289 Movies That Make You Want To Hit The Road: Part I - Tu Nguyen Wedding

290 Movies That Make You Want To Travel: Part I

Well, we're destination wedding photographer and videographer.
We traveled 62,498km in 2016 and 126,543km in 2017. It's not really a surprise to anyone that we love traveling.

We are also deeply in love with cinema. So when these two things collide, a whole new universe is exploding. 

It was a Sunday evening in early February 2018 when our three month old baby girl Alexia was sleeping and Tara and I were looking for a light-hearted movie about travel to ease our unquenchable thirst for travel and adventure.

The struggle is real. Postpartum Travel: How Soon Is Too Soon?

We simply have watched way too many movies, so Tu had to do some more intensive searching for quite a while and after that we came up with the idea of writing an extensive blog post listing "some" (if 289 is qualified as some) movies that may spark others' wanderlust and spare them the time of digging the good old Google?

Many of these films below are not road movies, while many other films are not straight up movies about traveling and road trip. Some of them are great and classic, some don't have necessarily a solid story with cliche plot and characters are boring but it's not the point since this isn't a best-of list. The real star in common here is stunning setting of landscapes, natures and sceneries, cities and cultures, cuisines, people that make we fall in love with traveling all over again! 

P/S: TV Series and documentaries are not included.

See: Part II  / Part III / Part IV / Part V


Nowhere in Africa / 2001 / Kenya

Everything about this movie is well done, the music, acting and especially the cinematography. We've shot a wedding in Kenya and this made us long for more. Fortunately the tribal life in rural Kenya is neither glorified as the only and true way of living, nor is it shown with the arrogance of the western people. It oozes out of authenticity!

Out of Africa / 1985 / Kenya

Well, I have a love/hate relationship with this film. It was critical acclaimed with 7 Academy Awards and commercially successful. But from a few Kenya friends we met during our trip to Kenya, they don't like the film's depiction about Kenya. That being said, the cinematography and music score is incredible. Gorgeous African vistas serve as a backdrop. The components of cinematic success are all there but in our opinion, it could be better than that. Nevertheless, still a must see film for people who love Africa!

The English Patient / 1996 / Tunisia, Tuscany

Tu always love the mood of Anthony Minghella's films and this film is not an exception: there is so much to see and appreciate, even after multiple viewings, from cinematography, acting, story, characters' depth and development.

The cinematographer John Seale captures the landscape perfectly; not since David Lean's magnificent 'Lawrence of Arabia' has a film shown a desert with such beauty and grandeur that makes us long for North Africa!

Lawrence of Arabia / 1962 / Morocco

This masterpiece epic doesn't need any introduction.  Sweeping, epic and literate version of British adventurer and soldier T E Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during the First World War. 

Set against a backdrop of the Arabian desert, David Lean frames the screen like a painter paints a canvas with the help of Freddie Young's stunning cinematography to bring Lean's vision to life.

Babel / 2006 / Morocco, Japan, Mexico, USA

4 interlocking stories connected by a single gun converge at the end to reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren't all that different. Not only the director makes full use of the different backdrops to bring the setting alive but the characters are connected, deep and insightful, breathtaking cinematography and the thematic story is complex. Great film!

The Sheltering Sky / 1990 / Morocco

We're sure that travelers will love this film because of the freedom it shows on the road. Someone may argue that The Sheltering Sky is a bit dull at times but it's the matter of perspective. Great photography, great setting, great character with a long, slow-paced story will make you immerse in the beauty of Morocco. Bertolucci makes you fully understand what it is like to travel for weeks through the desert! Although the novel is better though!

Hotel Rwanda / 2004 / Rwanda

We've never been in Rwanda before but after watching this movie, we feel that it was an excellent reproduction of what Rwanda is like. Not just a feel good kind of film with beautiful imagery but very well made and directed. Please see this and let it inspire you as it did me - to try cultivate selfless actions.

Cairo Time / 2009 / Cairo

Cairo Time is beautifully filmed - like a love poem about Egypt. The slower pace is perfect for the audience to slow down and breathe, to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and sink into the feeling of the movie. Great cinematography, music, acting, background, mood overall. Not the best of a masterpiece but we do enjoy this romance film very much.

The African Queen / 1951 / Uganda

A classic that needs no introduction. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn did a great job together, with great chemistry. During world war I In the jungle of East Africa, a village is destroyed by German. Charlie is in charge of running supplies to the village. He returns after the attack and finds out that Rose has survived the attack. Her brother was killed in the attack, so Charlie offers to take her on his small steamboat called The African Queen back to civilization and it's one of the most captivating adventure/love stories ever put on film.

