Movies make us believe the unbelievable, they inspire us to do the impossible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny orange-white stripped animated Nemo fish or surreal aliens or just the protagonist, we laugh, we cry, we rejoice and fall in love with them every damn time! But the best part of the movies is that they take us to places, show us the sceneries, cities, and countries that are probably beyond our imagination (and also beyond our bank accounts, just saying!)
So getting to the point, this is the list of some of the most amazing travel movies I love. Now mind you, by travel movies, these movies aren’t about travelling per se. These movies are about life, death, friendship, love, self-discovery each of which by chance or purposefully leads to travelling. Well, so happy journey!
1. Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Just the way you add multiple layers of a filter to make your snap look picturesque. Similarly, we vie for a touch of a romantic- adventurous journey to add pop in our monotonous life. That’s why this movie is gonna warm your hearts and leave you breathless. Secret Life of Walter Mitty, although borderline unrealistic is one stunning film. It’s going to woo you with thrilling cinematography and string your emotions to a tune that’s gonna leave you feeling happy and inspired both at the same time. I recommend this film just for a single line message that it conveys, if you want adventure in life, you can either wait for it until the oblivion or go out and create one.
“I just live by the ABCs: Adventurous, Brave, Creative.”
2. Motorcycle Diaries
This Oscar nominee for the best adapted screenplay is all about Ernesto Che Guevara’s motorcycle trip in his youth that changed his life. This isn’t like every road trip movie you might have watched, although the cinematography will leave you craving for more of the absolutely gorgeous and almost picture perfect Southern American landscapes.
I love this movie for its balance. Even though the movie is based on diary and accounts written by Guevara set in a politically unstable background, it is not even near boring. Part of is about the history, part of it is about the revelry between the two friends and part of it is about humanity as a whole. Like I said its perfectly balanced movie, touching multiple of facets yet none of it is overdone. This movie is a must watch, for everyone especially for those of you for whom the sound of your bike’s engine revving across the unchartered roads is music to your ears.
“What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land.”
3. Into the Wild
You are a top student and almost just as good an athlete with a lavish saving stashed in your bank. And you decide to give it all up just for the sake of a single hitchhiking trip that is gonna last for your entire life, literally.
I know this sound pretty clichéd as far as the renouncing-wealth-achieving inner peace concept goes, but believe me when I say Into the Wild is nowhere even near the cliche.
It is a beautiful film that revolves and revels around a very basic concept that if humans have to choose between nature and their fellow beings, who would it be? Would you rather be free, pure and untamed in the wilderness or be surrounded by people who love you but drown in the never-ending loops of money, career, and relationships?
The point is, this loosely structured, back and forth narrative will take you on a journey that will definitely stir that duly suppressed wanderlust of yours back to life.
“When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”
4. One Week
This is one movie with a very simple but extremely meaningful plot-line set in a backdrop of drop-dead gorgeous country sceneries. The protagonist is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer pretty much in its last stages with extremely poor prognosis. He decides to go on one last adventure before succumbing to his treatment routines and his illness.
I love this movie because of the subtle irony in the fact that we truly live our lives only when we have ‘dead’-line looming over our heads. Suddenly you get the courage to drive into the unknown, finish that weird book, fall in love or whatever. So why not find that courage in your everyday life. why not go on that dream trip of yours or tick off the things on your bucket list without being diagnosed with a terminal illness?
This motorcycle ride across Canadian tinged countryside is one ride, I swear, you won’t regret.
“What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What lifeboat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?”
[Written on a blackboard: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”]
5. A Good Year
Quoting a beautiful statement someone said, “Food tastes better there. The women are naturally beautiful. Walks are more romantic. Wine is more complex… but life is less so. France can turn good memories into grand ones. It replaces currency with passion. It replaces accumulation with appreciation.”
This pretty much sums up every reason why this movie is worth a watch. Now I’ll admit it, this isn’t like full-fledged travel movie. In fact, it’s more about romance than travelling. But I love this movie for two very basic reasons.
One it raises questions on whether the fast-paced money oriented careers and jobs is robbing us off of our happiness? And secondly because (also the reason why this movie is on this list) the backdrop of French chateau and vineyards and gardens just adds an extra layer of ethereal beauty to the romance playing on the screen. In a nutshell, this movie is for those stay-at-home-weekends and trust me it will add France to your list of countries you’d want to visit with the love of your life.
