The greatest trucking movies of all time

trucking movies

This month we’ve taken a look back at cinematic history to uncover movies where the real heroes or villains were mechanical in nature.

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Duel

Main truck featured: 1957 Peterbilt 281

(Image: Universal Pictures)

Directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971, this action-thriller centres around David Mann, a mild-mannered salesman on his way to meet a client. Along his travels, he encounters an old oil tanker driven by an unseen driver who seems to enjoy annoying him with dangerous antics on the road. Unable to escape the demonic big rig, David finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the monstrous truck.

Convoy

Main truck featured: 1977 Mack RS712LST

(Image: United Artists)

When a sneaky sheriff extorts truckies using the CB radio, 1978’s Convoy character Martin “Rubber Duck” Penwald and his buddies Pig Pen, Widow Woman and Spider Mike go on the run, figuring the best thing to do being to head to New Mexico to avoid prosecution. As news of what happened spreads over the CB airwaves, other truckers join their convoy as a show of support.

Smokey and The Bandit

Main truck featured: 1974 Kenworth W900A

(Image: Anton Ivanov / shutterstock)

A cult-classic, 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit follows Bo “Bandit” Darville and Cledus “Snowman” Snow. The two truck-driving bootleggers attempt to illegally transport 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta. While the Snowman drives the truck carrying the beer, the Bandit can be seen in his 1977 Pontiac Trans Am distracting law enforcement and keeping attention off their activities. During their run, they are pursued by Sheriff Buford T. Justice, of Portague County, Texas.

Big Rig

(Image: Doug Pray)

Taking place over four different two-week road trips, Doug Pray’s documentary consists of a series of interviews with different drivers, focusing on both their personal life stories and also the life and culture of truck drivers in the United States. The truckies featured were approached at various truck stops, with Pray jumping in their rigs and accompanying them for a day.

Breaker! Breaker!

Main trucks featured: 1970 Ford W-9000, Ford COE

(Image: AIP)

The 1977 action film directed by Don Hulette sees trucker J.D. sending his younger brother on a delivery run through California, where a corrupt judge has set up his own law, order, and brand of corrupt justice. When attempting to rescue his brother, J.D. is met with resistance and brutality and eventually is assisted by outlying truckers who respond to a “Breaker! Breaker!” call on a CB radio. The climax has about a dozen big rig trucks bulldozing the town to cinders.

Over the top

Main truck featured:1987 White WIM 64T

(Image: Warner Bros)

Sylvester Stallone plays a struggling truck driver who moonlights as an arm-wrestler. When his son’s mother falls seriously ill, he takes his 12-year-old on the road to Vegas to the arm wrestling world championships. Yet when the grandfather hears of this, he sends his thugs to put a stop to the bonding and bring the boy back.

Steel Cowboy

Main truck featured: Classic White Western Star 4800 

trucking movies
(Image: EMI Films)

Truckie Clayton Ray Davis is on the verge of financial ruin with his truck about to be repossessed in this 1978 movie. Seeing no way out of his mess, he takes up Pinky Pinchus’ offer of work. Hauling some rustled cattle for extra cash, Clayton decided to take a chance.

White Line Fever

Main truck featured: 1973 Ford WT-9000 COE

trucking movies
(Image: Columbia Pictures)

1975’s White Line Fever sees Carrol Jo Hummer returning from a stint in the Air Force, where he borrows money to buy a truck, hoping to make enough money hauling produce to marry his partner and set up housekeeping. He discovers that the long-haul business is run by racketeers and decides to fight the corrupt forces that control the trucking business.

Maximum Overdrive

Main truck featured: Western Star 4800

trucking movies
(Image: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)

Directed by Steven King himself, the 1986 horror film centres around the aftermath of a comet causing a radiation storm on Earth. Holed up in a North Carolina truck stop, a group of survivors must fend for themselves against a mass of homicidal trucks.

Black Dog

Main truck featured: Peterbilt 379

trucking movies
(Image: Universal Pictures)

Jack Crews, played by Patrick Swayze, has just been released from prison and is in need of some money in this 1998 movie. Deciding to make one last no-questions-asked trip, he finds himself transporting illegal arms. Having taken the cash-paid job to help support his family, the panicked man finds his wife and child’s lives are in danger if he fails to deliver the goods.

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