The 8 Best Summer Road Trip Movies of All Time
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the warm summer wind blowing through your hair, Britney Spears’s “I’m Not a girl, Not Yet a Woman” blasting from the car speakers and you and your three besties pigging out on Doritos, Sour Patch Kids, Arbor Mist and Diet Coke as you take in the scenic views of Route 66. Man, those were the days. Cut to today and there’s a screaming child that needs your attention or an equally aggressive iPhone requiring your immediate response and then there’s dinner. Ugh, dinner. Leave the dishes in the dishwasher, pour yourself a glass of something that’s slightly less pigmented than Ecto Cooler and revel in your favorite Thelma and Louise fantasy with these eight best summer road trip films of all time.
‘Easy Rider’ (1968)
Easy Rider follows two pals, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who embark on a cross-country road trip with nothing but their motorcycles and a large sum of newly acquired stone cold cash. As they make their way from Los Angeles to New Orleans, the pair’s scruffy appearance draws unwanted attention from “The Man,” making their joyride anything but easy.
‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006)
When Olive (Abigail Breslin) discovers she’s a late qualifier for the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, the Hoover family packs up their VW Microbus and heads west for Los Angeles. The problem? They have only 48 hours to get there. Touching moments, awkward silences and hilarity ensue.
Not only was 2002 the peak of 21-year-old Britney Spears’s singing career, it was also the year she starred in the Oscar-winning film Crossroads alongside Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black). Spears, Saldana and Manning play childhood best friends who grew apart in their teenage years, and despite their differences, the threesome comes together for a road trip to Los Angeles, California. As one does when embarking on a life-changing road trip, the girlfriends enlist Ben (Anson Mount), a potential killer, to chauffeur them across the country. *Cue the karaoke, bucket hats and Shania Twain jams*
‘The Hangover’ (2009)
When Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) planned Doug’s (Justin Bartha) bachelor party in Las Vegas, they unfortunately didn’t take into account that he was getting married in just three short days. From a chapel wedding to a stolen baby and a missing groom-to-be, The Hangover hilariously chronicles the bachelor party from hell and the wild and crazy road trip to get there.
‘Thelma and Louise’ (1991)
If you’re looking for a summer road trip flick with two badass all-star female leads, then Thelma and Louise is the film for you. The classic comedy tells the story of two best friends, Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon), who run into a wee bit of trouble together and subsequently decide to flee to Mexico in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird. From police chases to a—gulp—very sexy 28-year-old Brad Pitt, Thelma and Louise proves that even the most demure housewives (and their fiery best friends) crave some open road adventure.
‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation is a humorous spoof on the traditional, all-American family summer road trip. Try as they might, the Griswold family can’t seem to catch a break as they trek through the Grand Canyon and Death Valley on their way to the elusive theme park Walley World. So much family, so much fun!
‘Almost Famous’ (2000)
Almost Famous is a poignant, semi-autobiographical film set in 1973 that follows 15-year-old high school student William Miller on his journey into the belly of rock-and-roll. Miller receives a call from Rolling Stone and is offered a once-in-a-lifetime freelance writing opportunity to interview and go on tour with an up-and-coming band. Much to his fantastically overprotective mother’s (Frances McDormand) dismay, Miller throws caution to the wind and sets out on tour, falling for one the band’s seasoned groupies, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), in the process.
‘Dumb and Dumber’ (1994)
You simply can’t go wrong with a comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. This classic follows two less-than-debonair gentlemen with hearts of gold, Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels). Sick and tired of eking their way through life, the pals set out on a cross-country road trip to a little place called Aspen, Colorado, in hopes of returning a lost briefcase full of money to its rightful owner. Mock, yeah. Ing, yeah. Bird, yeah.