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Ford Mustang in the Movies

Lights, Camera, Mustang…


Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt

Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

For more than 50 years, the Ford Mustang has become a staple of American muscle car culture. With its sporty exteriors and powerful engines, it’s no wonder movie producers and directors have selected to feature the car in numerous films and television programs.

Actors such as Steve McQueen, Will Smith, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, and Nicolas Cage have all saddled up to a Ford Mustang on film. In fact, many of these actors liked the car so much that, when filming was over, they opted to include a Ford Mustang in their garage at home. In a celebrity driven world in which BMWs, Mercedes-Benzs, Hummers, and Cadillac Escalades all seem to rule the roost, it's great to see these folks haven't lost sight of pony-car pride.


A Star in More than 500 Movies

In all, Ford Motor Co. estimates that more than 500 movies, and hundreds of television programs, have included a Ford Mustang since the car first appeared in April of 1964. “Mustang has had the most roles of any Ford vehicle, and there are no competing cars that come close,” said Bob Witter, of Ford Global Brand Entertainment (FGBE), the Ford office in Beverly Hills that works to “cast” Ford-branded vehicles in movies, television and other entertainment media. “From a product placement perspective, Mustang is the gift that keeps giving and giving.”

Spend a weekend in front of the tube and you’ll know what Witter is talking about. For instance, I recently spotted the Ford Mustang in more than five movies over the course of a single weekend. The movies included Back to the Future II, I Am Legend, K-9, American Gangster, and my all-time favorite, Bullitt featuring the rough and tough Lt. Frank Bullitt. The chase scene in this movie was so popular that, in 2001, Ford created a limited-edition tribute Mustang, named Bullitt. The limited-edition Mustang returned in 2008 and 2009.

“The Mustang set off a revolution almost to the level of the Model T in terms of making a cool sports car affordable to the average person,” said Witter. “When you were driving a Mustang, you were special. You were noticed. You stood out. And today the Mustang delivers the same attributes.”

In a press release issued by the company, Ford said, “In some movies, the Mustang is cast as the ideal aspirational vehicle for one of the characters, such as in the 2007 film The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Given only a few months to live, Freeman’s character lists 'Drive a Shelby Mustang' as one of the things he longs to do before he kicks the proverbial bucket. And in the recently released film, Race to Witch Mountain, a Mustang Bullitt plays an integral role in the plot. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson’s character fantasizes about owning the 'car from Bullitt,' and at the end of the film his dream comes true.”

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