Why are cars so important to the American narrative? Perhaps because America was built from travel: the journey from the homeland to the land of opportunities; the trek through the vast unexplored land, creating new settlements and new opportunities along the way. Build steel and asphalt roads to stimulate and accelerate the drive west. People traveled the United States first on horseback, then by train, and finally by car.

As means of transportation, cars have unique characteristics that make them much more attractive than many other methods of transportation:

* Cars in the US are affordable. Almost everyone can afford to have a car.

* Motor vehicles allow people to travel where and when they want.

* A car does not have to be shared with anyone else if the driver so decides. It becomes a personal space that allows people to travel in comfort and solitude.

* Cars confer status on their owners. They can be an external representation of the personalities of the owners. Fast sports cars, station wagons, or luxury sedans create an image in our minds about drivers.

Cars have truly become an extension of oneself. It's no wonder Americans were quick to accept the automobile as a symbol of freedom and choice.

Movies are as much a part of American culture as cars. Movies work to show us what life is like or what it could be like. They represent freedom and possibility, just like cars. It seems logical that movies and cars come together to create entertainment. A look at American movies shows how tangled cars really are in movies.

Many movies resonate with viewers because of the cars they present. In "American Graffiti" (1973), a 1932 Ford coupe, a 1955 Chevy, a 1958 Chevy Impala, a 1951 Mercury and a 1956 Ford Thunderbird are part of a special night car cruise for a group of friends from high school. This movie also shows another strong element of American car culture, the teenage driver.

Obtaining a driver's license at sixteen has become a rite of passage for America's youth. The ability to drive and express their identity through their cars has anchored the car as a symbol of freedom for teenagers. This adolescent freedom has been documented movie after movie, with "American Graffiti" just one good example. Another in this genre is "Grease" (1978).

Car movies can be classified based on the role the car plays in the movie. There are movies that, while not really about cars, contain vivid scenes in which cars are essential to the story. In "Back to the Future" (1985), a 1981 DeLorean is the time travel machine. What would Batman ("Batman Begins" 2005) be without the Batmobile, or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986) without Cameron's father's Ferrari? "Heart Like a Wheel" (1983), about race car driver Shirley Muldowney, adds romance to the mix. In a more recent movie, "Drive," starring Ryan Gosling, the main character is a driver: he drives stunt cars in the movies and getaway cars in robberies.

However, to be truly considered a car movie, the plot must revolve around the cars that make it up. Some car movies not to be missed are:

* "Le Mans" (1971), starring a Porsche 917 and a Ferrari 512S (and Steve McQueen as an American driver in the Le Mans car race).

* "Gone in 60 Seconds" (1974), a film based on the premise that a car thief has to steal forty-eight cars in a week, all beautiful high-end vehicles.

* "Mad Max" (1979), a gloomy look to the future where the population chases each other in supercharged hot rods, in search of the last gasoline left.

* "The Fast and the Furious" (2001), where an undercover cop in a 1970 Dodge Charger R / T joins street racing in an attempt to break a circle of thieves.

* "Days of Thunder" (1990), where Tom Cruise shows his driving skills as a NASCAR driver.

* Taking the idea even further, in the animated feature "Cars" (2006), the vehicles are the characters. https://wonderlandthemovie.com/%E0%B8%94%E0%B8%B9%E0%B8%AB%E0%B8%99%E0%B...

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However, to be truly considered a car movie, the plot must revolve around the cars that make it up. Some car movies not to be missed are: