As someone who loves travel, I also enjoy a great movie about travel. Even if you are do not have the travel bug, who doesn’t love a movie about traveling to a far off place? The films I have enjoyed most throughout the years both focus on travel as a subject and also portray stunning cinematography from amazing places around the world. Here are my top 5, all time favorite travel films:
- The Painted Veil (2006): The story of a British doctor and his vain wife who move to Shanghai in the 1920s to help fight the outbreak of cholera. Based off the Somerset Maugham novel, filmed in China. The mountain regions of Guilin form a particularly beautiful backdrop to the movie. The director, John Curran, described the location; “Even the Chinese crew members were amazed at the place we found… It was like going back in time.”
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012): Another British film, directed by John Madden. This is one of the funniest, most wonderfully casted films I’ve ever seen. Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and Judie Dench lead the cast in a tale of a group of British retirees who relocate to a hotel in India. Filmed in Rajasthan.
- Up in the Air (2009): A great turn by George Clooney, a business executive who travels the US, downsizing employees in his company. Filmed primarily in St. Louis, with additional shots throughout US generic hotel lobbies. And, yes, I’ve traveled enough and with sufficient frequency at times in my life that I have experienced the moment when you keep trying some random hotel key in a doors, having forgotten both your room number and which hotel you are in.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005): Produced by Walden Media and Walt Disney, I love every movie of this series. I am still mourning the failure of it to continue after the third installment—I plead with the production company and C.S. Lewis’s heirs to reach an agreement to go back to this series and produce The Magician’s Nephew! The cinematography in this film which represents the country of Narnia includes locations like New Zealand, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The opening scenes showing the children boarding trains to the English countryside in World War II are also powerful.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987): Produced and directed by John Hughes (better known for The Breakfast Club). Hughes should get more credit for this hilarious comedy about Steve Martin and John Candy embarking on a road trip to Chicago together. They stumble upon an assortment of other classic comedians like Ben Stein and Michael McKean on their journey. Worth watching for some of the best, funniest scenes in American cinema