21st Century Road Tripping

Updated 4 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
21st Century Road Tripping

Cinematic "road trips" have matured from screwball scripts ("It Happened One Night") and cross-country journeys ("Cannonball Run") to the more "finding myself" "Easy Rider" twist and , now, challenging intrepid norms and morals ("Road Trip").

Composition of "favorites" would merit a "classic" list and a "new 21st Century" emerging iconic assembly.

2013 engraved several contenders including the hastily assembled dysfunctional non-family known as "Meet the Millers," where the paid wife and siblings contend with Mexican drug cartels.

The year added an "end of life" road trip, shifting from the "Thelma & Louise" or "Vanishing Point" ultimate suicide to a climax that no man can abort.

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" has a random couple thrown together by film fate bonding as each wrestle with the end of time

21st Century Road Tripping


Here are some traveling flicks to contemplate:



It Happened One Night (1934), Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star as a reporter helping a runaway heiress who knows how to hitch a ride

On the Beach (1959), Following a nuclear war U.S. sailors in Australia voyage back to San Francisco to search for the origin of a lone morse code signal. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), an all star cast of eccentrics careen over each other searching for money missing from a heist.

Rain Man (1988), Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as two brothers (one autistic and modeled after a Huntington man) journey across the nation.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family head for the chaotic kingdom of Walley World.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Burt Reynolds and  Sally Field make a bet to deliver truckload of beer from Texas to the south.

21st Century Road Tripping

Cannonball Run (1981) Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore and Farrah Fawcett compete in an illegal cross-country drag race.

Wizard of Oz (1939), Judy Garland travels in a tornado twisted house to a magic land where she finds empowerment.

Sullivan’s Travels (1941), Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake are featured as an escapist flick director leaves his mansion and his bank account and hops a train as a hobo.

Easy Rider (1969), Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper (counter cultures collide in a trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans)

Sugarland Express (1974) Goldie Hawn breaks her hubby (Ben Johnson) out of prison then race cross Texas hoping to rebuild their vastly dysfunctional family before the cops get them.

21st Century Road Tripping

Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987), Steve Martin and John Candy endure a pre-Thanksgiving transportation nightmare.

Vanishing Point (1971), Barry Newman stars as a driver who agrees to steer a Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco. Catch the D.J. and motorcycle rider.

Thelma & Louise (1991), Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis play a waitress and a housewife on the run in a murdered man’s ’66 T-bird.

“Wages of Fear,” (1953), hop aboard a big truck on a curvy road carrying a cargo of nitroglycerine (features Yves Montand)

“North by Northwest” (1959) Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint chug along on a train filled with spies. Gene Wilder paid homage to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller in the comedic, “Silver Streak” (1976), Gene Wilder.

“Romancing the Stone,”  (1984)  Novelist Kathleen Turner leaves the big city and heads to Columbia to rescue her kidnapped sister. Michael Douglas joins the trip when they are across the border and she breaks a heel.



Book of Eli (2010) and “The Road (2009), two post apocalyptic tales of a man ( Denzel Washington) and a father and son (Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron) travel across a desolated nation. 

21st Century Road Tripping

Zombieland (2009) Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson cruise through a zombie infested America in quest of an amusement park at the end of the rainbow.

Lord of the Rings (2001-2003), Bilbo and Frodo struggle through J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastic Middle Earth

Frozen (2013) , Anna sets off in the snow drifts to patch up the relationship with sister , Elsa, who has turned the world into the Klondike due to her impulsive powers.

In Time (2011) Living minute by minute in a world where life fluids are the currency of continued life Justin Timberlake and Olivera Wilde “run” to survive.

Seeking a Friend at the End of the World  (2012) Steve Carell  seeks to wrap up his affairs before a comet strike, but meets similarly alone Keira Knightley. The two hang out with each other until….

Road Trip (2000), Breckin Meyer and  Seann Scott,  star as two of four friends racing from New England to Texas to retrieve an explicit tape accidentally mailed to a long term long distance girl friend.

Hangover (2009), Three buddies hold a bachelor party in Vegas which leads them on an odyssey to get the groom to his bride before the preacher arrives. Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper,  and Justin Bartha



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