Below we offer our Top 10 list of some of the most popular or most memorable movies featuring trucks, truckers and the trucking industry and a few facts about them.
Duel is a 1971 American action-thriller television film directed by Steven Spielberg.
Salesman David Mann (played by Dennis Weaver), driving across the country in his Plymouth Valiant, accidentally finds himself playing a life-threatening game of cat and mouse with the menacing 40-ton truck and its faceless driver. The psychotic truck driver feels offended and chases David along the remote empty highway trying to kill him.
Gripping with psychological tension, this desperate battle for survival is hailed by critics as a film that “belongs on the classics shelf reserved for top suspensers” (Daily Variety).
White Line Fever is a 1975 Canadian-American action crime neo-noir film directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Jan-Michael Vincent.
Returning from a two-year tour in Vietnam with the United States Air Force, Carrol Jo Hummer, played by Jan Michael Vincent, marries his lover, borrows money to buy a truck and tries to become an independent long-haul driver.
He returned to Red River, Tucson-based produce-shipper that his father drove before his death. When he refused to ship untaxed cigarettes, he’s beaten by a band of gangsters working for an organized group of criminals headed by Cutler. Hummer risked his life fighting corruption and trying to organize truck drivers.
Smokey and the Bandit is a 1977 American action comedy film and was the second-highest-grossing domestic film of 1977 in the United States.
For a reward of 80,000 dollars, Bandit and his buddy Cledus take on the job of illegally transporting 400 cases of beer from Texas to Atlanta within 48 hours. To ensure that the truck driven by Cledus has a clear run, Bandit tries to distract the police with his black Trans Am.
Things get dicey, however, when Bandit picks up Carrie, a hitchhiker: Carrie has just broken off the wedding with the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, which the father-in-law doesn’t find funny at all. An adventurous race through half of America takes its course…
About a year after Smokey and the Bandit premiered, Kris Kristofferson appeared on the big screen as Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald opposite Ernest Borgnine as Sheriff Lyle “Cottonmouth” Wallace. The film, directed by Sam Peckinpah, was inspired by the country song “Convoy” by C.W. McCall, was first released three years earlier. Later, a new version of the song was recorded with more salacious lyrics for the soundtrack.
It follows the story of three drivers (Kris Kristofferson, Burt Young, and Franklyn Ajaye) harassed by a Sheriff (Ernest Borgnine). The movie was a hit, and gained a cult following; plus it was Peckinpah’s most commercially successful film. And, it remains a cult classic among truckers and trucking enthusiasts.
In this 1978 film directed by Peter Carter, two truck drivers played by Jerry Reed as Iron Duke and Peter Fonda as Rane fight off thugs who have been hired by the local trucker boss, King Carroll to drive them out of business.
Things start to go wrong when the pair try hauling illegal liquor to a lumper camp. Car crashes, gun fights and many explosions ensue.
The movie was described as “a modern day western, with trucks instead of horses.”Another observer said it could be summarized as “Pow, crash, screw, fight, collide, punch, slam, crash, screw.”
This comedy, directed by James Fargo, stars Clint Eastwood as Philo Beddoe, a chill trucker with an unusual team member riding along – an orangutan named Clyde, played by Manis.
Philo finally falls in love – with a flighty singer who leads him on a screwball chase across the American Southwest. He manages to cross a motley assortment of characters, including a pair of police officers and an entire motorcycle gang (called the “Black Widows”), who end up pursuing him for revenge.
Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 American fantasy action-comedy film directed by John Carpenter, and starring Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun and James Hong.
The film tells the story of truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), who helps his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) rescue Wang’s green-eyed fiancée from bandits in San Francisco’s Chinatown. They go into the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, where they face an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan (James Hong), who requires a woman with green eyes to marry him in order to be released from a centuries-old curse.
Over the Top is a 1987 American sports drama film starring Sylvester Stallone. He plays Lincoln Hawk, a long-haul trucker who enters a world arm wrestling championship in Las Vegas, hoping to win the prize of $100,000 in cash and a $250,000 Volvo White Tractor Truck.
Sylvester Stallone combines action and emotion in this family action film as struggling trucker, who after the death of his estranged wife struggles to rebuild his life. He tries to make amends with his son who he left behind years earlier. But the boy wants nothing to do with his father until Lincoln competes in a world arm wrestling competition in Las Vegas.
The film received three nominations at the 8th Golden Raspberry Awards in 1988.
Black Dog is a 1998 American action film directed by Kevin Hooks and starring Patrick Swayze.
A truck full of weapons is tracked by the FBI and ATF. It exploded and killed the driver. Truck driver Jack (Patrick Swayze), recently released from prison, is pressured to drive another truck from Atlanta to New Jersey. What he doesn’t know is that the truck is filled with illegal weapons.
Things get complicated when hijacking attempts are made as gun runners, government agents and a fleet of monstrous 18-wheelers pursue him in an intense highway duel. Now he must fight to survive and save his family.
This movie would be one of the rare notable exceptions we mentioned before. Told from the perspective of long-haul truckers, this 2007 documentary, directed by Doug Pray, provides insight into the modern trucking industry. This was an excellent documentary of the people in the trucking industry as well as the importance of that industry to the US economy.
The documentary’s director and cameraman, producer and production assistant drove an RV to the truck stop and approached the truck drivers for interviews. If the driver agrees, Pray will drive for a day and interview the driver while the producer follows him in the RV. Big Rig was an official selection of the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival and the 2007 American Film Festival (AFI).