[[quoteright:330:[[LittleMissSunshine http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/roadmovie.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:A family and a vehicle. [[SarcasmMode I wonder what genre this could be?]]]]

->''Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.''
-->-- '''E.B. White''', ''One Man's Meat''

More or less a film genre in itself, although it's more of a plot type than a genre in the usual sense.

A RoadMovie is a movie about characters taking a trip to go from point A to point Z. Along the way, they stop by points B, C, D, et all while things happen to them at each point. Oftentimes a comedy, but occasionally a drama. The things that happen often teach the characters things they didn't know about themselves. Unsurprisingly, this type of plot opens itself wide to {{Cliche Storm}}s and {{Narm}}, but directors conscious of what kind of movie they are making can defy these and create very original and poignant tales.

An important distinction needs to be made between a RoadMovie and a WalkingTheEarth story. If the heroes encounter an adventure at every stop and end up staying at each location for a while to solve some major problem or deal with a big event, it's WalkingTheEarth, especially if each location can be considered an [[AdventureTowns Adventure Town]]. If, on the other hand, each location is merely a brief stop along the way, and the story is more about the journey than the specific locations, then it's a RoadMovie.

Not all Road Movies involve use of a vehicle, but it's often what one associates with the genre: a family or group of friends traveling in a car or a van from one place to another, with stuff happening at each location. Because of the vastness of the continental United States, most road movies take place there.

Compare [[TenMoviePlots Blake Snyder's description of this plot]], under the title ''Golden Fleece''. Also compare TheQuest, along with [[TheSevenBasicPlots Booker's version]] of the archetypes behind it.

If this movie is part of a tightly networked franchise and is the only / one of the few film(s) to feature a Road Trip, it crosses into the RoadTripEpisode lane.

