Best Aussie car movies

We love a good car flick, but we especially love Aussie car flicks!


Running on Empty (1982)

Despite having a much lower profile than the Mad Max series, Running On Empty slotted into second place of our Top 10 car movies list by a mere handful of votes. It’s not hard to see why, with heaps of street racing (and crashing) in some classic muscle cars. Like Mad MaxRunning On Empty makes the most of Australia’s wide open spaces. Highlights: The cars, including a GTHO, ’70 Dodge Challenger R/T, a tough Monaro and a blown ’57 Chev. Lowlights: Tight jeans, scary 80s haircuts. Best quote: “Green. Green is nice.”

The Mad Max saga (1979 – 2015)

The original Mad Max must stand toe to toe with Running on Empty as the top two contenders for the best Aussie car flicks of all time. Mad Max II is also a cracker and Mad Max: Fury Road delivered incredible car chase action and a fleet of incredibly-detailed vehicles. Heck, we even love the kooky charm of Beyond Thunderdome.

The Chain Reaction (1980)

Known overseas as Nuclear Run, starring Steve ‘The Goose’ Bisley, Hugh ‘Toecutter’ Keays-Byrne and some mean Aussie iron.

Dirty Deeds (2002)

Gangster movie set in the Sydney in the late 1960s. Watch out for the tail-happy car chase between an FB Holden ute and a flash Holden Prem.

Running From The Guns (1987)

Another obscure but cool Aussie car flick, with an XY GT and a Cobra replica.

Freedom (1982)

Young bloke gets retrenched from his job making twin carby manifolds for grey motors, so he steals a 911 Turbo. Best Bits: Soundtrack by Don Walker and his mates from Cold Chisel.

Stone (1974)

Okay, so it’s a biker movie, but it’s Aussie and it’s weird. The 500-bike strong funeral procession is pretty special, as is the Z900 chase through the streets of suburban Sydney.

Metal Skin (1994)

Dystopic exploration of illegal drag racing and modified car culture in suburban Australia. Some nice racing scenes, plus a chase in an Auscar! 

Two Hands (1999)

Some hot Aussie cars in this flick, including a cool XB coupe. 

The Big Steal (1990)

Danny wants a girl and a Jag. Jags are nice, but Danny’s mate’s Monaro is nicer.

In The Red (1999)

Australia’s answer to The Fast And The Furious.

BMX Bandits (1983)

When a group of young BMX riders sell some mysterious CB radios for a quick buck, they find themselves being pursued by criminals in this classic 80s Aussie flick.

Love The Beast (2009)

This locally produced doco chronicles the life, death and rebirth of Eric Bana’s beloved XB hardtop dubbed ‘The Beast’. Bana directed the production, which also features prominent revheads Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson and, er, Dr Phil. Keep an eye out for a mean-looking survivor coupe as Bana competes in the Targa Tasmania rally, alongside his dad’s Thunderbird and a smattering of classic touring cars. 

Peter Brock: Over The Top (2020)

This feature length movie doco depicts the highs and lows of one of Australia’s biggest sporting icons, through the eyes of the people who knew him best. The on track brilliance, the off track dramas and everything in between – it’s all there. Many have tried to tell the Brocky story before, but we think this is the best iteration yet. 

Fast Talking (1984)

Hard-done-by teen Steve Carson (Rod Zuanic of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome) finds mentorship in the few responsible adults in his life (including another Mad Max alumnus, Steve Bisley), though he soon falls back into a cycle of juvenile delinquency. In the process, a few Aussie classics are stolen, thrashed and bashed – AP6 Valiant included. 

Return Home (1990)

Before he hit the big time in Hollywood, Melbourne’s own Ben Mendelsohn played a hot-headed apprentice in this Adelaidean drama. It’s a huge slice of suburban 80s nostalgia, bolstered by the tunes of Joe Camilleri and TISM. Centred on two very different brothers (Frankie J Holden and Dennis Coard) coming together around their struggling family-owned servo, the automotive side of the equation is summarised by the following exchange: “Your brother drives a 626?” “I can’t help it if he’s got no taste!”

The cars that ate Paris (1974)

A traveller survives a car accident while passing through the small town of Paris, Australia, and gradually learns the townspeople’s dark secret. 

The FJ Holden (1977)

Promoted as a happy slice of nostalgia, but is actually a bleak look at what it was to be a young adult in western Sydney in the 70s.

Malcolm (1986)

Mechanical genius turns to a life of crime and builds the ultimate getaway car-cum-motorbike. 

Alvin Rides Again (1974)

If Street Machine’s forerunner magazine, Australian Van Wheels, was a movie, it would undoubtedly be Alvin Rides Again. Born in the same loose and risqué era of Aussie entertainment as that august publication, this 1974 flick is the sequel to the wildly popular Alvin Purple from the previous year, but with a higher dose of car action to qualify it as a proper Fanging Flick.

The Man From Hong Kong (1975)

Born during the ‘Ozploitation’ era of Australian cinematic awesomeness, The Man From Hong Kong is unquestionably one of our most underrated action flicks.

Midnite Spares (1980)

Cool Aussie flick, with possibly the only P76 chase sequence ever!

Goodbye Pork Pie (1981) – (NZ)

What could go wrong when a couple of Kiwis steal a Mini for a road-trip? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Pork Pie (2017) – (NZ)

The re-make of an 80s classic, Pork Pie sees three troublemakers steal a modern-Mini for some harmless fun turns into a full-blown man-hunt.