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GT Academy Prep: 10 Racing Films That Are Required Viewing

by Kevin Marshall   September 25, 2013 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 1,287

GT Academy is currently under way!

For the uninitiated, GT Academy is an opportunity for the fastest virtual racers to transition to the real world and test their meddle on an honest to God, actual race track. It's equal parts skill, adventure, fantasy, and insanity, brought to you by Spike and Nissan.

Obviously, though, you can't just pick up a controller and master the circuit. It takes a lot of knowledge, heart, and determination. Emphasis on the knowledge part.

That's why All Access has put together this helpful primer: a list of required viewing if you're going to become a master of moto-sports. Let's get right to it.

Cars (2006)

Dir. John Lasseter

Starring: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bonnie Hunt

No movie brought racing to life more than "Cars." And we mean that literally. Sure, it's a kids movie. But it's got more heart than any other on this list, which is what you'll need to advance in GT Academy.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

Source: Columbia Pictures

Dir. Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly

You wanna go fast? Ricky Bobby wants to go fast. Find out how to go fast, how to manage a failing marriage, how to walk away from a failing marriage, and how to go fast. Did I mention going fast? Fast fast fast.

The Love Bug (1968)

Dir. Robert Stevenson

Starring: Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, and Buddy Hackett

To be a good racer, you have to form a relationship with your car. Imagine it's like Herbie the Love Bug, and that you aren't driving it so much as it's driving you. This is the key to success in GT Academy, and also life as a whole.

Cannonball Run (1981)

Source: 20th Century Fox

Dir. Hal Needham

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Den Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Terry Bradshaw(?!), and many many many more.

This cast list is ridiculous. What will you learn from watching this movie? How to hang with the coolest of the cool while keeping your cool. Look, if you make it to GT Academy, you'll be given riches and spoils beyond your wildest dreams. That means you'll also be meeting the crème de le crème of high society and celebrity. See how Dom DeLuise stands alongside Burt Reynolds and Sammy Davis, Jr. and keeps his cool; doesn't ask to take a picture with them? That's called Acting Like You've Been There Before, and it's a key to making it in moto-sports.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

Dir. Paul Bartel

Starring: David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, and Sylvester Stallone

A cult classic where tricked-out mini-tanks were pitted against each other in a race across the nation, complete with all the ridiculous crashes and gratuitous violence you'd expect from a 1970s B-movie. The film was remade in 2008, with the concept switched up a bit: it now starred Jason Statham as one of a number of prisoners forced to race to the death. Thankfully, racing like this doesn't exist…yet. Emphasis on the "yet." Always be prepared, we say.

Grand Prix (1966)

Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Dir. John Frankenheimer

Starring: James Garner, Yves Montand, and Eva Marie Saint

One of the earliest and still best films ever made about Formula One racing, with footage culled from actual races. Watch this movie to see what it's like behind the wheel. As an added bonus, Toshiro Mifune is in it. Badass!

Le Mans (1971)

Dir. Lee Katzin

Starring: Steve McQueen and other people that aren't Steve McQueen

The penultimate player, king of all cool, and epitome of masculinity starred in a flick about a twenty-four-hour car race. Because when you're Steve McQueen, you don't just run a race. You race all day and all through the night. If you're gonna go, then go all in.


Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Dir. Norman Taurog

Starring: Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra

The sole musical on the list, and why not? It stars Elvis Presley at the height of his coolness. Learn how to balance love, life, and fun while behind the wheel.

Bobby Deerfield (1977)

Dir. Syndey Pollack

Starring: Al Pacino, Marthe Keller

Pollack has made better. Much, much better. In fact, this movie kind of stinks and plays to every bad, heavy-handed, melodramatic trope in arthouse AND sports – a true double whammy! But it's worth watching for the cinematography of the races. And hey, maybe you're a total drama queen yourself and can identify with it a bit. Knock yourself out.

"Rush" (2013)

Source: Universal Pictures

Dir. Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, and Olivia Wilde

This movie has everything: a reckless playboy competing with a calculating technician, lies, deceit, betrayal, divorce, drugs, danger, near-death collisions, disqualifications, and controversy. The craziest part? It's all true. It's in select theaters now and gets a wide release this weekend. Go see it.

And that'll be your final assignment, folks. Now go burn some rubber.

Or just watch this preview of GT Academy