13 Movies That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust
It’s no secret that our taste for adventure is easily stoked. Whisper a little tale of a far-off destination here, dangle some sights of an unknown place there, and our imaginations will promptly snap to attention with the possibility of escape and discovery. So it goes. And though we love nothing more than planning that getaway, it isn’t always possible, what with jobs and various life responsibilities. So it goes. To serve as a temporary substitute and to give you those same heart flutters that accompany traveling somewhere new, we’re rounding up 13 films that will inspire your wanderlust. From journeys across India to ambling midnight walks through the streets of Paris to—wait for it—treks through Middle-earth, these films will serve as your roundtrip ticket. Scroll now.
The streets of Montmartre come to fantastical Technicolor life in Amélie, as our heroine on a mission, played by Audrey Tautou, pursues her own sense of love and justice. It portrays such a whimsical side of Paris that you’ll simply need to confirm it all for yourself.
One of the beauties of traveling is that it can be at turns both wondrously wild and supremely introspective. No film captures this duality better than Lost in Translation, wherein we follow Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and Bob Harris (Bill Murray) to Tokyo’s pulsing neon nightlife and its quiet temples dotted with cherry blossoms.
Richard Linklater’s iconic three-part love story begins with baby-faced Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy trading philosophical thoughts and flirtatious glances on a train. The two decide to disembark together in Vienna, where they spend the entire night wandering the cobblestone streets and falling in love. It’s all oh so very romantic, to say the least.
There’s nothing like a rock ’n’ roll music tour and rousing bus sing-alongs to “Tiny Dancer” to make you want to hit the road and see America. The best part, alongside the main plot of Almost Famous (the band, the boy, the unrequited love, etc.), is a smaller one of a young woman becoming a flight attendant in order to escape suburbia. You go, Zooey Deschanel. You go.
Quirky, colorful, and absolutely beguiling, Pierrot le Fou is a full-on madcap misguided love story and adventure. Jean-Luc Godard directs regulars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina as they both hurtle and frolic through the French countryside all the way to the Mediterranean.
Ever considered leaving the hustle and bustle of city life—and the doldrums of corporate life—for the countryside? Be forewarned: A Good Year is about a man (hey, Russell Crowe) so blessed that he is able to do just that. The Provence, France, vineyard he inherits is every bit as dreamy as you might imagine.
Based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, a wunderkind con artist who famously impersonated Pan Am pilots (and others!) in the 1960s, Catch Me If You Can is deliciously stylish and seems to suggest—for a while at least—that anything is possible.
Some things would only be possible on vacation, don’t you think? Woody Allen follows two friends, Vicky and Cristina, who head out on summer holiday to Spain and encounter romance. Expect beautiful views of Barcelona and even more enticing views of Javier Bardem—and the seductive holiday love affair he effortlessly personifies.
The Great Beauty follows Jep, an aged journalist and a fixture of Rome’s most lavish literary and cultural circles, as he takes us to parties, museums, and sprawling estates. Rome’s streets and sites are filmed beautifully and with a heartfelt poeticism.
Care to hop on a train hurtling across India with Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman? We thought so. This vibrant, color-packed Wes Anderson flick may just inspire you to reunite with your madcap siblings and see what unfolds.
The first of three adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring sets its tale in the wide world of Middle-earth, filmed in various breathtaking locations throughout New Zealand. Frodo, just a small hobbit from the bucolic Shire, encounters a world he could have only imagined (if that). The story is one of choosing adventure—even if it’s very far beyond your comfort zone—and accepting the unknown.
The true story of Emory University grad Christopher McCandless’s cross-country exploration of his spirit and that of America, Into the Wild may just inspire a taste for the road in viewers. It also serves as a cautionary tale for anyone craving that particular brand of escapism.
Set in the City of Light, Midnight in Paris follows a nostalgic writer, Gil (Owen Wilson), as he tours the streets late at night, lamenting modern times, aching for love, and discovering a whole lot more than he could have ever imagined. This film will have you craving a break from the ordinary—for the sake of the magic you might encounter.