Rental Cars Receive Top Billing in Hollywood

ABC News has compiled a list of 10 movies and one TV show with memorable scenes involving rental cars, agencies or clerks. Movie information comes from the Internet Movie Database (

The top movie is the 1987 comedy, “Planes Trains and Automobiles,” which shows road warriors struggling to get home for Thanksgiving against a long list of obstacles. In one scene, Steve Martin goes on a tirade at an airport rental car counter after the clerk had sent him to a distant parking spot that contained no car.

Another top movie is the 1985 comedy, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,' in which the Griswold family wins a European vacation. Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold, can’t adapt to the English style of driving, so he gets trapped in a roundabout in London and also backs into Stonehenge. In the 2000 comedy 'Meet the Parents,” Jack Byrnes, played by Robert De Niro, questions everything about the character Focker, including the color of his rental car choice (green). A sequel, "Meet the Fockers" contains another rental car gag.

The 1964 comedy “Good Neighbor Sam” features a running gag involving the spoofing of a Hertz car rental commercial.

In the 2006 comedy/romance, “A Good Year,” Russell Crowe plays Max Skinner, who arrives in France, and finds a tiny rental car -- a Smart car -- with a navigation system that speaks French. The 2005 comedy/drama/mystery “Broken Flowers” features Bill Murray as chronic bachelor Don Johnston, who rents a series of boring cars such as a Ford Taurus while criss-crossing the country to find his son.

In the 1990 action/romance “Days of Thunder,” Cole Trickle, played by Tom Cruise, aims to win on the auto-racing circuit. Cruise and Michael Rooker’s character, Rowdy Burns, rent cars. When asked if they'd like insurance, the pair nod their heads yes and then they smash them up.

The 1995 comedy/crime “Get Shorty” features Chili Palmer, played by John Travolta, who orders a Cadillac rental but instead gets an Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan and is told that it’s the "Cadillac of minivans." A rental car also gets laughs in "Be Cool," the "Get Shorty" sequel. In the 1997 action/adventure/thriller “Tomorrow Never Dies,” James Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, uses a remote control to send his missile-equipped BMW 750iL soaring off a parking deck’s roof and into an Avis rental car agency window many floors below.

The 2002 comedy “Jackass: The Movie” features a stunt called Rent-A-Car Crash-Up Derby, in which Johnny Knoxville rents a car and gets it equipped for a demolition derby. The rented Ford Contour gets smashed to bits. Moving to television, an episode of “Seinfeld” involves Jerry reserving a car, but when he and Elaine go to pick it up, he's told no car is left.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

Why Do We Visit Capitol Hill?

Members of the American Car Rental Association met with U.S. senators, representatives, and their aides last week. Here’s why bringing the message to this forum matters.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

Not caving to a customer with a blatant agenda may have consequences, especially for a small rental company that relies on stellar Yelp ratings to advertise. But business integrity must prevail.

The Truth Behind Compact Van Depreciation

Why are large van values holding up better than their compact counterparts, and will it last?

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.