Behind the Wheel: Hollywood Edition – Memorable Movie (and Television) Scenes featuring GM Vehicles
October 7, 2011 10:15 am ET
While it’s no secret that GM has spent the last 100 years or so producing some of the toughest, fastest, and most cutting-edge American-made automobiles, a considerably lesser-known accomplishment is the company’s roles in Hollywood.
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac have appeared in countless films and television shows through the years. With classics like Thunder Road (1958) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) to modern action movies like Kill Bill (2003) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) on our resume, we thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite film moments:
Let’s begin with a film that’s almost entirely devoted to life behind the wheel. In 1973, George Lucas premiered American Graffiti, the coming-of-age movie that launched his Hollywood career. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford and the beloved 1955 Chevrolet One-Fifty, American Graffiti was an ode to the car culture of the 1960s – in other words, drag racing, parking at “Inspiration Point,” and drive-in movies.
Next up, we’ve got a rough-and-tumble crew of poltergeist-chasing vigilantes who rescue a Cadillac from a trip to the junkyard. In the classic 1986 comedy, Ghostbusters, the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance is introduced to audiences worldwide as, forgive us here, a hunk of junk. Beaten down and abused, the car is saved from certain death by Dan Aykroid’s character, Ray Stantz. Once converted into the ultimate ghostbusting machine, the Ectomobile faithfully transports the team to countless distress calls – including the Librarian Ghost, and our favorite ghoul, the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
Every GM brand has had its moment in the spotlight, but one of our proudest is Buick’s role in the Academy Award-winning 1988 film, Rain Man.
Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) sits down for a reading of his estranged, departed father’s will and is shocked to discover his father’s fortune has been left to a stranger. Adding insult to injury, Charlie finds he’s been left only a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible and a few prize rose bushes. While we think a Buick is a terrific inheritance, Charlie Babbitt was not amused. The remainder of the film is spent behind the wheel of the classic Buick, as Charlie and his long lost autistic brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) travel from Cincinnati to Los Angeles.
Our final favorite might be a little more painful for you to watch. Remember that powder pink pickup truck Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie set out in during the second season of their reality television show, “The Simple Life”? What, you don’t remember? No worries, we’ll fill you in.
Back in 2004, in the second season of “The Simple Life”, Paris and Nicole took off on a cross country road trip to experience life across the United States as it really is. You know, for us “normal” folks. The ladies put their Sierra through a lot of hassle, logged a lot of miles, and lucky for us, returned to their glitz and glam lifestyles safe and sound. We’re proud to say their 2003 GMC Sierra, outfitted with custom chrome and pink rims, returned with them, holding up despite these party girls’ wild road-tripping antics.
Well, that about wraps up our favorite GM big screen moments. We’ll also give honorable mentions to the 1973 Chevy Corvette in Corvette Summer (1978), the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS in Dazed and Confused (1993) and the 1951 Buick LeSabre animated for Disney’s Cars (2006).
What are your favorite movies or TV shows with GM vehicles in the spotlight?