Not many things are better for cleansing the soul than leaving everything behind and doing a bit of travelling. Personally, I like long journeys because I’m neurotic and constantly need to be doing something: working, writing, exercising, researching, socialising, whatever. However, when you’re in a car, on a train, on a plane, going from A to B, it is essentially empty time. You don’t need to worry about what you should be doing because there is nothing you CAN do, except sit there and wait for time to pass.
Generally, travelling is the ideal time to be alone with your thoughts; to rest and reassess. In the lengthier cases of the road movie genre, travelling is a time for a complete upheaval of one’s life. The characters in the films below take life-changing journeys. They’ve left their homes, usually for the purpose of escaping their current lives, and they’ve set out on “quests, pilgrimages, chases, crime sprees, spiritual journeys” (Will Aitken, “Matador Network.) They embrace the idea that tomorrow is another day, and that the road is the way to which this new beginning is possible.
It is one of my favourite genres because it is full of endless possibilities. No road movie is a simple journey from A to B. We meet a host of interesting characters and our protagonists get caught in troublesome/shocking/sticky/hilarious situations. It’s also a great genre because it shows people in their most primal states, with nothing but a little money and their clothes.
In a world of consumerism, it is refreshing to be reminded of the simpler things in life. By the time our protagonists reach point B (and not ALL of the trips below are so successful), they have undergone a major transformation. So the 10 films below are not the best road trips, but the best journeys.