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The top 10 travel movies of all time

Whether you are getting ready to embark on your next adventure, looking to indulge your curiosity about other cultures, have an affinity for learning about travel routes or history, or are simply looking for a good laugh or compelling dramatic tale on the road, here is our list of the top 10 travel movies of all time for your viewing pleasure: 1. Airplane! It is hard to believe that more than 35 years have passed since Airplane’s 1980 release. The parody features the story of Ted Striker, a man who is pathologically afraid of flying, and his disastrous flight between Los Angeles and Chicago. The film was highly acclaimed, grossing over $130 million on a budget of just $3.5 million. The slapstick comedy featured novel scenes that would just not pass today’s airline regulations, such as one scene where Striker was handed a ticket that was literally smoldering with smoke after asking for a “smoking” seat. This can’t-miss comedy was named one of Empire Magazine’s “500 Greatest Movies of All Time”, voted number one in “The Funniest Comedies Ever” poll, and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
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2. Almost Famous This Oscar award winning road-trip comedy-drama tracks the story of William Miller, a teenage wannabe journalist writing for Rolling Stone. Miller travels with the boisterous rock band Stillwater on a tour across the states, encountering numerous obstacles that get in the way of getting his tell-all story published. Exuding every aspect of the term “drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll”, Almost Famous offers an inside look at the fast-paced, exhilarating and sometimes devastating lives of the musicians and groupies and their lives on the road.
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3. The Talented Mr. Ripley This star-studded film features Matt Damon as the “talented” Tom Ripley, a New York City man who makes his living through forgery and impersonation. When a wealthy man mistakes Ripley for a friend of his son’s and recruits him to travel to Europe to bring his son home, Ripley’s real adventure begins. He falls in love, commits murder, lives the life of the wealthy shipbuilder’s son, and finds himself in a constant cat-and-mouse game with Italian police and those who suspect Ripley’s involvement in their friends’ murders.
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4. Tracks Instead of traveling by plane, train or automobile, Tracks tells the story of Robyn Davidson’s 9-month adventure through the Australian desert on camelback. The film features stunning cinematography by the talented Mandy Walker to really bring Davidson’s memoir to life.
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5. The Out of Towners This 1970 comedy is based on playwright Neil Simon’s portrait of a Midwestern couple’s travels to New York City, with comedic twists plotted at just about every iconic site in the Big Apple, including scenes at Grand Central Station, Central Park, Kennedy International Airport, and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Enduring just about every inconvenience possible, these out-of-towners experience one catastrophe after another, including rerouted flights, missing luggage, missed connections, mass transit strikes, two muggings, a torrential downpour and lost hotel reservations and more.
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6. The Terminal When Viktor Navrokski, played by Tom Hanks, discovers that he has been denied entry into the United States, yet is unable to return to his native country because of a revolution, and is forced to make a JFK Airport terminal his temporary home in the film The Terminal. The story was inspired by the real life story of Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who was forced to live in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris for 18 years when he was named stateless.
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7. Into the Wild Into the Wild is an adventurous tale based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who gives his entire savings away to charity and embarks on a cross-country journey to the Alaskan wilderness. Despite forging a number of real relationships along the road, McCandless has his sights set on the remote Alaskan wild, were he eventually calls home, experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly faces of Mother Nature.
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8. The Motorcycle Diaries The Motorcycle Diaries recounts a 1952 expedition by the infamous revolutionary Che Guevara across South America with his comrade Alberto Granado. As the adventure unfolds, Guevara not only discovers the world around him, but also discovers his own beliefs along the way. Throughout their continental trek, the duo observe impoverished indigenous populations and witness injustices to the lowest working classes, painting a sobering portrait of life among the most impoverished in Latin America and sparking Guevara’s revolutionary ideals to change the world as he knows it.
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9. The Beach Young and adventurous world traveler, Richard, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, comes across what appears to be a hedonistic island paradise in the Gulf of Thailand. His first few days on the island prove to be everything he and his fellow backpackers ever dreamed of, until a series of misguided events turn many on the island against one another.
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10. The Way The Way is the tale of a father, Tom, who follows in his son’s footsteps along the traditional pilgrimage route, Camino de Santiago in France. Although the initial purpose of Tom’s trip was to retrieve the body of his son, he decides to walk to treacherous trail himself, taking his son’s ashes with him. The Way is a heartwrenching travel tale about restoration and finding peace through travel and among nature.
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Lars Condor is the Managing Director of Passport Premiere. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. Thanks for the great list of all these movies. I have to say I really liked Terminal, but my favorite of this list has to be Airplane. Just watched this a few weeks ago and it still cracks me up every time. Thanks for the laughs.

  2. The Camino de Santiago is in Spain, not France although it starts there like it starts in other parts of Spain. It is a very traditional route for pilgrims for centuries. Big mistake for someone who works in travel!

  3. Mercedes, Santiago de Compostella is in Spain of course but a lot of people do only parts of the way outside of Spain, because many parts of it are outside of Spain. So it’s not a mistake. It would be is the way to Santiago was only in Spain but it’s not.

    I loved Tracks, beautiful film, with a deep character, a bit sad but brave and soul-searching.
    I loved Wild too, featuring the Pacific Crest Trail.

  4. I loved The Way! Gorgeous scenery and definitely added the Camino de Santiago trek to my bucket list.

    Some of my other favourite travel movies are Under the Tuscan Sun (renovate an Italian villa anyone?), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Darjeeling Limited and Amelie.

    Not really a travel movie as such, but the James Bond movies are always set in amazing locations as well. Oh, to be a Hollywood location scout!

  5. Great list here!

    The Terminal is a great movie, but not sure I’d consider it a travel film seeing as he spends the entire time trapped in an airport. Tom Hanks is brilliant as always though.

    I would also add Midnight in Paris for the Francophiles, Under the Tuscan Sun for the amazing Italian countryside scenery, and The Darjeeling Limited for a colourful train journey through India and Lost in Translation for sightseeing in Tokyo.

  6. I’ve seen all of these apart from Tracks and The Out of Towners. As long as the latter isn’t too silly with the humour IT could be quite cool to play ‘spot the famous site’! The video doesn’t play for the first one, Tracks, but according to IMDB it’s a 2013 flick about a woman attempting a 1,700 mile extreme trek across the West Australian deserts with a dog and four camels. Never heard of it before so I’ll add that to my watch list. Glad to see Airplane! feature in this, can’t beat a classic!

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