I’ve always been passionate about movies. I used to run a school movie review, watched everything that came out and researched stories behind every motion picture. Yet, I’ve never considered ‘travel movies’ a separate category next to a comedy, drama, thriller, etc., until I started blogging and reading about some great movies that featured a trave motive.
Call me a weirdo, but in my mind, many movies could be classified as ‘travel’ since main characters travel somewhere or complete some sort of a journey. When I watch a movie that features someone’s travel to an unknown, I want to learn something about the place on top of an inspiration for my next adventure. Hence my blog motto ‘Travel with Purpose’.
This is why I prepared a list of ‘different travel movies’ that represent a journey and can definitely inspire a wanderlust, but will also teach you something about the country, its history, and people. Don’t forget to also see my recommendations for travel books.
Best Travel Movies (some available on Netflix)
The Good Lie
Rotten Tomatoes – 88%, IMDb – 7.4
This movie is based on a journey of young Sudanese kids whose their village is destroyed and their parents killed by Northern militia. The kids make their difficult way to the refugee camp in Kenya and year later they’re offered an asylum in the US. But things aren’t so easy for them when settling in the modern US when coming from a remote village in Africa. Starring Reese Witherspoon
Starring Reese Witherspoon and actual Sudanese refugees, this movie will make you question your values and show stories of the ‘lost boys of Sudan’.
Rotten Tomatoes – 85%, IMDb – 8.1
Starring Dev Patel, you’ll see the reality of the situation in India, where 80,000 children go missing in India each year.
Rotten Tomatoes – 97%, IMDb – 7.5
Months after she arrives and finally begins to make Brooklyn her home, she receives some news that makes her go back home and decide whether to go back to the US or stay in Ireland.
Starring Saoirse Ronan, you’ll watch struggles of becoming an immigrant and learn that personal growth requires sacrifice.
Rotten Tomatoes – 72%, IMDb – 7.5
This movie follows Julia, an American journalist living in Paris, who investigates a story about Vel’ d’Hiv roundup of Jews in France. Soon she discovers that her own apartment hides a story of a 10-year old Jewish girl named Sara from WWII. Struggling between finding out answers about the mysterious Sara and her own troubles, Julia embarks on a trip to find the answers.
Spoiler alert: you might want to cry, but you’ll see a part of Paris’ history that no one really talks about.
Nowhere in Africa
Rotten Tomatoes – 85%, IMDb – 7.5
You’ll see the struggle between a new home and a place you used to know.
When Pigs Have Wings
Rotten Tomatoes – 66%, IMDb – 7.1
Pig, a forbidden and unclean animal can’t be kept anywhere, so after the man tries to unsuccessfully sell it, he embarks on a journey of misadventures.
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
Rotten Tomatoes – 68%, IMDb – 6.8
Kim finds herself in the middle of an out-of-control war zone with correspondents getting involved into heavy partying and sketchy situations.
The movie received critical reviews at first, which I understood after reading the book. The book is much more detailed and funnier, but if you’re just looking for a quick movie you’ll be able to get a glimpse of a life in Afghanistan.
Queen of the Desert
IMDb – 6.6
While it’s surely a conventional and romantic adaptation, the views are gorgeous (filmed in Jordan and Morocco) and it’s recommended just for the sake of the story between the lines. It’s still a tale of what it means for a woman to choose a life of adventure and intellect.
The Constant Gardener
Rotten Tomatoes – 84%, IMDb – 7.5
The plot was vaguely based on a real-life case in Kano, Nigeria. During the filming in Kenyan slumps, the cast and crew decided to establish a fund to give local children some education.
Rotten Tomatoes – 85%, IMDb – 7.5
You will cry and you might give up bacon after watching Okja. The movie also
Rotten Tomatoes – 82%, IMDb – 7.2
While the movie is mostly a tale of a woman surviving on her own in the wilderness without a man, author’s nine-month journey resulted in one of the most detailed studies on nomadic people.
We can see some of her encounters with the nomadic people in the motion picture, but if you want to learn more after watching it, then grab Davidson’s book.
Before Sunrise & Before Sunset & Before Midnight
Rotten Tomatoes – 100%, IMDb – 8.1
The sequel reunites the two characters in Paris, while the last part might turn your romantic ideas upside down. I don’t want to say more not to spoil it.
This trilogy isn’t for everyone as this isn’t a fast-paced Hollywood movie. It’s slow, with a lot of smart dialogue, but I highly recommend it.
A United Kingdom
Rotten Tomatoes – 83%, IMDb – 6.8
Their marriage caused a lot of controversy from their families and governments of both the UK and South Africa. The story follows their travels to Bechuanaland and back to England while facing a permanent exile.
This movie will show you the problem of racism and teach you about Botswana’s history.
Just for fun…
When a Canadian man is trying to find his Denish grandfather, he starts a friendship with a local teenage waitress who shows him around Copenhagen.
Benvenuti al Sud
My Italian teacher showed me this movie and I seriously laughed. The movie presents the difference between the south and north of Italy in a hilarious way.
Under the Tuscan Sun
A young woman is sent on a holiday to Italy after her husband cheats on her. During the trip, she spontaneously decides to stay in Italy and purchase a villa in Tuscany.
If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium
What happens when a group of American tourists goes on holidays abroad for the first time.
The Bucket List
A bittersweet movie about two men in different life situations who meet each other in a hospital while dying of cancer. Together, they embark on a journey to complete their bucket list.
Holograms for the King
When Tom Hanks tries to close an important business deal with a Saudi King. Before he knows it, he doesn’t want to come back to America.
Do you have any other recommendations for travel-themed movies?