“You’ll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is, uh… how much more enjoyable it is to win. It’s inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it.”
6. The Way
It is a heart-wrenching story about a father’s quest to finish off his dead son’s halfway disrupted pilgrim to “El Camino de Santiago” aka a tough Spanish pilgrim or as he calls it ‘some unfinished family business”. Frankly speaking, I love this movie for its spirit. It just rightly conveys the message that hiking, trekking, camping isn’t just for the youthful, boisterous souls. It’s for anyone who can muster enough courage to yield to nature’s beauty. In fact, all the characters in the movie have a little-broken aspect sketched into their roles and that all of them eventually find solace in nature. Plus the humorous touch with the intermittent flashbacks of some impelling father-son moments makes this one of my all-time favourites.
“You don’t choose a life, dad. You live one.”
7. The Way Back
“The Way Back” movie is about how a not-so-meticulously planned prison escape from Siberian camp turns into a life-changing journey across vast myriad lands with the only hope being the fact that they will ultimately find the freedom they deserve.
Grit, perseverance and fiercest determination, three words that sum up this movie. Set in the times of war, turmoil and ridiculously radical imprisonment, this movie is not a pretty journey. It is a portrayal of teeny tiny human beings and their fight against the all mighty nature fired by the invincible urge to survive at any cost. And although the merciless nature plays the villain in this movie, it still doesn’t cease to be any less majestically beautiful. Watch this movie for its elan vital more than anything else.
“In the camps, some saw death as freedom.
Then why didn’t you just kill yourself?
Survival was a kind of protest. Being alive was my punishment.”
8.Seven Years in Tibet
Another memoir turned movie set in the times of war, this movie is more about inner peace and wisdom. Of course, if Brad Pitt becomes your instructor and close confidant, everything will look perfect, won’t it? just kidding. I love this film for the beautiful bond portrayed between two very contrasting characters, an unpleasant arrogant adult Nazi and a very innocent but immensely curious young Dalai Lama. It’s a wonder to watch a tender relationship brewing between the two as they teach each other lessons of life. And the best part, all of this is wrapped in the mountain clad spiritual splendour of Tibet. Although the book and movie have contrasting storylines, both of them are ‘pretty impressive’ more like pretty and impressive.
“The absolute simplicity. That’s what I love. When you’re climbing your mind is clear and free from all confusions. You have focus. And suddenly the light becomes sharper, the sounds are richer and you’re filled with the deep, powerful presence of life.”
Very rarely does it happen that the movie and book on which it is based both ends up being equally compelling. And that’s the exact case with Wild. Although a lot of people think that this movie is about feminism or whatever. But that’s not the case, it’s a beautiful story about how travelling helps you cope with emotional turmoil and how spending some ‘alone’ time with nature helps you A-line your emotions and your thoughts incoherency.
The best part about the film is its rawness. From nature to the protagonist’s emotions and the way she travels everything comes as close to real as it can get. And for the next two hours, as she makes her way questioning and surviving, questioning and surviving, you’d be almost tempted to believe that it was you hitch-hiking, not her. I love the movie, I love the book, do me a favor, spend some time with both!
“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”
10. Before sunrise
The guy and girl meet each other on the train. They connect. They decide to get off the train and spend the day together. I know in the history of lovers, in the history of guys and girls, this scenario has happened a million times. So why is this movie on this list? Because of its simplicity. There is no lovey-dovey hyperbole, no melodrama or any stuff you’d expect from a romantic film. It’s the conversations, the witty banter between two of them, that acts as the building block of this movie. And one of the loveliest aspects of the film is how they have pictured Vienna. It’s not a travelogue, more like you get to see the city through the stories by the people there, street poets, bartenders, fortunetellers. It’s an old-school romance but its gonna melt your heart and make you sigh anyways.
“You know what drives me crazy? It’s all these people talking about how great technology is, and how it saves all this time. But, what good is saved time, if nobody uses it? If it just turns into more busy work. You never hear somebody say, “With the time I’ve saved by using my word processor, I’m gonna go to a Zen monastery and hang out”. I mean, you never hear that.”
In a nutshell, it doesn’t matter what the reason is or what time of the year it is, if you have the will you will always end up finding the way to your dream destination. Truthfully, this list could go on and on, because who would not want to travel the world for free? So here is the deal let us know your favourite travel movie in the comments section and who knows maybe it might end up topping the next list of our top 10 favourite travel movies!