Movies are always a great way to experience and be inspired to travel. Movies have a great power. Here are 10 popular travel-focused movies from Hollywood that have resonated with audiences:
Travel movie list
1. Eat Pray Love (2010):
Based on the bestselling memoir, this is one of those travel movies that follows a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she travels to Italy, India, and Bali. The popular memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert, which also became a best-selling book and a movie. It chronicles Gilbert’s journey of self-discovery as she travels to different countries – to find pleasure, spirituality, and balance in her life. The book and subsequent movie adaptation have inspired many to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and personal growth, encouraging exploration, mindfulness, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.
2. The Darjeeling Limited (2007):
Directed by Wes Anderson, this offbeat travel film tells the story of three estranged brothers who embark on a train journey across India to reconnect. The three estranged brothers – Francis, Peter, and Jack Whitman, played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman, respectively.
The film explores themes of family dynamics, personal growth, and the search for identity and purpose. Wes Anderson’s signature visual style, with his meticulous attention to details and whimsical cinematography, adds to the film’s distinct charm.
It received positive reviews for its humour, character development, and thematic depth. It is often praised for its portrayal of complex family relationships and its exploration of Indian culture and spirituality against the backdrop of a unique train journey.
3. Into the Wild (2007):
Inspired by a true story, this travel movie chronicles the journey of a young man who gives up his possessions and sets out to explore the American wilderness. The biographical drama film released in 2007, directed by Sean Penn and based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. The film tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who gives up his comfortable life and sets off on a journey of self-discovery into the Alaskan wilderness.
The film explores themes of freedom, the meaning of life, and the pursuit of one’s own truth. It raises questions about the balance between self-discovery and the importance of human connection. The film showcases the stunning landscapes of Alaska and captures the beauty and harshness of nature.
Critically acclaimed, it is a movie that received praise for its powerful performances, stunning cinematography, and poignant storytelling. It has resonated with audiences, inspiring discussions about the pursuit of personal freedom, the allure and dangers of a solitary existence, and the complexities of human nature.
4. The Beach (2000):
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this travel drama takes viewers on a journey to a hidden paradise in Thailand, highlighting the allure and dark side of unspoiled travel destinations. A thriller-drama film directed by Danny Boyle and based on the novel of the same name by Alex Garland. The movie centers around a young traveler named Richard, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who embarks on a quest to find a secluded and mythical beach paradise in Thailand.
It is one of those movies that explores themes of desire for escape, the consequences of human nature, and the pursuit of an idealised paradise. It delves into the illusion of a perfect society and the potential consequences of disrupting the delicate balance that exists.
The film received mixed reviews upon release but has gained a cult following over the years. It is known for its beautiful cinematography, intense performances, and the exploration of themes related to travel, adventure, and the human quest for utopia.
5. Lost in Translation (2003):
Set in Tokyo, this introspective travel film follows the unlikely bond between two Americans who form a connection while navigating the culture shock of Japan. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the film brilliantly captures the atmosphere of being in a foreign place, with its vibrant and bustling depiction of Tokyo and its portrayal of the isolation and longing that can arise from being in an unfamiliar environment. The film explores themes of human connection, existentialism, and the search for meaning and understanding.
The film received critical acclaim upon its release, earning numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and has since become a cult classic. It is renowned for its poignant exploration of human emotions and the complexities of relationships set against the backdrop of a culturally rich and vibrant city.
6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003):
A heartwarming travel tale about a recently divorced woman who impulsively buys and renovates an old villa in Tuscany, Italy, finding love and a new life in the process. The romantic comedy-drama film directed by Audrey Wells is loosely based on the memoir of the same name by Frances Mayes. It follows the story of Frances, played by Diane Lane in a charismatic performance. It explores themes of reinvention, healing, and embracing second chances. It highlights the allure of Tuscany’s landscapes, culture, and lifestyle as catalysts for personal growth and rediscovery.
The film received mixed reviews upon its release but has become a beloved romantic comedy cherished for its heartwarming story, picturesque setting. It has garnered a following among audiences who are drawn to its messages of self-empowerment and the transformative power of embracing new beginnings and finding joy in unexpected places.
7. Wild (2014):
Adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s travel memoir, this movie depicts a woman’s transformative hike along the Pacific Crest Trail as she confronts personal demons and seeks healing. “Wild” is a biographical drama travel film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. The movie follows the true story of Cheryl, played by Reese Witherspoon, as she embarks on a solo trek of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in an attempt to heal and rediscover herself after experiencing personal tragedy and addiction.
The film explores themes of self-discovery, healing, and perseverance. It unveils the power of nature, solitude, and human connections in aiding personal transformation and growth. The film shines a light on Cheryl’s personal journey while also touching on broader themes of resilience, the search for meaning, and the human spirit’s capacity for overcoming adversity. The film also received positive reviews for its stunning cinematography that captures the beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail and its emotional storytelling.
It has resonated with audiences, inspiring discussions about personal redemption, the healing power of nature, and the complexities of the human experience. It serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the potential for personal growth and transformation through challenging journeys.
8. Before Sunrise (1995) and its sequels:
This trilogy follows the evolving relationship between two strangers who meet on a train and decide to spend a romantic day exploring different cities together. A romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater, the movie follows the chance meeting and whirlwind romance of two young travellers, Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, and Céline, played by Julie Delpy.
The film received critical acclaim for its naturalistic dialogue and its portrayal of the fleeting nature of relationships. It is widely regarded as a modern classic in the romance genre due to its authentic portrayal of a brief encounter that leaves a lasting impact.
Before Sunrise is the first installment in a trilogy, followed by Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013), which continue Jesse and Céline’s journey over the course of their lives. Collectively, the trilogy represents an intimate exploration of the complexities of love and the passage of time.
9. Midnight in Paris (2011):
Directed by Woody Allen, this romantic fantasy takes viewers on a nostalgic journey through time as a writer explores Paris and gets transported to the 1920s each night at midnight. The movie follows the story of Gil, played by Owen Wilson, a disillusioned screenwriter who is visiting Paris with his fiancée and her family.
It explores themes of nostalgia, artistic expression, and the allure of a bygone era. It captures the spirit of Paris as a mecca for artists and intellectuals, delving into the notion of idealising the past while coming to terms with the realities of the present.
The film received critical acclaim, with praise for its witty dialogue, charming performances, and enchanting portrayal of Paris. Owen Wilson’s performance as the dreamy-eyed and introspective Gil resonated with audiences, and the movie became one of Woody Allen’s most successful films in recent years.
It combines elements of romantic comedy, fantasy, and introspection, offering a whimsical and thought-provoking exploration of nostalgia, creativity, and the complexities of love and personal fulfillment.
10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013):
Starring and directed by Ben Stiller, this film showcases the adventures of a daydreamer who embarks on a global journey to live out his fantasies and find himself. The comedy-drama film is based on James Thurber’s short story of the same name and follows the life of Walter Mitty, a daydreamer who works as a negative assets manager at Life magazine.
The movie explores themes of self-discovery, the power of imagination, and the importance of embracing life’s adventures. The film delves into the idea that true fulfillment comes from stepping out of one’s comfort zone and pursuing one’s dreams.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but found an audience who appreciated its heartwarming story and inspirational message. Ben Stiller’s performance as Walter Mitty has been praised for its blend of vulnerability and humour.
A feel-good film that encourages viewers to embrace their own potential for adventure and live life to the fullest, reminding us of the transformative power of stepping outside our comfort zones and embracing the unknown.
These movies provide a mix of travel, adventure, self-discovery, and cultural exploration, showcasing different aspects of the travel experience.