There aren’t many times that we’re not dreaming of being somewhere else in the world, exploring new streets and soaking up different cultures, especially when we’ve got eyes on a film that’s set amongst beautiful scenery.
These films, in particular, get us bitten by the travel bug. We’re filled with wanderlust just thinking about it. (Scroll down the bottom for our Travel Movies playlist.)
From the cities of Spain to the très romantic Paris, these films will have you desperate for a Eurotrip.
The start of this psycho-thriller is set in 1950’s New York City but we’re quickly moved to two Italian islands in the Bay of Naples; Ischia and Procida. There are also scenes in Bagno Antonio and Corricella before moving to Rome and Venice. Bellissimo!
Matt Damon stars as Tom Ripley, a struggling musician, Jude Law is Dickie Greenleaf and Gwyneth Paltrow plays Marge, Dickie’s girlfriend.
Tom, who’s a bit of a geek, meets Dickie’s dad who asks him to travel to Italy to coerce Dickie, who’s a free spirited babe, to go back to America with him. He begins living with Dickie and Marge but soon becomes obsessed with his new lifestyle amongst the lush landscapes of the Italian coast. Tom soon finds himself stuck in tricky situation after he starts doing a bit of murder.
This whole soundtrack will get you feeling molto Italiano, but ‘Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano’ wins it.
This rom-com-drama is set amongst the famous Basilica de da Sagrada Familia and La Rambla in the Spanish city of Barcelona as well as a few scenes in the city of Oviedo.
Rebecca Hall is Vicky and Scarlett Johansson is Cristina; two friends who have moved to Barcelona for the summer. They soon meet separated couple Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) and Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) who have perhaps the most Spanish names of all time.
Vicky, who is nice, practical and engaged, and Cristina, who is… not, are invited away for a weekend to Oviedo with Juan after they meet at an exhibition. Cristina and Juan strike up a relationship and quickly move in together, however after hearing that his ex-wife tried to kill herself, Juan also moves Maria into his home. Obviously, a threesome ensues.
It’s got to be ‘Barcelona’ by Giulia Y Los Tellarini. It gives us some serious Salsa feels.
This classic French favourite is set in the Parisian streets of Montmartre, overlooked by the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur – although the studio scenes were filmed in Cologne, Germany. Forget that bit.
Audrey Tautou stars as Amélie Poulain, the shy girl whose childhood was repressed by her overprotective father, Raphaël (Rufus). Nino Quincampoix, this guy who collects the discarded photos of strangers in those passport photo booths, is played by Mathieu Kassovitz.
Amélie decides to make it her life’s mission to make others happy and begins secretly plotting to help those close to her fulfil their dreams. She soon realises that helping others has stopped her from being terribly lonely, until she bumps in Nino and falls for his quirky weirdness.
‘La valse d’Amélie’ by Yann Tiersen wins it because it’s just so bloody Parisian.
This comedy of errors was filmed in Germany in the landlocked state of Saxony and Görlitz, famous for its rich architectural history. Some scenes were also filmed in the Berlin Studio Babelsberg.
It might be easier to list who *isn’t* in this. Ralph Fiennes is M. Gustave, a hotel concierge who becomes best friends with the lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori). Adrien Brody also stars as Dmitri, Willem Dafoe is Jopling, Jeff Goldblum is Deputy Kovacs, Jude Law’s a young writer, Bill Murray is M. Ivan, Tilda Swinton’s Madame D…. Seriously, there are loads more.
In the far reaches of the fictional former Republic of Zubrowka, M. Gustave is a bit of a ledge. The film follows the adventures – and misadventures – of him and his mate, Zero, between the first and second World Wars until he’s mistakenly arrested for the murder of Madame D.
A lot of the music from this film is so mischievous that they’re all impossible not to love, but Alexandre Desplat’s ‘Traditional Arrangement: Moonshine’ takes us straight to troublemaking in the mountains.
