Film links provided by the Internet Movie Database
- In Disney's Almost Angels (1962), the Vienna Boys' Choir is driven around in a Deluxe Type 2 25-window bus with a red/brown paint job.
- Casino Royale (1967) has a (splittie?) pick-up which is launching little flying bombs at Sir James Bond (played by David Niven). Unfortunately, for us, one of the bombs is returned and the pick-up is quite clearly blown up.
- Going beyond parody to sillyness, every agent is renamed "James Bond, 007" to confuse the enemy (including Woody Allen as Little Jimmy Bond.)
- In the thriller Wait Until Dark (1967) the 'bad guys' are hanging out in a greenish pre-'68 bus. There is also a nice Beetle early in the movie.
- In the movie Bullitt (1968) with Steve McQueen, there is the best chase seen ever put on film about half way through the movie. It takes place in San Francisco. McQueen is driving a Mustang Fastback and through his chase he passes many splitties and a number of OLD bugs (possibly including an oval-window.)
- Alice's Restaurant (1969), a wonderful summer-of-love film, features a nice red microbus which is in many scenes and is pivotal to the story.
- Easy Rider (1969) featured a deluxe splittie at the 'hippy camp'.
- Of course Woodstock (1970) is the ultimate summer-of-love film, and features tons of bugs and busses.
- The James Bond film Diamonds are Forever (1971) features lots of busses. One good shot showed a pre-68 bus parked at the airport on the tarmac, and it's some kind of a service vehicle ala the VW "Kundendienst" fleet...
- What's Up, Doc? (1972) has Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal driving a Beetle in a chase and has a bus that is hit by every car involved in the chase. The owner comes out, unlatches the driver door, and winds up holding just the door as the rest of the bus falls away.
- Electra Glide in Blue (1973) has Robert Blake being blown away by a drug dealer, firing a shotgun from the rolled down rear hatch window in a splittie. A unique custom job made just for the movie.
- In the otherwise-terrible film Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), there are all kinds of early seventies cars. The main car is a stolen '73 Mustang Mach 1 but there are also lots (over 20) of splittie and breadloaf busses.
- In the film The China Syndrome (1979), there is a beautiful red/white baywindow bus parked right in front of the nuclear power plant as Jack Lemmon comes screaching in to save the day.
- In Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), one of the surf dudes drives a splittie.
- In The Toy (1982), there is a a pre-'74 Westie with a radiator on the front.
- In The Little Drummer Girl (1984) Diane Keaton plays an actress ('Charlie') playing a part, which quickly involves her becoming a spy and then training to be a terrorist. In one scene, Charlie is picked up by a 1983-84 white water-cooled manual Vanagon with fog lights.
- The famous scene from Back to the Future (1985) in which the terrorists chase down Marty -- driving Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine -- in a Bus! The bus manages to keep up with the DeLorean in acceleration and cornering!
- The Gig (1985) features a beautiful blue Vanagon Weekender that (of all things) breaks down and strands it's passengers! There are several long scenes and great moving shots.
- In Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), there is a van parked across the street in his neighborhood.
- Chuck Norris' The Delta Force (1986) has a Vanagon at the airport while Chuck & co. are planning on raiding the plain to free the hostages. There's another scene where Chuck and another guy end up in Lebanon in a priest's bread-loaf VW bus with a big cross on it. It ends up being a chase / shoot-em-up scene which was totally unreal. Bullets flying everywhere. He's shooting out the back window while being chased by jeeps. Through the wonder of film, Chuck shoots straight while the bus bounces down steps, over curbs, etc.
- In Ruthless People (1986), there is a nice split-window bus that is driven through a wooden fence.
- In Wildcats (1986), Goldie Hawn's character drives a late '70s bus.
- In Born in East L.A. (1987), Cheech Marin's character Rudy rides around in a really cool Cal vert.
- The film 1969 (made in 1988) features a 62-67 standard splitty with no seats and curtains over the windows. It has a cool hippie paint job with sunbursts, vines, and portraits of writers. The plot is pretty stock (father is a hawk, son opposes the war, they reconcile in the end.) The Washington Post reviewer wrote "This is a buffered acid flashback, a scattered, synthetic attempt at evoking '60s spirit with the brat pack sitting in for the flower people."
- The film Mac and Me (1988) features an alien trying to escape from NASA who is befriended by a boy in a wheelchair. This entire movie is filled with action shots of a Vanagon Wolfsburg Limited Edition. It is practically in since the first scene, and the movie ends with the vans destruction. This may be one reason the movie didn't do well in movie houses, but don't despair... it's still out on video!
