Since the introduction of the Chevrolet Corvette in 1953, this American icon has been a familiar sight on the silver screen. When casting a car in a movie, it must be done for specific reasons – if not, then we would be watching movies filled with Volkswagen Beetles and Ford Pintos. Casting a car in a movie is a lot like casting an actor. For example, you would bever cast Adam Sandler as a superhero, not because of his acting chops, but because he just isn’t the right fit. The same holds true when considering what car stars in a particular movie. If there is a need for a sporty, fast, iconic vehicle in a modern movie, you can bet the 2021 Chevy Corvette is a top choice.
Unless you grew up in a well-populated area or knew somebody who owned a Corvette, chances are it was a movie you watched when you first laid eyes on this classic car. The Corvette’s first appearance in a movie was Kiss Me Deadly in 1955, and the ‘Vette has been featured in thousands of movies since. The Corvette has been featured in some globally recognized films as well as Oscar condensers and winners. This isn’t much of a surprise; a film as iconic as Terms of Endearment should feature a car with an equal reputation. Here is a short list of movies throughout the years that have featured the Corvette.
Admittedly, tears were shed when the 1967 Corvette Roadster convertible was dragged by a cable through the air, dropped, and smashed next to John Cusack’s character. But don’t forget, this was a movie, and the whole let’s smash a Corvette scene was computer generated. In reality, the ‘Vette used for the movie was successfully auctioned off in 2012. Just know that it was restored to its original condition and is still powered by a 427 big block with 435 horsepower paired with a four-speed transmission. Sweet.
Sitting in front of Delta House in the 1978 movie Animal House is a beautiful 1959 Corvette, the exact type of car any college student would love to own in the day. Eric “Otter” Stratton was the fictional owner of the car, and he was obviously the product of wealthy and generous parents. The Corvette, which had a removable hardtop, was loaned to Universal Studios for $100 a week for four weeks; what a bargain. At the end of movie production, the Corvette disappeared for some time, only to resurface recently and be put on the market. If given a chance, would you place a bid on it?
King of the Mountain
King of the Mountain is a 1981 film starring Harry Hamlin and Dennis Hopper, the plot centers around a group of people who race cars up and down Mulholland Drive for money and reputation. Dennis Hopper’s character drives a 1967 Corvette complete with slot mags and side pipes. However, the hood and bumpers are missing. If you look carefully, the ‘Vette is in pretty rough shape and is part red and part primer in color; it also sports a custom-molded rear spoiler. Indeed, the Corvette was in bad shape, but it looked tough and matched Hopper’s character. Unfortunately, the ‘Vette meets its demise in the end when Hopper’s character loses control and plummets off a cliff.
After enjoying the wildly successful original Star Wars movie, Mark Hamill starred in Corvette Summer in 1978 – a box office success with a mixed response from film critics. The plot involves a high school senior who loves cars, and for his shop class project, he rescues a Chevy Corvette Stingray from a car crusher and helps rebuild it. Soon after, the ‘Vette is stolen, and Hamill’s character sets out to get it back.
The star of this movie was a 1973 Chevy Corvette with the base L48 engine and a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. Just like in the movie, the real-life car was sitting at a junkyard after an accident when the film’s director and producer discovered it and rescued it. The ‘Vette was given to an auto shop that specializes in customizing cars and emerged as the star of the movie. Talk about irony.
Terms of Endearment
In 1983, Jack Nicholson played retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove in the Oscar-winning Best Picture Terms of Endearment. Better still, Shirly MacLaine, who played Breedlove’s love interest Aurora Greenway, took home an Oscar for Best Actress and Nicholson himself garnered an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Winning an Oscar is nice, but we would like to think the best part of making the movie was the fact that Nicholson got to drive a 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette.
The 2002 action-drama XXX stars Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, a sports athlete who gets involved in a covert operation that quickly goes sideways. Cage is notorious for his death-defying stunts and is recruited by Samuel L. Jackson’s character, NSA Agent Gibbons – but never mind, the plot is not important here. All you need to know is the movie is full of stunts and violence and will have you on the edge of your seat. Eventually, Cage winds up stealing a red C5 Corvette, driving it off the Foresthill Bridge, and deploying a parachute at the last minute to save himself while the ‘Vette plummets to the ground.
Kiss Me Deadly
This 1955 classic detective noir drama is about a private eye who hails from Los Angeles and just happens to drive a breathtaking 1954 Corvette. This movie marks one of the first times that a Corvette was used in a mainstream movie. There are plenty of driving scenes in which you get to enjoy the beauty of the first-generation Corvette.
Clambake is one of those movies you might never have heard of if it weren’t for the fact that it starred Elvis Presley and a unique XP-87 Stingray Racer. This car was custom built for racing and featured independent suspension, a fuel-injected engine, and plenty of other racing gear. But the best part about this movie is that Elvis himself got to do all of the driving. Fair warning, the movie is a musical and barely has a plot, but hit the mute button, and you can still enjoy the scenes that feature the ‘Vette.
A Real Movie Star
With its sleek and sexy lines and uncompromising style, it seems fitting that the Chevy Corvette should be a movie star. And even if the movie isn’t worth the price of a ticket and a bucket of popcorn, there is little doubt the Corvette will still shine. You don’t have to dig very deep to find flicks that feature a Corvette; the iconic car has starred in thousands of movies and was driven by many of the biggest stars.
One of the reasons why the Chevy Corvette has remained so popular over the years is because everywhere your turn, you are reminded just how special this car is. Without a doubt, the 2021 Chevy Corvette will someday be just as classic and loved as the XP-87 Stingray or the 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette. And you can bet that there will be plenty of future movies that will star a Chevy Corvette.