10 of the Best Travel Films Ever Made
We’ve already rounded up our favourite travel books to provide you with a much-needed dose of escapism, so we’ve decided to move from the page to the screen.
There’s nothing that getting completely absorbed in a good film can’t seem to solve, so to keep you entertained this quarantine season, our team have rounded up 10 of the best travel films ever made.
From camper van journeys across Australia’s Northern Territory to India’s Rajasthani railways, these cult classics are the perfect accompaniment for the armchair traveller.
1) The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
An iconic film for the LGBTQ+ community, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) sees a trio of drag queens venture from Sydney’s Imperial Hotel across the outback to the remote town of Alice Springs. It’s perfect for those craving a sense of adventure, as the film follows the three protagonists hurtling through Australia’s Northern Territory in their newly acquired silver school bus lovingly named ‘Priscilla.’ Against the backdrop of the Outback, this stunning film gives its viewers an insider’s look into the wilds of Australia.
2) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
A timeless classic, Lawrence of Arabia is based on the life of T.E. Lawrence, a British Lieutenant who journeys to Arabia. Shunning his responsibility to act as a liaison between Britain and Arabia during World War I, he chooses to trek the golden sands of the desert and take matters into his own hands. This cinematic journey through the rolling dunes of Morocco, Jordan and Spain featured in the film are sure to ignite anyone’s wanderlust.
3) In Bruges (2008)
A dark comedy about two Irish hitmen may not be what you immediately think of when you hear the words ‘travel film.’ However, In Bruges is dark humour at its best, following guilt-ridden Ray and his partner Ken as they flit through the medieval winding streets of one of Europe’s greatest cities. Considered the ‘Venice of the North,’ Bruges is the perfect backdrop to this entertaining story.
4) The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Wes Anderson’s films are some of the most popular cinema to ever be made, and The Darjeeling Limited is no different. Shot on location in Udaipur and Jodhpur, this landscape-filled journey follows three brothers journeying by train across India’s magical Rajasthan. Inspired by India’s Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Darjeeling Limited gives a pretty accurate account of what life on India’s railways is like, from the striking scenery of the Rajasthani desert to the sometimes claustrophobic confines of wonderfully lively cabins.
5) Easy Rider (1969)
Plating out like a motorcycle travelogue, Easy Rider follows Wyatt and Billy on their voyage from Mexico to New Orleans via Los Angeles. Shot on a shoestring budget, the film is a schooling in what incredible landscapes can bring to cinema. From arid desert landscapes to remote hillbilly towns, this hippie adventure transports every viewer to the carefree days of their youth.
6) Murder On The Orient Express (1974/2017)
The original Muder on the Orient Express boasts an excellent ensemble cast led by Albert Finney as detective Hercule Poirot. When a fellow passenger is murdered in the middle of the night, the detective on-board agrees to investigate the murder, and everyone on board suddenly becomes a suspect. From Russian princesses to gorgeous young countesses, everyone is investigated against the glamorous backdrop of the snowy Yugoslavian countryside and the opulent cabins of the Orient Express itself. If a more modern version is your thing, the 2017 remake is equally as captivating.
7) Out of Africa (1985)
A married baroness falls for a big-game hunter in this tragic love story, with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford starring in the lead roles. Based on the autobiographical novel by Isak Dinesen, this African cult classic was filmed on location in the UK and Kenya, and the countries themselves feel almost as epic as the doomed love affair between two people from entirely different walks of life.
8) Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Possibly the most famous travel-related film ever made, Planes, Trains and Automobiles transforms the travel rush in the days leading up to the holiday as a more-than-worthy comedic vehicle. Protagonist Neal Page faces a series of travel nightmares on his trip from New York City to Chicago. After his flight is cancelled due to inclement weather, Page ends up sharing his trip home with salesman Del Griffith. The chemistry between the two actors is wonderful, and the film is a great lesson in serendipity when it comes to meeting new people.
9) Amélie (2001)
Paris truly lives up to the idea that ‘Paris is never a bad idea’ in this cult classic. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet transforms Paris into candy-coloured, sun-drenched streets as he follows quirky heroine Amélie (Audrey Tautou) through the winding streets of Montmartre. From the green water of the Canal Saint-Martin to the lucid lights of the red light district, Paris comes to life in this colourful classic.
10) L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)
An instantly recognisable title for anyone who’s ever studied or lived in a shared flat abroad L’Auberge Espagnole (‘the Spanish Inn’) follows French student Xavier who travels to Barcelona on his coming of age journey to find himself. With six other flatmates all from different countries, L’Auberge Espagnole sees Xavier navigate the highs and lows of communication with those who don’t share his language. It’s a heartwarming watch that’s sure to brighten even the dullest of days.
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