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Racing Movies: D-G

commercial movies involving auto racing

Racing Movies D-G


Danger on Wheels (1940). Dirt track racing is the setting as Richard Arlen plays a test driver who is named to drive in the big race. He secretly installs a banned oil burning engine in his car, and his victory proves its worth.

The Daredevil (1972). George Montgomery is the fearless stock car racer. Racing action at Golden Gate Speedway. Also starring Terry Moore.

Daredevil Drivers (1938). Race driver Bill Foster (Dick Purcell) is banned from racing for reckless driving. He becomes involved with the beautiful owner of a bus company (Beverly Roberts) and drives in an outlaw race to save her business.

Days of Thunder (1990). Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, and Nicole Kidman star in a cliched stock car racing story with characters based very loosely on Tim Richmond and Harry Hyde. Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a cocky young driver trying to break into Winston Cup racing. Duvall steals the show as his car builder and crew chief Harry Hogg. Lots of track action. A number of NASCAR drivers have cameo roles. (SCRC)

Death Race 2000 (1975). In this action packed, campy satire, a field including Frankenstein (David Carradine) and Machine Gun Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone) compete in a transcontinental road race that awards points for speed and hitting pedestrians. The Roger Corman film has become a minor cult classic.

The Devil on Wheels (1947). Teenagers drive recklessly and cause mayhem at every turn. A visual editorial on the dangers of hot rodding. Starring Darryl Hickman.

The Devil's Hairpin (1957). Cornel Wilde is an arrogant road racer who makes a comeback. Dull story line is saved by exciting racing scenes.

Drag Racer (1971). One of the better drag racing films, this is the story of a young man (Mark Slade) who gets a ride in a Top Fuel dragster (owned by Jeremy Slate and John Chandler). Deborah Walley plays the love interest. Race scenes were filmed at Irwindale Raceway, Lions Drag Strip, and Orange County International Raceway, and feature footage of drivers Gerry Glenn, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury, John Lombardo, Frank Graf, Bill Schultz, Larry Dixon, Norm Wilcox, Ray Alley, Sherm Gunn, Mike Snively, James Warren, Don Moody, and Bob Muravez. On-car cameras offer some interesting shots.

Drag Strip Girl (1957). Blonde bombshell Fay Spain likes hot rods and the guys who race them. There is the mechanic hero, played by Steve Terrell, and the playboy villain, played by John Ashley. Lots of street racing action.

Drag Strip Riot (1958). Corvette-driving delinquents come up against a motorcycle gang. Gary Clarke and Yvonne Lime lead the 'Vette racers into action.

Drive a Crooked Road (1954). Mickey Rooney is seduced by lovely Dianne Foster into driving the escape car in a bank hold-up. Rooney's performance as a lonely mechanic who dreams of becoming a top driver in European road racing is excellent.

Drive Hard, Drive Fast; TV movie (1969, telecast 1973). Race driver played by Brian Kelly gets involved with unsavory doings of co-stars Joan Collins and Joseph Campanella.

Driven (2001). Sylvester Stallone wrote and produced this disappointing story of CART racing. Casting himself in a supporting role, he features the story of a rookie driver (Kip Pardue) who competes against the veteran German (Til Schweiger) both on the track and in the bedroom. Co-starring Burt Reynolds. Lots of track action, including horrifying crash scenes in slow motion.


Eat My Dust! (1976). Ron Howard is the sheriff's son, but this isn't Mayberry and he isn't Opie. He steals a race car and takes off with his girlfriend, with his father and the race driver-owner of the car in pursuit.

Excuse My Dust (1920). This sequel to The Roaring Road reprises the character of auto salesman Toodles Walden (Wallace Reid). Toodles buys one of his father-in-law's race cars and wins the big race.


The Fast and the Furious (1954). John Ireland and Dorothy Malone star in this movie filmed against the backdrop of the Pebble Beach international sports car races. Ireland, who co-directed, did his own stunt work, driving his Jaguar 120 miles per hour. He liked the car so well that he bought it the last day of filming. This was Roger Corman’s second film.

The Fast and the Furious (2001). Vin Diesel (I kid you not) stars as the leader of a Los Angeles street racing group and Paul Walker plays the undercover cop who is investigating possible ties to truck hijacking.

