Over the course of the last sixty years, Corvettes have made dramatic appearances on film and television the world over. They have been featured in some really memorable movies, and some not so memorable. Not that it was ever the car’s fault; if anything, it was there to make the film more interesting to watch.
One of two Corvettes built for Corvette Summer, this one resides at Mid America Motorworks.
Recently, FOX News had compiled a list of the Top 6 Corvette appearances in America cinema, and they were some pretty good ones. However, we decided to take it a step further, and select four more Corvette film appearances for our readers, making for a full ten. This is a car magazine after all, and one that especially loves Corvettes, so let’s start with FOX’s picks, then add our own…
The first one is probably one of the most famous Corvettes ever to make an appearance on film, and that’s the custom creation built by Dick Korkes for the film Corvette Summer. The film starred Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame, as a teenager who built the car in his high school auto shop class.
If it sounds a bit farfetched to you, that’s because it is. The story does have its drama of course, as the car is stolen by thieves, leading Hamill’s character on a chase to find his prized possession.
Like any car chase/action film of the era, it’s full of stunts, bad guys in hot cars, and of course, a relatively attractive female along for the ride. Korkes built two cars for the film, one of which resides in the Mid America Motorworks collection today.
Technically not a car movie by any definition, Animal House did feature plenty of old classics, including the ’61 Corvette convertible that was driven by the Eric “Otter” Stratton character in the film. Despite the fact that the film dates back to 1978, it actually takes place in 1962, making “Otter” clearly a kid who comes from a wealthy family.
If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that it’s a film based on a fraternity, filled with slapstick humor laughs, drinking, girls, and general shenanigans. Boy, do we miss college. The classic Corvette in this film makes it that much better.
The '64 Corvette as it was in Body Heat - before it was a classic.
What’s described as a “neo-noir” classic, the 1981 film Body Heat stars Richard Hurt as a sleazy lawyer in an old Corvette. At the time, the car was best described as a future classic – a used car that could be had for relatively cheap. Considering this particular example’s condition at the time, it was seen as a beat up old car, rather than a collector’s item.
While the Corvette wasn’t included in any exciting car chases or stunts, it was a character in the movie in it’s own right. AS FOX News puts it, both the character and the car itself looked to have seen better days. We couldn’t agree more.
Even in the 23rd Century, gasoline is evidently still available, as a pre-adolescent Captain Kirk drives his stepdad’s ’65 Corvette through rural Iowa. Obviously, with a 11 year old boy driving a high-horsepower sports car on public roads, it’s inevitably going to end badly.
An android police officer on a hovering motorcycle catches up to Kirk, telling him to pull over – just like they do in current day America. Being the rebellious preteen he is, Kirk blows the cop off, and turns down a dirt road.
The robocop (see what we did there?) engages the pursuit, but the inexperienced Kirk loses control of the “antique” Vette, and jumps out of it just before it goes over a cliff – future Iowa is known for its many scenic roads ending in sheer drops, apparently. It’s an awesome opening scene, especially one you would least expect from a Star Trek film.
A preteen Captain Kirk drives a Midyear Vette through rural, 23rd Century Iowa.
This forgotten favorite 1971 movie stars Tom Laughlin, who went on to produce a series of four of these films. In this one, he makes one of the bad guys drive his Riverside Gold ’69 big-block car into a lake. Laughlin’s character wasn’t very colorful, nor was the way he dealt with people he didn’t like.
If it were us, we would have made the owner of the Vette jump into the lake as we took of with his car – and the girl. But to each his own, and it was one huge waste of a beautiful car. What a shame.
If you’re a historian of the space race, then you know all too well that Corvettes and astronauts go hand in hand if you’re discussing the ’60s era of the space program. Tom Hanks starred in this 1995 rendition of the real-life Apollo 13 drama, and naturally, they couldn’t leave out the strong presence of the Corvette. At the time, GM had an agreement with NASA to supply all of their best astronauts with a brand new Corvette every year.
These were good times indeed, and every family in America sat in front of their television sets to follow the progression of the Space Race. In the film, we get to see this depicted, along with Hanks’ character, Jim Lovell, cruise around in his red ’70 Stingray that pulls up next to a Shelby GT350 at a stoplight. Pretty cool.
Gary Sinese also gets to spend a little bit of quality time with a Y-body in Apollo 13, as grounded astronaut and CAPCOM Ken Mattingly.
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Fresh off the set of the first Fast and the Furious, actor Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen teamed up again for this version of James Bond “for the younger generation.” This 2002 film opens with Diesel’s character stealing a California senator’s red C5 Corvette convertible.
The senator is apparently against all forms of extreme sports, such as skateboarding, judging by the lamest bumper sticker we’ve ever seen applied to any car, much less a Corvette. Diesel rigs the Vette up with a few onboard cameras to document the occasion, while sharing his disdain for the senator, his policies, and strangely, even his cherished Corvette.
The action leads the cops on a chase that ultimately leads up to Diesel driving the Vette off of a cliff, with him parachuting to the ground, where a few friends, including famed skateboarder Tony Hawk, are waiting for him with a ’73 Eldorado convertible.
In the fifth, but not quite the last, installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise was this case of deja vu with Vin Diesel driving a Corvette off a moving train. This time around, it’s not a modern C5 belonging to a state senator, but rather, one of the cars seized by the US Government from a South American drug lord.
The car was supposed to be a classic Grand Sport, but was in all actuality a modern day Mongoose kit car made to look like the famous race Corvettes. It did look cool, and it sounded mean in the film. Either way, it’s a bummer it had to die the way it did.
In a case of deja vu, Vin Diesel jumps another Corvette to its death. This time, he takes Paul Walker with him.
This 1994 flick featured a ’58 Corvette that was used for a source of a dirty joke that we can’t repeat here. Featuring the film’s star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with co-star, Bill Paxton behind the wheel of what a appears to be a mildly modified ’58 C1, the scene couldn’t be any funnier.
For a funny scene featuring a badass C1, watch this clip from True Lies.
Schwarzenegger’s character wanted to confront the man he believed his wife was having an affair with, who’s actually a sleazy used car salesman (Paxton). Schwarzenegger, pretending to be a potential buyer, takes the Vette on a test drive, and what develops is nothing short of entertaining.
The Last Stand
Once again, we see the Governator share the spotlight with a Corvette – playing a washed up, past-his-prime small town Sheriff, he has to protect the citizens from a group of drug lords who are trying to make their way into Mexico through the border town Schwarzenegger is responsible for.
The main antagonist, played by Eduardo Noriega, flees prison at the start of the film in a modified C6 ZR1 and kidnaps a female agent in the process.
After much gunfire, a few explosions, plenty of stunts, and even a car chase with the ZR1 and the mayor’s Camaro ZL1 (driven by Schwarzenegger), the film features plenty of action.