ENTERTAINMENT
08/25/2017 08:16 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2018

10 Movies That Will Have You Longing For The Open Road

Fire up these gems as HuffPost travels the country for the "Listen to America" tour.
Illustration: Gabriela Landazuri Saltos / HuffPost Photos: Alamy
HuffPost is hitting the road this fall to interview people about their hopes, dreams, fears ― and what it means to be American today.

In America, wanderlust is tracked by the length and purpose of our road trips. The highways that connect these 50 states are transports to new possibilities and brighter futures. They also sometimes send us wheeling through our past, reaching for memories sprinkled from coast to coast. 

Hollywood knows this well. The road-trip movie has become a genre unto itself. The vehicles look different from one film to the next, but their inhabitants are almost always in search of something missing from their lives, or at least a temporary escape from normality. Thelma and Louise didn’t soar off that cliff for nothing.

HuffPost has its own road trip going on, too. Our “Listen to America” bus tour will send reporters and editors to two dozen cities across the country to discuss the issues that matter most in today’s national climate. We’re partnering with local media organizations to facilitate discussions about what unites us as Americans. 

Because everyone can appreciate a good road trip, some of our Entertainment staff has compiled a list of our favorite asphalt adventures. Fire these up from the comfort of your couch, knowing there’s a thoroughfare outside, waiting to facilitate your own open-air dreams. 

