9 of the worst road movie clichés

The road movie. Tales of epic adventures and crazy journeys across the wilderness by any means necessary. The road movie is the ultimate portrayal of freedom, escaping the grind and life on the open highway. That’s probably why we love them so much. There isn’t much better than being stuck inside a car with your friends and family for hours on end, right?

So fill the tank and wind down the window – here are 9 of the most overused cliches in the genre.

1. The hitchhiker

Being the decent folk they are, our would-be adventurers are quite happy to give a fellow traveller a lift. But that crossing of paths is usually something one side will end up regretting.

2. Wrecked

Any mode of transport is bound to get totaled at some point along the trip. Be it bridges, canyons, trees or fire – something will force a stop-off at a shady junkyard for repairs.

Thelma  Louise

3. Taking a wrong turn

Packing Maps or Sat Navs instead of extra beer is one of the greatest sins of any road trip preparation. Of course, extra beer never tells you the right way to go, so more often than not we’ll be driving off in the complete opposite direction.

4. Out of cash

The gang is going to lose all their gear somehow; fiery inferno, sinister repairmen or casino jaunts are just some of the usual suspects.

Road Trip

5. No one left behind…or not

“Hang on…where’s *insert name here*?”.

Leaving one member of the team behind whilst they were in the bathroom is the staple mid-point of any road trip film. It’ll be a few miles down the road before anyone notices there’s now only three in a four seater van.

Little Miss Sunshine

6. Freedom

Ah, the open road: no ties, no conformity. The road movie is the ultimate signifier of freedom, and that is all summed up by sticking a hand/face out of the window and feeling that cool breeze.


7. Under the influence

With a bootfull of beer there will always be a point where our drivers think they can get away with driving under the influence. Of course, this handily coincides with the previous mentioned trope of wrecking the car in ridiculous fashion.

8. I am the law

With all that drink-driving, it isn’t long before the long hand of the law finds our frontiersmen, and the roadies will spend the night bunking down with a 6’5ft inmate in the local sheriff’s office.


9. Realisation

Upon reaching the destination, it’s time for a moment of reflection and realisation. In true cliched-style, it is not the destination but the memories we have made on the way that counts for everything. Ah.

Little Miss Sunshine

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