- Moon Over Parador (1988) there are a number of VW bus ambulances.
- In Field of Dreams (1989) Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) drives a '70s-era bus (with a spare tire mounted on the front.)
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), as well as in the later films, the comic book, and the animated series, one of the turtles (Donatello) drives a bus that looks like a Vanagon with a split windshield. (It's way square!)
- In the film The Commitments (1991), at one point the band is cruising around Ireland in a really nice later-model single cab. The bus comes complete with a piano in the bed and 'towel-rack' bumpers.
- The film Slacker (1991) is full of VW busses. The film was made in the Austin area, which is one of the U.S. 'bus heavens'.
- In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), the young John Connor is telling Arnold that he needs to call his step-parents to warn them about the T-1000, and in the background a Vanagon goes by on the street. The Terminator immediately commandeers the vehicle and it is featured for the rest of the film dodging explosions, driving down steep staircases, and crashing through street markets. [Ed. note: The previous sentence is entirely false. I don't know what came over me.]
- The Bikini Car Wash Company (1992). (I'm embarassed just typing the title, and can you believe there was a sequel?) Anyhow, the movie features a Cal-type bus being hosed down by bimbos. Here is the plot summary:A group of young women decide to help out at the local carwash. To attract more customers and increase profits the girls opt for a simple uniform... the bikini. Cars queue up for miles, but the authorities aren't happy with the way women are operating.
- In Sneakers (1992), the origin of the fight between the protagonist and the antagonist evolves around pizza and a very highly computerized VW van (circa '66?).
- A blue Vanagon with round head lights appears in the movie White (predecessor to Red). It was outside a Paris courthouse in a scene early on in the movie. I had to look it over with the frame-to-frame feature on the VCR because the camera panned by so fast. Got a good look at it this way and if memory serves right it was an 88 with the large, round VW emblem on the back hatch and power mirrors. I assume that Euro-Vanagons have some of the same distinguishing features as the North American Vanagons even though the headlights were round.
- In Huck and the King of Hearts (1993), a split window bus plays a central role because it spends the entire movie with the rear end up in the air. Judging from the back-up lights (one year only on splits) it is a 1967. At one point the lead is under the engine asking for tools. Sitting on the rear bumper is an oil filter, so I guess the PPO (the worst kind, I hear) added an external system.
- In The Endless Summer 2 (1994), when the boys are traveling the South African coast, they do it in a Syncro. There are some pretty cool scenes of the van barreling down dirt roads and wheeling through some sand dunes. There are also several views of South African Vanagons, with quad round headlights.
- In The Scout (1994), a baseball scout is down somewhere in Mexico or Central America, riding on a big school bus with about 900 other people, goats, chickens, etc. It's a narrow two-lane road, and this red Mexican VW Bus, complete with water cooled engine (cause it had this great big radiator grill up front!), decides to pass the school bus ... but there is this big truck coming in the other direction.
Ever seen three lanes of traffic on a two-lane road??? :) The vw bus got away safely.
- The film How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Finn Dodd's (Winona Ryder's) fiance drives a deluxe splittie which they use to make love in at the end of the film.
- The film Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) starts out in the late '60s, with bugs and busses all over the place, as well as a nice Corvair. Of special note is a pre-'68 white/red 23-window bus that belongs to one of Mr. Holland's neighbors.
- In the otherwise-silly The Net (1995), there are two deliberate shots of a red and white splittie, plus one of a VW rabbit convertible, plus one of a bug!
- Tie-died: Rock 'n Roll's Most Deadicated Fans (1995) naturally features tons of busses, since the film is all about the Grateful Dead. This movie is a must-rent for bus-lovers! (One scene features the famous schoolbus-with-a-bug-welded-on-top.)
- The Arrival (1996), a cheesy SciFi with Charlie Sheen, features a VW van and some contemporary Mexican bugs.
- The film Run Lola, Run! (1998) takes place in Germany, and there are a number of great Vanagon sightings, including Police Vanagons. Very cool!
- In the beginning of the film Man on the Moon (1999), Andy Kaufman gets kicked out of a comedy club, and dejectedly walks toward a bay window Westy. (Trivia: Jim Carrey's family lived in a Westy for a while after his Dad lost his job when Jim was a young boy.)
- At the end of the otherwise-avoidable film The Haunting (1999) there's a pre-1967 westy pop-top camper driven up to the gate by the caretakers of the creepy old house.
