You know you’re in great company when Hollywood stars make not just one movie glorifying truckers, but a whole slew of movies glorifying truckers. Yes, I know those trucker movies were mostly 70’s and 80’s B-level cheese-fests, but still, we had the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Burt Reynolds, Chuck Norris and Peter Fonda starring in them. And legendary director Sam Peckinpah even lent his talents to a trucker movie. (Do I even have to mention the music?)
Yes, the late 20th century was the golden era of the trucker movie and it was a good time to be a truck drivin’ hero. So our friends over at TruckerCountry.com selected a baker’s dozen of the Best Trucker Movies Ever Made. Here are our favorite 5 of those trucker movies, ones you may want to revisit before your next haul.
From the IMDb.com description: “Truckers form a mile long ‘convoy’ in support of a trucker’s vendetta with an abusive sheriff...”
Directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw with Ernest Borgnine as the evil sheriff Lyle “Cottonmouth” Wallace, and based on a country song of the same title by C.W. McCall... was there ever a more perfect basis for a trucker movie?
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Burt Reynolds at his snarky best, Sally Field playing a runaway bride, Jackie Gleason never funnier as Sheriff Buford T. Justice, and a suped-up black Trans Am, all star alongside a talented cast of dozens for this hilarious and high-energy movie about a pair of truckers who accept a challenge to deliver a truckload of beer round-trip from Texas in a short amount of time. Of course none of us would ever dream of breaking the law this brazenly...
They Drive by Night (1940)
One of the taglines for this vintage, noir trucker movie claims: “No picture in 1940 will have bigger thrills!” And with Humphrey Bogart and George Raft starring as a pair of trucking brothers facing corrupt businessmen and are forced to drive long hours to keep their company afloat I’m sure it did provide big thrills. For the time. (Considering there were no budgets for big explosions or special effects...)
High Ballin’ (1978)
Fresh off his Smokey and the Bandit success, Jerry Reed is back driving a truck again playing one half of a trucker duo fighting off a bunch of thugs hired to drive them out of business. Reason it made our list? Reed’s driving partner is Peter Fonda.
White Line Fever (1975)
Jan-Michael Vincent is (the unfortunately named), Carrol Jo Hummer, “a working man who’s had enough!” It made TruckerCountry.com’s list because it is “one of the earliest and best films of the genre, because it's relatively low-key, and the traveling sequences feel true-to-life.” We agree.
Breaker! Breaker! (1977)
Chuck Norris out for revenge after his truck driving brother disappears after a run in with a corrupt judge? Count us in.
Over the Top (1987)
Stallone. As a struggling truck driver with a cool name seeks his estranged son’s love by entering a nation-wide arm wrestling tournament. In Las Vegas.
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
A trucker movie based on a Stephen King story. That would be enough to get us to watch, but add in a bunch of homicidal semi-trailers that have suddenly come to life at a truck stop as the Earth passes through the tail of a mysterious comet, and we are hooked. (It could happen...)
Check out the rest of the trucker movies selected by TruckerCountry.com, and if we’ve left any of your favorites out, I want to hear about them in the comments below.