Best Road Trip Movies Ever

Ah, road trips – hasn’t everyone dreamed of exploring vast continents by car at some point or another?

There’s no denying that Hollywood certainly has an obsession with road trip movies: from comedic road trip hijinks to scary movies that involve sinister hitchhikers, the proverbial road trip has fascinated mankind since cars were first invented.

There’s just something so freeing about pulling out onto the open road, with nothing ahead of you but miles and miles of empty pavement. Additionally, road trips allow you to truly explore a country that you might otherwise miss when traveling by air.

Hollywood’s unrivaled fascination with road trips has certainly permeated every generation’s film selections – and when it comes to picking the ten best road trip movies ever, it’s certainly not easy to do. Classic films and modern entries have battled it out to see who won out, but in the end, only ten could be claimed as the ten best road trips movies of all time.

Whether you want to get inspired for a road trip of your own or you’re just content to watch your favorite film actors explore miles of empty highway, here are the ten best road trips movies that will continue appealing to generation after generation:


10. TransAmerica


This modern classic is at once both heartbreaking, effortlessly funny and incredibly touching. In the film, Bree (played by a talented Felicity Huffman) receives a call from her long-lost son just a week before she undergoes a sex change operation to become a full-fledged female.

Bree flies to NYC to bail her son out of jail and takes him on a cross-country trip back to Los Angeles – and each character learns something crucial about love and family along the way.


9.  Breakdown


Road trip moves are often about a character finding themselves as they travel across similarly unknown landscapes. But in 1997, “Breakdown” came along and completely reinvented the classic road trip movie by turning it into an action-adventure marathon.

Kurt Russell plays a man who is desperate to find his wife after she’s kidnapped during a cross-country trip from Massachusetts to San Diego. Expect to be on the edge of your seat the entire time.


8.  Mad Max


Australia’s answer to the classic road trip movie came in 1979 in the form of “Mad Max”, which was Mel Gibson’s breakout role. In a futuristic world where gasoline is precious and lawlessness runs wild, Gibson drives down the gang who murdered his wife and son.


7. It Happened One Night


In this 1934 classic, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert play a mismatched reporter and wife-on-the-run traveling across the country back to her useless husband.

Gable’s character thinks he’s in it for a juicy newspaper story, but as the two clock up the miles, they realize that they’re hopelessly in love. Make no mistake, this is the film that completely started the genre.


6.  Duel


Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, this is the road trip movie that made audiences in 1971 think twice before heading out on the open road. Dennis Weaver plays an ordinary man traveling to a business conference; yet when he unknowingly passes a truck driver with a serious case of road rage, he becomes a man who’s driving for his very life.

Fans of Steven Spielberg and road trip movies alike will enjoy this classic thriller.


5. Planes, Trains and Automobiles


Who can forget this 1987 comedy gem, which was directed by the late John Hughes and starred Steve Martin and John Candy? Two bumbling men attempt to navigate American by the movie’s namesakes, only to wind up experiencing a wealth of hilarious hijinks and outrageous obstacles.


4.  Smokey and the Bandit


A crazy sheriff. A runaway bride. A reckless Southern cowboy with a truck full of beer. A car chase across the southeastern United States.  Road trip movies just don’t get much more fun than this 1977 classic.


3. Vanishing Point


While this movie certainly might not register on everyone’s ultimate road trip list, there’s no mistaking it – Vanishing Point is an absolute cult classic.

Directed by Richard Sarafian in 1971, Vanishing Point revels in its chase scenes, flippant attitude towards sexuality and it’s unwillingness to back down from social commentary – all encased in a muscle car, of course.


2. Easy Rider


No list of the top road trip movies of all time would be complete without an entry from Easy Rider.

Starring some of the biggest celebrities names of all time (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, to name a few), Easy Rider bravely captured an alternative side to America that hadn’t yet made it on the big screen.


1. Thelma and Louise


Admit it, you’re not surprised to see this cult Hollywood hit top the list.

Thelma and Louise is the quintessential road trip movie, and it’s no secret as to why: a ’66 Thunderbird, two women on the run, and a thirst for revenge make this movie the ultimate road trip movie you could ever hope to get your hands on.


Whether you want to take a road trip of your own or just want to indulge in the fantasy, be sure to get your fill of these classic road trip movies!

Share your favorite road trip movie below!