Staff Picks: Our Favorite Travel Films

Movies have long inspired us to travel.  From the sweeping cinematic landscapes of faraway places, the adventure and intrigue of old civilizations, to the romance of new cultures, no other medium brings those worlds to life in the same way.  We decided to poll our staff for their favorite travel films because… well we thought you might have some free time and would like some recommendations.  Here are 14 of our favorites, in no particular order.  What are some of yours?

Out of Africa (1985)

The true story of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) who in 1913 moved to Kenya to start a cattle ranch, this film has planted the seed of Safari in many hearts, including Sharon’s.

“When Robert Redford was filming Out of Africa, I took one of the first groups to his Sundance ski resort.  I got injured skiing, and they put me in his office on his couch and told me about where he was.  When I saw the movie, I knew I had to go Africa and see it for myself.” ~ Sharon

“The scenery, the story… I’ve been to Karen Blixen’s house twice now” ~ Julie

Before Sunrise (1995)

From great Texas director Richard Linklater, this beautiful love story set in Vienna follows two young travelers Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American backpacker, and Celine (Julie Delpy), a French girl on her way to Paris, who meet on a train and decide to spend the evening together before Jesse is to fly home in the morning.  As with many of Linklater’s films,Before Sunrise is almost completely dialogue driven, as we follow Jesse & Celine through the streets of Vienna discussing art, philosophy, culture & love as they inevitably fall for each other.  Filled with touching moments, this film captures the spirit of young love and wanderlust like few films before or since.

“I saw this movie the year I graduated high school, it’s my favorite love story and one of my top 5 films of all time.  The pure romance of Jesse & Celine’s budding relationship, set in one of the most romantic cities on earth, is enough to place your head in the clouds permanently.  Be sure and binge this with it’s two sequels, each made 10 years after the other (Before Sunset & After Midnight)” ~ Casey

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

This film has been cited by so many of you over the years as your inspiration to travel to Italy.  Starring Diane Lane as a woman who, while on a tour of Italy to escape the depression over the failure of her marriage, impulsively buys a run-down villa in Tuscany.

“Who doesn’t dream of Italy??” ~ Ivette

“I chose this movie because I have always loved Italy and, while reminiscing about the movie with friends years ago, we decided to rent a Villa in Tuscany.  It was one of the best trips of my life!” ~ Robby

Dr Zhivago (1965)

Despite being filmed in Spain, this epic film captures it’s setting of Pre-WWI Russia in it’s human themes and relationships.  Starring Omar Sharif & Julie Christie as lovers as their lives are forever altered by the Russian Civil War.

“I fell in love with the romance of the story, the music, the scenery, the snow, and the beauty of Russia.” ~ Sharon

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

This movie turned a generation on to the humor and hilarity of Greek Culture, and introduced the world to the great Nia Vardalos, who wrote & starred in it.

“It’s hilarious, and I love the idea of curing everything with windex! LOL.”  ~ Ivette

My Life in Ruins (2009)

Another hilarious film written by, and starring Nia Vardalos, My Life in Ruins tells the story of a young travel guide leading a tour through Greece, as she rediscovers love & friendship with an hilarious ensemble cast.

“If you’ve ever been on a tour, this heartwarming film really nails the various people you might meet.  Great cast!” ~ Casey

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The first of Spielberg’s incredible trilogy (we’ll ignore the more recent episodes) starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, the dashing swashbuckling archaeologist/hero that every man has attempted to emulate at some point in their lives.  This film takes us from the jungles of South America to the deserts of Tunisia and the perils of Nazi East Germany.

“This movie always intrigued me ever since I saw it when I was a kid.  Adventure everywhere! And…who doesn’t love Indiana Jones??”

Love Actually (2003)

Set in Great Britain & featuring an all-star cast, Love Actually became an instant classic and one of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.  Overflowing with all things British, it is an Anglophile’s dream of cheeky comedy and heartfelt love stories.

“This movie really touched my heart!” ~ Ivette

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

One of the great classics starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard as love interests, and showcasing 1960’s New York in ways that no other movie has.  Hepburn’s turn as “Holly Golightly” is arguably her most famous role.

“This movie has always held a special place in my heart and New York is one of my favorite cities to visit.” ~ Robby

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

From the great John Hughes it’s the classic odd couple buddy road trip movie that spawned countless copies.  Steve Martin & John Candy are in rare form as stranded travelers trying to get home for Thanksgiving despite endless mishaps & adventures.  It would have received a PG13 rating were it not for Steve Martin’s hilarious (and allegedly ad-libbed) scene where he uses the “F-word” a record 18 times in a row.

“This movie can always make me laugh as I think that we can all relate to being on a trip at one time or another and having everything go wrong!” ~Bianca

The Bucket List (2007)

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson as two terminally-ill men on a quest to cross every dream off their list before they “kick the bucket”.  Because of this movie, many of us created our own “bucket lists”, and here at Sharon Carr Travel ours tend to prominently feature travel destinations!

“We all have our own bucket lists, right?  This puts a funny spin on watching these travelers make their way through each of their own.” ~Bianca

Darjeeling Limited (2007)

From another great Texas director Wes Anderson, this beautifully shot film features amazing performances from it’s small ensemble cast of Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman & Adrien Brody, three brothers on a cross-country train trip through India trying to bond, 3 years after the death of their father.  Featuring Wes Anderson’s trademark quirks of character & dialogue, and the spectacular geometric cinematography of Robert Yeoman set against the rich tapestry of India, this film inspired Sharon Carr Travel’s first trip to India in 2011.

“Fans of Wes Anderson’s films will not be disappointed in Darjeeling, which some consider his masterpiece.  A story of brotherly love with deep themes and dripping with humor, all set against the vibrant backdrop of India and with a killer soundtrack to boot.  I love this movie. Like my mom with Out of Africa, I saw this film and knew I had to go to India.” ~ Casey

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

This epic biopic based on the memoir of 23-year old Ernesto “Che” Guevara, follows the future figurehead of Cuba’s Marxist revolution on his real-life 1953 motorcycle trip across South America with his friend Alberto Granado.  Part coming-of-age story, part buddy-road-trip movie, this film captures not only the gorgeous landscapes of South America, but it’s people across a wide spectrum of cultures.

“I saw The Motorcycle Diaries in the theater not long after returning from 9 months on the road myself.  It’s a story about how new experiences and connections with people of other cultures can transform young men.” ~ Casey

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