“In the movies, a car is never just a car.”

To enthusiasts, the automobile is a special place. It’s one of the few places where we can ignore our troubles, free from the responsibilities of life surrounded by a cacophony of personalization. The car isn’t a form of transportation – a vehicle designed for propulsion through space and time – it’s a mobile representation of that moment in our life. We spend countless hours in our cars – commuting to work, waiting in traffic, going on dates, bringing your new-born child home from the hospital. Car enthusiasm bleeds into pop culture, a staple of countless movies, TV shows, songs, and books. But it’s the automobile on the silver screen that truly captures its beauty.

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Often, a car in the movie is a character, a representation of the actors in the film. YouTube video essayist Thomas Flight shares a video breaking down the automobile and its various uses throughout film – and it’s used for more than fancy Fast and Furious action sequences. Watching Flight’s video shows just how integral the automobile is to telling intimate stories. It’s a set piece that adds drama, tension, horror, love, and satisfaction.

A car is a personal space. A place for tragedy, joy, laughter, and conversation. It’s one of the few places where you don’t look the other person straight in the face when you talk because you’re both looking straight ahead out over the hood. That alone lowers a person’s reservation. It allows real personal transgressions to spill out as the miles roll past.

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Toward the end of the video, Flight asks a crucial question about the future of the automobile and their use in movies. When fully self-driving technology takes over the automobile, how will screenwriters handle the loss of the car’s agency in a film? The cell phone changed movies, becoming a roadblock to specific storylines. Will autonomous-driving vehicles do the same?

If anything, Flight’s video shows how important the automobile is to not only movies but also to our lives. The car gives us freedom like few other pieces of technology do. The spaces are personal, intimate, and unique. And they will be devices for Hollywood screenwriters for decades to come. Flight says, “In the movies, a car is never just a car.” And he’s right. It’s not. Watch the video and appreciate their importance.

Source: Thomas Flight via YouTube

Gallery: 1968 Ford Mustang Bullitt original movie car

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