Road movies of all time must-see


Road movies tell stories not so much about individuals and their adventures on the road, but about society and culture at a particular time and place in general.

The automobile has always been and continues to be a symbol of American freedom and independence. The strong growth in automobile production and ownership after World War II, combined with government-subsidized road construction, ensured that more and more Americans preferred the independence and freedom of travel on the open road.

You can read more about the best trucker movies in each genre here. And today, we’ve compiled for you a list of a few road movies that everyone should definitely watch. 

Let’s go!

8. It Happened One Night (1934)

Frank Capra’s stunning comedy starring Ellen Andrews and Clark Gable. Peter struggles to get information about Ellen, a rich, spoiled socialite who has run away from her husband. Her father has hired people to search for her, but reporters like Peter never give up hope of finding her first and making a huge sensation out of the scandal.

When Peter and Ellen find themselves riding the bus together, in classic comedy style, they first fight and then fall in love with each other. The scenes on the bus show the viewer an idealized sense of community, where everyone is fun, singing, and full of the spirit of travel. Regardless of their social status, they are all united together, as each is forced to deal with their own problems.

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Despite the fact that the idea of traveling together sounds like a real nightmare to many families, this film shows family dysfunction with characteristic dark humor and poignancy. The Hoover family crosses the country in their Volkswagen for Olive to enter the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

Full of unconventional and colorful characters, such as a suicidal gay prone uncle and a son keeping a vow of silence, the film shows dysfunction with humor and makes it clear that while everyone deals with their own set of problems, they can be overcome with the help of family.

6. Il Sorpasso (1962)

The title of this film translates into English: “the easy life. The two main characters exemplify the idea of a simple attitude toward life. When Roberto and Bruno meet each other, they do not know each other, but then suddenly decide to spend a day together, traveling through the Roman countryside and visiting various relatives and friends along the way. Bruno is adventurous and outgoing, while Roberto is a reserved and rather reserved law student.

In the middle of the story, Roberto admits to Bruno that it was very easy for him to become friends with a complete stranger after realizing that Bruno encouraged his desire to experience life and look at the world from a new perspective.

5. Thelma and Louise (1991)

An iconic film of the ’90s era. The plot of Thelma and Louise is based on the basic principles of the male genre, and spices them up with friendship, female solidarity, and a dash of feminism. After Louise kills a man for hurting Thelma, they have to go on a road trip to hide from the police, not to abandon their husbands as originally intended.

In some respects, this film is reminiscent of another famous road movie with a handsome pair of lawbreakers, Bonnie and Clyde. The powerful ending is a celebration of women’s freedom and independence from patriarchal patterns of oppression.

4. Badlands (1973)

Based on a true story, Badlands made Martin Sheen and Cissy Spacek famous and opened the world to the mystical film philosopher Terrence Malick.

With little emphasis on the factual details of the 1958 murders of a married couple in Nebraska, Terrence Malick moves away from realism toward a lyrical style of filmmaking.

Malick’s films are known for their beautiful cinematography, often using images of nature and human interaction with it, often leaving the viewer free to determine the underlying meaning. 

Keith and Holly’s time together on the road served as their vehicle for developing Keith and Holly’s romantic attraction to each other and their serial murders. The influence of “Badlands” can be seen in later films about doomed serial killer romances, “The Honeymoon Killers” and “Natural Born Killers.”

3. Wild Strawberries (1957)

Wild Strawberries takes a very different approach to the road movie.  It is a reflection of a life lived, rather than looking forward, as most films of this genre do. The famous Swedish director and actor Viktor Sjöström plays the role of Isak Borg, a professor who heads to Lund to receive an honorary degree.

The protagonist has a dream in which he lies dead in a coffin, after which he decides to go to Lund by car instead of by plane. He is accompanied by his sister-in-law Marianne. As they begin their trip, the conversation quickly turns to how she and her husband feel about the main character.

Along the way, Isak drops Marianne off at the house where he spent his childhood. After seeing strawberries growing, he has memories of the past. After Marianne’s comments, followed by these childhood memories of past events, Isak takes a more honest assessment of his life.

2. Easy Rider (1969)

The most important and groundbreaking road movie to explore the American social landscape of the 1960s counterculture like no other film at the time of its release. By incorporating rock anthems, hippies and other counterculture and outcasts into the film’s narrative, Easy Rider captures the rebelliousness and freedom accepted in the zeitgeist era.

The motorcycles ridden by the main characters symbolize what was then considered illegal, a culture on the fringes of society: a culture that sees itself in direct opposition to the pervasive 1950s mythology in which marriage, family and suburbia constitute the status quo. In that sense, it’s more of a modern update of the western.

It was revolutionary in its portrayal of such current themes as drug use, casual sex, and the Vietnam War; its rejection of “appropriate” and “relevant” cinematic themes helped usher in the era of New Hollywood.

1. Paris, Texas (1984)

German director Wim Wenders made this film about the character study of Travis Henderson, a man whose emotional despondency and lack of self is reflected in the vast, desolate landscape of the Texas countryside. When he loses consciousness in a convenience store, a local doctor calls his brother Walt to come get him.

Meeting for the first time after four years, Travis begins his journey to Los Angeles with Walt and then returns to Texas with his son Hunter in search of his wife. Walt tells Travis that his face is like “forty miles of rough road,” which conveys years of loneliness, pain, fear and regret. Sam Shepard, who explores themes of the West, alienation and masculinity in his work, wrote the script.