Movies & TV

8 Great Movies That Will Make You Want to Travel

From 'The Beach' to 'Manhattan,' these films will make you want to travel.
IMAGE Focus Features

In the most memorable movies, scenery plays almost as important a role as characters. In the very best, they become characters in their own right.

Here is a list of classic movies that capture the magic of a part of the world we perhaps haven't visited, but by the time the credits roll we find ourselves wishing we could, whether it's the dusty roads of Mexico or the bustle of a New York street.

The Beach (Thailand)

We all have a friend who claims to have traveled to the beach in The Beach, a fact that has sadly left Maya Bay on Phi Phi island in Thailand overrun with selfie sticks. But in Danny Boyle's film, the water remains clear and the pristine sands untrodden. Filmed at a time where travel to Thailand felt wild and exotic rather than a gap year cliché, the background to Alex Garland's tale of utopian society coming apart makes for intoxicating viewing.


The Godfather (Sicily)

The crickets! The wine! The waistcoats! Michael's holiday in Sicily in Godfather Part I (OK, he's hiding from a violent war reprisal, but still) featured some of the most sumptuous scenes in cinema history. It does ends badly with his new wife dying in a car bomb, but before that watching young Corleone frolic about in the dusky vistas of the old country is as romantic as it gets. If only he'd stayed there.

The Darjeeling Limited (India)

Three brothers all at crossroads in their lives take a long train ride together through India–and make you wish you were doing the same. Filled with the bright color palettes you expect from a Wes Anderson film, the sweeping shots of dusty landscapes, bright train carriages, and Hindu temples are as beautiful as anything he's ever done.

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Lost In Translation (Tokyo)

Sofia Coppola's 2003 homage to Japan captures the vivid feeling of finding yourself in vast, bright Tokyo as a lonely foreigner.Whether it is the sky-high views from the karaoke booth or the strange restaurant menu where the pictures all look the same, Lost In Translation captures the brilliant strangeness of travel and makes you wish you were doing it yourself. Meeting Bill Murray would help, of course.

Manhattan (New York)

Woody Allen's 1979 romantic comedy is still widely considered to be his best and is a gushing love letter to New York, complete with an opening montage of Manhattan and a central character who is writing a book about one man's love for the city. A love story backdropped by carriage rides through Central Park is more or less what any first-time visitor to the Big Apple expects to find. Let's forget about the fact that it rarely quite works out that way for now.


Sideways (California)

Famous for turning the world off Merlot, Sideways tells of a divorced and depressed wine-obsessive who takes his engaged friend on a last hurrah through wine country in Northern America. The stunning shots of pristine vineyards being warmed by the glorious Californian sunshine are as memorable as the hilarious one-liners.

The Talented Mr Ripley (Italy)

Young love and the heady excitement of summer are embodied by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow looking impossibly young and glamorous on an Italian beach. The thriller's beautiful images, such as a boat trip to San Remo or a lavish apartment in Rome, are contrasted with some chilling violence that, somehow, make you no less desperate to inhabit the story yourself.


Y Tu Mama También (Mexico)

Teenage hormones and a lost older woman tangle messily in this Alfonso Cuarón-directed coming-of-age road trip story. The political and economic instability of Mexico is contrasted with indulgent shots of the country's majestic beaches and countryside, which make you wish you were young and on a road trip with an older woman in Mexico, funnily enough.

This story originally appeared on Esquire UK.

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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