Indeed, because the Mini was an icon as far as fads and trends go, it is not surprising that it would find itself in many movies. The best form of advertising for any company is viral marketing or word of mouth from celebrities and people in the public eye. When the Mini was a “must-have” commodity, its use in the movies would only have encouraged that mentality.
Enthusiasts believe that the Mini was the real star in the movie “The Italian Job”. Apparently there is a spectacular car chase between thieves, in which three Minis are driven up and down staircases, in the sewers, over buildings and banged into a bus. The first movie was released in 1969 and when the remake was shot in 2003, the new MINI was used. It was also in another car chase in “The Persuaders”.
Actually one of the reasons the Mini was used so often in car chases was the original reason it became the Mini Cooper, a powered up race version of the Classic Mini. It went on to dominate the Monte Carlo Rally circuit so it was only natural that the car would be used in movies to maneuver the many stunts in a car chase.
Anyone with children has seen the 1996 movie called “101 Dalmations” in which two Austin Minis are seen literally frozen in time outside a decrepit home. And while only a background vehicle, it was used in both “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “A View to Kill”. One of the other uses of the vehicle was in “Carry on Camping” where a group of people ride in a convertible type Austin Mini Moke painted in thick white, blue and orange stripes.
The Austin Mini Van also appeared in many movies in the 1970s either driving by or parked on the street. The Mini Cooper was seen regularly in “The Saint”, a television series which aired in the 1960s. Again, because the Mini was somewhat of an icon in Europe, it stands to reason that it would be seen in many scenes in movies since it was readily available and popular on the streets.
Although not a movie but definitely high profile television, the first thing that comes to this author’s mind when hearing the word Mini is the hilarious British comedy show, Mr. Bean, the guy that never talks in the show and always gets into some sort of predicament. Ask anyone and they can probably state right off the top that the car he drove was a Mini. Specifically the models used in the series were the MkIII Austin Mini, one of which is displayed in Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, England.
Current or more recent examples of the MINI used in movies are “The Fifth Gear”, “The Contractor”, “Casablanca Driver” and both American television series “Friends” and “The King of Queens”.