There’s nothing like a good road movie! This type of cinematically fertile subject matter has been perfect for filmmakers to create entertaining genre stories revolving around folks in varying situations that have them on the move. Our list covers several kinds of cinematic excursions, from existential hippie trips to crazy cross-country comedies to stories about dangerous outlaws on the run.

Easy Rider

Easy Rider (1969, Dir: Dennis Hopper)

Super hippies Captain America (Peter Fonda) and best friend Billy (Dennis Hopper) sell a cache of Mexican cocaine to fund a cross-country chopper trip to New Orleans. A counter-culture masterpiece from the end of the 60s where the futile peace and love movement finally went sour. READ OUR FULL REVIEWFURIOUS SOUNDS OF CINEMA

The Legend of Billie Jean

The Legend of Billie Jean (1985, Dir: Matthew Robbins)

After Texas high schooler Billie Jean Davy (Helen Slater) is sexually attacked by a local businessman, her brother (Christian Slater) shoots and wounds a police officer, setting off repercussions that force the siblings to go on the run. Along the way, Billie Jean develops a devoted cult following with the help of a well to do AV geek (Keith Gordon) who helps her spread a message of fighting back against the corrupt powers that be. Although this film was not a hit when it was released, much like the story itself it has developed a following due to its punk rock/rebellious aesthetic. FURIOUS SOUNDS

National Lampoon's Vacation

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983, Dir: Harold Ramis)

In one of the greatest road comedies ever, Chevy Chase stars as nerdy dad Clark Griswold, a man who is on a mission to get his family to the monumental mecca of fun: Wally World. Along the way Clark, his wife (Beverly D’Angelo) and their two wiseass kids (Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron) find themselves out of their element, encountering all kinds of odd characters and their happy road trip to paradise simply goes bust. FURIOUS SOUNDS

The Last Detail

The Last Detail (1973, Dir: Hal Ashby)

Two Navy shore patrol officers Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are given the duty to accompany a goony cleptomaniac Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to the stockade. They have several days to get to their destination and try to show him one last good time before he’s thrown in the clink. One of Jack Nicholson’s most memorable performances. WATCH A CLIP


Fandango (1985, Dir: Kevin Reynolds)

A group of Texas college fraternity brothers known as “The Groovers” decide to take one last wild road party together before they go their separate ways into adulthood. Featuring Kevin Costner in one of his first roles playing the high-falutin, ‘good times’ leader of the gang of friends. WATCH TRAILER

Midnight Run

Midnight Run (1988, Dir: Martin Brest)

A down on his luck bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro) must get a high class mob accountant (Charles Grodin) from New York to LA to collect his dough, but he has a little problem: the mafia, a fellow backstabbing bounty hunter and the FBI are out to stop him! The furious action, laughs and emotions are thrown together in this outrageously entertaining ‘on the run’ classic! FURIOUS SOUNDS

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987, Dir: John Hughes)

A short tempered ad executive (Steve Martin) has to get home for Thanksgiving (traveling from New York to Chicago) but when he meets loudmouthed shower ring salesman Dell Griffith (John Candy) everything spins out of control. Soon the two fellow travelers find themselves in a disastrous adventure fighting to reach their destination ….and not kill each other! WATCH A CLIP

Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise (1993, Dir: Ridley Scott)

Thelma (Geena Davis) and best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) want to get away to the mountains for the weekend but when Thelma is sexually assaulted by a man at a bar, Louise kills him turning the two women into instant fugitives. The best pals must get out of their predicament at any cost. The two women, who have led boring, sedate lives and have been kept down throughout their existance suddenly learn what freedom truly is. This is one of the best female empowerment films and a furious action/road adventure! FURIOUS SOUNDS

Harry and Tonto

Harry & Tonto (1974, Dir: Paul Mazursky)

 After he’s kicked out of his New York City apartment, senior citizen Harry (Art Carney) and his pet cat Tonto head off on the road staying with family and meeting different strangers. While the film is not furious with action or suspense it is furious with charm, humor and great performances. WATCH TRAILER

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (1997, Dir: Keifer Sutherland)

 Keifer Sutherland directs and stars in this furious indie film about a group of small time criminals who must go on the lam after murdering and stealing money and drugs from two different underworld figures. While it’s not often cited, I consider it one of the best crime films of the 90s and a great road movie to boot. Co-starring Vincent Gallo, Kim Dickens, Mykelti Williamson and Kevin Pollak. WATCH A CLIP 



Editor-In-Chief of The Grindhouse Cinema Database and Furious Cinema. Pete is an avid movie geek who enjoys everything from wild n' crazy exploitation and cult films to popular mainstream classics.

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3 Responses

  1. Sebastian says:

    Peter I think I will do a follow up “for a few furious road movies more” 🙂

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