Two of my favorite things ever are movies and travel. When you put the two together it becomes the best way to use up a few hours of the day, possibly inspiring and changing you forever. After all, I did move abroad to study filmmaking, combining two of my passions!
I have seen many movies in my life, as you have, but just for you I have put up a list of my top 13 travel movies that will take you all around the globe from Australia to Tokyo, Paris, Rome, India and more.
1. Tracks (2013)
This movie is an adaptation of the true story memoir book by the same name. It chronicles a woman’s nine-month journey across the Australian desert accompanied by her four camels and her dog. She endures intense heat, poisonous snakes, wild dangerous camels, lustful men, and loss. It’s a remarkable story and I can’t believe it’s true, which makes it even more amazing.
2. Lost In Translation (2003)
Sofia Coppola (director) creates a lot of emotion without too much dialogue in this film. Starring Bill Murray as Bob Harris, a lonely fading movie star and Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte, a neglected newlywed, they both find a deep bond and quietness amongst the busy lights and energy of Tokyo. Strangers find escape in each other in a foreign land. Coppola, at her second feature film, does a great job showing a subtle and meaningful connection.
3. Midnight In Paris (2011)
If you are into Woody Allen films, Paris, and art, you will LOVE this movie like I did. Owen Wilson as Gil Pender, an aspiring novelist, travels to Paris with her fiancée’s family and somehow finds himself traveling back in time to the 1920’s and meets Jazz Age icons in art and literature like Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. I absolutely fell in love with this movie.
4. Into The Wild (2007)
I think every wanderluster that has watched this movie has loved it. Another adaptation from a non-fiction book of the same name about the travels that Christopher McCandless made across North America. Christopher was the son of wealthy parents who graduated from Emory University as a top student and athlete but instead of starting a profitable career he chooses to give his savings to charity, get rid of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness. A truly captivating story and one the rings similarities to my own life.
5. Roman Holiday (1953)
An Audrey Hepburn classic. It took me a long time to watch this movie for the first time and I was really missing out. Hepburn stars as a European princess that has some business to attend in Rome; bored by her sheltered life, she decides to take off for the night and wander around Rome. Passed out from a doctor-prescribed sedative, she is found by an American reporter with whom an interesting rapport develops and conflicting feelings emerge. Audrey Hepburn and Italy make a wonderful mix for a movie.
6. The Way (2010)
Maybe you have heard of the “El Camino de Santiago” a long walking path in Spain that people take for different reasons but mainly for pilgrimage. This movie tells the story of an American man who travels to France following the death of his son killed in the Pyrenees during a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago the Way of St. James (there are a few different ways) and with a combination of grief and homage to his son, decides to embark on the pilgrimage himself.
7. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
This may be one of my all time favorite movies ever. Not the most popular Wes Anderson movie, but an absolute piece of brilliance between the colors and cinematography to the acting and amazing cast. A truly enchanting story taking place in India.
It follows the journey of three estranged brothers that haven’t spoken since their father passed a year ago and they all are dealing with different life struggles. One of them convinces the others to take the trip to India and once there reveals the true purpose of their reunion. Their attempts to bond with each other, their experiences in the stunning backdrop of India, and a great soundtrack create a lovely must-watch film.
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
A charming film also based in India about a few British retirees who decide to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel in India. Less luxurious than it was advertised, the Marigold Hotel is not quite what they imagined but it nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways and the retirees find that life and love can begin again when they let go of their pasts. This is quite an uplifting and fun film to watch.
9. The Terminal (2004)
We get a glimpse of what it would be to live at an airport when Tom Hanks, who plays an Eastern European tourist, travels to America and because of conflicts between his passport country and the US he is not allowed to leave or enter the US and is stuck indefinitely at the JFK airport. He makes new friends and even develops romantic feelings during this time, the true essence of traveling anywhere.
10. Titanic (1997)
This may have been one of the greatest films ever made by genius director James Cameron. Although traveling via cruise ship might not seem like the best idea after watching the film, it is most definitely a classic and a must-watch made even better by the fact that is based on a true story. Gripping, dramatic, romantic, tragic… this movie has everything you would want in a drama.
11. Eat Pray Love (2010)
I have to admit that this was one of those rare occasions where I didn’t enjoy the book but I enjoyed the movie. Yet another one based on the real story and memoir by Liz Gilbert, Julia Roberts plays the author and visually takes us through her transformational journey from a difficult divorce to a quest of self-discovery through eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Bali. A movie for the senses.
12. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
In this comedy drama, Aubrey Plaza as Darius, a magazine reporter, accidentally befriends a guy who has put an ad on the paper seeking a companion to go on a trip back in time. The simple premise is magnificently developed by strong performances, charm, and a heartfelt story. A freshly good and unique film to watch and enjoy.
13. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Both DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg make a second appearance in this list now united in this film based on the real life of Frank Abagnale who at the young age of 18 years, through deceit and forgery, successfully becomes a commercial pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor. A brilliant story about a brilliant mind.
Now you are ready to go off on a trip via the screen! Which movie would you add to the list?
If you need more, here are 11 more travel movies you should watch.