Endless highways, the search for freedom, meeting new challenges and (re-)discovering your identity: The lure of road movies has not diminished since it burst onto the screen in the late sixties. Every new generation of filmgoers has found something within a road movie that appealed to them.
Road movies are a relatively new genre, although some defining features have crept up in films as early as Charlie Chaplin’s The Tramp (1915). But the genre itself was launched with Easy Rider in 1969. The story of two bikers travelling through the American southwest to the sound of “Born to be Wild” became a landmark movie, not only for the counterculture movement. Similar films soon followed, also showing a healthy distrust of society and its morals: Two Lane Blacktop and Vanishing Point (both 1971). In Duel (1971), a young Steven Spielberg had a motorist on an isolated road being stalked by a truck, its driver never seen.
New road movies coming up
But it’s not all fast cars and action: In The Straight Story (1999) a man journeys across the country on a lawnmower, in About Schmidt (2002) a pensioner goes on a road trip. The comedy Road Trip (2000) sends four friends on a wild trip to Austin/Texas. Into The Wild (2007), based on the real life story of Christopher McCandless, showed that finding what you were looking for can lead to tragedy. Right now, the finishing touches are applied to two new road movies: On The Road and Move On. On The Road is, of course, an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s famous “beatnik” novel, starring Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart. Move On is described as a road movie thriller and stars former Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen.