With the recent "Eat, Pray, Love" film hype I got thinking about some truly great movies that involve travel. I love to travel but currently have needed to tone down my travel and shift priorities due to having young children and being on a strict budget.
I love film. I love how film can take you to another place and give you stories that
make you happy, sad, angry, scared, optimistic, and make you realize how lucky you are or challenge your paradigms, assumptions, and perspectives.
One way I get my pseudo-travel fix in the comfort of my own home is through the transcendence of film and so I will share my favorites with you.
These are in order of the year they were released – oldest to latest.
(some portions of movie descriptions were taken directly from IMBD)
Roman Holiday (1953)
A princess bored on a trip to Rome escapes her guardians, pretends to be an average person, and falls in love with an American. Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, and Rome – how can you go wrong?
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Hitchcock movie about jewelry thieves in Monaco. Grace Kelly looking amazing, Cary Grant charming as ever, and the Mediterranean in almost every scene – ‘nuff said!
Local Hero (1983)
Business travel movie. An American oil company sends a seemingly conservative man to Scotland to convince an entire village to sell off their land for a refinery. Things are not as they seem in this quietly humorous and very enjoyable film.
A Passage to India (1984)
Period piece focusing on a white British woman’s accusation of rape by an Indian Doctor in 1920s India. The film is chocked full of quiet intensity and thick with themes and symbolic elements. Judy Davis is amazing.
Room with a View (1985)
A feisty young girl who is engaged to be married travels to Florence with her older female chaperone where she meets another man and complicates her life with love.
Out of Africa (1985)
Interesting and stunning film of the life of author Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen) who married for convenience, had a (true) love affair, and ran a coffee plantation in Kenya. Top notch film all around.
The Sure Thing (1985)
An East Coast college girl and college boy who hate each other travel cross country together to Southern California. The absolute best John Cusack movie and the best of the coming-of-age 80’s films (did I just date myself?).
Shirley Valentine (1989)
Shirley is a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who talks to the wall since her husband won’t. Her friend wins a trip for two to Greece and Shirley experiences self and life renewal. Funny with the right amount of seriousness and sensitivity. Great Greek Scenery!
Enchanted April (1992)
Two married women living in 1920's London share the misery of empty relationships with their spouses and decide to rent an Italian Castle for the spring to get away. In order to save money, they take on two other female roommates. This is a quiet and methodical period piece. Amazingly gorgeous Italian coast scenery!
Love, Lust, Art and Religion! Some of my favorite topics – no wonder I liked this film.
A reverend and his wife traveling from England visit an eccentric artist prone to sexual depictions. Sexy film and Hugh Grant is great.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Australian Drag Queen road trip! Quirky and over-the-top fun.
Before Sunrise (1995)
A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one romantic evening together in Vienna. Beautiful film that is heavy on dialogue and personal interaction. And to clarify, this is a romantic travel movie – not a chick flick!
Lost in Translation (2003)
This is really a movie about business travel, but that doesn’t negate the transcendent quality of this beautiful film. An aging movie star with a sense of emptiness, and a neglected newlywed meet up as strangers in Tokyo and form an unlikely bond. One of my all-time favorite movies – travel or not.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Based on the journals of Che Guevara, leader of the Cuban Revolution. It is the motorcycle road trip story that he and his friend Alberto Granado had while crossing South America by motorcycle in the early 1950s. Worth watching for the multi-levels of the film - travel, friendship, and political/socio-economic issues.
Two men reaching middle age set-off on a week long road trip through California's wine country. Very funny.
Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families. Very intense.
Have some of your own favorites? Leave a comment and let me know what I should rent!