Top 50 Road Trip Movies By Distance Travelled

The longest distance travelled in a single continuous journey in film is Forrest Gump’s epic trans-continental jog. InsureandGo studied over 300 of fictional cinema’s on-screen journeys – by plane, car, train, foot or otherwise – calculating distances in miles. It found Gump’s cross country run across America and back again took the record with an unbelievable 15,248 miles.

On-screen journeys have been a staple of Hollywood film narrative since cinema’s early days. Travel is a great discovery tool and as such filmmakers and screenwriters have mined the theme for physical and metaphorical drama.

Travel insurance provider InsureandGo studied over 300 on-screen journeys – by plane, car, train or otherwise – calculating distances in miles. The results make for interesting reading, not least because the longest screen journey was not by plane, as you might expect, but by foot.

You might think a film like Life of Pi would take the top spot. But that epic journey could only manage 2nd place. In a new study from travel insurance InsureandGo, Forrest Gump’s trans-continental run, visiting America’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts three times, covered an impressive 15,248 miles, trumping Life of Pi’s boat voyage by nearly 5,000 more miles.

Gump’s journey – made more impressive by virtue of being on foot – beat Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’s 8,000-mile plane flight, and the 6,000 miles ridden in The Motorcycle Diaries.

Surely Planes, Trains and Automobiles ranked highly too, I hear you cry. As it turns out, no it doesn’t. The film, which sees Steve Martin and John Candy journey across a portion of the USA in order to get home for Thanksgiving, was only the 46th longest distance travelled in a fiction film.

Del Griffith, John Candy, Planes Trains and Automobiles, 1980s Comedy Film Characters - Top 10 Films

Other notable journeys in film include Walk In The Woods based on Bill Bryson’s book (at 50 with 2,200 miles), National lampoon’s Vacation (at 41 with 2,571 miles), and Screwball comedy Cannonball Run (at 28 with 2,886 miles).

Rain Man was at 16 (4,383 miles), Into The Wild at 8 with 5,787 miles, and Almost Famous came in at 6 with 5,847 miles.

Conversely, action film The Driver ironically travels just 3.4 miles in total while very few miles are actually covered in Mad Max 2 despite cars being such a focus of the story.

The study, carried out by InsureandGo, looked at over 300 movies from the 1930s to present day, where miles travelled, mode of transport and locations visited were all recorded. 378,244 miles were recorded in total using eight different modes of transport.

You can see the top 50 here.

Discover More:
Road Rage: Top 10 Films Featuring Terror On The Highway | Top 10 Car Chases of All Time | Top 10 Movie Bus Rides To Avoid | Top 10 Movie Train Rides To Avoid | Top 10 Two People Buddy Road Trip Films

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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  1. Avatar
    Mark Fraser Reply

    Can’t believe they missed Wenders’ Until the End of the World, which starts in Europe (Germany I think) and then takes the Trans Siberian Express to East Asia before ending up in central Australia. The protagonist (Solveig Dommartin) then gets to go to space. Strange omission.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      They should have been knocking on your door as consultant Mark! 🙂 Given you’re the author of our train, plane and boat journeys to avoid, you are the expert on these matters.

      I was reading through the list and thinking this must have been a mammoth task in itself just to analyse 300 films but given the theme I knew there would be a few notables that were overlooked.

  2. Avatar
    Rory Reply

    Good pick Mark. I have yet to come up with an alternative that could join the top 50. I briefly considered The Sugarland Express. But typing in the details into Google Maps reveals the journey from San Antonio to Sugarland is around 1,500 miles so would be outside the top 50.

  3. Avatar
    Callum Reply

    The Straight Story feels like an epic journey that could rival some of these… just not in distance travelled! 🙂

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