Top Four Road Trip Movies — Holiday Edition

November 12, 2013

The fall leaves are crunching underfoot, the geese are calling overhead, and — sorry to remind you — the holidays are just around the corner. If you’re planning a holiday road trip this season (and dreading it), take heart. Here’s a shortlist of Hollywood classics to remind you that things can always be worse.

Remember the Night

A lesser known holiday movie from the black and white era, this 1940 comedy/drama features stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray as an oddly paired couple who find love on Christmastime road trip to Indiana. Stanwyck plays a shoplifter facing trial. MacMurray plays a sympathetic district attorney assigned to prosecute her, only to end up driving her across the country in a 1937 Chrysler Royal.  

Pieces of April

This 2003 holiday film starring Oliver Platt and pre-tabloid Katie Holmes is not often remembered by fans of the road movie genre. But somewhere between the stress of preparing a turkey dinner and the dysfunctional trek from suburbia to Lower Manhattan in a Chrysler station wagon, Pieces of April is one of the best at reminding us we still love our family even though we may hate spending time with them.             

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

A short flight from New York to Chicago turns into a hilarious three-day odyssey of every holiday travel horror imaginable. Between Steve Martin’s tirade at the rental car counter and the scene with John Candy airing out his “barking dogs” on a cramped passenger plane, this 1987 John Hughes comedy is easily the best Thanksgiving movie of all time. For the car lover, it also features cameo appearances by everything from Buicks to Volkswagens — more than 60 of the most popular makes of cars from the late ’70 and early ’80s.      

When Harry Met Sally

A New Year’s Eve love story that begins with a road trip from Chicago to New York and two vexing questions that have long confounded humankind: Do opposites really attract and can men and women just be friends? In the opening scenes, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan search for answers in the front seat of a 1968 Volkswagen Sedan. 


  1. Bernie Garcarz North Carolina

    Not a holiday movie, but I will always like Two Lane Blacktop. That one had a Primer gray 55' and a GTO driven by the late Warren Oates.

  2. P Johnson Rochester Hills Mi.

    Death Proof (Tarantino says its his worst film) has some great car's, Great Music, But not for everyone