The 5 best (and 4 worst) trucking movies of all time

Posted: September 5, 2021

There are few (if any) accurate on-screen portrayals of the life of a truck driver. But that doesn’t mean Hollywood hasn’t tried. At CalArk, we know trucking, so here is our list of some of the best and worst movies about our profession:


5 Movies to Watch:

Duel –This 1971 made-for-TV thriller follows a deadly game of cat and mouse between an enraged tanker truck driver and a businessman driving cross-country. While it paints an unflattering picture of truck drivers, it was an entertaining and promising directorial debut for Steven Spielberg.

“Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it,” Andrew Collins wrote for Radio Times.

Smokey and The Bandit – This Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed and Sally Field comedy features a truck driver who has been hired to illegally run a truckload of beer over state lines. The 1977 comedy quickly became a cult classic, and for good reason.

“This Southern-fried romp has a big personality and an infectious sense of fun that makes it worth taking for another spin,” Brandy McDonnell wrote for The Oklahoman.

Every Which Way but Loose – This 1978 comedy follows a truck driver (Clint Eastwood) who moonlights as a fighter. His sidekick? An orangutan named Clyde.  We know it’s not the most realistic look at trucking but it’s a fun one!

“Clint doing roughneck humour with an orang-utan, what's not to like?” Ian Nathan wrote for Empire Magazine.

Big Trouble in Little China – Finally, a truck driver (Kurt Russell) is called to save the day! This 1986 action/comedy is about a supernatural battle between a truck driver and an ancient sorcerer in Chinatown. 

“A rollicking, colorful comic strip of a movie with bells on,” Paul Byrnes wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Trucker – In this 2010 drama, a female truck driver grapples with life on the road while caring for her estranged 11-year-old son. Michelle Monaghan and Nathan Fillion have been praised for their performances in this tiny independent film.

“Monaghan demonstrates an untapped level of talent and skill in Trucker, tackling the difficult role of a woman who refuses to behave as societal norms dictate and has paid the price with loneliness and alienation,” Rene Rodriguez wrote for the Miami Herald.


4 Movies to Pass On:

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 – While the original is on our best list, and Smokey and the Bandit II is worth a watch, the third installment, released in 1983, is not.

“Mr. Reynolds is gone, and whatever was enjoyable about the 'Smokey' formula went with him,” Janet Maslin wrote for the New York Times.

Black Dog – In this 1998 action film, Patrick Swayze plays an ex-con who is forced to haul a truck filled with illegal weapons to save his home and his family. Unfortunately, it is not his best performance – in fact, some have called it comically bad.

“Standard yahoo fare, full of unshaven rednecks, high-speed car chases, and countless vehicles that conveniently burst into flame at the slightest provocation,” Matt Brunson wrote for Creative Loafing.

Over The Top – Sylvester Stallone plays a truck driver who pulls his son out of military school to travel to Las Vegas for an arm-wrestling championship. The 1987 action film is as bad as it sounds.

“It's clich-ridden, wildly incompetent, and laughably serious about itself. But if you saw it at the right age, and if you approach it in the right frame of mind, it's a pretty easy way to kill a couple of hours on TBS,” Jason Bailey wrote for Flavorwire.

Convoy – Inspired by a country song by the same name, the 1978 drama features a group of truck drivers who use their CB radios to avoid a conniving sheriff and coordinate a convoy to rule the road.  The best thing about this one is the theme song!

“A bad joke that backfires on the director,” Vincent Canby wrote for the New York Times.

Let us know what your favorite trucking movies are! And if you want to move your future, call (833) 934-1995 or visit calarkdrivers.com to check out our CDL-A truck driver opportunities!


« Back to Blog Posts

Get Started!

  • I hereby consent to receive email, text, and autodialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing calls from or on behalf of CalArk at the email address and telephone number provided above.

Privacy Policy