  • "Mad Max: Fury Road"
    You know a road trip is a good time when, after reaching your destination, you turn around and go right back. That's why we a
    Warner Bros
    You know a road trip is a good time when, after reaching your destination, you turn around and go right back. That's why we are all witnesses to the greatness of “Mad Max: Fury Road.” From its ridiculous practical effects, such as a real flame-throwing guitar, to Tom Hardy donning a Bane-like mask before helping Charlize Theron and Bonnie from “Big Little Lies” (Zoe Kravitz) escape Immortan Joe, Mad Max rides the Fury Road straight into movie Valhalla. (And it has the Best Picture nomination to prove it.) We live and watch. We die. We live and watch again. -- Bill Bradley
  • "Easy Rider"
    “Easy Rider” is the ideal time capsule of late-1960s America, wrapped up in one influential and sentimental motor
    Columbia Pictures
    “Easy Rider” is the ideal time capsule of late-1960s America, wrapped up in one influential and sentimental motorcycle road-trip movie. Not only did Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda write the screenplay (with Hopper directing), but they also starred in the film, alongside Jack Nicholson and Phil Spector. "Easy Rider" follows two hippie bikers as they travel from southern California toward New Orleans after selling a batch of cocaine. Set in the height of '60s counterculture era, we follow their adventures through sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, with the Vietnam War and protest marches looming nearby. With Roger McGuinn’s “Ballad of Easy Rider” and Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” as the musical backdrop, the accompanying soundtrack couldn’t be a more perfect representation of the time. Made for roughly $360,000, “Easy Rider” ended up cruising away with some $60 million at the box office, becoming the third highest-grossing movie of 1969. Nearly 50 years later, this juggernaut is a trip still worth taking. Maybe now more so than ever. -- Lauren Moraski
  • "Y Tu Mamá También"
    Long before his turn in the "Star Wars" universe, Diego Luna starred alongside Gael García Bernal in "Y Tu Mamá
    IFC Films
    Long before his turn in the "Star Wars" universe, Diego Luna starred alongside Gael García Bernal in "Y Tu Mamá También," a 2001 film about two teenage boys who find themselves on a road trip -- and in a subsequent love triangle -- with a slightly older woman named Luisa (Maribel Verdú). Together, they venture through rural Mexico in search of a beach, stopping at motels to sleep and passing time in the car by sharing evermore dramatic stories of their carnal encounters. Like any good coming-of-age story, this Alfonso Cuarón-directed movie spends as much time on sexual awakening as it does on the grim details of a real world just outside a young man's fantasy orbit; in this case, the rise of opposition president Vicente Fox. Borrowing from the road-trip genre that seems so Hollywood to most, Cuarón manages to tell a story of left and right politics that's now a staple of Mexican movie history. -- Katherine Brooks
  • "A Goofy Movie"
    Judging by the reviews, critical reactions to the 1995 (now cult?) cartoon varied from cute to lukewarm. But the plot itself
    Buena Vista
    Judging by the reviews, critical reactions to the 1995 (now cult?) cartoon varied from cute to lukewarm. But the plot itself rings beautifully relatable. A working-class father and son venture from their town in Ohio to the holy ground of "cool": Los Angeles. They dodge Mother Nature and an opossum-based theme park to share the stage of a mega pop star named Powerline, all because Max wants to impress a girl. But of course, the journey eclipses the destination. Once they land in LA, both goofs realize that being yourself is not only rewarding, but cool. This might be dramatic, but I'd argue Goofy and Max Goof were the Don Drapers of mid-90s Disney B-movies. Also, the songs are anthemic. I'd buy Powerline songs on iTunes any day. -- Melissa Radzimski
  • "Little Miss Sunshine"
    What don't I love about this movie? The indie smash hit features an incredible cast -- Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, G
    Fox Searchlight
    What don't I love about this movie? The indie smash hit features an incredible cast -- Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Steve Carell and Alan Arkin -- telling an endearing story of a messed-up family who does all they can to rally around Olive (Breslin), an awkward, uncynical, sweet, slightly overweight 7-year-old with dreams of becoming a beauty queen. The Hoover clan hops in their big yellow Volkswagen bus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and heads out on a two-day road trip to make it in time for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California. Despite all the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, the family goes on an adventure of a lifetime, learning about each other, themselves and the world around them as they hit the highway. A must-see for those who have not witnessed the wonder of this Oscar-winning film. -- Leigh Blickley
  • "Boys on the Side"
    "Thelma & Louise" is pop culture's girl-power road adventure of choice, but four years after Geena Davis and Susan Sarand
    Warner Bros
    "Thelma & Louise" is pop culture's girl-power road adventure of choice, but four years after Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon bolted off that cliff, a quieter celebration of womanhood slipped through theaters. "Boys on the Side" sends Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Mary-Louise Parker from New York to Tuscon in a burnt-red minivan. "I'm sure there's somebody out there who wants to go across the country with the whitest woman on the face of the earth, singing Carpenters songs and reliving childhood memories, but it ain't me," Goldberg's lesbian lounge singer tells Parker's sunny real-estate agent. They head west together anyway, scooping up Barrymore's perky, harebrained free spirit to join the self-discovery party. The movie's tone evokes "Terms of Endearment"; it's warm and absorbing, even in its imperfections. -- Matthew Jacobs
  • "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
    What do we look for in a road-trip movie? The answer is a wild ride. While other films' protagonists might take you further a
    Universal Pictures
    What do we look for in a road-trip movie? The answer is a wild ride. While other films' protagonists might take you further around the globe than Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro), few, if any, will take you as far down a rabbit hole as these two bundles of madness. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” a 1998 flop-turned-cult-classic, based off the Hunter S. Thompson pseudo-novel of the same name, isn’t a great movie. But from the moment these two take off in a convertible from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, with a frankly staggering number of drugs to their name, it sure is fun as hell. And if you aren’t convinced yet, just wait until the acid kicks in. -- Maxwell Strachan
  • "We're the Millers"
    “We’re the Millers” is the kind of slightly raunchy but still family-appropriate comedy that you look back
    Warner Bros
    “We’re the Millers” is the kind of slightly raunchy but still family-appropriate comedy that you look back on in four years and think, “I’m not not glad I spent $16 to see this in theaters.” It stars Jason Sudeikis as a weed dealer set to make bank, if he can just successfully traffic an RV-load of his product across the U.S.-Mexico border. Jennifer Aniston plays the stripper he convinces to pose as his wholesome wife. Yes, there is a strip-tease scene. No, it isn't essential to the plot. “We’re the Millers” will go down in some small corner of film history for one joke and one joke only: “No Ragrets.” Which is precisely our attitude after watching this film that A.O. Scott called “occasionally hilarious.” -- Sara Boboltz
  • "Sideways"
    With "Sideways," we finally have a road-trip movie that portrayed flawed but endearing adults who looked like people you migh
    Fox Searchlight
    With "Sideways," we finally have a road-trip movie that portrayed flawed but endearing adults who looked like people you might actually know. Who couldn't love the sun-bathed wine-country scenery, the witty, honest dialogue, and an odd-couple buddy flick disguised as a sweet romantic comedy? No one, other than perhaps merlot producers everywhere. -- Kate Palmer
  • "Fanboys"
    In the late '90s, a group of diehard "Star Wars" fans learn their friend has only months to live, which means he won't surviv
    The Weinstein Co
    In the late '90s, a group of diehard "Star Wars" fans learn their friend has only months to live, which means he won't survive to see the newest episode in almost 20 years, "The Phantom Menace."  Their mission: take a road trip to Skywalker Ranch in California -- George Lucas' production palace -- and steal a rough cut of the film. When "Force Awakens" was released, people called it a love letter to the fans. And that is certainly true. But if "Force Awakens" is a love letter, "Fanboys" is a surprise marriage proposal at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The inside jokes alone will keep any "Star Wars" fan engaged. There are so many great cameos in this, from William Shatner to Billie Dee Williams to the one and only Carrie Fisher. And one of the great stories behind the making of the film is that Lucas -- notoriously protective of the "Star Wars" brand -- saw an early rough cut of the film and enjoyed it so much that he authorized the use of the "Star Wars" sound library. The genuine sounds of blasters, lightsabers and the Millennium Falcon are all used in hilarious ways. If you are a "Star Wars" fan, you've probably already seen "Fanboys." Watch it again. If you're just jumping into the universe, you must see this film. If you haven't seen or don't like "Star Wars" ... well, being a well-rounded human being isn't for everyone. -- Andy McDonald

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