What films are about people who decide to live on the road?
November 11, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Besides Lost in America, Easy Rider, Surfwise, and Into the Wild, what other films are about people who make an affirmative decision to live on the road? The closest Wikipedia seems to get is Road Movies, which is not really apt. If not movies, what other cultural works of fiction deal with that kind of decision?
posted by artlung to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Grizzly Man might interest you. It's a documentary about a man who goes and lives in Alaska with Grizzly bears. I'm not sure if it had enough "road" in it for your purposes, but he definitely goes off the grid and gets really out of touch with everyone else.
posted by kathrineg at 12:48 PM on November 11, 2009


By "on the road" do you mean only nomadic, or travelling around? Or just off the grid, out in nature?

If the latter, My Side of the Mountain sounds like what you're looking for. I've not seen the film, but the book is good.

Also, maybe an odd suggestion, but The Boxcar Children!
posted by peep at 12:49 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked Almost Famous...it kind of fits the bill here.
posted by Khazk at 12:50 PM on November 11, 2009


A Map For Saturday (trailer)
posted by nitsuj at 12:51 PM on November 11, 2009


Wendy and Lucy

So, so heartbreaking.
posted by The Michael The at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you want to go really pop culture, Kung Fu, the A-Team and Highway to Heaven.
posted by electroboy at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2009


Thanks kathrineg and peep - look like good suggestions. I'm not sure Grizzly Man is 100% on point, if I remember right he would spend seasons out with the bears and then return to society off-season, but my memory may be faulty.

By "on the road" I mean a bit of both, though not necessarily fully off the grid and out in nature. In my examples:
Lost in America: "drop out of society" and live in an RV and travel and see the US
Easy Rider: drop out, travel, sell drugs, meet interesting people
Surfise: (documentary) drop out, live in a camper, raise a family in a camper, surf
Into the Wild: reject society, travel around, get as far away from people as possible into the wilds of Alaska

The Boxcar Children is interesting, though based on the Wikipedia article it seems as though those kids were forced out onto the road. I think my interest is more on folks who have a life that they could keep living but decide to leave. My Side of the Mountain also sounds interesting, but kids running away from home was not what I was thinking of, though perhaps I need to expand my thinking.

Khazk, Almost Famous almost fits, though the main character does have a home at his Mom's house, he's really there for a long rock tour.

nitsuj, A Map For Saturday looks totally on point! Hadn't heard of that one at all!
posted by artlung at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2009


electroboy! "I'm going to walk the earth, like Kane from Kung Fu" ... The A-Team are really sort of on the run, right, the Military is after them? Less of an affirmative decision than I was thinking of Highway to Heaven I'm not familiar enough with.
posted by artlung at 1:08 PM on November 11, 2009


Two Lane Blacktop
posted by zombiedance at 1:08 PM on November 11, 2009


For some reason, I'm reminded of The Straight Story. A really moving one about a guy who makes the decision to travel across the country on a tractor to reunite with his estranged brother, and ends up meeting a few other kindred "road" spirits. It doesn't really seem like he has a home to go back to, so he becomes a part of the land in a strange way. (And it's David Lynch!)

If books are ok, perhaps this is too obvious, but, um, there's always On The Road
posted by bookgirl18 at 1:08 PM on November 11, 2009


TheMichaelThe -- it sounds like the character in Wendy in Lucy is forced somewhat to be homeless, is that the case?

bookgirl18 -- The Straight Story hits many points, though he's really setting off to see his brother and make things right, and he died 2 years later. On The Road though, I am not sure how I could leave out.

zombiedance -- Two-Lane Blacktop also looks right on point, plus musclecars. :-)
posted by artlung at 1:16 PM on November 11, 2009


If you're going to mention Two Lane Blacktop, don't forget Vanishing Point.
posted by dortmunder at 1:22 PM on November 11, 2009


The Doom Generation
Natural Born Killers

I've got another one in mind the title of which evades me.
posted by adamrice at 1:24 PM on November 11, 2009


Vanishing Point trailer.
posted by dortmunder at 1:26 PM on November 11, 2009


The original series of The Incredible Hulk . That and Kung Fu (already mentioned) are what infected me with the wandering bug.
posted by patheral at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2009


adamrice, people who are on the run because of murder I think are not what I was thinking of. Otherwise I'd have added Badlands :-)
posted by artlung at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2009


That really cheesy movie with Joe Pesci where he lives in a van?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2009


I don't think you're remembering Easy Rider correctly. They had a destination (Florida) where they planned to retire and live off their cash (presumably not on the road).