- On the show Magnum P.I. (1980-1988), the regular character T.C. drove a 1983 ½ Vanagon wasserboxer emblazoned with the words Island Hoppers. This van was also used in VW of America's press fleet before it was donated to the show production. Road and Track's road test of the wasserboxer featured this van (May '83 issue).
- The pilot episode of Northern Exposure (1990) features a brown & white vanagon driving by in the background about halfway through the episode, as Dr. Fleishman (Rob Morrow) & Ruth-Ann (Peg Phillips) discuss the fastest way out of town.
- On the television movie The Snapper (1993), Colm Meaney plays the father of a 20 year old girl living with her parents and many brothers and sisters. When she gets herself pregnant and refuses to name the father, she becomes the talk of the town.
Colm Meaney (Chief Miles O'Brien for Star Trek fans) drives around Ireland in a single-cab pickup.
- On FOX's Worlds Scariest Police chases, one of the chaces involved the pursuit of a stolen Army tank wreaking havoc in a residential area somewhere in SoCal. The driver was intentionally running over vehicles and anything in his path. One shot from a police chopper zooms in on a dark grey metallic Vanagon (the color that was widely used on the '87-'88 Wolfsburg ed.) that is right in the tanks path...... SQUASH!!!! It actually pushes the Vanagon backwards for a bit until it hits a RV, then squashes the Vanagon, as well as the RV behind it.
They later show a closeup of the Van after it was squashed. The drivers side and the roof were crushed to the ground, and a little of the passengers side remained.
- On a recent rerun of Nash Bridges, the one where they are searching for a Pinto belonging to baseball player, the get into the wrecking yard holding the Pinto by climbing over the fence aided by a splitty used as a ladder.
- In the first season of Millennium Frank Black tracks a serial killer who apparently uses a bus; at one point the hero imagines that busses fitting the description are travelling both directions down every street.
- In the 4th season episode of Highlander entitled "Timeless" (#95411), the oldest immortal on the show, Methos (~5000 years old) and a lady friend drive off in a 68-71 Westy; to drive all over America. Goes to show that many years of experience will lead one to choose the correct transportation :)
- In the Simpsons episode Homer Loves Flanders, there is a nice lime green poptop baywindow. It really stands out, since all the other cars are generic-looking.
- On the Star Trek: Voyager episode Future's End, originally aired 11/6/96, the Voyager is sent back in time to 1996 Los Angeles by a temporal explosion. After being discovered by the locals, Tuvok, Tom Paris, and a young astronomer drive through LA (and several states) in a blue breadloaf. Paris (the ship's auto history buff) is driving. The bus almost (but not quite) is hit by a semi ... but escapes without a scratch. The episode is a two-parter, and the bus appears about midway through Part 1 and throughout Part 2 except the final 10 minutes.
- Good Morning America (3/6/97) was in Nashville TN for their "Road Trip" series. They were showing off their 97 EV VR6 Rialta. The reporter was comparing her Rialta to some other RV's in the RV park. It was interesting listening to some of the RVers talking about "camping" in their 45' RV's. The two they showed had desktop PC's, wood china cabinets, chandeliers, etc.
- In the SciFi channel series Mystery Science Theatre 3000 'evil gal' Pearl Forester persues the "Starship of Love" across the universe in a rocket-enhanced 23-window bus complete with a canvas sunroof.
In the 30-Jan-1996 Washington Post, there is a photo of a tow truck in a snow storm. Hooked to the back of the tow truck is the worlds most famous VW Camper, used as the 'waiting room' of a one Dr. Kevorkian.
He used said bus again, and has been arrested. The bus was getting impounded, and might be there a while. (Well, after a 'quick' and 'speedy' trial). 'Death by carbon monoxide poisoining' was the treatment for the good Doctors patient.
The cartoon Roadskill by R.L. Crabb involves the antics of a squirrel attempting to cross the road of life, and the things that happen along the way.
The cartoon Zits does a good job of pin-pointing just why we love our busses.
(published 3 October 1999)
The video game Need for Speed II features both Vanagon Westfalia campers and beetles, though not in the most favorable light!
Passing a Sunday driver
Watch out for slow traffic!
This game actually allows you to drive the Vanagon Westy! Go to the main setup screen, type "vanagon", and then hit race. It is REALLY slow, and the shift points are accurate, except that it has a 5 speed instead of a 4 speed. It does cool burn outs too! (If you want to have a V8 Vanagon, type 'pioneer' after typing 'vanagon'.)
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