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The Top 5 Best Road Trip Movies of All Time

The road movie has been a staple of American cinema due to its instant relatability to the audience. The genre that gave us such classic films as It Happened One Night and The Blues Brothers has also given us less-revered fares such as Miss March and The Blues Brothers 2000. We’ll be focusing on movies more like the former as we count down the top five best road trip movies of all time.

Best Road Trip Movies of All Time

5. American Honey

Andrea Arnold’s nearly three-hour road trip movie is a masterclass of deliberate pacing and character work.

American Honey tells the story of a troubled teen (played to perfection by newcomer Sasha Lane) who joins up with a group of young adults who travel across the flyover states selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door.

The characters run into myriad issues such as hostile customers, stolen cash, and road trip maintenance issues—this epic cross-country tale is deeply personal, affecting, and unexpectedly funny.

American Honey
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sasha Lane, Riley Keough, Shia LaBeouf (Actors)

4. Zombieland

Before the release of 2009’s Zombieland, you could be forgiven for wondering if any of those involved had what it took to carry a big-budget studio comedy—and yet, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

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Ruben Fleischer’s film from the future writers of Deadpool leans heavily into genre tropes crafted around a touching story. For almost every shocking moment of over-the-top violence, there’s a grounded dramatic moment that carries real weight.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ashley Lambert, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg (Actors)

3. Little Miss Sunshine

This 2006 indie smash hit is perhaps the finest showcase of star Steve Carell’s acting chops, but it also introduced many audiences to the young talents of Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin (coincidentally, also in Zombieland).

Filmed between the first two seasons of The Office, Little Miss Sunshine is a hilarious, heartwarming, and devastating ride from start to finish, which explains why it went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Little Miss Sunshine
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell (Actors)

2. It Happened One Night

Kicking off Frank Capra’s Oscar streak where he won Best Director three times in five years, It Happened One Night is largely credited as being the first screwball comedy. This wildly funny and sweet love story is the first of only three films in the history of the Academy Awards to win the “big five”—Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress. The only other films to share this distinct honor are One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs.

It Happened One Night
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly (Actors)

1. Wild at Heart

Hot off of the success of the first season of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s feature follow-up to the instant classic Blue Velvet takes all the surrealism of Lynch’s work and transplants it into a road movie.

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Starring a 25-year-old Nicolas Cage alongside frequent Lynch collaborator Laura Dern, Wild at Heart takes every road movie convention, flips it on its head, and presents it in a way you’ve never seen before—which helped it to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, an honor shared by films like Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, and Apocalypse Now.

All of this places Wild at Heart right at the top of the list of the best road trip movies of all time.

Wild at Heart
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Stephen Tompkinson, Deon Stewardson, Nomsa Xaba (Actors)

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