Also, not that it really matters but in the summary of Two Lane Blacktop on Wikipedia, they say that Esquire named the film movie of the year. This is not true. They published the screenplay and said that it was going to be the movie of the year but once they saw the movie, they wrote it off and declared it a failure.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2009


Also Steinbeck's Travels with Charly (anticlimactic IIRC)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:32 PM on November 11, 2009


artlung, the character in Wendy and Lucy is traveling from point A to point B. The movie is mostly about her stuck in a small town between those two points. It's a great movie, but I don't think it meets your criteria.

I do recommend the '88 film Housekeeping. Most of the movie takes place inside a house, but the main character definitively has an "on the road" spirit, which causes conflict for the other characters. Sadly, I don't think it's available on DVD yet.
posted by 1001 questions at 1:33 PM on November 11, 2009


Vagabond by Agnes Varda

Pierrot Le Fou by Jean Luc Godard

Eight Miles High by Achim Bornhak

Wim Wenders Road Movie Trilogy: Kings of the Road, The Wrong Move & Alice in the Cities
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 1:35 PM on November 11, 2009


RobotVoodooPower: With Honors where Pesci is charming and homeless?
posted by artlung at 1:37 PM on November 11, 2009


Roadside Prophets.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:39 PM on November 11, 2009


"I'm going to walk the earth, like Kane from Kung Fu" ... The A-Team are really sort of on the run, right, the Military is after them?

Well, technically Cain from Kung-Fu is on the run as well. In the movie/first episode he kills a prince in China who had killed his elderly master, then flees to the American West to escape execution. It'd come up every third episode or so.

The kids from Scooby Doo didn't have homes or family, it seemed.

I strongly second Travels With Charley though, fantastic book. Very un-Steinbecklike, but I recall thinking it was the novel On The Road should've been. Which reminds me, The Road and Blood Meridian both have nebulous destinations and are excellent books.
posted by electroboy at 1:56 PM on November 11, 2009


TheMichaelThe -- it sounds like the character in Wendy in Lucy is forced somewhat to be homeless, is that the case?

artlung, the character in Wendy and Lucy is traveling from point A to point B. The movie is mostly about her stuck in a small town between those two points. It's a great movie, but I don't think it meets your criteria.


Well, she has no home by choice. She's heading to Alaska by car on some vague trek to work in the fishing industry.

I think the best way to decide if it fits your criteria is to watch it. Worst case scenario, you watch a great movie for the heck of it.
posted by The Michael The at 1:59 PM on November 11, 2009


Housekeeping was a book before it was a movie; it's a rich read.
posted by not that girl at 2:06 PM on November 11, 2009


Well, she has no home by choice.

I disagree a little. If it were her choice, the movie would have taken place at point B (a place that may have offered something or nothing). But the circumstances that caused her to linger in that town were in general beyond her full control (i.e. car breakdown, dog disappearing, etc.).
posted by 1001 questions at 2:09 PM on November 11, 2009


Wild Boys of the Road if you can find it, from 1933. And in the 70s we all liked the French "Going Places" ie Les valseuses.
posted by Rash at 2:11 PM on November 11, 2009


"Thelma & Louise" is along those lines. As is "Bonnie and Clyde."

Not quite living on the road but an epic journey across North America by cab; "Roadkill" is a funny and weird low-budget flick from Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar. McDonald's next movie was also a type of road flick; "Highway 61".
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:51 PM on November 11, 2009


Roadside Prophets is what I was trying to recall.
posted by adamrice at 2:57 PM on November 11, 2009


Then Came Bronson
posted by HuronBob at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2009


This is Nowhere
posted by Dr.Pill at 4:25 PM on November 11, 2009


Citizen's Band, a.k.a. Handle with Care, an early Jonathan Demme film, has a very funny subplot involving a long-haul trucker (Russ Meyer vet. Charles Napier) who, by definition, lives on the road.

In "Nightmare Alley," ('48) Tyrone Power memorably plays a carny--another roadside occupation. The title tips you off that this is a dystopian view of the road.
posted by doncoyote at 5:20 PM on November 11, 2009


"Geek Love" (novel) - about a family in a travelling circus .
posted by backwards guitar at 6:17 PM on November 11, 2009


TV Series Route 66

Great answers, thanks so much everyone!
posted by artlung at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2009


« Older Irish costume help needed   |   Oh give me land, lots of land under LA skies above... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.