See also the {{Music}} equivalent of this trope, WanderlustSong.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''Recap/AsterixAndTheBanquet'' is about ComicBook/{{Asterix}} and Obelix on a "Tour de Gaule", collecting speciality food from various cities throughout UsefulNotes/{{France}} in a bid for freedom from the Romans, who are enclosing their village from the rest of the world with a stockade.
* The "Hard-Travelling Heroes" arc in ''ComicBook/GreenLantern[=/=]ComicBook/GreenArrow'', where Hal and Ollie travel across the US so Hal can reconnect with ordinary humans and the problems they face.
* Likewise with the "Superman: Grounded" arc of ''ComicBook/{{Superman}}''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''[[Film/RockyAndBullwinkle The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle]]'' has the plot device of Rocky and Bullwinkle being brought into the real world in Los Angeles, and having to make it to New York with FBI agent Karen Sympathy, to stop Fearless Leader from taking over the world via mind-numbing cable television.
* ''Film/{{Barefoot}}'' has the main characters driving from UsefulNotes/NewOrleans to UsefulNotes/LosAngeles.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtheadDoAmerica'', B&B think they're on a QuestForSex, while they are unwittingly carrying a biological weapon, with the FBI in full pursuit. They go from Highland to Washington with stops at places like Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
* ''Film/BlondeInBlackLeather'' - two women on a journey to be in a certain place at a certain time. [[RandomEventsPlot Strangeness ensues.]]
* In ''Blue State'' two Democrats take a road trip to move to Canada after George W. Bush is re-elected President after the 2004 elections.
* The first half of ''Film/BoysOnTheSide.''
* ''Film/BunnyAndTheBull'' is a strange variation. For most of the movie, it appears that you're merely watching Stephen, his best friend Bunny and their mutual love interest Eloisa having a bizarre trek across Europe, but as the film progresses, it becomes apparent that [[spoiler: although these events ''did'' occur, they're being reconstructed in hindsight by Stephen - with his current-day hallucinations added on, just to confuse things - who hasn't left his flat in a year. Plus it seems likely that [[DeadAllAlong half the cast are dead by this point]].]]
* Disney's ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'' is an example. A dog who thinks the TV show he acts in is reality, a cat who realizes he's been sheltered from reality, and a hamster who admires the dog-actor, all take a cross-country trip to, at least initially, rescue the dog's owner from a kidnapper from his TV show.
* ''Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows'', the sequel to ''The Trouble With Angels''. The sisters and a new group of girls drive across the country to a peace rally in California.
* Richard Scarry's ''Cars and Trucks and Things That Go''
* ''Film/ChasingLiberty'' involves air, rail, lorry/car, and aquatic travel.
* ''Film/TheDarjeelingLimited'' has three brothers trying to reconcile family bonds on a train across India.
* ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' is about a trip/chase from Illinois to New Jersey. ''Film/JayAndSilentBobStrikeBack'' is about their shenanigans on the way from New Jersey to Los Angeles.
* ''Film/{{Duets}}'' follows the stories of three pairs of people as they progress through a national karaoke competition.
* ''Film/DumbAndDumber'', Harry and Lloyd travel from Rhode Island to Colorado on a dog shaped van.
* ''Film/EasyRider'' centers around the main characters' road trip to New Orleans. [[DownerEnding It isn't]] [[ShootTheShaggyDog a comedy]].
* ''Film/EuroTrip'' does not use any particular vehicle, instead several trains, planes, and automobiles (including a Yugo outfitted to look like the [[Series/DukesOfHazzard General Lee]].
* ''Film/{{Fanboys}}'' is about four ([[FiveManBand later five]]) ''Franchise/StarWars'' fans going from Ohio to California to break into George Lucas' house to see ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' for a friend who won't live to see the film come out.
* ''Literature/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'', both the book and the film.
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' is a story about a fish swimming in the ocean, so there aren't any roads. But otherwise it fits this trope exactly, as Marlin travels across the ocean to find Nemo, meeting many colorful sea creatures along the way.
* ''Literature/GenerationKill'' is effectively described as a combination of this genre with a war movie, as it deals with the members of Marine Recon driving through Iraq during the 2003 invasion.
* ''WesternAnimation/AGoofyMovie'' is about Goofy (yes, the Disney character) taking his son Max on a father-son trip, while Max attempts to take a trip to a concert he wishes to attend. After Goofy discovers what he's been up to, they end up doing both.
* ''Film/{{Highway61}}
* ''Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' is a road movie InSpace.
* ''I Went Down'' is about two low level gangsters sent out by their boss to find a wayward associate and bring him back. Managed the impossible by making a car journey across Ireland, which can easily if not comfortably, be done in a single day, seem like a truly epic journey.
* ''Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road''
* ''Film/KnockinOnHeavensDoor'': Two terminally ill guys with just a couple of days left to live get to know each other and refuse to just sit in a hospital and await their fate. They steal a car and go on a last road trip to see the ocean for the first and last time in their lives. The thing is, the car was used by gangsters to deliver a substantial amount of money to a kingpin.
* ''Film/LittleMissSunshine'' is about a family who travels across state lines and has various misadventures along the way, while trying to get to a beauty pageant in time for their daughter to participate.
* ''The Motorcycle Diaries'' follows a young Che Guevara and his friend Alberto touring South America on a motorbike. His experiences on the road slowly shape his revolutionary views.
* ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' involves Kermit's journey from the swamps of the South to Hollywood, meeting and picking up the other Muppets along the way.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Narcissu}}'' is a VisualNovel example.
* ''National Lampoon's Vacation'' and its sequels.
* ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', in a way. It's basically about a king and his men on their journey home from war. By sea, of course.
* ''Film/PaperMoon'' is essentially a movie about a trip from Gorham, Kansas to Joplin, Missouri.
* ''{{Film/Paul}}'' is about two bumbling nerds who are on their way to a Sci-fi convention to pitch a comic one of them's written, only to wind up picking up a [[TheGreys Grey]] named Paul who escaped Area 51 and was trying to get to an area where he could contact his people to leave. Hijinks and an accidental kidnapping ensue.
* ''Film/PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles'', in which a host of difficulties complicate the protagonist's goal of traveling from New York to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family..
* ''Film/PriscillaQueenOfTheDesert''.
* All of the Hope/Crosby ''[[Film/RoadTo On The Road]]'' pictures.
** Referenced in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', with an annual "Stewie and Brian on the Road to (Blank)" episode usually being the highlight of the season.
* ''Film/RoadTrip'' and its spiritual successor, ''Euro Trip'', as well as its spiritual cousins, ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle'' and ''Film/HaroldAndKumarEscapeFromGuantanamoBay''.