Fast Company (1978). A champion drag racer (William Smith) and his motor oil company sponsor part ways when the company head (John Saxon) picks a younger driver. Our hero steals his car back and races it. Lots of drag strip action. Directed by Canadian David Cronenberg.

Fever Heat (1967). Nick Adams in his final film. Ace Jones, a former stock car racer who has been banned from the sport, befriends a woman and helps her get her garage business back on its feet. Jones races at the local tracks, much to the displeasure of the hometown drivers. Filmed at dirt tracks in Stuart, Oskaloosa, Des Moines, and Dexter, Iowa. The script was written by Henry Gregor Felsen, the author of a number of juvenile racing novels.

Fireball 500 (1966). The juvenile beach set hits the speedway. Frankie Avalon plays stock car racer "Fireball" Dave Owens. He comes to Spartanburg, South Carolina to race against the local champion (Fabian). Owens "races by day and foils moonshiners by night." The racing footage, filmed at Saugus Speedway in Saugus, California; and Ascot Park in Gardena, California; and the local color footage shot in Charlotte, North Carolina, are the highlights in this teen flick. Also starring Annette Funicello.

43: The Petty Story; also called Smash-Up Alley (1972). Stock car racing legend Richard Petty portrays himself and Darren McGavin plays his father Lee, also a racer, in a story that recounts the tension between the two. The poorly written film is salvaged by good racing action. (SCRC)

Fireball Jungle; also called Jungle Terror (1968). The mob tries to break into Southern stock car racing. Filmed in and around Tampa, Florida.

Fury on Wheels (1971). A young boy from the Appalachians becomes a stock car racer. Starring Judd Hirsch, Paul Sorvino, and Tom Ligon.


Genevieve (1953). "Genevieve" is a 1904 Darracq roadster entered in the annual London-to-Brighton rally. Its owners, played by John Gregson and Dinah Sheridan, indulge in keen competition with their friendly rivals Kenneth More and Kay Kendall.

The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959). Hot rod gang with “cool kittens.” The film features a drag race on the Los Angeles River bottom. Stars include Jody Fair, Martin Braddock, and Russ Bender.

Girls Town (1959). The gals are beating the guys in this drag racing film featuring Mamie Van Doren, Gloria Talbott, Mel Torme, and Jim Mitchem. Music by Ray Anthony, the Platters, and Paul Anka.

Grand Prix (1966). Luscious cinematography and exciting racing highlight the story of four drivers competing for the World Championship. Starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Brian Bedford, and Jessica Walter. Garner trained with Bob Bondurant and did most of the driving himself, enjoying the experience so much that he competed in a number of events aferward. Filmed at tracks in England, Europe, and the U.S. (SCRC)

Greased Lightning (1919). The town blacksmith and inventor (Charles Ray) is inamored of automobiles and buys an old one that he converts into a race car he names "Greased Lightning." He abandons his lead in the county fair race to capture a bank robber.

Greased Lightning (1977). Based on the life of stock car driver Wendell Scott, the only black driver ever to win a race in NASCAR's top division. Richard Pryor stars, along with Beau Bridges, Pam Grier, and Cleavon Little.

The Great Race (1965). Wacky comedy about the 1908 New York to Paris race. Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood are the good guys, while Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk are delightful villains. Location scenes were filmed in Salzburg, Vienna, and Paris.

The Green Helmet (1961). Mediocre melodrama about an aging driver (Bill Travers). His younger brother (Sean Kelly) wants him to quit because he has promised their mother that he will not race until his brother retires. His girlfriend , played by Nancy Walters, is equally insistent. He wins the endurance race at Sebring and retires. Racing legend Jack Brabham plays himself. One of the few movies featuring Jaguars in road races. Racing sequences were filmed at Silverstone, Sebring, the Mille Miglia, and Le Mans. Based on the novel by Jon Cleary.

The Gumball Rally (1976). An unlikely group of people compete in a no-holds-barred auto race from New York to California. Based on the actual Cannonball Run. Starring Michael Sarrazin, Gary Busey, and Raul Julia.

Subject Guide

Suzanne Wise's picture
Suzanne Wise
Belk Library and Information Commons
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608-2026
tel: 828-262-2798

Curator of the Stock Car Racing Collection; Bibliographer for the departments of Communication, Computer Science, and Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment