The 1970s marked a golden age of movies about truck drivers. Classics like Smokey and the Bandit, Every Which Way but Loose and Convoy captured the adventure of the open road, inspiring more than a few people to get a commercial driver’s license and put money down on their first rig.
Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood and Kris Kristofferson set the standard for CB-talking truckers willing to dispense some down-home justice on corrupt sheriffs and businessmen, but there have been many other trucking heroes on the silver screen. Here are six trucker movies you might not have heard about but are well worth watching. Some of them can be downloaded in their entirety on YouTube:
White Line Fever (1975)
This was one of the first films to celebrate the lifestyle of over-the-road trucking. Independent driver Carrol Jo takes on an evil corporation that is forcing truckers to haul illegal cigarettes and slot machines. The movie’s climactic scene involves car chases, heavily armed security guards and Carrol Jo’s 1974 Ford rig, nicknamed “Blue Mule.”
Fun Fact: “White Line Fever” is a term describing the mental detachment truckers sometimes experience after hundreds of miles on the Interstate.
Breaker! Breaker! (1977)
A clean-shaven Chuck Norris stars as a truck driver whose friend is attacked and paralyzed by a police officer. Norris and his fellow truckers seek revenge and expose a small-town scam involving a crooked judge and stolen cargo.
Fun Fact: Breaker! Breaker! is Chuck Norris’ first starring role. He makes the most of it by destroying an entire town with his rig.
Jerry Reed follows up his Smokey and the Bandit performance by playing a tough owner-operator named Iron Duke in this 1978 flick about trucker exploitation. Iron Duke and his sidekick, played by Peter Fonda, organize their trucker friends against a local fleet boss. Things start to go wrong when the pair try hauling illegal liquor to a lumper camp. Car crashes, gun fights and many explosions ensue.
Fun Fact: Just like in Smokey and the Bandit, Jerry Reed wrote and sang this movie’s title track.
The Great Smokey Roadblock (1978)
Henry Fonda plays a 60-year-old driver whose rig gets repossessed while he is in the hospital. He steals back his truck and does an old friend a favor by transporting six prostitutes across the state line.
Fun Fact: Susan Sarandon plays one of the prostitutes. Robert Englund—later of Freddie Krueger fame—portrays a hitchhiker named Beebo.
Over the Top (1987)
This Sylvester Stallone movie is about arm-wrestling, but it is also about trucking. Stallone plays a down-on-his-luck driver who enters a Las Vegas arm-wrestling contest in an attempt to start a new life. The grand prize is $100,000 and a brand new semi that the hero hopes to use to start his own fleet.
Fun Fact: Over the Top was a critical and commercial flop, but ranks high on IMDb’s list of “Epic Trucking Movies.”
Black Dog (1998)
Patrick Swayze is a truck driver and an ex-con who is tricked into hauling illegal firearms in a Peterbilt 379. Numerous attempts are made to hijack the load before Swayze hatches a plan that will get the FBI off his back and free his wife and daughter from a hostage situation.
Fun Fact: Meat Loaf and Randy Travis play supporting roles as Swayze hauls his load from Atlanta to New Jersey.