The mere thought of gorgeous weather can inspire almost anyone to hop in the car for an amazing road trip. Others can find wanderlust in cinematic journeys from the comfort of their own couch. These 20 movies will have you drop that slice of pizza, rent a car with Skyscanner’s car rental app and head out onto the open road.
1. National Lampoon’s Vacation
Clark Griswold means well by taking the family to California for a trip to Wally World, but this one is a true study of Murphy’s Law. Everything from the Wagon Queen Family Truckster to our first meeting with Cousin Eddie, “Vacation” shows us how to laugh off a trip from hell. Just try not to punch in the nose of the moose out front.
Check this out: 4 perfect family road trip tips from the real-life Griswold’s
2. Tommy Boy
Business road trips are slightly above a root canal sans anesthetic. Tommy and Richard driving throughout much of the Midwest pushing brake pads from their Ohio-based company doesn’t sound like much fun. But add in rants on spilled M&Ms, sleeping deer attacks and a sing/cry to the Carpenters’ “Superstar,” and “Tommy Boy” can’t help but make you laugh.
3. Little Miss Sunshine
It turns out you can improve on the road-trip comedy. All you need to do is toss a dysfunctional family into a bright yellow VW van and send them on a trip to a beauty pageant for the little girl of the group. It’s a great tale on how families get together, no matter how different you think you may be to the rest of them. It also told us how to chat up the cops when you’ve got your dead grandpa
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4. Rain Man
So you’re a highly autistic man and frightened of any change. Now you have to head out on a road trip with your secret brother, which happens to be Tom Cruise. We can understand why he’d be more in tune with stopping to watch Judge Wapner and “The People’s Court.” But at least Tom let his brother take a 1949 Buick Roadmaster for a spin around the entryway of a Las Vegas hotel.
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5. Easy Rider
This movie gives us exactly what an American road trip should be – unburdened, simple, and traveling without a care in the world. Anyone that says you need anything more than an endless stretch of asphalt, a good car (or bike, of course) and great people to share the experience. Having one of the coolest songs ever written in your intro is just icing on the cake.
6. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Talk about bad luck. Try being a regular guy trying to get home for Thanksgiving by any means necessary. Now try doing it with an obnoxious salesman in the form of John Candy. Things could get a little tense, especially if you’re driving the wrong way.
A pair of middle-aged friends do a little soul-searching in California’s wine country. What could possibly go wrong? Well, you could have your nose crushed by a newly jilted lover (with pretty good reason, we should add). Maybe have to crash your car to make that broken nose appear to be from an accident. No… wait… we got it – you’ve got to retrieve your buddy’s wedding rings that were left behind at a married woman’s house. Deal with all that and you wouldn’t want to be forced into drinking merlot either.
It seems like a no-brainer to take a road trip during the zombie apocalypse. And while trying to make your way Pacific Playland you’re going to have some conversations that can run the gamut. But none of them resonate more than the deep moment seen above. Can’t help but wonder if Miley made it through the fray.
Check this out: 4 awesome ways to go HAM for your next vacation
9. Dumb and Dumber
Smartest movie on the list? Absolutely not. In fact, we’d say you might lose a brain cell or two while watching. But it’s hard not to love two dimwitted pals cruising to Aspen in a van decked out to look like a dog. They even clued us into the most annoying sound in the world. That’s got to be worth something, right?
10. Almost Famous
Could you even imagine being a 15-year-old boy going on a bus tour with a rock band in the 1970s? Aside from psychedelics being passed around like Tic Tacs, the journey young William Miller took with Stillwater is one for the ages. Giving him, or anyone that had been lucky enough to do something like it, countless stories to tell. You know, the kind of thing road trips are supposed to do. And who knew Doc Manhattan could belt out Tiny Dancer so well?
11. Thelma & Louise
This Oscar-winning classic about a pair of women breaking free from a reality that’s far too ordinary gives a view of how liberating the open road can be. We just want to make sure you don’t shoot anyone or drive into the Grand Canyon.
12. Mad Max
Do you prefer your road trips with a bit of post-apocalyptic flair? No such luck for a drive like Mel Gibson had in this epic flick. But you can always go cruising to one of our fine national parks or in the actual Australian Outback. Without the car chasing and explosions, of course.
13. The Blues Brothers
Nothing wrong with just a pair of brothers driving around in a stolen police car in an effort to save the orphanage they grew up in by staging a concert. They were on a mission from God, after all.
14. The Cannonball Run
We’re not sure what’s better about this movie: Burt Reynolds attempting to win a cross-country race in a souped-up ambulance or the fact that this was based on an actual race? Yeah, this flick was based on the brainchild of car magazine writer Brock Yates and Car and Driver editor Steve Smith. The fact that both Dean Martin and Roger Moore were along for the ride is just a bonus.
15. The Wizard of Oz
You can tell us this really doesn’t qualify for the list, but we’ll say you’re wrong. Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Toto head off on the Yellow Brick Road to find the eponymous Wizard of Oz. We’re not sure if it’s the first road trip movie ever made, but it’s got to be up there. Think about it, won’t you?