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The 9 Best Flying Cars in Sci-Fi Movies

Lilium's real flying car is here, so we dug up its conceptual forebears.

by Emerson Rosenthal
Apr 21 2017, 7:31pm

Image courtesy of Lilium.

Minds were blown on 4/20, and not just because of the high holiday: yesterday a German aviation company unveiled video footage of "the world's first electric vertical take-⁠off and landing jet," the Lilium Jet. Their all-electric air taxi boasts a 300 km range, speeds up to 300 km/h (as fast as a Formula One car), and even on-demand service (think: Uber for the skies), and seeks to alleviate 21st century unavoidables like noise pollution and gridlocked traffic

While it's obviously a game-changer, the Lilium Jet isn't without its conceptual forebears. From police cruisers that really cruise, to the yellow-air-taxi, Creators counted down the nine best flying cars in sci-fi movies:

9. The Fifth Element

When a strange young woman in an even stranger outfit (Milla Jovovich) falls through the roof of a a flying Yellow Cab, it's up to unwitting driver Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) to shuttle her (and eventually, all of humanity) to safety. It's neither the fastest nor the most agile ride in New York City c. 2263 (nor 2017, for that matter), but in the hands of space cowboy Dallas—and with the help of a police scanner jammer—it's enough to save the universe. 

8. Total Recall

Critics weren't kind to Len Wiseman's 2012 reboot of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 action thriller, but where Colin Farrell's Douglas Quaid couldn't match up to Schwarzenegger's, one department the remake did excel in was automobile design. Chrysler sponsored the film, so it should come as little surprise that, even in the United Federation of Britain of the future, the maglev vehicles have the quintessential bulk and brawn of American muscle. Check out a killer behind-the-scenes below: 

7. ReBoot

Childhood was a red CGI convertible with a faulty engine in Cartoon Network's ReBoot, a show that was simultaneously ahead of and behind its time enough to guarantee its cult status today. Guardian Bob's V262 Turbo Drophead was always in need of repairs, prompting the use of unforgettable alternatives like Zip Boards and the short-lived V3 Bike, but if you're going to have to one day live inside of a supercomputer, you might as well ride in style. 

6. Spaceballs  

Han Solo had the Millennium Falcon, so Lone Star (Bill Pullman) had to have his equivalent in Mel Brooks's 1987 sci-fi send-off, Spaceballs. Not much is known about the four previous models, but Eagle 5, as the Winnebago Chieftain 33 was known as, was the perfect combination of comfort and cruise control, with the added option of flying at "Ludicrous Speed." We're not sure what interstellar travel will look like in the future, but you can bet space-sightseers will demand some type of recreational vehicle. For the kids. 

5. Blade Runner

"Spinner" was the name for the flying police cars in Blade Runner, and their juxtaposition of bulk and grace surely had heads spinning upon the film's 1982 release. Legendary designer Syd Mead teamed up with the equally mythologized Douglas Trumbull to bring the brutal butterfly-doors to life, and with their Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) similarities, we can't help but wonder if Blade Runner is where the Lilium Jet gets its inspiration from, too. 

Check out original diagrams of the cars here

4. Batman Beyond

Fine, it's not a movie, but can we all stop and take a minute to talk about how good Batman Beyond was? The short-lived animated series had every marker of great sci-fi: teen angst, cyberpunk criminals, and streetscapes straight out of Neo Tokyo. A stolen Batsuit sets 16-year-old Terry McGinnis down the path of becoming the new Batman, and with McGinnis' fresh blood comes an even fresher Batmobile: blood-red interior lighting, Mach 3 speeds, and a blade-like body that makes cutting down crime as easy as look as easy as slicing warm butter.  

3. Star Wars

Seeing Luke's SoroSuub X-34 landspeeder in A New Hope is the moment every kid realizes that if flying cars are invented, the one they own will likely be garbage. Wookieepedia puts the floating hunk of junk at a retail price of 10,500 credits, which is about $5,250 USD—not a bad price for someone's first clunker. The Lilium Jet looks sleek now, but if Star Wars is any indication, there's an Edsel somewhere in its future.

2. The Jetsons

When this Hanna-Barbera classic debuted in 1962, John Glenn had just become the first American to orbit Earth. The Jetsons made suburbia cool for the year 2062, and the American Dream isn't complete without the dream wheels. Cars in the Jetsons' future can fold up and fit into suitcases, which has prompted generations of viewers to wonder, "Why are there still so many parking lots?"

1. Back to the Future

When the Delorean shows up in the present-day, all Doc has to explain is, "Where we're going, we don't need roads!" With the Lilium Jet in tow, the roadless future seems to be a little less far, far away. 

Honorable mentions: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Team America's flying limo, and Scaramanga's AMC Matador Coupe from The Man with the Golden Gun

What's your favorite flying car? Tweet us @CreatorsProject and let us know. 

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