Best Movies and Documentaries to watch before your American road trip

Into the Wild (2007) Drama

A biographical drama directed by Sean Penn based on the novel by Jon Krakauer. It  tells the true story of Chris McCandless who, after graduating from college, decides to sets off for his dream journey.  He gives away his college fund to charity, ceased all communication with his family and began travelling across Western and North America. Along the way Chris encounters a number of strangers,  that help him shape his own view of the world.

Wild (2014) Drama

An American biographical adventure drama film based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. A young woman (Reese Witherspoon) decides to deal with her mother’s premature death and the breakdown of marriage, by setting off on one thousand one hundred mile solo hike.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Comedy/Drama

An American comedy-drama road film. It tells a story of dysfunctional family, the Hoovers, who sets out on a 800-mile road journey, determined to get their young daughter Olive into the finals of a little girl beauty pageant . A powerful  critique the American Dream, female beauty standards, and the idea of the family.

Nebraska (2013) Drama

A black and white American read movie. An ageing alcoholic and his son embarks on a journey from Montana to Nebraska to claim a million-dollar prize he won in the lottery. As well as relationship between the main characters, the film depicts the authentic small-town America.

The Straight Story (1999) Drama

A biographical road drama directed by David Lynch about an old man’s journey across America’s Heartland. It tells a true story of Alvin Straight, who travelled 240 miles from Iowa to Wisconsin  on a lawn mower, to reconcile with his sick brother at the end of the journey.

Scarecrow (1973) Drama

An ex-convict Max (Gene Hackman) and a former navy soldier Lion (Al Pacino) meet on an empty road in California and agree to become partners in a car wash business in Pittsburgh.  While travelling they meet different people, and friendship between the two is born.

Thelma & Louise (1991) Drama

A classic American road drama directed by Ridley Scott. Best friends from a small Arkansas town; a diner waitress Louise and a housewife Thema, go on a weekend trip to a fishing cabin.  When Louise shoots and kills a man who tries to rape Thelma at a bar, convinced nobody will believe them, the pair decide to flee to Mexico.

Sideways (2004) Comedy/Drama

Miles, a middle aged English teacher and unfulfilled writer, together with his friends Jack, a past his prime actor set out week-long road trip through California’s wine country.

American Nomads (2011) Documentary

BBC documentary film about modern day nomads in America.  British writer and journalist  Richard Grant spent twenty years wandering throughout the United States. Following on his book “Ghost Riders”, the film focuses on people who chose the life of constant travel. Characters include cowboys and Indians,  a traveling preacher, a Wall Street drop-out, retirees in motorhomes.

Louis Theroux’s documentary series (1998- now)

Louis Theroux is a British American Documentary Filmmaker and TV presenter. He is best known for his series and documentary films that mostly focus on American themes such as subcultures, social and racial issues, criminal scene etc.

Requiem For The American Dream (2015) Documentary

A series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, political activist and professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which he discusses democracy and how international corporations secure their interests while at the same time increasingly using ordinary citizens.

Super Size Me (2004) Documentary

American film-maker Morgan Spurlock decides to eat only McDonald’s food during a period of one month. The film documents the drastic effect this change has on Spurlock’s physical and psychological health.


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