Some of the studio scenes for this musical classic were filmed in LA, but all the location shots were from Salzburg in Felsenreitschule, Nonnberg Abbey and Mirabell Palace Gardens. Those lush hills that are alive with the sound of music or something are on Mehlweg mountain near the Bavarian town of Marktschellenberg.
Julie Andrews plays Maria, a nun slash glorified babysitter to almost a thousand children who’s got the hots for Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), the kids’ dad.
Maria is so shit at being a nun that her, erm, boss nun (official term, obv) sends her to the Von Trapp’s to become their governess. The house is a serious buzz kill and Von Trapp is a total Debbie Downer but Maria starts teaching the kids to sing and then she and the Cap fall in love.
Well, they yodel in ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ so that one, unless annoying kids singing aren’t your thing, in which case go with ‘Edelweiss’ sung by Bill Lee (dubbing Plummer who was rubbish) and Julie Andrews.
The USA is so whopping-ly massive that traveling across it seems to take forever. Luckily, there’s lots of gorgeousness to lap up on the way.
This biographical drama is pretty much cross-country but most scenes were filmed in Alaska. They also filmed in Topock, Yuma and Peach Springs in Arizona, Astoria Beaverton and Portland in Oregon, and Palm Springs, Niland and Needles in California as well as Reno, Nevada and Sonora, Mexico. Cape Disappointment, Washington is a favourite.
Emile Hirsch is Chris McCandless, the grad who runs away in the night to live in the wilderness.
Chris isn’t feeling a conventional life so he leaves home to travel through deserts, parks and towns and settles in the wild under a new name; Alexander Supertramp, because Superman was taken.
This soundtrack is almost entirely Eddie Vedder, bar two Pearl Jam tunes. If you’re looking for something a little reflective, ‘Tuolumne’ is the one, but we’re so here for the more uplifting ‘Hard Sun’.
This is filmed on the 1,100-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail, aligned with the highest parts of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges of the east US Pacific coast.
Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who’s lost all hope and decides to hike thousands of miles alone following the death of her mother and collapse of her marriage.
Cheryl, who has spent years in a reckless and destructive spiral, is struggling to deal with her mother’s death and her failed marriage so decides to trek over a thousand miles on her own with zero experience and zero f*cks.
Portishead’s ‘Glory Box’ is that kind of chilled out song you want when the sun’s shining and you’re popping out on an impromptu soul-searching thousand mile trek. No biggie. Shout out to The Hollies’ ‘The Air That I Breathe’ for pretty much the same reasons.
Kicking off in New York and aiming for Chicago, this film travels through Wichita to Missouri and on to St. Louis.
Steve Martin stars as Neal Page, the stuffy businessman desperate to get home quickly and easily in time for Thanksgiving who instead has the misfortune of being lumbered with fellow traveller, Del Griffith, played by John Candy.
This is the journey from hell unless you can totally revel in the joy of everyone’s favourite curtain ring salesman, Del. Neal can’t even. The pair find themselves on a diverted plane, sharing a hotel bed, robbed of all their cash, on board an old coach and riding a burnt out rental car. In amongst all this, Del gives a speech to the arsey Neal about how he likes who he is, whether Neal does or not. Del, you’re our spirit animal.
‘Red River Rock’ by Silicon Teens is great for a road trip, particularly if this road trip takes place in 1987.
Set along a fictional route from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon, this movie was filmed entirely in California and Utah, primarily Bakersfield, CA and Moab, UT. The Grand Canyon scenes were filmed south of Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah which is actually just as amazing as the big GC.
Susan Sarandon is Louise Sawyer and Geena Davis is Thelma Dickinson, two best friends who go on a road trip and accidentally end up killing a guy. Brad Pitt’s in there too as a sexy criminal cowboy.