Hatari / 1962 / Tanzania

Hatari tell the story about a group of men trap wild animals in Africa and sell them to zoos before the arrival of a female wildlife photographer threatens to change their ways. Well, If you love scenery, Africa, wild animals, exotic adventure, full of action, comedy... this is the perfect film for you! One of John Wayne's best, non-western, movies, but the real stars here are the animals. A must see classic.


Doctor Zhivago / 1965 / Russia

During the Russian Revolution, Yuri Zhivago, is a young doctor who has been raised by his aunt and uncle following his father's suicide. Yuri falls in love with beautiful Lara Guishar, who has been having an affair with her mother's lover, Victor Komarovsky, an unscrupulous businessman. Yuri, however, ends up marrying his cousin, Tonya. But when he and Lara meet again years later, the spark of love reignites. Based on one of the greatest novel, director David Lean goes further and makes a film that is moving and unforgettable in every respect.

A Good Year / 2010 / Provence (France)

Someone said, "In France,  food tastes better. The women are naturally beautiful. Walks are more romantic. Wine is more complex." A film that set in France with beautiful scenery is capable to do the same thing, that makes the movie more enjoyable and less a mess that it's actually is. "A Good Year" is not a bad film but full of cliche and brings nothing new to the table. But still, the charm of Provence is irresistible.


Magic in the moonlight / 2014 / South of France

Not Woody Allen's best film of course. Not even close, but all in all a pleasant flick.  Fans of '20s jazz will love the soundtrack. One thing I love about Allen's films is he know how to make the location really pop out. The scenery of the French Riviera and the cinematography of Darius Khondji who has managed to capture the essence of Paris in "Midnight in Paris", Rome in "To Rome with Love" and now the South of France.

Midnight in Paris / 2011 / Paris

Another Woody Allen's film. Although his films are not consistent, Midnight in Paris was definitely a great come back! Great cinematography, classic music, french food, french culture - they are all their fine forms. Personally, I love this film - it reminds me of Stardust Memories, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and a bit of Annie Hall. Paris, the most visited city on earth has never looked so stunning and it inspired me a lots when I shot a wedding film in Paris back in 2016.

The Ottoman Lieutenant / 2017 / Turkey

I was not too crazy about this film. The story is all over the place and there really isn't much of a screenplay or character development. The only thing that kept my eyes glued to the screen is the stunning Turkish scenery. But I guess that would be enough of a strong sure for the thirst of travel.


The talented Mr. Ripley / 1999 / Italy

We're deeply in love with all films of Anthony Minghella, especially The Talented Mr. Ripley (we haven't read the book before watching the film). This is so perfect, despite its flaws. It's entertaining and thoughtful and emotional complex at the same time. A fine ensemble performance by an award winning cast: Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett. Splendid Story although different from the book. And don't even let us start talking about the scenery. Good stuff!

Soul Kitchen / 2009 / Hamburg

Most of the german contemporary films are trash. But Fatih Akin is not one of them - he's one of the most interesting german filmmakers at the moment. The story revolves around a restaurant and club called Soul Kitchen and the troublesome life of its owner Zinos. He has to overcome many struggles involving his girlfriend, his brother and the authorities. The film is set in the heart of the northern German city of Hamburg - it makes Tu miss Hamburg (his favorite city in Germany) so much.

Under the Tuscan sun / 2003 / Tuscany

There is only one word to describe Under the Tuscan sun: regular romance chick flick. Kind of feel good film. Not that we complaint. We love Tuscany and this film has captured the look, feel, and taste of the region wonderfully. While the acting is not too bad, the screenplay may need a lots of work, the direction is okay but the real gem of this movie is in vicariously fulfilling every traveller's dream.

The Secret Garden / 1993 / England

Cinematic haven. This is everything a family film you could ask for but rarely is: a truly magical experience that transports us into its own little world. Ain't that also the purpose of traveling? To read more than one page of a book? The eerie, gothic and gorgeous scenery is perfect. The Secret Garden restores your faith in movie-making integrity, echoing the beauty and simplicity of movies of the past and yet, is still entertaining.

Far from the madding crowd / 2015 / England

Although we don't particularly love this film - we think this movie is a very solid adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel. Acting is good and the cinematography is both luscious and modern.

If you know the director Thomas Vinterberg, you know that his films are raw and revolutionary. Far from the Madding Crowd? Not as much. Either way, this movie is an appealing way to spend two hours investigating English class, scenery, gender, and social issues in the 1870s.     

