Bucket List Worthy
Almost from the time that the first cinemas opened, movies have been inspiring us to travel. Those big screen depictions of exotic locations and foreign lands have an undeniable ability to add to our wanderlust. Over the years, there have been more than a few films that have fueled drams of travel. Here are seven of the very best to help inspire your next escape.
Set in Morocco during World War II, Casablanca isn’t just one of the best travel-inspiring films of all time, it is amongst the greatest films of all time – period. Featuring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rainss, this movie has action, romance and some of the best dialog ever put on film. The frequent references to Paris don’t hurt either. Watching the film will inspire you to visit the city of Casablanca itself, or at least sneak off to Paris for a little romance. This is a movie that everyone should see at least once. A true classic in every sense of the word.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This epic depiction of the Arab uprising against the Ottoman-Turks during World War I stars legendary actors Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn. But the real stars of the show are the dramatic and breathtaking landscapes in which it was shot. Much of the action took place in the country of Jordan, where Lawrence is still revered to this day. But the film is also about understanding and respecting new cultures, while learning to adapt to them as well. That is something that just about anyone who has traveled abroad can appreciate.
Out of Africa (1985)
If stars Robert Redford and Meryl Streep’s torrid romance doesn’t inspire you to visit Africa, perhaps the amazing landscapes shown in this film will. Shot on location in Kenya, this film has inspired many travelers to go on safari. There is nothing quite like seeing elephants, lions, giraffes and dozens of other species roaming free in their natural habitats. It can be a life changing experience to say the least.
Quirky and charming, this French film will have you booking tickets to Paris almost as soon as the credits roll. It features Audrey Tautou as a young woman who sets out to change the lives of those around her in subtle – often funny – ways. The film is completely magical and gets bonus points for having a “traveling gnome” long before it he became the mascot of an online travel site that shall remain nameless.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect an animated film from Pixar to be an inspiration for travel, but it is certainly an important element to the plot of Up. The main character is a widower named Carl, who spent his whole life dreaming of going on adventures with his wife Ellie. But she passes away before they can see the world together, leaving Carl to regret the fact that they never made time to see the world. Proving it is never too late to start traveling, Carl, and his young sidekick Russell, head out for South America in a house that is carried aloft by hundreds of balloons. Fanciful? Yes! Inspiring? Most certainly.
The Way (2010)
This small, independent film features Martin Sheen as a father who goes to Europe to claim the body of his son, who died while hiking the historic Camino de Santiago trail. To honor his son’s sense of adventure, Sheen’s character sets off to trek the entire 800km route across Spain himself. Along the way, he meets an eclectic cast of characters and while experiencing some adventures of his own. He also happens to learn more about his son – and himself – in the process. It is a beautiful modern classic that shouldn’t be missed.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Ben Stiller’s take on the Walter Mitty story shows us what can happen when you stop dreaming about travel, and actually start doing it. When timid daydreamer Walter sets out on an adventure he didn’t expect, he ends up on a journey to the ends of the Earth, discovering much about himself along the way. The film wasn’t a particular success at the box office, nor with critics, but travelers will love the spirit of the movie, which has a central theme that encourages us to get out of our comfort zone and explore the world around us.
Of course, there are literally dozens of other films that could be added to this list. These just happen to be some of my favorites. What movies have inspired you to travel over the years? Have you ever visited some of the places that you’ve seen in those films? Are there locations that play a central role in your favorite films that you hope to see in person doe day?