You know what it’s like; you do one little murder and suddenly the police are all up in your grill. After Louise kills a man who threatens to rape Thelma, this little vacay goes full car chase as the pair are pursued by the cops all the way to the Grand Canyon where they decide to drive over the edge and ‘keep going’ – metaphorically, obv.
B.B. King and The Crusaders’ ‘Better Not Look Down’ has got road trippin’ til you die written all over it.
From the neon of Tokyo to the idyllic landscapes of Koh Samui, the hustling streets and hot sands from all over Asia are calling…
Most of this comedy-drama was filmed in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, though the Himalaya scenes were shot in Udaipur. The New York scenes were filmed in Long Island City.
Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) are brothers, each depressed since the death of their father.
The brothers all meet and go on a train trip across India, however the trio basically hate each other and spend most of it fighting and sulking. Jack fancies one of the train attendants, Peter has left his pregnant wife at home and instinctively does what any expectant father would do; buys a venomous snake. Francis, who planned the trip, is an ideal travel companion if ideal means being overbearing, bossy and bringing a PA along to print out daily itineraries.
All bouncy and joyful, ‘Les Champs-Elysees’ by Joe Dassin is perfect.
This film, set entirely in Tokyo, was shot in many different locations; these include the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Shinjuku Park Tower, Heian Jingu shrine in Kyoto, the steps of the San-mon gate in Nanzen-ji and the club Air in the Daikanyama district.
Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a twenty-something graduate staying in Tokyo with her husband who has been left almost completely on her own. Bill Murray is middle-aged American actor, Bob Harris, who is there to film an endorsement ad for Suntory whiskey.
Charlotte and Bob make an unlikely pairing who meet as strangers and begin to fall in love. Seems legit, we’d fall in love with Bill Murray after five minutes.
Happy End’s ‘Kaze Wo Atsumete’ is a feelgood song that gives us serious holiday vibes.
This adaptation of the Alex Garland novel was largely filmed on Hat Maya, the main beach on Phi Phi Leh Island near Phuket, Thailand. There are also scenes filmed in downtown Bangkok on Khao San Road, Koh Samui, and Haeo Suwat Falls in Khao Yai National Park as well as Krabi and in Phuket.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Richard, a young backpacker who finds a map leading to a legendary island paradise.
Richard travels to a secret beach after discovering a map in the possession of a dead hostel bunk buddy. He is quickly accepted by the inhabitants of the beach – which is all very weird and a bit like a sandy, cult slash commune – until the leader finds out that Richard copied the map and left it with a group of American tourists. She gets pretty angry with him and he ends up running into the jungle and going a little bit batshit.
Moby’s ‘Porcelain’ is perfect, lazy, ocean-side listening, though special mention to ‘Return of Django’ by Asian Dub Foundation which is pretty much everything we want to hear at a beach party.
India was the backdrop for this drama with scenes taking place in Mumbai, Agra, Juhu and ND Studios, Karjat.
Dev Patel is Jamal Malik, a boy born into poverty who lives in the Juhu slums. Freida Pinto plays Latika; Jamal wants to be her boyfriend.
Jamal is one question away from winning the top prize on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but before he can get to the cash, he’s detained and tortured by police who think he’s cheating. Jamal goes on to tell them about the incidents in his life that helped him know the answer to each question.
A.R. Rahman’s ‘Jai Ho’ is a banger, as long as you’re not listening to the one with the Pussycat Dolls on it. M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ is also a great feelgood track.
Covering the sandy outback of Australia and the green lands of New Zealand, these two neighbouring countries will have you desperate for a trip down under.
This film takes us through the Outback town of Broken Hill in New South Wales, mostly in a hotel known as Mario’s Palace, as well as the mining town of Coober Pedy in Central Australia. Once permission was declined to film at the famous Ayers Rock, they also shot at King’s Canyon.
Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce play drag queens, Mitzi Del Bra aka Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose and Felicia Jollygoodfellow aka Adam Whitely and Terence Stamp plays transgender woman, Bernadette Bassinger.
