10 Best Road Trip Movies

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Do you hear the open road calling your name, but don’t have a car? Are you dying to get out there and drive, but you’re cooped up for the winter? These ten awesome road-tripping movies will have your back until the weather becomes nice again. Plus, a lot of them have some pretty sweet rides.

Smokey and the Bandit

Two truck drivers accept a dare to smuggle beer over county lines within a time frame. When they pick up a hitchhiking bride, they attract her angered husband and a hardheaded cop who engage them in a hot pursuit.

This film accelerated the fame of the Pontiac Trans Am and its instantly recognizable “Firebird” logo on the hood. It’s a good thing these cars were beloved, because Burt Reynolds burned through 12 of them during production.

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Little Miss Sunshine

When a little girl learns that she can participate in the Little Miss Sunshine contest, her family packs into a VW bus for a trip from Albuquerque to California. The family’s dysfunctional tendencies are explored and addressed throughout the wild ride.

The family drives a 1969 VW T2 bus. The bus almost serves as a seventh member of the family, because the others bond when it breaks down. It has also been a staple of road trip enthusiasts and hippie revivalists for its quirky yet homey looks.

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Sideways

Two friends, an actor and a writer, address their midlife crises by traveling to California’s wine country shortly before one of them is about to get married.

The guys drive a 1987 SAAB 900 Cabrio Turbo, and it sees plenty of action throughout the film. From drinking and driving to crosswording and driving to staging an accident, this car probably made a few SAAB fans out of filmgoers.

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Rain Man

A car dealer named Charlie Babbit comes home to Cincinnati when he learns of his father’s death. Once there, he discovers he has an autistic older brother named Raymond who lives in a mental institution. Charlie sneaks Raymond out of the institution and takes him on a road trip, hoping he’ll be able to confiscate the three million dollars that their father donated to the institution.

The 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible they drive is not only a beautiful car, it’s a symbol of their relationship and the major plot points of the movie.

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Blues Brothers

This tale follows the Saturday Night Live favorites Jake and Elwood Blues on a feature-length misadventure. When the brothers discover that the Catholic school where they were raised will be shut down due to lack of support and funding, they decide to reform their band to raise the $5000 needed to keep it open. On their way to perform the perfect gig, they encounter all sorts of detours and characters.

The Bluesmobile, aka a 1974 Dodge Monaco patrol car, is best summarized in this speech from the film: “It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.”

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Road Trip

Of course, a movie with the title “Road Trip” is going to be on the list. It’s a classic from the year 2000 that shows four friends going on an 1800 mile road trip from New York to Texas to try and save his relationship.

The car might be a piece of junk old Ford Taurus, but it has an epic crash scene. This movie was also listed as one of the best road trip and drug trip movies.

Thelma and Louise

Two friends decide to get away from their absent and abusive husbands and hit the road. Their road trip quickly turns sour when Thelma kills a man that attempts to rape Louise. They flee to Mexico with American police hot on their tail, and rediscover their friendship, strengths and personalities along the way.

But seriously, the star of the movie is the gorgeous 1966 Ford Thunderbird. How could you not love a sexy car like that?

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National Lampoon’s Vacation

Clark Griswold’s attempts to be the ultimate family man go south quickly in this classic film that kicked off the National Lampoon series. Clark plans a family trip from Chicago to Walley World amusement park in California down to the very last detail. But thanks to Clark’s dimwitted decisions, their trip turns out to be the opposite of what they expected.

The 1979 Ford Country Squire that the family packed in probably reminded everyone of their most cringe-worthy family vacations. But it also depicted an era where stuffing everyone into the family station wagon was the cultural norm.

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Mad Max

In a dystopian future set in the ruins of Australia, the roads are ruled by violent gangs that defy the system. A police officer, Max Rockatansky, seeks revenge on a motorcycle gang that killed his loved ones and blamed him for the death of their leader.

Max’s highly modified Ford Falcon XB coupe pretty much made the movie, but it turns out that its badass-ness is hard to replicate.

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Easy Rider

Easily the quintessential road-tripping movie, two hippie bikers set out on a road trip to Mardi Gras. To get there, they buy drugs in Mexico and sell them in Los Angeles. Along the way, they encounter people who both despise and support their counter-culture way of life. This film continues to provide an excellent gaze into the ideologies of the era.

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What’s your favorite road-tripping movie? Let me know in the comments!

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