In 1963, country music singer Dave Dudley had a Billboard hit with “Six Days On the Road,” a song that has been hailed as the definitive celebration of the American truck driver. Since then (and before then), the romance of commerce via the open road has captured the popular imagination. Here are some of the top trucker movies in cinema history. Hop in your Mack truck and fire up the CB radio, the convoy’s on the move.
Top trucker movies No. 1 – ‘They Drive by Night’ (1940)
Just two years before his icon-making role in “Casablanca,” Humphrey Bogart teams up with George Raft and Ann Sheridan for this truck driving adventure set amidst the fruit farms of Southern California. Long hours, corrupt businessmen and intense competition set the stage for a moment of truth when a fellow truck driver dies in a wreck after falling asleep at the wheel. It’s a rough business, and Bogart and Raft are looking for one last good job so they can retire from the ravages of the road.
Top trucker movies No. 2 – ‘Wages of Fear’ (1940)
Arguably the most exciting truck driving movie of all time, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Wages of Fear” follows the thrilling plight of a group of South American convicts who are forced to transport nitroglycerin via truck across a long stretch of dangerous road – with no safety equipment in place! Each turn and pothole ramps up the tension to near-unbearable levels.
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Top trucker movies No. 3 – ‘Hell Drivers’ (1957)
A young Sean Connery stars in this British film where lorry drivers fight to expose corruption within their industry. If nothing else, we learn to fight back, and not let “The Man” get us down.
Top trucker movies No. 4 – ‘Duel’ (1971)
A classic thriller that marked the beginning of director Steven Spielberg’s career, “Duel” is filled with heart-stopping chases and a highly suspenseful conclusion. Star Dennis Weaver plays cat-and-mouse with a killer truck driver who was no doubt unpopular at truck stops.
Top trucker movies No. 5 – ‘White Line Fever’ (1975)
With a cast that includes Jan-Michael Vincent, Kay Lenz and Slim Pickens, how can you go wrong? Carrol Jo Hummer (Vincent) has returned from Vietnam with the intention of becoming an independent contractor in the trucking driving business. In order to repay the money he borrows to get his business going out of Tucson, Ariz., thugs insist that Hummer smuggle illicit goods. Hummer is unwilling to comply, placing both himself and his wife in mortal danger.
Top trucker movies No. 6 – ‘Citizen’s Band’ (1977)
Before there was Facebook or Twitter, there was CB radio. In this movie (aka “Handle With Care”), several characters in a small town connect via CB (citizen’s band) radio. Friendships are formed, truckers report on what they see around them and general hilarity ensues.
Refinance a car without the hilarity of high-pressure sales tactics.
Top trucker movies No. 7 – ‘Breaker! Breaker!’ (1977)
In all things, there is room for Chuck Norris. If there is not room in a thing for Chuck Norris, it will be roundhouse kicked back into the Stone Age. This includes the trucking industry, as depicted in this 1977 classic of its kind. Truck driving Norris searches for his brother in a town that is run by a corrupt judge. Does this fool even know who he’s dealing with?
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‘Six Days On the Road’ by Dave Dudley
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