The Greatest Travel Films

No time to get out on the road yourself? Watch someone else doing it instead. Here, in no particular order, are our top five travel films…

Into the wild

After graduating from university, Emile Hersch abandons his possessions, gives his savings to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska in order to live in the savage wilderness. In true road movie fashion, he meets a series of colourful characters, who shape his way of thinking. A classic travel tale, and an inspiration to those wanting to up sticks and set off into the unknown.

North by Northwest

An astonishingly dapper Cary Grant is the victim of mistaken identity, and finds himself abducted by a group of foreign spies. From New York he is subsequently pursued across the US in a deadly game of tag, via a remote rural highway, where he is attacked by an armed crop-dusting plane (one of Hitchcock’s most famous scenes) to Chicago, and culminating in an unbelievably tense final scene on the side of Mount Rushmore. As well as being an incredibly entertaining film, it’s also a paean to a golden age of train travel.

Vanishing Point

A car delivery service worker named Kowalski is asked to take a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco. Soon after picking up the car, he takes a bet to get to his destination in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with the police they launch a chase in order to bring him into custody. Throughout his epic flight, Kowalski is aided by Supersoul – a blind DJ with a police radio scanner.

Lost in translation

Washed-up actor Bill Murray travels to Tokyo to film a whiskey advertisement. Himself tolerating a mediocre marriage, he meets Scarlett Johanssen, visiting with her photographer husband and unsure of her place in life. The two weary, disaffected travellers live the experience of the westerner in an eastern land.


Olivier Higgins and Melanie Carrier travel from Mongolia to Kolkata, passing through Xinjiang, the Taklamakan Desert, Tibet and Nepal. During their 8000km-long journey, they discover the world, but also, predictably, discover themselves.


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