Great travel movies transport us to places we've never been and open our eyes to new worlds we know little about. Movies that combine plot, action, great acting, and awe-inspiring scenery tend to linger in our memory. One day, we may suddenly have a great urge to see Africa, or the Arabian desert, or perhaps the Russian steppes. And more often than not, that desire germinated in the movies. These are among the most beautiful movies ever shot on location.
This biography of T.E. Lawrence, a British Army lieutenant sent to Arabia, where he meets up with Bedouins and desert royalty, is distinguished by vast and sweeping backdrops that add drama and beauty to Lawrence of Arabia. Starring Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, and Anthony Quinn, this long (nearly four hours) film ranks no. 5 on the American Film Institute list of top 100 movies.
A dashing young Omar Sharif also stars in this exquisitely beautiful film. Although the movie was shot in Spain, its dazzling Russian snow scenes and spring-flower-filled fields that fill the screen. The story follows unforgettable characters through the Russian Revolution of 1917 all the way into the 1960s.
Frances Mayes' book has been made into a sunny and sophisticated movie that tells the story of a woman (played by the luminous Diane Lane) who leaves the great disappointments of home to travel to a new life as an independent woman in the beauty of Tuscany.
Yes, it was wildly CGI-enhanced but those distant vistas, forests, and snaking rivers still gave lovers of travel movies a wide window into the natural wonders of New Zealand.
Although Breakfast at Tiffany's is the classic New York City travel picture, When Harry Met Sally is the more contemporary one. From Central Park and the Upper West Side to Greenwich Village and Katz's Delicatessen, this is a movie to make people fall in love with New York.
Two young, back-packing Americans have a howling adventure on the moors of the British Isles.
The first great surfing movie, Endless Summer follows the practioners of this sport as they search for the big wave.
Audrey Hepburn (in an Oscar-winning performance) plays a princess on the lam in Rome, romanced by Gregory Peck.
This stylish, post-WW II thriller starring Orson Welles is set in Vienna.
Debra Winger, John Malkovich, and Campbell Scott play three American expats who soul-search their way through northern Africa with devastating consequences.