Top 10 films to watch before your USA trek

  • Travel Movies to watch before USA trip

Before your amazing trek across the USA, you'll want to get firmly into the mood, and nothing beats a great movie. Whether you'll be exhausting the Netflix collection or watching a few films on the plane there, there are some fantastic films, old and new, that will truly inspire you – here are 10 of our top picks.

1. Sex and the City

Where it's set: New York City, New York

What Trek is right for you: Atlantic BLT

You don't get a better NYC film than this. Based on the hugely popular HBO series, this movie continues to follow Carrie and her friends as they discuss life, love and...well, a lot of sex, in the bustling and thriving New York City. Yes, it's a guilty pleasure, but who doesn't want to see all those fabulous outfits, the shopping sprees and that wedding, all set against the backdrop of the Big Apple?

Sex and the City movie

If you like this, watch: Sex and the City 2, Going the Distance

See Atlantic BLT itinerary

 

2. The Avengers / The MCU universe

Where it's set: New York City, New York

What Trek is right for you: Freedom Trail

Another film that truly brings New York to life, Avengers Assemble is often regarded as one of the best superhero films of all time. As Loki tries to gain the unlimited power of the Tesseract, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye have to unite against all odds to save humanity. New York may blow into smithereens here, but with major landmarks such as Grand Central station and Park Avenue on show, what more do you need?

Marvel have also announced a huge line-up of films over the next few years, including Captain America facing up to Iron Man in Civil War in 2016, the third Avengers flick, and an untitled Spiderman in 2017; all of which are sure to further feature some of the USA's most iconic cities.

Avengers movie

If you like this, watch: Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Dark Knight

See Freedom Trail itinerary

 

3. Escape from Alcatraz

Where it's set: Alcatraz, San Francisco

What Trek is right for you: Westerner 2 BLT

Surely everyone's seen this classic at one point, but if you haven't and are heading to San Francisco, you may want to check it out. This 1979 drama is based on J Campbell Bruce's 1963 book of the same name, telling the tale of the famous 1962 prisoner escape from the maximum security prison. Starring Clint Eastwood and Danny Glover, this story is simply hard to believe – that is until you check out the hole in the cement wall for yourself when exploring the eerie Alcatraz!

Alcatraz Island

If you like this, watch: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile

See Westerner 2 BLT itinerary

 

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Where it's set: Las Vegas

What Trek is right for you: Canyon Adventure

While it may have been a box office failure, Fear and Loathing has since become a cult classic, and we think that no other film truly sums up what Vegas is all about. Starring Johnny Depp and Benecio del Toro, the tale follows two men as they drive to Vegas in a convertible stashed with drugs. As their journey becomes more and more trippy, they soon realise that their actions must face with severe consequences. An ultimate classic, but remember: don't do drugs kids.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


If you like this, watch: The Hangover, The Rum Diary

See Canyon Adventure itinerary

 

5. Good Will Hunting

Where it's set: Boston

What Trek is right for you: Northeastern BLT

Many locals will tell you that this is the ultimate Boston film, and it is easy to see why. Oscar winner, and often appearing on 'best film' lists, Good Will Hunting follows a maths genius who works as a cleaner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, only for him to realise his full potential. But the main star of the film is the city itself, as the leafy green spaces become a place for Matt Damon and Robin Williams to discuss life, love and everything in between.

Good Will Hunting

If you like this, watch: The Departed, A Beautiful Mind

See Northeastern BLT itinerary

 

6. Forrest Gump

Where it's set: Crosscountry USA / Alabama

What Trek is right for you: Southern Sun

Run Forrest Run! We've all heard those immortal words said, but they hold so much more meaning once you've actually watched this 145-minute epic. Spanning several decades, it tells the life of a slow-witted but good-hearted man from Alabama who lives through some of the most important 20th-century events. Following loss and heartbreak, he decides to take a three-year marathon across the USA, coast to coast, and you too can now follow his route, entering the heartland of true Americana! This movie is a perfect geography and history lesson before your trip!

There is a place on the side of the road as you are coming into Monument Valley from the Utah side where they have a sign that marks the spot of a famous movie scene where the infamous Forrest Gump supposedly ended his cross country run back in 1980.

Forrest Gump Monument Valley

If you like this, watch: Memories of Matsuko, Cast Away, Big Fish

There is a place on the side of the road as you are coming into Monument Valley from the Utah side where they have a sign that marks the spot of a famous movie scene where the infamous Forrest Gump supposedly ended his cross country run back in 1980. I remember the scene well. It's kind of fun to go out into the middle of the road and re-enact the scene and get a snapshot. If you're ever headed that way, be sure to watch for it - find it on Google Earth to know the approximate location.

See Southern Sun itinerary

 

7. Milk

Where it's set: San Francisco

What Trek is right for you: Westerner 3

Sean Penn, in arguably one of the most impressive performances of his career, plays Harvey Milk, an activist who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the USA. Chronicling his political life until his assassination, this feel-good and emotional film received critical acclaim and perfectly highlights how San Francisco was at the centre of the gay rights movement in the world. On your trip to San Fran, make sure you visit the historic Castro; a great spot for an always-fun and alternative night out.

San Francisco

If you like this, watch: The Normal Heart, Howl

See Westerner 3 itinerary

 

8. Sleepless in Seattle

Where it's set: Seattle / New York City

What Trek is right for you: Trailblazer

Many call this the 'original rom-com' and you'll get why as soon as you see it. Following the death of his wife, Tom Hanks' character moves to Seattle with his son, only to then fall in love with an already-engaged reporter played by Meg Ryan. Unsure of what will happen, she sends a letter to him asking to meet on the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day – what happens next? You'll have to watch and see!

Sleepless in Seattle

If you like this, watch: When Harry Met Sally, You've got Mail

See Trailblazer itinerary

 

9. Philadelphia

Where it's set: Philadelphia

What Trek is right for you: Big Eastern 

This powerful film give Tom Hanks his first Oscar, and it has since been dubbed a must-see iconic movie. When lawyer Andrew Beckett's homosexuality and HIV status is exposed at an influential law firm, he teams up with the only lawyer willing to help to sue to the company for discrimination. Set in the majestic and urban Philadelphia, the birthplace of the modern USA, the story is a cautionary tale of social injustice and a man's fight for equality.

Philadelphia Tom Hanks Denzel Washington

If you like this, watch: The Green Mile, Rent

See Big Eastern itinerary

 

10. Wild

Where it's set: Pacific Crest Trail, California

What Trek is right for you: Pacific Dream

Giving Reese Witherspoon another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, Wild tells the tale of a woman who leaves her home of Minneapolis,with plans of hiking the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail as a way of self-discovery and healing. As she journeys across the Californian state, she meets a variety of characters that teach her the power of forgiveness and self-love. You'll need a box of tissues for this one.

Wild

If you like this, watch: Into the Wild, 127 hours

See Pacific Dream itinerary

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