The Chevrolet Suburban is a bona fide movie star with more screen time than your favourite actors. While the vehicle has yet to receive an Oscar, Golden Globe, or Emmy, it has recently been given a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame alongside Tinseltown’s best and brightest. It’s worth noting that this is the first vehicle to ever have a star on the Walk of Fame, meaning the Chevy has outshined even Herbie from The Love Bug, Bumblebee from Transformers, and the time-travelling DMC Delorean from Back to the Future.
Why not? The Suburban is in almost every movie that features special agents or police, as the Suburban somehow blends stealth, utility, and ruggedness in one package. Having been in so many movies, we decided it was about time we commemorated some of the Suburban’s most memorable roles on the big (and small) screen.
A 1987 Chevrolet Suburban starred alongside Pierce Brosnan in this disaster movie that premiered in 1997. While Pierce is probably best known for driving cars with fancy gadgets as James Bond, his Suburban in Dante’s Peak is equipped with a handy snorkel, allowing it to ford a river when things get hectic. And things did get hellish for the ’Burb in this movie. Dealing with a volcanic eruption, the vehicle is seen not just fighting through water, but dealing with ash before going up in flames.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
While the Chevrolet Camaro known affectionately as Bumblebee gets all the love in the five (yes, there are five of them) Michael Bay Transformers movies, the Suburban gets a good chunk of screen time in the third installment of the franchise, Dark of the Moon. Three sinister Transformer Decepticons known as the Dreads are disguised as Suburbans before transforming into terrifying robots in an epic CGI-heavy chase with Bumblebee and friends. One model gets dismantled early on in the scene, while the other two get destroyed by the good guys at the finale of the scene. All three look to be 2007 to 2009 model vehicles with some Cybertron-provided options.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Suburban’s little sibling, the Tahoe, gets an appearance in Marvel’s cinematic universe. Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, pilots a 2007–2014 Chevrolet Tahoe in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It gets attacked by Hydra (the bad guys, in case that wasn’t clear), but fortunately, it has a few countermeasures to keep Fury alive including a massive machine gun in addition to a grenade launcher. Unfortunately, the Tahoe succumbs to a disc grenade, flips, and is abandoned by Fury. This high-tech Tahoe sacrifices itself for the hero, allowing Fury to appear and star in many more Marvel movies.
The burgundy Chevrolet Suburban piloted by mob boss Tony Soprano is a perfect fit for the long-running and critically successful HBO show. The 1999 Suburban fits because Soprano is trying to balance his life of organized crime with his family. The casting of the vehicle demonstrates the show’s aim to bring the mafia story to a more realistic and grounded setting. The Suburban is used in five seasons before being retired and replaced by a Cadillac Escalade, which is closely related to the Suburban. However, the Chevy still shows up in the opening credits throughout the series.
The Walking Dead
The Suburban makes several appearances throughout The Walking Dead, a show depicting how a group of survivors stay alive in a world full of zombies. We see several Suburbans of varying years used throughout the show, although usually in a temporary way. Having driven the big SUV, we’d agree that it would fare pretty well in a zombie apocalypse, as long as there’s plenty of gas available.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
A common sight early on in the run of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (not to be confused with the Netflix reboot of the series) is a 2001–2005 GMC Yukon XL Denali, which some might consider as a more stylish variant of the Suburban. The Suburban and Yukon XL are technically identical and use the same platform and powertrain, so it’s worthy of being on this list. The SUV ferries the Fab Five for the first few seasons before being replaced by a pickup truck, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. In the early 2000s, sales of the Yukon increased noticeably after the show debuted, placing the rugged truck in front of a whole new demographic.
Final Destination 2
Another Tahoe on this list serves a very gruesome purpose in the movie Final Destination 2. In this horror-gore movie, a character that owns a bright red 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe has a premonition about several deaths in a fiery car accident. In both her premonition and the aftermath, the poor Tahoe and its occupants meet a grisly fate.
Jingle All the Way
If you’re looking for a vehicle that could comfortably handle Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilder frame, the 1995 Chevy Suburban is a perfect choice. In the 1996 Christmas comedy Jingle All the Way, Schwarzenegger pilots a teal Suburban around to help him finish his last-minute Christmas shopping. The movie wasn’t exactly a critical success, but it gets shown every year around Christmas, and there’s something cool about seeing Santa in the passenger seat of a Chevy instead of a sleigh.
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem
Another 2000 GMC Yukon makes our list as the main form of transportation for Sheriff Edward Morales in the sci-fi horror movie Aliens vs Predator: Requiem. The Yukon gets a ton of screen time as the Sheriff faces off against terrifying the off-world threats known as the Predator, Xenomorphs and the Predalien.
There are a ton of Chevy Suburban, Tahoe, and Yukons on TV and Cinema. There’s probably one in each episode of CSI, Criminal Minds, Six feet Under, Baywatch, Flashpoint, The Sanctuary, Nikita, Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Blacklist, Designated Survivor, Justified, Hawaii Five-0 and Homeland just to name a few... Any time a movie calls for a vehicle fit for a special agent, undercover cop or secret spy there seems to be a Suburban fit for the role. Of course, it must be easy to film actors within it too, as it has a spacious cabin and several locations for extra cameras and lights.
Ever wonder what that vehicle is on screen? Check out the Internet Movie Cars Database, which lists all the vehicles in a movie or TV show, along with screenshots like the ones seen here.