If you’re a Steven Spielberg devotee, this man versus machine movie is a must-watch. This flick, which went straight to TV, is Spielberg’s feature-length directorial debut. It stars Dennis Weaver of Gunsmoke fame as David Mann, a travelling salesman who is stalked by a tanker truck in the Mojave Desert. Spoiler alert: After the most intense game of chicken ever, Mann tricks the truck into toppling over the side of a cliff and into a canyon, finally freeing himself from his tormentor.
We’re not sure how anyone ever looked at a Plymouth Fury the same way again after this movie hit theatres. The red-and-white, self-repairing 1958 classic car nicknamed Christine has a murderous streak, starting before she even rolls off of the assembly line. The deaths at Christine’s hands are too numerous to count by the time the closing credits roll. In addition to being a cult classic, this film also has a great soundtrack, featuring songs like “Bad to the Bone” and “Little Bitty Pretty One.”
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
The second Stephen King inclusion in this list, this movie is based on one of King’s short stories, called “Trucks.” It stars Emilio Estevez and pits machines against humankind. Part comedy, part horror, you can expert ATMs to attack users; arcade games to turn evil; hair dryers, chain saws and pocket radios to wreak havoc; and, our fave, a gang of trucks to chase down two of the secondary characters. It’s worth noting that Stephen King actually hated this project despite directing it, calling it a “moron movie,” but we say it’s worth a watch for its dated campiness alone.
Over the Top (1987)
Fans of Sylvester Stallone, go find this title on a streaming service. Right now. Stallone stars as Lincoln Hawk, a truck driver who arm wrestles as a side hustle. When he’s tasked with picking up his estranged son from boarding school, the two embark on a road trip from Colorado to California, rebuilding their relationship. A bunch of complicated, emotional things happen but it all culminates in an arm-wrestling championship in Vegas where the prize is $100,000 and a Volvo White Tractor Truck. It’s 93 minutes of pure 1980s entertainment.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
To round out the list, we’re giving you a John Hughes comedy everyone should see at least once. Starring Steve Martin as Neal Page and John Candy as Del Griffith, this plot is a comedy of errors as the pair try to get Neal home for Thanksgiving. The modes of transportation include plane, train, bus, rental car and—wait for it—a milk truck. This movie is both hilarious and touching, which isn’t always an easy combination to get, and 100 per cent awesome.