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00 the most iconic truck movies

The most iconic truck movies

Published on 19 June 2024 - 5 reading minute(s)

Like the spaceships in science fiction films or legendary cars that transformed feature films into cult classics, truck movies represent a cinematic genre in their own right. Whether discreet or in the limelight, the focal point in an exhilarating race or epic adventure, trucks can become an integral part of unforgettable blockbusters or indie productions. Let's take a look at these vehicles, which have come to symbolise survival, power and freedom.


Truck films that made cinematic history

Han Solo and Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon in the “Star Wars” saga, James Bond at the wheel of his famous Aston Martin DB5, Robert De Niro prowling the streets of New York in “Taxi Driver”, "Doc" fine-tuning the De Lorean in “Back to the Future”, the Batmobile. Some of the greatest cinematic stories are sometimes linked to the hero's set of wheels ౼ and above all to the vehicle’s identity or character. In an equally popular genre, these iconic trucks have also left their mark on cinema history.


most iconic trucks

01 truck films that made cinematic history

1953 - “The Wages of Fear”: one of the oldest iconic truck film

French director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s classic truck film tells the story of four drivers with the perilous mission of transporting a load of nitroglycerine over 500 km. The “Wages of Fear” won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Two years after its release, the Corbitt 50SD6 and Dodge D-60 L12 driven by Mario ౼ played by Yves Montand in his first major screen role ౼ and his cronies made a splash across the Channel, as the film was awarded the BAFTA for Best Feature Film during the year 1955.

1964 - Moving jackpot in “Greed in the Sun”

This truck movie’s XXL cast includes seasoned adventurers, stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo, Lino Ventura, Bertrand Blier and other Berliet-branded heavyweights: a red GBC8 6x6, a green TLM 10m2 and a dark blue TBO 15 6x4 Turbo. Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Sahara, Greed in the Sun takes the viewer behind the scenes of a road haulage company run by a shady executive duped by Rocco (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who escapes with a clandestine truck full of money. Make way, then, for the thrilling chase, the breathtaking truck scenes, and the heart-pounding ride and run sequences.

1971 - The truck, an actor in its own right in “Duel”

Sitting comfortably in his car, David Mann, a Californian salesman, is driving through the state on his way to a business meeting. His routine is soon thrown into disarray by the menacing rust-coloured tanker - a Peterbilt 281 - which suddenly takes off in pursuit. The long duel begins, with a fatal outcome looming at every turn. For his intense second feature film, director Steven Spielberg managed to personify a machine whose face is never shown. A guaranteed nailbiter!

1977 - An American-style road trip in “Sorcerer”

American director William Freidkin (“The Exorcist”, “French Connection”) was at the helm of this remake, released two decades after the original. This truck film initially struggled to see the light of day ౼ notably after Hollywood heavyweights, including stars like Marcello Mastroianni and Steve McQueen, dropped out of the project for personal reasons. The latter did so with great disappointment, saying it was "the best script" he had read in his entire career. It was Roy Scheider, fresh from the success of “Jaws”, who took the wheel and eventually embarked on this adventure of two GMC M211 military trucks chosen by the production.


most popular truck in the world

02 an american style road trip in sorcerer

1978 - The most iconic trucks on screen in “Convoy”

Convoy earned its place among classic truck movies, resonating deeply with truck drivers and enthusiasts alike. Starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw, this trucker movie brings to life the story of rebellion and camaraderie on the open road. Taking place in the western United States, Convoy portrays truckers form a protest convoy in solidarity with one of their own, Martin Penwald, known as Rubber Duck. They all rally against the persecutions of Sheriff Lyle Wallace. As the situation escalates, the truckers' resistance becomes more organised. This iconic truck movie portrays truckers not just as drivers, but as heroes of the highway, piloting the most popular truck brands, set against the vast American landscapes.

1998 - Patrick Swayze as an iconic truck driver in “Black Dog”

Far from his iconic role in “Dirty Dancing” a decade before, Patrick Swayze played an iconic truck driver who reluctantly agrees to return to duty, behind the wheel of a truck laden with mysterious cargo. Unsurprisingly, not everything goes quite to plan for the driver of the Peterbilt 379, a model that plunges us straight into the atmosphere of American road movies. Let's rev up the action!


Patrick Swayze iconic truck in cinema

03 1998 patrick swayze as an iconic truck driver in black dog

2007 - “Big Rig”: a dive into the daily life of American truckers

In this documentary, director Doug Pray pays tribute by telling the story of truck drivers who consider their career as much more than a job, but rather a lifestyle. From Arkansas to Michigan, from New York to Washington -so no scenic drives in Europe-,  the film crew follows in the footsteps of four truck drivers whose long routes last several weeks. It's a trucking movie full of humanity and adventure that earned the Big Rig selection at two US film festivals.

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2008 - Finally a woman in a truck movie in “Trucker”!

It’s a masculine industry, which means that most truck movies feature men in the lead roles. In “Trucker”, directed by James Mottern, the hero is indeed a heroine, and it's so refreshing -the beginning of the rise of female truckers?-. Diane Ford, played by Michelle Monoghan, sees her daily life as a freelance truck driver turned upside down when she takes in Peter, her estranged 11-year-old son. A poignant story that explores family relationships, sacrifice and redemption.

2021 - A road trip on ice in “Ice Road”

This truck film, written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and released on Netflix, follows the journey of Mike (Liam Neeson), a veteran driver recruited to respond to an emergency rescue following the collapse of a diamond mine in Canada's far north. The plot of the movie focuses on a large convoy of models, including the Volvo VNL 780, Peterbilt 579, 567 and Caterpillar 769 D, travelling as fast as they can along the ice road of Lake Winnipeg. Extreme weather, mechanical problems or mysterious attacks: the route of the world's most popular trucks is strewn with pitfalls.

From cynical thrillers to high-speed or leisurely-paced journeys, emotional tales, or documentaries with in-depth interviews ౼ the portrayal of trucks in films has evolved over the years in line with cultural perceptions of these juggernauts of the road and the daring truck drivers who pilot them. Whether in tense thrillers, comforting comedies, or countryside adventures, these films depict trucks as much more than mere vehicles, often becoming full-fledged stars, symbolising freedom, survival, authority, and at times, even housing unexpected killers in the realm of fiction. 

This movie list is tailored for truck enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, adventure lovers, and those seeking intense emotions. This list is a cinematic journey that embraces the essence of road transport.


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04 a road trip on ice in ice road

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