Film / Road to ...

The Road to ... movies are a series of comedy films starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, usually with Dorothy Lamour. Each of the films is a parody of a particular film genre.

  • Road to Singapore (1940)
  • Road to Zanzibar (1941)
  • Road to Morocco (1942)
  • Road to Utopia (1946)
  • Road to Rio (1947)
  • Road to Bali (1952) — The only one in color
  • The Road to Hong Kong (1962) — with Joan Collins

It inspired some other movies, including The Road to El Dorado. And even the inspiration for Family Guy "Road To..." episodes that mostly focus on Brian and Stewie.

Films with their own trope page:

Other films in this series provides examples, straight or parodied, of:

  • African Chant: Road to Zanzibar has a bit of chanting titled "African Etude".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Hope's magic flute in Bali, which backfires horribly when Crosby tries his hand at it.
  • Born in the Theatre: As Crosby gets ready to sing a song, Hope turns to the camera and says, "OK, folks, now's the time to go get some more popcorn from the lobby."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Hope addressed remarks directly to the audience several times per movie.
  • Buddy Picture
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: In Road to Bali, a bullet shot out of a bent gun barrel starts whizzing around in circles, due to the Rule of Funny.
  • Captured by Cannibals: In Road to Zanzibar, with the cannibals thinking Hope and Crosby are white gods... until, that is, the cannibals decide to test their divinity by having Hope get into a sidesplittingly hilarious wrestling match with a Killer Gorilla.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The climax of Road to Rio. While the two heroes are busy tangling the villainess and her two henchmen, an ally (Jerry Colonna) and a bunch of reinforcements ride furiously toward the heroes' location. But then suddenly, the heroes have won and the villains are hauled off to jail without The Cavalry ever arriving. Colonna reins in his horse mid-gallop and cheerfully comments to the camera: "Well, we never made it. But exciting, wasn't it!"
  • The Cameo: Several, particularly in the last two films.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: The Road to Hong Kong.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: In Road to Utopia, when Hope and Crosby enter a talent contest, their act follows a man with a cymbal-banging monkey. The monkey wins.
  • Darkest Africa: Once again, from Road to Zanzibar. It uses all the standard Pulp Africa tropes and subverts the heck out of them.
  • Demoted to Extra: Dorothy Lamour, in The Road to Hong Kong. She actually wasn't going to appear in it at all after Crosby insisted on (and got) a younger female lead in Joan Collins, but Hope intervened to at least get her a cameo appearance.
  • Drink Order: In Road to Utopia, Hope's character tries to fit in at tough-guy frontier bar, but then orders a lemonade. Realizing his mistake, he quickly turns to the bartender and growls, " a dirty glass!"
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Road to Singapore is a lot more subdued and conventional than the films that followed, with less Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • The End: In Road to Bali, Hope is unsatisfied with the ending, so he keeps trying to shove the "The End" card off the screen, until it becomes "Positively The End".
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: A stock-footage octopus (and one prop tentacle) make a cameo in Road to Zanzibar.
  • The Gay '90s: Road to Utopia was set in the '90s gold rush in the Yukon.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Road to Hong Kong, Chester has lost his memory and Harry asks if he remembers him, his "bosom buddy".
    Chester: Bosom, what's that?
    Harry: Oh you have lost your memory.
  • Giant Squid: In Road to Bali.
  • Greek Chorus: Humorist Robert Benchley, in Road to Utopia.
  • How We Got Here: Road to Utopia starts out in current (1946) times and then flashes back to the turn of the century.
  • Human Cannonball: In Road to Zanzibar. one of the scams the duo run is a human-cannonball act; it turns out Hope's character hides in a secret compartment in the base of the cannon and it's a dummy that gets launched out. (And catches fire, and crashes into a tent, and causes an entire carnival to burn down.)