* ''Film/RainMan'' involves Charlie Babbitt finding out that he had an autistic brother, and that his recently deceased father left his vast fortune to said brother. Charlie then kidnaps his brother Raymond and goes on a cross-country flight.
* ''Film/TheReturn'' is about a father-son fishing trip...where the father has been missing for the past 12 years and returned just the previous afternoon under mysterious circumstances, leaving the two sons to wonder if their lives are in danger.
* ''Literature/TheRoad'', a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and film starring Viggo Mortensen about a boy and his father following an abandoned highway AfterTheEnd.
* ''Film/RubinAndEd'' comically relates a trip made through Utah to give a man's deceased cat a proper burial.
* ''Film/{{RV}}''
* ''Film/SesameStreetPresentsFollowThatBird'' has Big Bird traveling to the fictional Ocean View, Illinois, to live with Dodo family, only to find he doesn't really fit in with the family, and flees to return to Sesame Street; at the same time, his friends embark on a journey to try and meet him half way.
* ''Film/SexDrive'' - A guy, his buddy, and female friend drive across the country to meet up with a girl he met on the internet who promises to "go all the way."
* ''Literature/TheStand'' turns into an AfterTheEnd version of this.
* ''Film/StandByMe'' is about four boys about to enter middle school who travel from their hometown and follow the train tracks in the hopes of finding the dead body of a local boy who was hit by a train. Their adventure starts with the simple morbid curiosity of seeing a genuine dead body, but a lot happens along the way.
* ''Film/{{Starman}}'' features the eponymous space alien and his girlfriend fleeing from the feds as they try to get him back to his spaceship.
* ''Film/TheSureThing'' is a great example from TheEighties, in which John Cusack's character travels from the east coast to the west coast in a QuestForSex, but finds romance on the way.
* "Thunderball Rally", a campaign for the ''d20Modern'' RPG in ''Polyhedron'' magazine and inspired by {{Road Movie}}s, puts the players in an illegal cross-country road race in 1976.
* ''Film/TommyBoy'' follows Tommy and Richard's travels as they attempt to sell brake pads. Complete with singing along with the car radio, hitting a deer, and other events typical of the genre.
* ''Film/{{Transamerica}}''
* ''Film/WereTheMillers''
* ''Film/WildAtHeart''
* Director Wim Wenders has made at least four road movies (''Kings Of The Road'', ''Alice in the Cities'', ''The Wrong Move'' and ''Paris Texas'').
* ''Wir können auch anders'' may be the only example set entirely in Germany. Twist: The two brothers who are the protagonists are illiterate and can't read road signs. As the director said, Germany's too small (compared to the US) and too well signposted to make a road movie story set there long enough, otherwise.
* ''Film/TheWizard'' is about a boy who runs away from home and breaks his brother out of a mental institution. The two meet a girl who discovers the younger boy's knack for video gaming, and the three set out to participate in a national video game tournament. The kids aren't old enough to drive, but it involves the use of a vehicle in instances when various adults are able to help them. Otherwise, it's a borderline case.
* ''Film/WristcuttersALoveStory'' features a road trip in a CrapsackWorld afterlife for those who have committed suicide. The main characters, one in search for his girlfriend, is joined by a girl who ended up there by mistake.
* ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'' is pretty much a RoadMovie set after the zombie apocalypse. Initially, Columbus is looking to get to Columbus, Ohio to find his estranged parents (mostly for want of anything else to do) and the girls are going to Pacific Playland. Tallahasee is [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge mostly just in it for the zombie killin']] (and the [[TrademarkFavoriteFood Twinkies]]). [[spoiler:Halfway through, Columbus finds out his parents are very probably dead already, and once the climax at Pacific Playland is over, the end of the movie seems to signal the four of them starting their WalkingTheEarth]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn'', Huck and Jim take to the Mississippi River on a raft, Huck trying to escape his abusive father and Jim the slave trying to escape to freedom. They have many colorful experiences on the way.
* ''Blue Highways'' by William Least Heat Moon is a nonfiction chronicle of the author travelling around the US in his camper-outfitted van on back roads (highways that were often colored as narrow blue lines on old gas-station maps), visiting many obscure or ideosyncratic small towns, in the 1970s.
* ''Literature/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'', both the book and the film.
* ''Literature/GenerationKill'' is effectively described as a combination of this genre with a war movie, as it deals with the members of Marine Recon driving through Iraq during the 2003 invasion.
* Creator/{{Mark Twain}}'s ''Literature/{{Huckleberry Finn}}'' may qualify, in that while Huck and Jim didn't go "across" the country, they did journey down the Mississippi River from the North to the South on a crude raft, with plenty of perils (particularly for Jim in the Antebellum South).
* ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', in a way. It's basically about a king and his men on their journey home from war. By sea, of course.
* ''Literature/TheRoad'', a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and film starring Viggo Mortensen about a boy and his father following an abandoned highway AfterTheEnd.
* ''Literature/TheStand'' turns into an AfterTheEnd version of this, as the characters make harrowing journeys to either the rallying place for the protagonists (Boulder, CO) or the rallying place for {{Satan}} and his antagonists (Las Vegas, of course).
* Robert Persig's ''Literature/ZenAndTheArtOfMotorcycleMaintenance'' details a motorcycle journey by him and his son across the western US, along with a journey of philosophical and spiritual discovery.


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* Music/HavalinaRailCo's album ''America'' is a concept album about a road trip across the US, with each song corresponding to a different area traveled through. The back cover of the album has a map depicting the route traveled.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Pinball ]]

* ''Pinball/RedAndTedsRoadShow'' has its titular protagonists traveling across America, wreaking havoc along the way.
* ''Pinball/WorldCupSoccer'' had the player progressing through the cup in different locales in the U.S. (matching those of the 1994 World Cup, which the game was made to promote).
* The much-maligned pinball game ''Vacation America'' was all about this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Pictured above is the [[SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem SNES]] version of ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTournamentFighters'', which had stages all over... [[ArtisticLicenseGeography what is probably supposed to be the United States.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Video ]]

* While the first ''Chris and Scottie's Road Trip'' (made by the same man behind ''WebVideo/TheIrateGamer'') was a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=hxy9ub2egx1v5o6tciahi3h7 World Tour]], the second installment is focused on the US instead.

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