Certain vehicles cannot help but stand out when they grace the silver screen, playing pivotal roles in some of the Nation’s biggest films to date. Of these iconic vehicles, few are as prominent as the Ford Mustang. Commonly regarded as the average man’s sports car, the Mustang personifies greatness, with every successive jab of the accelerator pedal. This, perhaps, is why the Mustang’s popularity endures with both movie buffs and gearheads alike.
The following is a rundown of some of the most iconic Mustangs to have ever skyrocketed to box office stardom.
The age-old adage of “go big, or go home”, certainly applies here. When a retired, yet legendary car thief, is forced into an impromptu comeback, it only makes sense that a 1967 Shelby GT500 serves as the focal point of the heist to come. This classic sees legendary car thief, Randall Raines, dashing through the streets in a captivating chase scene, while at the helm of this coveted Shelby, codenamed “Eleanor”. Gone In 60 Seconds serves as a car flick for the ages.
The 1968 thriller, Bullitt, stars Steve McQueen, who portrays a police detective determined to take down key members of the mob. Ironically, a 1968 Mustang GT serves as McQueen’s chariot during such endeavors. Perhaps most iconic, is the nearly 11-minute chase scene that plays out when McQueen’s character is pursued by a pair of hitmen in a Dodge Charger
Of course, it would make sense that the iconic man of mystery, James Bond, would choose a 1971 Mustang Mach 1 as his vehicle of choice when attempting to bring down an international diamond-smuggling ring. After all, why wouldn’t it? This thriller sees James Bond go toe-to-toe with a number of foes, albeit while keeping a level of cool that only Bond, himself, could. Though Sean Connery served as the leading man in this flick, we like to think that his 1971 Mach 1 was the true star.
There are few things in life that are certain. Among these are the reality of death, taxes, and facing your demise if you choose to steal ex-assassin, John Wick’s prized 1969 Mustang Boss 429. Out for vengeance, Wick, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, seeks to eliminate Russian gangster Iosef Tarasov and his cohorts. Interestingly enough, a 1969 Mustang Mach 1, rather than an actual Boss 429 was used in filming.
1967 Mustang Fastback (Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift)
The third installment of the legendary Fast and Furious franchise sees a 1967 Mustang Fastback utilized in an unlikely application, drifting. Sent to live with his father in Tokyo, troubled teen Sean Boswell finds himself falling in love with the local drifting culture. After restoring his father’s 1967 Mustang Fastback, Boswell sets out to dominate the drifting scene, while also attempting to avenge the death of his friend Han.
It’s not every day that a video game franchise successfully makes the jump to the silver screen. Nonetheless, this is exactly what occurred in 2014 with the film adaptation of Need For Speed. This auto-based thriller sees former racer and struggling shop owner Toby Marshall agree to restore a famed 2013 Shelby GT500 Super Snake previously worked on by Carroll Shelby himself. During the course of this project, bad blood comes between Marshall and his would-be business partner Dino Brewster. That which ensues sees Marshall pitted against Brewster in a race for the ages.
The 2007 film, I Am Legend, proves that just because you find yourself living in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world, doesn’t mean that you should have to settle for driving a 1992 Civic. The movie in question sees Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, attempting to find a cure for a mutated measles virus that has decimated the world’s population, all the while attempting to dodge droves of vampire-esque “darkseekers”. Not one to shun the finer things, Neville undertakes such endeavors while at the helm of a 2007 Mustang Shelby GT500.
The Transformers franchise certainly proved that at the end of the day, the Mustang can’t always serve as the hero. The franchise features “Barricade”, a 2007 Saleen S281 Mustang capable of morphing into a Deceptacon robot intent on taking over the universe. Naturally, these efforts would be repeatedly thwarted by a Camaro-based Autobot, affectionately regarded as “Bumblebee”. Of course, this degree of auto-casting was probably aided on the Chevrolet end, by GM’s issuance of vehicles to sustain subsequent filming efforts.
When Carroll Shelby himself serves as the technical advisor for a feature film, there is little doubt that a Mustang or two are bound to make cameo appearances. This is exactly what happened in the 1996 racing-inspired Grand Prix. This movie follows the life and times of 4 fictional Grand Prix racers, as they navigate both personal and professional endeavors. A striking 1966 Mustang GT350H in black livery, clad with gold over-the-top stripes appears in several pit scenes. Interestingly, this Mustang was also used by the production team for various behind the scene endeavors throughout the course of filming.
If you are a billionaire playboy who steals rare art for enjoyment, then naturally, you must have a tricked-out Mustang or two tucked away for the occasional midday drive. This, of course, is what the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair suggests, or at least we would like to think so. Thomas Crown, played by Piece Brosnan, is shown driving a one-off 1969 Shelby GT350, complete with a spare tire on its rear decklid, a light-equipped roll bar across its midsection, and flared rear fenders. This Stang’ was fat from a mainstay of the film, remaining on screen for no more than a minute, yet left a lasting impression among many fans.