Skip to main content

10 Best Auto Racing Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

10 Best Auto Racing Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Red flag, green flag, go! Let’s burn rubber as we ranking the best auto and car racing movies of all time by Tomatometer! We start with Certified Fresh classics, putting audiences in the driver’s seat at 24 Hours of Le Mans (Ford v Ferrari), Formula One Grand Prix (Rush), and NASCAR (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby).

(We focused on sanctioned sport of auto racing, so we’re saving your cannonball runs, death races, and Tokyo drifts for another day.)

Those are followed up with popular favorites, including the Indy 500 highlight Winning (starring real-life speed legend Paul Newman), Tom Cruise’s Days of Thunder, the cult dazzler Speed Racer, and family-oriented films like CarsTurbo, and the Herbie entries.

Ford V Ferrari

#1 Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.

Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon BernthalCaitriona Balfe

Directed By: James Mangold


#2 Rush (2013)

Critics Consensus: A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a finely crafted sports drama with exhilarating race sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.

Synopsis: In the mid-1970s, charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) share an intense rivalry in Formula 1 racing. Driving vehicles that are little more than gas-filled, rolling bombs, Hunt and Lauda burn up the track, all the while pushing themselves to the breaking point of physical and mental endurance. Meanwhile, the women (Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara) in their lives can only watch as both drivers risk death with every lap.

Starring: Chris HemsworthDaniel BrühlOlivia WildeAlexandra Maria Lara

Directed By: Ron Howard


#3 Cars (2006)

Critics Consensus: Cars offers visual treats that more than compensate for its somewhat thinly written story, adding up to a satisfying diversion for younger viewers.

Synopsis: While traveling to California to race The King and Chick Hicks in the Piston Cup Championship, Lightning McQueen falls out of his trailer and winds up in a run-down town called Radiator Springs. He slowly befriends the town's odd residents, including Sally, Doc Hudson and Mater. When it comes time for him to leave, the championship is no longer his top priority.

Starring: Owen WilsonPaul NewmanBonnie HuntLarry the Cable Guy

Directed By: John Lasseter

Talladega Nights

#4 Talladega Nights (2006)

Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights' mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner's circle.

Synopsis: NASCAR superstar Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is at the top of his game; adored by fans, a trophy wife by his side, and incredible wealth. But Ricky loses it all when French Formula One champion Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) roars onto the scene. Ricky, with the help of his ruthless father, must pull himself out of the depths of despair and restore his honor on the racetrack.

Starring: Will FerrellJohn C. ReillySacha Baron CohenGary Cole

Directed By: Adam McKay

Racing Dreams

#5 Racing Dreams (2009)

Critics Consensus: Racing Dreams offers an absorbing peek at the lives of young NASCAR hopefuls that should resonate with racing enthusiasts as well as viewers with no connection to the sport.

Synopsis: Marshall Curry goes behind the scenes of the World Karting Association, a youth racing league that often serves as a springboard to NASCAR. Curry documents the skills and challenges of three teen racers -- Josh Hobson, Brandon Warren and Annabeth Barnes. Along with exciting race footage, the audience is provided background on the racers and their unique situations: Hobson's professionalism, Warren's anger issues and Barnes' struggle with commitment.

Starring: Annabeth Barnes

Directed By: Marshall Curry

Grand Prix

#6 Grand Prix (2016)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The most daring drivers in the world have gathered to compete for the 1966 Formula One championship. After a spectacular wreck in the first of a series of races, American wheelman Pete Aron (James Garner) is dropped by his sponsor. Refusing to quit, he joins a Japanese racing team. While juggling his career with a torrid love affair involving an ex-teammate's wife, Pete must also contend with Jean-Pierre Sarti (Yves Montand), a French contestant who has previously won two world titles.

Starring: James GarnerEva Marie SaintYves MontandToshiro Mifune

Directed By: John Frankenheimer

The 24 Hour War

#7 The 24 Hour War (2016)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Automobile magnates Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari develop a fierce rivalry at the Le Mans during the 1960s.

Starring: Mario AndrettiA.J. BaimeBob BondurantPiero Ferrari

Directed By: Nate AdamsAdam Carolla

Winning: the Racing Life of Paul Newman

#8 Winning: the Racing Life of Paul Newman (2015)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The 35-year racing career of actor Paul Newman.

Starring: Mario AndrettiMichael AndrettiPatrick DempseyJohn Lasseter

Directed By: Adam CarollaNate Adams

Snake and Mongoose_v2

#9 Snake and Mongoose (2013)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Southern California drag racers Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen team with corporate giants to change the face of sports.

Starring: Ian ZieringJohn HeardJesse WilliamsNoah Wyle

Directed By: Wayne Holloway

The Love Bug_v2

#10 The Love Bug (1968)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Race car driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) and his philosophical mechanic, Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), find themselves in possession of a white Volkswagen Beetle that seems to have a mind and spirit of its own. Calling the car Herbie, Jim and Tennessee become the talk of the California racing circuit -- much to the displeasure of sports-car dealer Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson), who tries to use his assistant (Michele Lee) to come between the friends and their car.

Starring: Dean JonesMichele LeeDavid TomlinsonBuddy Hackett

Directed By: Robert Stevenson

Sports in this article

Auto Racing

Tags in this article

Movies Parent Rotten Tomatoes