Mitzi/Anthony and Felicia/Adam travel to Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Aussie desert, with Bernadette to perform a drag show. They board their purple bus, Priscilla, but on the way, discover that the woman who asked them to perform is Anthony’s wife. One misadventure after another, they find themselves needing the help of each other, and from those less accepting around them.
If we had to put together the ultimate party road trip playlist, it’d mainly be made up of this soundtrack. From Peaches & Herb’s ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’ to CeCe Peniston’s ‘Finally’ to Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Boogie Wonderland’, it feels like someone’s pushed us onto a giant disco ball planet and won’t stop throwing glitter and feathers at us. We’re totally here for it.
This film was shot in 150 locations across New Zealand all creating the fictional region of Middle Earth. The village of Hobbiton was shot in Matamata, Wellington’s Kaitoke Regional Park became Rivendell and Edoras was built in the Ashburton District’s Mount Sunday.
Elijah Wood is Frodo Baggins, a hobbit who embarks upon a quest with his mate, Sam (Sean Astin) whilst being pursued by the freaky Gollum (Andy Serkis). Ian McKellen also stars as Gandalf, a very old wizard.
Frodo finds a ring that turns out to be evil with powers to turn whoever’s holding it into a total arsehole. He goes on a quest to get rid of it in a massive fire but Gollum wants to stop him so he can keep the ring for himself. A lot of other things happen because this is a really long film.
This soundtrack is f*cking intense, man. ‘Concerning Hobbits’, however, is totally uplifting.
It counts, alright? Don’t come up in here and pretend that you haven’t once thought about going on a little holiday to the 70s, or something.
This total classic was set in 1955 in the fictional town of Hill Valley, Northern California.
Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a 17 year old who is accidentally sent back in time with his maverick scientist mate, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd).
Marty accidentally goes back in time with Doc in his DeLorean-shaped time machine. They find themselves in 1955 and bumping into Marty’s mum back in the day. She fancies Marty and things get weird. He has to then make sure that her mum and dad get together and he doesn’t end up, erm, not born.
Huey Lewis’ ‘The Power of Love’ is a great song to have in your headphones if you ever find yourself accidentally going back in time…
The romantic drama, set in Toronto and Ontario, Canada, jumps about all over the place from the early 1970s to 1991 back to 1989 and on to 2005.
Eric Bana is Henry DeTamble, a man who can involuntarily travel in time which really sounds like more of an inconvenience than anything else. Rachel McAdams plays Clare Abshire De Tamble, his wife, who gets pretty pissed off with the whole thing.
It’s the early 70s and a five-year-old Henry manages to save himself from a fatal car accident by going back in time. Years later, he meets Clare, even though they’ve already met because of the time travel thing. They get married – but he disappears before the wedding and an old version of himself pops back for the ceremony because time travel. Later, they try to have a baby but Clare repeatedly miscarries because the fetuses can also travel in time, which is something we’re not entirely comfortable with. Anyway, old, young and present day Henry pops here and there, blah blah blah, time travel.
‘I’m You Henry’ pretty much seems to encapsulate the mindf*ck that is time travel.
This romantic comedy drama keeps the time travel pretty low key, actually, with the occasional going back to half an hour ago, or just to, like, yesterday. Only once do they go back about twenty years to maybe around the 80s.
Rachel McAdams, who can’t get enough of marrying dudes who travel in time, is Mary, the American wife of Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who got the time travelling gene from his dad, played by Bill Nighy.
Tim finds out that the men in his family can travel in time by basically climbing into a cupboard and closing their eyes really hard. He uses it as we all would – to pull girls. He falls in love with Mary and jumps back and forward a few days until she falls in love with him too.
‘How Long Will I Love You’ by Joe Boden is perfect listening at all times, but if you’re feeling particularly deep then give ‘Mid Air’ by Paul Buchanan or Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’ a go.