L' avventura / 1960 / Italy

Antonioni is a master and his films have such a haunting feeling and deep affect on the subconscious. The characters are deliberately shallow and are placed at the very foreground of every shot, yet the backgrounds are rich tableaux bustling with life.

We don't recommend this film to everyone because it requires a lots of our attention spans which is reduced heavily by mainstream blockbuster. But if you fancy a challenge, go.

Malena / 2000 / Sicily

Giuseppe Tornatore in one the most known today's directors outside Italy (are we right?), not only because he won the Oscar with the amazing "Cinema Paradiso" but also because his films are quite clever, and touching, yet and easy to relate and absorb. 

The story is excellent - simple and straight forward, has no ending - just like life. Just an endless stream of collected moments. And the most important bonus: a picturesque, authentic coastal town of wartime Sicily.

The legend of 1900 / 1998 / Italy

The movie is definitely unique in this list because it was not set in a particular place, instead it told a story about a man who spends his entire life on board an ocean liner and who plays piano like a genius. Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, this is a beautiful film: the story, cinematography, direction and perfect performance by Tim Roth. The story is told with a poetic lyricism that anyone can easily fall in love with or at least resonate to, especially for people who love music. Do watch the Italian version! (160 minutes long)

Cinema Paradiso / 1988 / Sicily

Another film of Giuseppe Tornatore. He made a lots of film that set in Sicily - where he was born and raised and Cinema Paradiso is hand down the best. Because of its simplicity. Its authenticity. Story doesn't even matter when you can deliver such a masterpiece like this. We watched and watched this film over and over again and each time we're so carried away to a small village in Sicily, Southern Italy, where the dreams of a small boy come true and we can join his spellbinding journey. This is a film for those with a heart.

Chocolat / 2001 / France

Baaria / 2009 / Sicily (Italy)


The great beauty / 2013 / Rome

The hundred-foot journey / 2014 / France

Life is beautiful / 1997 / Italy

Vicky Cristina Barcelona / 2008 / Barcelona

Amelie / 2001 / Paris

Knockin' on heaven's door / 1997 / Germany

The Grand Budapest hotel / 2014 / Germany

To Rome with love / 2012 / Rome

La Mome / 2007 / Paris

The secret life of Walter Mitty / 2013 / Iceland, Greenland

In Bruges / 2008 / Bruges (Belgium)

The Diving Bell and the butterfly / 2007 / France

Paris, jet' aime / 2006 / Paris

Perfume: The story of a murderer / 2006 / France, Germany, Spain

Letters to Juliet / 2010 / Tuscany, Verona (Italy)

The Tourist / 2010 / Italy

Mamma Mia! / 2008 / Skopelos (Greece)

Love Actually / 2003 / London

Mr. Bean's Holiday / 2007 / France

The Way / 2010 / Spain

Kinostart - «Ich bin dann mal weg»

Ich bin dann mal weg / 2015 / Germany, France, Spain

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara / 2011 / Spain

In July / 2000 / Germany, Hungary, Romania, Turkey

Copenhagen / 2014 / Copenhagen

L' auberge espagnole / 2002 / Barcelona

Bourne Trilogy / France, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, India, Russia, New York, England, Spain, Morocco

Roman Holiday / 1953 / Rome

Only You / 1994 / Italy

Two For The Road / 1967 / South of France

Sightseers / 2012 / UK

All About My Mother / 1999 / Spain

The Trip To Italy / 2014 / Italy

Night Train To Lisbon / 2013 / Lisbon

Burn Burn Burn / 2015 / UK

Spring / 2014 / Italy

Bolgen / 2015 / Norway

Bread & Tulips / 2000 / Venice

Enchanted April / 1991 / Italy

The Sound Of Music / 1965 / Austria

Bonjour Tristesse / 1958 / Saint Tropez (France)


Journey To Italy / 1954 / Naples (Italy)

Once Upon A Time in Anatolia / 2011 / Turkey

Times & Winds / 2006 / Turkey

To Catch a Thief / 1955 / French Riviera

La piscine / 1969 / French Riviera

L' Atalante / 1934 / France

Le Mepris / 1963 / Capri (Italy)

Sex & Lucia / 2001 / Ibiza (Spain)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou / 2004 / Italy

See: Part II  / Part III / Part IV / Part V

© Tu Nguyen Wedding Photography in Greece, Italy, Spain, France & Germany // +49 159 0148 0782 // info@tunguyenwedding.com

Powered by SmugMug Log In