10 Iconic American Road Trip Movies

Easy Rider (1969)

“Easy Rider” stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as bikers who smuggle drugs from Mexico into California, sell them, and head eastward to New Orleans trying to make it in time for Mardi Gras.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Road comedy “National Lampoon’s Vacation” follows the Griswold family, led by patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase), as they embark on a road trip from Chicago to a southern California amusement park. The trip quickly goes awry. Driving a large, ugly station wagon, the family experiences countless misadventures along the way.

Paris, Texas (1984)

After emerging from the Texas desert unable to speak or explain where he came from, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) is rescued by a German doctor. The doctor contacts Travis’ estranged brother (Dean Stockwell), who then drives from L.A.

Rain Man (1988)

“Rain Man” tells the story of Charlie (Tom Cruise), a young hustler who discovers he has a brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), after his father dies and leaves Raymond his lucrative estate. Charlie travels to Ohio and finds that Raymond is an autistic savant who has been institutionalized.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” changed the horror film genre, and American filmmaking more generally, in profound ways. Aside from inspiring nine films in the franchise, it pioneered the slasher genre while showing surprisingly little blood and gore, relying instead on clever camera work and misdirection to suggest horrific images.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

“Thelma & Louise” stars Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as two best friends who depart their unsatisfying home lives in Arkansas for a weekend away, only to become fugitives on the run from the law. The two head in the direction of Mexico in Louise’s 1966 blue Ford Thunderbird convertible, hoping to cross the border and evade capture by the FBI.

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