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Nominees for Best Travel Movies Ever

Don’t you just love travel movies?  Every Oscar season I really get into all the drama leading up to the announcement of the nominees, who will host and give out the awards. It’s Hollywood’s moment to shine! While the award show itself is usually hit or miss, I almost always enjoy seeing what happens and the joy (and tears) from the winners.

After much thought and careful deliberation, here are my nominees for best travel movies ever (in no particular order):

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Nominated for a whopping nine Academy Awards in2014, you can’t deny Wes Andersons unique vision for travel film making (he also directed The Darjeeling Limited). Set in the 1930’s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a very popular ski resort with a colorful staff including concierge Gustave H. and his most trusted friend Zero, the junior lobby boy.  The charming Gustave “goes to bed with all his friends” including some elderly women who are hotel guests.  When one of his lovers is murdered, Gustave finds himself with a priceless painting and is pursued as the top suspect in her murder.  The cast is outstanding and you’ll have an amazing adventure without ever leaving your seat.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

This entertaining romantic comedy was written and directed by Woody Allen.  The movie follows Gil Pender (ironically a screenwriter) as he confronts his relationship with his fiancée who is very materialistic and tries her best to push him toward a life he’s not sure he wants.  When Gil gets drunk and lost, a car picks him and transports him back through time to the 1920s, an era he idolizes.  He meets Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein and many more iconic people of the time who see nothing abnormal about people visiting from the future.  Midnight in Paris celebrates the city’s Golden Age and is the most enjoyable Woody Allen movie in at least a decade.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

This is a truly wonderful movie starring two comic geniuses, Steve Martin and John Candy.  It’s a touching story about a buttoned-up guy (Neal Page) trying to make it home for Thanksgiving with a slob of a show ring salesman name Del Griffith.   Bad weather (sound familiar?) has caused flights to be cancelled and the only way home is to share a ride, a bed and whole lot of crazy stories along the way.  If your flight has ever been cancelled and you found yourself partnering up with complete strangers to get home to your loved ones, then you’ll really enjoy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Out of Africa (1985)

Out of Africa is a 7-time Oscar winning movie masterpiece based on a true story about Danish noblewoman, Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), who marries and moves to Africa (present day Kenya) with her husband.  They buy a coffee plantation and struggle to make it work.  Karen’s husband cheats on her and gives her syphilis so she moves out and starts running the farm herself.  Karen eventually meets Denys Finch-Hatton (Robert Redford) and the two go off on several adventures together.  They fall deeply in love and the movie is really centered around their enduring romance.  As I watched the move, I so wanted to live in that house with Meryl (as in Streep) and drink tea with the locals.  And let’s not even talk about being in a tent with Robert Redford.  This is a beautiful story about a beautiful country.

Darjeeling Limited (2007)

This is a very enjoyable and quirky movie about three brothers, each suffering from depression, who are brought together after their father’s untimely death.  The trio takes a very colorful journey to visit their mother, Sister Patricia, through the best of India on an elaborately planned train itinerary.  The trip is organized by the oldest brother Francis who keeps the real reason for the journey (visiting their mother) a secret.  While they hope to find spiritual enlightenment, the three brothers played by Owen Wilson (Francis), Adrien Brody (Peter) and Jason Schwartzman (Jack) fight, bicker and argue throughout the entire trip.  They find themselves in a series of bizarre situations including when Peter’s pet cobra escapes and cannot be found and Jack has an intimate encounter with their stewardess.  The vibrant landscape of India is one of the main characters in the film and you can’t help but to go along for this very strange journey.

A Room With a View (1985)

I was 15 when I saw this Oscar winning movie and constantly daydreamed about going to Florence, Italy for months. The story takes place in that city in the early 1900’s when a young British traveler named Lucy starts to understand her own mind and passion. While in Italy, Lucy meets man named George Emerson and the two develop an intense attraction to each other.  She becomes torn between her upper-crust life in England and following her heart to be with George.  Their first kiss being takes place in a stunning field of violets in the town Fiesole.  A girl can dream.

The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007)

You have to admit, Jason Bourne has been through a lot.  Here’s a guy who was picked up by a fishing boat in the Mediterranean, full of bullets, with no memory who races around the globe eluding assassins and recovering from amnesia.  I love following Bourne as he kills off the bad guys and drives stick shift through some of the narrowest streets in Europe.  Even though people are trying to kill him, I still can’t help but get a little jealous about all the places he travels to trying to break free.  I prefer Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, for obvious reasons.

Lost in Translation (2003)

As a traveler, I find this movie pretty hilarious.  It shows the sometimes quirky reality of Americans abroad.  A young innocent girl, Charlotte is in Tokyo with her husband a photographer who has left her alone for the week.  Charlotte meets Bob Harris who is in town to film a $2 million dollar whisky ad.  Both are out of sorts in Tokyo, maybe from jet lag but mostly from culture shock and language issues.  The two connect and find that they enjoy each other’s company.  As their relationship deepens they both try to teach each other something they can take home.  Lost in Translation was written by Sofia Coppola who won the Oscar for Best Writing and the film was also nominated for Best Picture.

What are your favorite travel movies?  Add them to the comments section.

More from Samantha Brown:

12 Best Travel Songs of All Time

Craziest Travel Stories of 2014

9 Ridiculous SkyMall Products

Don’t Be One of These 11 Annoying Travelers

Video of the Week:  London’s Vinopolis

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. How could you not mention ENCHANTED APRIL??!!

