated for an Oscar.

2. The Last American Hero

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

The Last American Hero is another movie that focuses on the sport of NASCAR. It follows the life of the famous driver, Junior Johnson, or Junior Jackson as he is portrayed as in the film. It shows the driver trying to raise money so that he can bail his dad out of jail. However, the "bad boy" driver gets into a lot of disagreements with his owner when Junior tries to do things his way.

The 1973 film stars Jeff Bridges as the lead who does an excellent job at portraying Junior Johnson's early days in NASCAR. In fact, the real Johnson even said it was an accurate depiction of his first few years in NASCAR.

The Last American Hero is a great film for any NASCAR fan. It has great racing scenes throughout the movie that make it an honest interpretation of NASCAR.

3. Cars

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Cars may not be an obvious choice for a list of great NASCAR movies but it's actually a very informational movie. The animated 2006 film begins after three personified cars tie for first place in the Piston Cup. The three cars will have a rematch in a week to decide on one winner. The main character, Lightning McQueen, is a hot-shot racer who throughout the week before the race learns the importance of friendship.

The characters are voiced by some great actors including Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, and Larry the Cable Guy. The ensemble helps to keep the movie humorous and engaging.

Cars is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy. It's especially entertaining for NASCAR fans who will appreciate the nods to the real sport and its history. There are even some cameos from famous drivers like Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Humpy Wheeler.

4. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Although Cars has some comedic elements, Talladega Nights is a true comedy that will have the viewer laughing the whole time. The 2006 movie is about Ricky Bobby, an arrogant driver who is at the top of the NASCAR scene. However, after a devastating crash, he struggles to get back to racing, especially as his family and friend relationships fall apart.

The film has some great actors that help make the story so comedic. The main character is played by Will Ferrel but he's not the only comedy legend with John C Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jane Lynch also starring in the film.

Although the film can hardly be called a serious NASCAR film, it is certainly an enjoyable one. NASCAR fans will find some of the material the movie mocks to be extremely relevant. Ultimately, Talladega Night is a great film to watch for anyone who wants a fun movie night.

5. 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

3: The Dale Earnhardt Story is a 2004 TV movie by ESPN about the iconic NASCAR figure who died in 2001 at the Daytona 500. The short film follows his early life with a racing father and dropping out of high school to pursue race car driving. It also details his family issues and his complicated relationship between himself and his kids.

The film features some actual races from the real driver but for the most part Dale Earnhardt is played by actor Barry Pepper for the film. He does a great job at portraying the famous driver.

The made-for-TV movie has a couple inaccuracies that may bother some serious NASCAR fans. However, the story is very engaging so it's still a great movie to watch for people looking for an entertaining film. It's also a great film for Earnhardt fans who want to learn more about him.



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