Until director Walter Salles finishes the film version of On The Road (due out sometime in 2009), road movie buffs will have to subsist on the previous seven decades' worth of movies that combine a fascination with youth culture with Americans' love of the automobile. Here's a list of favorites to get your travel bug biting.
It Happened One Night (1934): Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in this black-and-white Frank Capra classic about a runaway socialite who meets a street-smart reporter. Features the immortal hitchhiking scene in which Colbert teaches Gable the "art and science" of hitchhiking.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940): A more somber kind of road movie, based on the John Steinbeck novel that tracks the dustbowl migration of the Joad family.
Bonnie & Clyde (1967): A bank robber and a bored small-town girl fall in love and embark on a crime spree across the Depression-struck Midwest.
Thelma & Louise (1991): A disaffected housewife and a fast-food worker rob their way across the United States (and pick up Brad Pitt).
Easy Rider (1969): Dennis Hopper directs this film about two bikers on a cross-country trip from L.A. to New Orleans, meeting all sorts of characters from hitchhiking hippies to rednecks.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998): Johnny Depp plays gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in search of the "American dream," aided by his psychotic lawyer and a cornucopia of drugs.
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983): The classic Chevy Chase comedy about an accident-prone family's road trip to a theme park.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004): Directed by Walter Salles, this film from Argentina tracks the pre-revolutionary life of Ernesto "Che" Guevara as he leaves medical school to travel across South America on a motorbike.
The Hitcher (1986): A young man picks up a homicidal hitchhiker and finds himself framed by the hitcher for his murders. The movie that turned off a generation (or two) from hitchhiking.
The Hitcher (2007): In this remake produced by Michael Bay, who also produced the most recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the story stays the same except a couple picks up said homicidal hitchhiker.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985): The hilarious, and sometimes uncomfortable, film about Pee Wee Herman and his trek to find his lost bicycle. Best scene: A ghostly trucker picks up a hitchhiking Pee Wee.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005): After alien pal Ford Prefect rescues him from a soon-to-be destroyed planet, Arthur Dent and his new friends travel the galaxy in this science-fiction comedy adapted from the popular book.