Bonnie and Clyde

Couples-on-the-run films now work as a sub-genre in Road Movies, from the films noir of Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour and Joseph H. Lewis’ Gun Crazy to Jean-Luc Godard’s existentialism in Pierrot le Fou and his anarchic Weekend, where a traffic jam represents the approaching cataclysm that will destroy civilization. Rather timely due to current events.

Today, the term ‘Road Movie’ has traveled in many directions where virtually any film, narrative or otherwise, can be interpreted as a journey. Examples include, George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973),  David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996) and Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges (2008) where there is no transport from the films’ central locations.

The Top Twenty Road Movies (Part 2)

11. It Happened One Night  (1934)

It Happened One Night

Director: Frank Capra; Writers: Robert Riskin (screenplay), Samuel Hopkins Adams (Story); Cast:  Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert,  Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

12. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde

Director: Arthur Penn; Writers: David Newman, Robert Benton; Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle ParsonsDub Taylor, Gene Wilder

Bored waitress Bonnie Parker falls in love with an ex-con named Clyde Barrow and together they start a violent crime spree through the country, stealing cars and robbing banks.

13. Harry and Tonto (1974)

Harry and Tonto

Director: Paul Mazursky; Writers: Paul Mazursky, Josh Greenfeld; Cast: Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, René Enríquez, Chief Dan George, Larry Hagman

When his apartment building is torn down, a retired lifelong New Yorker goes on a cross country odyssey with his beloved cat Tonto.

14.  The Wages of Fear (original title, Le salaire de la peur) (1953)

The Wages of Fear

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot; Writers: Georges Arnaud (novel), Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation); Cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck

In a decrepit South American village, four men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

15.  Two-Lane Blacktop (1974)

Two Lane Blacktop

Director: Monte Hellman; Writers: Rudy Wurlitzer, Will Corry;  Cast: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie BirdDennis Wilson

Two men drag-racing across the U.S., in a ’55 Chevy. The Beach Boy’s Dennis Wilson is the mechanic, and singer-songwriter James Taylor is the driver.

16. Vagabond (original title, Sans toit ni loi) (1985)

Vagabond

Director/Writer: Agnès Varda; Cast:  Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss

A young woman’s body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.

17.  Lost in America (1985)

Lost in America

Director: Albert Brooks; Writers: Albert Brooks, Monica Mcgowan Johnson; Cast: Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty, Sylvia Farrel

A husband and wife in their 30s decide to quit their jobs, live as free spirits and cruise America in a Winnebago.

18. Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider

Director: Dennis Hopper; Writers: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper;  Cast: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Karen Black

Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A. to New Orleans; and along the way, meet a man (played by Jack Nicholson)  who bridges a counter-culture gap between them.

19. The Motorcycle Diaries (2014)

Motorcycle Diaries

Director: Walter Salles; Writers: Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara (book) (as Ernesto Guevara), Alberto Granado (book), Jose Rivera (screenplay)

Cast: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mía Maestro

The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara took in his youth that showed him his life’s calling.

20.  Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man

Director: Barry Levinson; Writers: Barry Morrow (story), Ronald Bass (screenplay);  Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

#1-10 Top Road Movies    Individual Critics’ Selections

 

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