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On The Road - 10 films that hit the road

On The Road

Preview by Jack Foley

NOT many things are better for cleansing the soul than leaving everything behind and going travelling.

In the case of the road movie genre, travelling is the perfect occasion for characters to break free from the mundane aspects of their lives – embarking in a once in a lifetime adventure, gathering their thoughts, and learning about themselves.

In order to escape their current lives in one way or another, characters leave their homes to set out on a combination of spiritual journeys, quests, chases and crime sprees.

The common theme in each film is that each of the characters are living for the moment and on the road anything is possible, here are our top 10 favourites:

On The Road – The story of a generation, On The Road tells the tale of aspiring young New York writer Sal Paradise as he meets and begins an intense friendship with seductive ex-con Dean Moriarty. Determined not to get trapped in a narrow mundane life, the two friends hit the road alongside Moriarty’s jail bait wife Marylou. Thirsting for freedom and set to a backdrop of drugs, sex, jazz and hedonistic 1940’s America, the friends soon discover the world, others and themselves in a life defining trip.

Easy Rider

Easy Rider – Generation-defining this film explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. Easy Rider is famous for its use of real drugs in its portrayal of marijuana and other substances.

Bonnie and Clyde – Infamous outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde, were bank robbers who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. Arthur Penn released this film in the 1960s to reflect the counterculture revolution that was taking place at the time in a statement of declaration for the youngsters of the civil rights and Vietnam era.

True Romance – The road movie at its most self-consciously cool, as lead characters Clarence and his hooker wife Alabama storm across America after stealing cocaine from Alabama’s pimp – a blizzard of sex, drugs and kung fu movie references.

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries – Gael García Bernal plays the young Che Guevara, whose eyes are opened to the injustice of the world while travelling across South America on a knackered bike known, ironically, as The Mighty One.

Thelma and Louise – ‘Feminists on lam’, Thelma and Louis embark on a two day vacation to the mountains that quickly turns into much more. After shooting dead a rapist the women take off in a 66 thunderbird travelling from Oklahoma to Mexico picking up a thief who has broken his parole along the way with disastrous consequences.

Smokey and the Bandit – Bandit and Basset hound Fred bamboozle “Smokey” the Sheriff Buford T. Justice to distract the law while Bandit’s pal delivers an illegal booze-filled truck cross-state.

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine – Whimsical Oscar-winning indie about a family who drop everything to drive daughter Abigail Breslin to a beauty pageant carrying their dead grandfather on the latter stage of their journey

Dumb and Dumber – The Farrelly brothers start as they mean to go on sending idiots Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels on a quest to return a lost briefcase. Star of the show, though, is their mode of transport, the sheepdog-inspired Mutt Cutts van.

Road Trip – This hilarious comedy features four college friends who take off on an 1,800 mile road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a girl friend with hilarious consequences

On The Road is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, February 25, 2013.