10 Great Road Trip movies

Having grown up in a large country with vast interior and a very limited public transport system, the road trip was a mainstay of my life from when I was very small. My grandparents lived at the seaside ten hours drive from my home town Johannesburg, which meant the whole family made the trip by car at least once a year. I applaud my parents for doing this since a car journey of that length (especially in our Renault 5 in the 80’s – a car no larger than a Fiat Punto) can’t have been that much fun with two kids under five. When I got older I went on numerous holidays with friends that involved a road trip on the way there and on the way back. Even now although I don’t drive myself, the idea of hopping into a car and heading out into the open road is something that fills me with a little frisson of excitement. I don’t think I am the only one since the road trip movie is a bit of a Hollywood staple. Here are some that I love.

Beavis and ButtheadBeavis and Butt-Head do America (1996)

Starring (voice actors): Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore
The journey: Across the USA
The purpose: To retrieve their stolen TV
The vehicle: Greyhound bus
“Little Old Lady: Oh, hello, there. Are you two heading for Las Vegas?
Beavis: Yeah. We’re gonna score.
Little Old Lady: Oh, well, I hope to score big there, myself. I’m mostly gonna be doing the slots.
Beavis: Yeah, yeah. I’m hoping to do some sluts, too. Yeah. Do they have a lot of sluts in Las Vegas?
Little Old Lady: Oh, there are so many slots, you won’t know where to begin.
Beavis: Whoa. Hey, Butt-Head, this chick is pretty cool. She says there’s gonna be tons of sluts in Las Vegas.
Butt-head: Cool.
Little Old Lady: It’s so nice to meet young men who are so well-mannered.
Beavis: Yeah. I’m gonna have money and a big screen TV and there’s gonna be sluts everywhere. It’s gonna rule.
Little Old Lady: Well, that’s nice.”

Thelma and Louise

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel
The journey: From Oklahoma to Mexico
The purpose: To get away from their boring lives… and Thelma’s awful husband.
The vehicle: A 1966 Ford Thunderbird
“Thelma: Driiive Louise! Drive! Drive the car! Go! Go! Go go go go go go!
Louise: What is it? What happened?
[Thelma holds up money]
Louise: You robbed the store? You robbed the whole damn store?
Thelma: Well we needed the money.
Louise: Oh shoot!
Thelma: It’s not like I killed anybody for God’s sake!
Louise: Thelma!
Thelma: I’m sorry, we needed the money, now we got it.
Louise: Oh shoot! Oh shoot, Thelma!
Thelma: Louise, get us to damn Mexico.
Louise: Allright, oh shoot! Oh shoot! Oh shoot!”

Sex Drive

Sex Drive (2008)

Starring: Josh Zuckerman, Clark Duke, Amanda Crew
The journey: From Chicago to Knoxville
The purpose: For virgin, Ian, to meet up with a girl he met online and hopefully pop his cherry
The vehicle: A 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge “borrowed” from Ian’s brother, Rex
“Lance: Dude, what the fuck?
Ian: I don’t want her along.
Lance: Oh, really? You don’t want to bring Yoko on your sex trip? Yeah, no shit. She’s always cock-blocking you.
Ian: No, she isn’t. She doesn’t even have a…
Lance: Okay, twat blocking. Professor.”

road-trip-2000-tour-02-g

Road Trip (2000)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart
The journey: From New York to Austin
The purpose: For Josh to retrieve a sex tape he inadvertently made with Beth and than accidentally posted to his girlfriend, Tiffany.
The vehicle: A borrowed car followed by a stolen bus for blind school children
“Rubin: I just said we’d make it across. I didn’t say anything about the wheels staying on.
Josh: What the hell are we gonna do now? I’m totally screwed! I don’t have time to be walking through the woods right now!”

Proscilla

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)

Starring: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp
The journey: From Sydney to Alice Springs
The purpose: to perform in a show and for Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose to be reunited with his son
The vehicle: A battered tour bus
” Felicia: [in sweet voice] Mummy, maybe a trip to the outback will help me get over this little… phase I’m going through. And you never know, I might meet some lovely country girl.
[in tough voice]
Felicia: I hereby christen this budget Barbie camper… Priscilla. Queen of the Desert!
[smashes champagne bottle against bus]
Bernadette: That’s gotta be the understatement of the century.”

On The Road

On The Road (2012)

Starring: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart
The journey: From New York to California
The purpose: For the sheer joy of being on the road
The vehicle: A car… but I have no idea what kind.
“Sal Paradise: The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
The journey: From Albuquerque to Redondo Beach
The purpose: To get eight year old Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty pageant
The vehicle: A bright yellow mini-bus
“Richard: I can’t slow down. I can’t slow down.
Sheryl: Come on, Olive.
Frank: Come on, sweetie, jump. Jump in the car.”