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Bob and Bing's "pattycake" game.
  • Iconic Outfit: Dorothy Lamour's sarong. They even managed to sneak it into Road to Utopia, which is set in the Yukon, via an Imagine Spot.
  • Identical Grandson: Used to hilarious effect at the end of Road to Utopia. ("We adopted him.")
  • Incredibly Long Note: Jerry Colonna's rendition of "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" in Road to Singapore begins with one of these.
  • Invisible Backup Band: Road to Zanzibar discusses this together with Mickey Mousing in a dialogue which ends with Crosby conducting the invisible orchestra to accompany his singing of the love theme:
    "What killed me is that from nowhere, an orchestra started. You know, violins and everything, right in the minute of a jungle. Isn't that silly?"
  • Just Smile and Nod: Dorothy Lamour frequently did this when she shared scenes with Hope and Crosby. Justified in that more often than not Hope and Crosby were off-script.
  • Killer Gorilla: Towards the end of Road to Zanzibar, Hope's character gets tossed in a cage with a wrestling gorilla.
  • Language of Love: Road to Rio suggests this trope in the song "You Don't Have To Know The Language".
  • Large Ham: Dorothy Lamour on making the pictures: "I felt like a wonderful sandwich, a slice of white bread between two slices of ham."
  • Logo Joke: In Road to Utopia, Hope and Crosby are sledding through the Klondike countryside and enjoying the scenery, when something catches Hope's eye:
    Hope: Hey, get a load of that bread and butter!
    (Cut to a shot of a snow-covered mountain)
    Crosby: Bread and butter? That's a mountain!
    (The "Paramount Pictures" logo suddenly appears in front of said mountain)
    Hope: Maybe a mountain to you, but it's bread and butter to me!
  • MacGuffin: In Road to Rio, there are the mysterious Papers that have no bearing on the plot besides having an interesting safe-cracking scene. Lampshaded when Hope and Crosby say that "the world must never know" their contents. At the end, when the papers have been recovered and they're about to be read, they get torn up instead, since they've served their dramatic purpose.
  • Medicine Show: Road to Singapore has Hope, Crosby and Lamour playing ocarinas and selling bottled soap as a miracle stain remover.
  • Narrator: Robert Benchley in Road to Utopia.
  • Pardon My Klingon: In Road to Zanzibar, the natives of Darkest Africa have their lines subtitled in English, but one line produces a [CENSORED] stamp instead of a subtitle.
  • Plot Armor: Road to Bali: The branch that Hope and Crosby are leaning against breaks, but they stay suspended in mid-air.
    Crosby: Hey, why don't we fall?
    Hope: Paramount wouldn't dare. Especially at your age.
  • Road Trip Plot: All of the pictures featured Bob and Bing as comic partners getting in various misadventures as they traveled from A to B.
  • Running Gag: "Pattycake, pattycake..."
  • Saw a Woman in Half: The heroes attempt this at the end of Zanzibar.
  • Shout-Out: Crosby's tribal garb in Zanzibar includes a headpiece which looks a whole lot like Mickey Mouse ears. In the same scene, his line about being "off to see the wizard" is a quote from The Wizard of Oz.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Lamour, though both Zanzibar and Morocco gave her a female sidekick/traveling companion.
  • Talent Double: In Road to Zanzibar, Hope is doubled by Olympic wrestler Peter Mehringer in the scene where he wrestles a gorilla.
  • Thematic Series: Despite sharing the same actors and style of humor (to say nothing of being in the same series), the movies are technically not part of the same narrative with the actors playing different, yet similar characters in each.
  • Travel Montage: Road to Zanzibar uses the comedy version where the line starts meandering chaotically.
  • Vagabond Buddies: Forever on the road, bickering every step of the way.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Hope and Crosby have this dynamic.
  • We Need a Distraction: The "patty-cake" routine: When faced with a foe, Hope and Crosby start playing patty-cake, and while the bad guy watches in bemusement, they each punch him out simultaneously. Occasionally, the villain is onto them and hits them first, causing Hope to point out that "he must have seen the picture."

Alternative Title(s): Road To Singapore, Road To Zanzibar, Road To Utopia, Road To Rio, Road To Bali, The Road To Hong Kong