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5 American Road-Trip Movies for the Summer

Here are five of the best rolicking Road Trip movies to ride along with this summer!

Easy Rider, Midnight Run, and Little Miss Sunshine.
IMDb

The “Road Movie” genre has seen a variety of movies taking characters from point A to point B over the years. From early entries such as “Easy Rider“, to more recent adventures such as “Little Miss Sunshine“, a road trip through America’s landscapes has served many a purpose. Here are five of the best road movies to watch this summer!

1. Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. Credit: IMDB

Romance, action, adventure, comedy, and tragedy- this movie has got it all. The 60s classic stars the beautiful Faye Dunaway and dashing Warren Beatty as the young pair of lovers turned bank robbers. Bonnie and Clyde drive through 30s Texas robbing banks, wreaking havoc, and dealing with their relationship problems. Along the way the acquire several members to join their gang, including Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder! While the ending is known if you know the true story, what happens along the way is as exciting and unpredictable as any movie released in recent years. Released in 1967, the daring film still holds up, and is a road movie to behold.

2. Easy Rider

Easy Rider
Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Jack Nicholson ride in Easy Rider. Credit: IMDb

Another entry from the 60s, Easy Rider is Dennis Hopper’s directing debut, and one not to be forgotten. While Bonnie and Clyde takes place in the 30s, this movie is a direct look into 1969. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda play a pair of hippies from LA, who’s dream is to ride all the way to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. They get into several misadventures along the way, and eventually run into a young Jack Nicholson, taking him along for the ride. The movie is beautifully shot, has a kick-ass soundtrack, and is very psychedelic stuff. It’s as funny as it is harrowing, and is sure to leave a mark. Easy Rider remains a classic to this day, and is a great damn road movie.

3. Midnight Run

Midnight Run
Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in Midnight Run. Credit: IMDb

Time to travel up to the 80s! A terrific decade for genre-defying movies. Midnight Run is certainly a road movie, one packed with action and off-kilter humor. Robert De Niro takes the rare comedic role as “Jack Walsh”, bounty hunter. Jack is tasked with taking Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin), a well-meaning man who has just so happened to embezzle some funds from the mafia. Jack must take Jonathan from New York to California, whilst also avoiding the police, a rival bounty hunter, and many other zany characters who are all after Mardukas. The film is as mean and hilarious as it is touching and emotionally resonant. The score rocks, and the odd-couple pairing of De Niro and Grodin works to a tee. If you’re looking for action to go along with your road trip, this is the one to see.

4. Almost Famous

Almost Famous
The Band and their Groupies in Almost Famous. Credit: IMDb

Jumping now to the 90s, and also back to the 70s, is Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece, Almost Famous. In this film, Patrick Fugit plays the young Crowe, an up and coming journalist tagging along with the latest American rock band “Stillwater”. While I recommend the three hour director’s cut, no matter how you watch it, this movie is sure to give you the rush of Rock’ n ‘Roll. The cast? Stacked. With Billy Crudup, Jennifer Hudson, Frances McDormand, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, to name a few, this movie is more than “almost” famous. The music, of course, absolutely rocks, and the story is equal parts exhilarating, trashy, and utterly romantic. It really makes you feel like a roadie along for the ride, so if you love the sights and sounds of 70s Classic Rock, this is one to check out!

5. Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine
The Hoover Family hits the road in Little Miss Sunshine. Credit: IMDb

And now for a jump to the mid 2000s for one of the most bittersweet movies ever made. This Road Trip follows a family of screw-ups as they all pitch in to bring the youngest of the group, Olive, to the “Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant”. The entire cast of characters all bring their own unique philosophy of life to the story, resulting in a series of exciting, hilarious, and tear-jerking moments to spare. The Hoover family travels from New Mexico to California in a bright yellow VW Bug, the place in which we spend most of the time getting to know them. They all face various obstacles, both physical and emotional, and learn a lot about each other and themselves along the way. If you like movies that make you laugh as much as they make you cry, this is the one for you.

Written By

Senior studying Cinema Studies and English at Rutgers University. Writer and Director of several short films. Screenwriter, Journalist, Film Nerd.

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