Oscar-Winning Road Movies To Drive Your Entertainment

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Oscar-Winning Road Movies To Drive Your Entertainment

Autos and films go together like cinemas and popcorn. So, with the Oscars season upon us, here are five Academy Award-winning road movies worth stopping off for.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006). A dysfunctional family takes an incident-packed camper-van drive from New Mexico to California where its youngest member competes in a pre-teen beauty pageant. As the grizzled, drug-abusing grandpa in the back seat, Alan Arkin scooped the best supporting actor award; this bitter-sweet black comedy also won the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Thelma & Louise (1991). When a waitress shoots dead the man raping her housewife friend, the two women flee in their ancient convertible across a beautifully-shot America. Barreling towards the Mexico border, with the cops in hot pursuit, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon’s characters achieve a state of liberation neither has known before. T&L won not just the Oscar for best original screenplay, but also critical acclaim for its feminist overtones.



Bonnie and Clyde (1967). In Great Depression-era America, Clyde Barrow meets Bonnie Parker when he tries to steal her mother’s car. A lethal chemistry ignites, sending the two on a spree of ever-more violent bank robberies. Sex symbols Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway play the leads in this icon of 60s counter-culture. But the Oscars went to supporting actress Estelle Parsons – as Clyde’s sister-in-law, a preacher’s daughter turned reluctant fugitive – and the movie’s dynamic cinematography.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). A car chase and crash starts this crazy, star-packed caper. With his last words, a dying gangster tells the posse of befuddled motorists who’ve stopped to help about a stash of loot buried beneath a beach. Cue a marathon race for the booty, involving everything from family cars and roadsters, to pick-up tracks, yellow taxis and a World War I biplane. In a year when major awards went to weighty dramas, IAMMMW only won gold for best sound editing. But it’s still a hilarious ride.

It Happened One Night (1934). Hollywood’s original comedy road movie was also the first film to win all of the ‘Big Five’ Academy Awards – for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay. Helmed by Frank Capra, it has Claudette Colbert’s pampered socialite desperate to escape her father’s control and falling in love with Clark Gable’s roguish reporter. For its day, this smash hit was super-sexy – to secure the couple a ride, the hitchhiking heroine lifts her skirt and reveals a shapely thigh to an oncoming driver; while it’s reported that Gable’s bare-chested bedroom scene sent sales of undershirts plummeting.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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