    P.S. It was wonderful meeting you at the Chicago Travel and Adventure show!

  2. I love Julia Roberts in, “Eat, Pray, Love”

    I love Judi Dench in “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

    and a movie from 1981, with Hayley Mills, is one of my all time favorites. I am a huge Hayley Mills fan. It is called, “The Flame Trees of Thika.” It is simply wonderful.

    There are others, but those are some of my favorites.

  3. What about EAT, PRAY,LOVE? My absolute favorite. She takes a WHOLE YEAR and goes to Italy,India, and Bali. I watch the movie every time it is on and have read the book numerous times. O, to travel for a whole year!

  4. The movie that me fall in love with Italy is a blast from the past called: Rome Adventure. Beautiful scenery. Another good one was Roman Holiday.

  5. I love love love AMELIE.

    It actually inspired me to visit Paris, my first European vacation 🙂

    I can watch this movie over and over again.

  6. I have three more movies for your consideration ,
    Along with Scott, and Lisa. Enchanted April is number one
    Summertime and Three coins in the Fountain round out my Italian odyssey .

  7. Here are a few more:
    Roman Holiday – who doesn’t love the 50’s black and white look of Rome with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck?
    Rome Adventure (1962) is another fun, kitschy film.
    Another one that I love is French Kiss (1995) with Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein – Paris, the countryside and the coast all in one!
    I also have to echo others by mentioning Eat Pray Love, and my husband would want me to mention Euro Trip.
    Thanks for the fun post! 🙂

  8. Circle of Friends (for Ireland)
    You’ve Got Mail (NY in the fall, dreamy!)
    The Italian Job (the Marky Mark one)
    Chocolate (France)
    Love Actually (London)
    Far and Away (Ireland)

  9. Hasn’t anyone seen The Sheltering Sky? This is the one movie that will make you want to hit the road.

  10. Before Sunrise should be on this list, as well as mentioned, Eat, Pray, Love and Under The Tuscan Sun and don’t forget, Only You is an Italian must see.

  11. Movies often inspire my own travels, as do TV shows like The Simpsons. This “typical” American family somehow found a way to visit Australia (classic episode), Ireland, Japan, and Brazil among my favorites.

    On my own blog I chose Honeymoon in Vegas which may surprise many readers. Watching this amusing romantic comedy is like taking a vacation, but it also makes you instantly want to book a trip to Vegas or Hawaii. While not considered exotic destinations, they are iconic and among the most popular places to visit in the world.

  12. One I loved watching when I was a kid with my mom is “Three Coins in the Fountain.” It takes place in Rome, about three women who have taken jobs there, and each of their romances. It’s simply beautiful and I just love it!

    “French Kiss” is a classic for me, too, but I’ve been on an India kick lately, so “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has been watched a lot in my house (I can hardly wait for the second one!).

    Love this post, Sam!

  13. In Room With a View, its a field of Flander’s Poppies, not violets, Have always enjoyed your work, take care, Becky

  14. Cinema Paradiso
    Darjeeling Limited
    Da Vinci Code
    Babette’s Feast
    The Sound of Music

    Not the best ever, but among my personal favorites:

    Far and Away
    My Life in Ruins
    Julie and Julia
    The Gods Must Be Crazy
    Robin Hood, Men in Tights
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Under the Tuscan Sun

  15. “The Way” and “Into the Wild”. The healing power of travel.

    “Roman Holiday”. Classic. “Charade”. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Dark horse classic.

    “Braveheart”. Because I’ve hiked the Wicklow mountains where much of it was filmed.

    Indiana Jones Trilogy. Too. Much. Fun.

  16. I didn’t not see any comments regarding my favorite: French Kiss. Many laughs and France from many different locations.

  17. “Summertime” with Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi — set in Venice. Although black and white, it shows the charm of Venice in a bittersweet romantic film.

  18. Only You!!!!!! I cut my hair to look like Marisa Tomei’s when we went to Italy.

    Also Room With A View, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and French Kiss.

    Oh. Couples Retreat.

  19. Of course…Under the Tuscan Sun
    French Kiss
    Midnight in Paris
    The Tourist can’t believe it is left off…I mean its in the name haha and Venice/trains/Johnny Depp… Your welcome 🙂
    The Holiday
    Sliding Doors (for England)…Notting Hill
    The Talented Mr. Ripley (wow all around)
    Double Jeopardy (PNW and New Orleans)
    Leap Year
    Julie & Julia
    Moonstruck (New York)
    A walk in the clouds

    ..ok have to say it for the classic t.v. lovers. I love Lucy anytime they traveled!

  20. Midnight in Paris is my fav. Went on a Madrid to Paris trip for our 30th anniversary…great trip!!

  21. Babette’s Feast, 2001, filmed in France though supposed to take place in Denmark. Quiet thoughtful and moving film a French woman who comes to cook a wonderful feast for some rather straightlaced people. A classic!

  22. Many of the pray love
    Under Tuscan sun
    “”Something””Valentine..about an English woman who runs away from her overwhelming family life & goes to Greece for a wonderful escapist adventure.
    A man & a woman..grand prix racing in France, torrid romance
    Marigold hotel
    Leap year (ireland)
    Orient express

  23. Local Hero, French Kiss, Leap Year, Shirley Valentine & The Luck of the Irish (with Tyrone Power and Anne Baxter), to name a few…

  24. In addition to your wonderful list and the suggestions of other readers –
    The English Patient
    The Holiday (UK and USA)

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