Everything is Illuminated

Everything is Illuminated (2005)

Starring: Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, Boris Leskin
The journey: From Odessa to Trachimbrod
The purpose: For a young American Jew to find the woman who helped his family escape the Holocaust
The vehicle: A tiny blue car
“Alex: Please, don’t be scared. Cars are totally safe now. They even have airbags, crumple zones… Maybe not this one… but most!”

EuroTrip

EuroTrip (2004)

Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg
The journey: Across Europe to Germany
The purpose: For Scott to find his German pen pal who he has fallen in love with
The vehicle: Train, bus, truck…
“Scott: Let me handle this, I speak better German. Hello!
Truck Driver: Hello!
Scott: [in German] My German is ill, but I can understand on you if the speaking is slowly.
Truck Driver: [in German] German! I have been driving for 14 hours straight and I haven’t slept in three days and I am wired on schnapps, benzedrine, and those little chocolate covered peanuts.
Cooper: What did he say?
Scott: He said he’s driving, something…
Scott: [in German] Do you know where is Berlin?
Truck Driver: [in German] Berlin? Yes, I know it well. I stabbed a woman in a bar in Berlin. But I am going nowhere near Berlin.
Scott: Berlin!
Truck Driver: [in German] Berlin! I also sexually assaulted a horse in Berlin.
Scott: He’s going to Berlin.
Jamie: Awesome.
Truck Driver: [in German] Nowhere near Berlin.
Scott: All right, come on, let’s go.
[the group get in the back of the truck]
Truck Driver: [to self, in German] I’ll drive this truck off a cliff before I ever go back to Berlin.”

Easy Rider

Easy Rider (1969)

Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
The journey: From Los Angeles to New Orleans
The purpose: To experience Mardis Gras and as much of America as possible on the way
The vehicle: Two Harley Davidson Hydra-Glides
“George Hanson: I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.”

29 Comments

  1. Excellent choices, love Thelma and Louise.

    1. Abbi

      So do I! 🙂

  2. Great list! A few of the films are new to me, be I’ll definitely check them out 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I hope you get a chance to. They’re all favourites of mine!

  3. theipc

    Excellent post!

    Eurotrip is surprisingly funny for what it is… that goosestepping kid was a total crack up….

    1. Abbi

      It’s one of those movies that you feel like you shouldn’t like but somehow it just works!

  4. Nice choices! I love Little Miss Sunshine and Thelma and Louise 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Both really good picks!

  5. Awesome idea for a list, Abbi. Great choices and thanks for picking some obscure ones, too. Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert looks like a hoot. Road trip not on your list I would add is Sideways and Into the Wild. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I would highly recommend Priscilla. It’s brilliant! I thought about Into the Wild but it made me so sad 😦

      1. I know. Just to sad to put in. Nice mix of films. Road Trip really made me laugh so much when I saw it.

  6. I love “Little Miss Sunshine”…might have to watch that soon!

    1. Abbi

      It’s such a fun family film!

  7. Little Miss Sunshine!! I love how they don’t like a little thing like a death stop them. That’s perseverance.

    1. Abbi

      The family connection is just awesome.

      1. It’s so great. I could watch that movie over and over.

  8. Awesome idea for a list Abbi! Great mention on Thelma & Louise, definitely a great road movie. I thought I’m the only one who saw Everything’s Illuminated! Saw that at TIFF 2005 and I thought it was amusing + heartbreaking. Not a bad debut from Liev Schreiber.

    1. Abbi

      Everything is Illuminated is actually my favourite film of all time. “Grandfather informs me this is not possible.”

  9. Jay

    So many good ones.

    1. Abbi

      It was really fun putting the list together!

  10. Great list! Of course Little Miss Sunshine had to be on here 🙂 Making a road trip in May. Very excited for it 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Ooh where are you going?

      1. We’re going to Monterrey for my brother’s graduation. It’s in Mexico too, but we’re getting there via the US. We’ll be crossing from Tijuana to San Diego, then driving through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, then down to Mexico again. It’s a 22 hour drive that we’ll split in two days. Exciting!

  11. jennypughuk

    Ooh, you’ve mentioned some of my favourite films! Sex Drive, Road Trip and The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Such a great list!

  12. Great picks for another awesomely themed top ten! Some incredibly fun movies on here. Nothing quite like a road trip!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I miss going on long road trips. The UK is too small for a really epic one. Although we did a mini one for the garden wedding and it was really fun.

  13. I love your list! I couple of ’80s movies I would include would be, the grandaddy of them all, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

    National Lampoon’s Vacation quote:
    Clark: I think you’re all f*****d in the head. We’re ten hours from the f****ing fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much f****ing fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your a**holes! I must be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy S**t!

    Planes, Trains & Automobiles quote:
    State Trooper: What the hell are you driving here?

    Del: We had a small fire last night, but we caught it in the nick of time.

    State Trooper: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?

    Del: Funny enough, I was just talking to my friend about that. Our speedometer has melted and as a result it’s very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank-you! That’s a brilliant quote. I have actually not seen either of those but I should definitely check them out!

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