The Beetle takes on Hollywood -- Beyond ''The Love Bug'' and the Herbie movies, the VW car has performed admirably

Bugs have never caught many breaks in movies — witness the insect raids in Starship Troopers — unless that bug was a Volkswagen Beetle. The little buggy now back on the U.S. market had its biggest roles as an action hero in 1969’s The Love Bug and three Herbie sequels, but it’s also performed memorably in a range of dramatic and comedic parts. ”Directors like the Bug because it doesn’t look like anything else,” says Owen Edwards, who covers cars for GQ. ”Audiences like it because it’s so cute. It’s Gidget Goes to Detroit.” Check out the versatile Beetle as…

Though it shows up in some of his other movies, Woody Allen’s best use of the Beetle comes in Annie Hall. Her gold convertible says as much about Diane Keaton’s charming eccentric as her retro threads. ”You’re a wonderful tennis player,” says Allen after a harrowing ride with Keaton at the wheel. ”You’re the worst driver I’ve ever seen in my life.”

In Forrest Gump , Robin Wright Penn’s Jenny and Tom Hanks’ Gump drift apart when she accepts a hippie’s offer to go to San Francisco. A faded red Bug plays the late-’60s wheels.

On the run in What’s Up, Doc?, Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal steal a newlywed couple’s getaway car. The hellzapoppin chase ends when the blue Beetle plunges into San Francisco Bay — and floats.

Playing against type, a butch Beetle chops a path through dense jungle — wearing camouflage no less — in the Chuck Norris action comedy Firewalker.

When not gawking at a corpse, alienated teens Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, and Daniel Roebuck tool around in a VW with rear smokestack in River’s Edge.

In Jersey Girl, Jami Gertz is a day-care worker who chases Prince Charming Dylan McDermott in a beat-up orange Bug, which, come to think of it, does look an awful lot like a pumpkin.