Daydreaming about the magic of the RV lifestyle but cut off from the outside world? These films will help you remember your love for the open road and the wild adventures that ensue. If you find yourself gazing out the window and longing to get in the driver’s seat of your motorhome or hitch up your travel trailer; this movie marathon is the next best option to camping out in real life.
Don’t get tied up in ‘analysis paralysis’ (a phrase used here to describe scrolling and searching streaming services, DVD collections, or channel guides) until you end up not having watched anything at all, and are left frustrated. Instead, view our favorite road trip films from different eras and genres that provide an uplifting feeling, an inspiring travel itinerary, or a valuable life lesson.
We’ve compiled some of our very favorite road trip movies so you can start your high adventure movie marathon from the comfort of your own couch. So gather your favorite snacks, put your snuggie on, and cozy up! We’re rolling a different kind of trailer to get you in the mood for your specialized movie marathon:
We’re starting it off with the quintessential RV movie, complete with rebellious, uncommunicative kids and baffled parents. Patriarch Bob (Robin Williams) would like to remedy the situation by renting a motor home to take the clan on vacation but soon finds that camping and togetherness can be hazardous to one’s health.
Ready to feel really great about the technological advances we’ve reached in the last 67 years in the recreational vehicle industry? This is the film for you…Nicholas (Desi Arnaz) has to travel for his job, so his fiancée, Tacy (Lucille Ball), suggests that rather than buy a house after their wedding, they invest in a motor home so they can see the country together. But the aggravations of life with nosy park neighbors and the dangers of piloting an enormous trailer across narrow country roads soon take a toll on their newlywed bliss.
It is impossible not to laugh when going on this journey. Greg (Ben Stiller) and his new father-in-law (Robert Dinero) are forced to get closer and understand the “circle of trust” dynamic. As they jump into their RV in an effort to bring their families together, it seems their differences are just too many which adds up to a disastrously funny family “union.”
Is this the first road movie? Let’s see, a band of strangers, bonding over the circumstances of a treacherous Western journey… It certainly sounds like it! This stone-cold classic cemented into immortality three of the most influential grandfathers of the Western: John Wayne, John Ford, and Monument Valley. An alcoholic philosophizer, a lady of ill repute and a timid liquor salesman are among the motley crew of travelers who must contend with an escaped outlaw, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), and the ever-present threat of an Apache attack as they make their way across the Wild West.
Here’s one that will surely warm your heart and make you want to dance in the process. A man (Greg Kinnear), his wife (Toni Collette), an uncle (Steve Carell), a brother and a grandfather–puts the fun in dysfunctional by piling into a VW bus and heading to California to support a daughter in her bid to win the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Contest. The sanity of everyone involved is stretched to the limit as the group’s quirks cause epic problems as they travel along their interstate route.
Follow along this life-defining journey and discover greater meaning in a transformation so deep. On a break before his last semester of medical school, “Che” (Gael García Bernal) travels with his friend from Brazil to Peru by motorcycle. They witness the great disparities in South America, encountering the poor and observing the exploitation of labor by wealthy industrialists. When they reach a leper colony in Peru, Ernesto’s values have changed so much that he sides with the sufferers, forgetting his own comfort.
In this coming together film, estranged brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) reunite for a train trip across India. The siblings have not spoken in over a year, ever since their father passed away – all of them dealing with their own version of life’s struggles. The brothers fall into old patterns of behavior as Francis reveals the real reason for the reunion.
Just like in real life, any time a fictional character announces “we’re going to spend some time as a family” to his or her wife and kids, you know trouble lurks just around the corner, and National Lampoon’s Vacation is a perfect example. Desperate to take an old-fashioned family vacation, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) plans a trip from Chicago to L.A., where they can enjoy Walley World: “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.” They suffer through an endless, hysterical stream of catastrophes sure to please.
Ben (Viggo Mortensen), his wife and their six children live deep in the wilderness. Isolated from society, They devote their existence to raising their kids by educating them to think critically, training them to be physically fit, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature. When his wife dies suddenly, Ben must take his sheltered offspring into the outside world for the first time–oh yea, an epic converted bus they all live in together.
Traveling in their family Leisure Seeker vintage recreational vehicle, John (Donald Sutherland) and Ella (Helen Mirren) take one last road trip from Boston to the Hemingway House in the Florida Keys before his Alzheimer’s and her cancer can catch up with them. It truly is a film that can span time, generation, and life scope and bring you closer to the things that truly matter in this beautiful life.
Thelma (Geena Davis) joins friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), on a short trip. However, their trip becomes a flight from the law when Louise kills a man in an altercation. Louise decides to flee to Mexico, and Thelma joins her. On the way, Thelma falls for young thief J.D. (Brad Pitt) and the sympathetic Detective Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) tries to convince the two women to surrender before their fates are sealed. Definitely a classic road trip not for the faint of heart.
Last up on the road trip movie marathon; a feel-good film that will have you adding items to your bucket list. Billionaire Edward (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers until fate lands them in the same hospital room. The men find they have two things in common: a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives, and a desire to complete a list of things they want to see and do before they die. Against their doctor’s advice, the men leave the hospital and set out on the adventure of a lifetime.