It should be fairly telling that the majority of road trip movies are comedies. This means either a) anything can and will happen when on a family road trip or b) road trips are a ton of fun or c) all of the above. As such, we’ve tried to diversify the list a little bit, but it appears road comedies were truly all the rage in the 80’s! If you’re looking for something fun to watch while road tripping across this beautiful country, why not visit your local video store and . . . oh, right . . . they don’t have those anymore, do they?
Instead, why not stream the following movies directly to your RV:
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
This fun little vehicle (pun intended) had its fair share of laughs along with some truly heartfelt moments that could only be delivered by Steve Martin and John Candy. Together the pair embark on a journey to get home during the holidays while getting on each other’s nerves and learning the value of friendship.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
The original National Lampoon’s movies are all classics, but aside from Christmas vacation, the 1983 Chevy Chase movie, ‘Vacation’, is probably the most well known. Determined to take his kids on a true family vacation, Clark Griswold packs his family up to head across country. Hilarity ensues.
Rain Man (1988)
Winner of four academy awards for best picture, direction, performance (Hoffman), and writing, Rain Man remains an iconic piece of cinema with memorable characters, and an even more memorable road trip. In this case, two brothers who have never had the chance to get to know each other, end up taking a road trip together to settle a family estate, and the trip changes their lives forever. Sounds like a road trip to us.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Burt Reynolds as the notorious ‘Bandit’ takes a bet from a rich pair of texans to bootleg beer across state lines. Things get messy when he picks up a runaway bride (Sally Field), and attracts the attention of one Buford T. Justice, expertly portrayed by Jackie Gleason. Famous for Reynold’s signature laugh, cowboy hat, and the black Trans Am, Smokey and the Bandit was the second highest grossing movie of that year, behind Star Wars.
Almost Famous (2000)
Cameron Crowe’s coming of age story about a fifteen-year-old boy who lands an article with Rolling Stone Magazine and embarks on a road trip with a popular band is both heartwarming and dramatic. Full of poignant scenes for anyone who grew up in the 70’s along with moments of sheer hilarity, the music alone makes this a great movie for a road trip.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
We include this one only to add a little color to the list. Neither a comedy or a drama, more an apocalyptic race through the wastelands of some forgotten world, Mad Max: Fury Road continues the story of ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky as he assists a tribe in stealing water and a number of brides from a seriously ugly looking warlord. Pursued by a vast army, including a car that doubles as a stage for a man playing a flaming guitar (yup, that’s in there), Max and Co face all kinds of perils on their road trip. We sincerely hope none of your road trips are like this one.
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Topping off our list is the 1981 all-star vehicle, ‘The Cannonball Run’. We could include the sequel too, but it was mostly the same actors. This fun romp was a late in life feature for a number of the original Hollywood ‘Brat Pack’ including Sammy Davis Jr and a barely sober Dean Martin. Other actors included a young Jackie Chan, Dom Deluise, Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Peter Fonda, and more. In all honesty, the illegal race across country that was the centerpiece of the movie was second to the hilarious hijinks of the amazing ensemble cast. Stay for the outtakes, they’re priceless.