6 Classic Roadtrip Movies Every Cross Country Traveler Should See
Ah, the American Road. It stretches on seemingly infinitely, through desert, mountains, and along the coasts. But who has time to actually explore all that territory? A better plan would be to curl up with some classic road trip movies on Netflix and live vicariously through the cinematic heroes of the road. Here are six classic road trip movies for doing just that.
One thing you should know about cross-country road trips: They can go terribly, terribly wrong. That's what happens in the 50s noir thriller "The Hitch-Hiker," in which two all-American buddies unwittingly pick up a serial killer whose MO goes something like this: Get picked up, kill the people who picked him up, steal their car, profit. Uh oh.
Most of the time, though, your road trip will go just fine - until it doesn't. That's the lesson of perhaps the definitive road trip movie, "Easy Rider." Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are two rebels on the fringe of American society - they just want to get on their motorcycles and ride, man. And they want to pick up square Jack Nicholson and teach him how to live, man. The famously tragic ending might not be very inspirational but the important thing is - they went on a road trip.
One problem cross-country travelers often have to contend with is the boredom of long stretches on the open road with nothing to do and nothing to see. One way to alleviate that problem is to be chased by a killer truck. That's what happens to Dennis Weaver in "Duel," the TV movie debut of a director by the name of Steven Spielberg who went on to do a couple more movies. Nothing like a murderous monster semi truck trying to kill you to heighten the thrill of the road!
As the Griswold family have proven time and time again, it doesn't take the threat of violent death to make a vacation miserable. In the first "Vacation" movie, the titular outing is a road trip from the Midwest to sunny California and everyone's favorite theme park Wally World. Along the way, they encounter everything from an annoying aunt to a probably-rabid dog, but the primary threat is father Clark Griswold's obsessive mania for fun and togetherness.
Most people road trip for fun, but Kowalski, hero of "Vanishing Point," does it professionally. His job is to transport cars from point A to point B, and as quickly as possible. Luckily he's an expert driver - not so luckily he's also living in an existential haze, traveling from place to place but not really existing. Or something. The point is, the road trip is, like, a metaphor for life, man.
When you're terrified of flying, a road trip might be the only way to get across the country. And if you're Charles Grodin in "Midnight Run," a white-collar criminal with a bounty on his head, you probably don't even want to go in the first place. But go you must, thanks to bail bondsman Robert De Niro. Let the wacky hijinks begin!