The call of the open road carries with it a certain cinematic quality, which is probably why there is such an abundance of road trip movies. Whether it’s a Buddy movie, some sort of Rom Com that shows a fated couple sharing a car for days or some sort of fugitives hitting the highway, the road trip movie is one of the best movie sub-genres there is for a reason: because of there is always a story to tell, no matter where you are going and who is with you.
7. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
When you’ve got John Candy and Steve Martin as headliners, you know you’ve got a funny show on your hands. Throw in inclement weather, the deadline of an approaching holiday and the combination of a bumbling, good-hearted fool coupled with an exasperated traveler stranded against his will, you get this classic travel flick. One of the most memorable scenes from this movie involves Martin and Candy driving (in the “automobile” portion of the film) the wrong way on an airplane runway. As passersby try to alert the duo that they are going the wrong way on a collision course, Candy famously says, “How do they know which way I’m going?”
6. National Lampoon’s Vacation
This iconic flick features the ultra-family vacation, led by the fearless (if not clueless) Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase) who takes his family cross country to visit Wally World (aka Disney World). It is a great parody on those family road trips (are we there yet) that we’ve all been on, complete with colorful stops along the way: visits with weird, distant relatives, staying at grungy motels and driving off the road. One of the most classic series of scenes in this movie feature Chevy Chase’s character having several flirty, but goofy encounters with the super-glam Christie Brinkley.
5. Dumb and Dumber
The original Dumb and Dumber pairs together dimwitted buddies Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) on a cross-country romp inspired by the greatest motivator of all- true love (albeit one-sided). Jim Carrey’s character is a limo driver and develops a crush on a lovely lady (Lauren Holly). She “forgets” a briefcase behind (actually part of a kidnapping/ransom scheme) and Lloyd and Harry embark on a hilarious journey full of top notch physical comedy.
4. Due Date
One of the most important ingredients of a solid road trip movie is at least a pair of mismatched goofballs- and Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. certainly meet those criteria. Robert Downey Jr. plays a wound up business man, bound home on a plane to be with his wife for the impending birth of their child (hence the name of the movie). Galifianakis’ mouthy character ends up causing them both to be ejected from the flight. With limited transportation, this unlikely duo depart on a screwball trip across the country with misadventures, including a wrong turn across the Mexican border, skirmishes with the police and one of them accidentally shooting the other (we won’t say who).
3. Tommy Boy
Yet another Buddy Road trip movie, where opposites learn to tolerate- and then eventually respect each other. In this fun flick, the hilarious Chris Farley plays a perpetual frat guy, tasked with the rather grown up job of trying to save his family’s business after the sudden death of his father. He embarks on a road trip with his father’s tightly wound assistant (David Spade). A highlight: during a stop for gas, Chris Farley’s character does one of the best solo dances to the song from Flashdance “Maniac,” ever.
2. Wizard of Oz
There’s no place like home! But there is also no place like the road- especially when it’s made of yellow bricks. This classic could be considered one of the original road trip movies. Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion bond quickly and tackle their fair share of adversity in short order. And when your roadside stops include an orchard with talking trees, a castle inhabited with flying monkeys and the Emerald City, this is a trip worth taking.
1. Rat Race (2001)
This classic remake features an all-star cast (Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz, John Cleese, Seth Green and others). John Cleese stars as the off-the-wall owner of the Venetian Hotel and Casino. In order to entice his high-rolling gamblers, he comes up with a betting game surrounding a group of unsuspecting regular Joes sent out on a madcap treasure hunt, which they watch and bet upon. The results are hilarious, as this group races against each other from locale to locale.