10 Best Movies About Introspective Journeys That Might Change Your Life

More than a simple road-trip, a journey is one that can move throughout spaces separate from our world. Many of the films below do aim for realism on rivers and routes but the majority aim for a more introspective look at the characters embarking on these voyages — rather than the places they are heading for. Magical landscapes, mysterious settings and often dangerous events punctuate the power of the 10 movies below, sometimes to genuinely wonderful effects. All of them are worth sticking on and taking a little trip with. Again, the 10 best introspective movies.

 

10. The Wizard of Oz

A classic to end all classics, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ continues to be a magical family adventure dripping with gorgeous designs and full of cinematic charm that exceed the limitations of being a film specifically made to share with younger audiences. Disney and Pixar have proved in recent years that their work can compete with and greatly exceed the best ‘adult’ movies of each respective year and I have to say even back in 1939 Wizard of Oz goes some way into facing off against ‘Gone With the Wind’. A fine example of a simple script with underlying intentions you don’t need to see to appreciate the winder appeal of the picture. Beautiful, enduring and just damn good fun.

 

9. Bonnie & Clyde

One of the most important films in the history of American cinema, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’s brutal violence and counter-cultural portrayal of criminals on the run was a spark that signalled the death of the Hayes Code- a rigid and restrictive system of movie censorship laws that were instated in 1930. As a direct result of this film, ‘New Hollywood’ began to be born and the American cinema renaissance of the 1970s began. Bonnie & Clyde itself is a fantastic portrayal of morally dubious protagonists featuring strong performances all around (notably by actor/producer Warren Beatty- who had a big hand in bringing such a controversial film to life) and a deservedly infamous ending sequence that takes cues from the ongoing French Nouvelle Vague in a scene that is both touchingly beautiful and utterly devastating.

 

8. Aguirre, Wrath of God

The movie that put Werner Herzog on the map- ‘Aguirre, Wrath of God’ came as a precursor to Francis Ford Coppola’s own tropical riverboat odyssey ‘Apocalypse Now’ and is quite honestly one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen. Herzog’s method often abstracts important events, leaving his audience just as confused as the bewildered company of Klaus Kinski’s titular conquistador- a man driven insane by greed, ambition and isolation. Very few pieces of work would ever match its unique level of odd intensity and creeping dread.

 

7. Letter Never Sent

Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov’s magnum opus, eclipsing even ‘The Cranes are Flying’ and ‘I am Cuba’- ‘Letter Never Sent’ is both tragic, terrifying and inescapably human in its portrait of four explorers lost in the Siberian wilderness after a forest-fire cuts their homeward journey short.  “Pure cinema” in an essence often lost, it tackles several scenes with Kalatozov’s characteristic distance of camera and colossal shooting style- incorporating vast landscapes that even in throwaway shots feel huge. As a result, despite their early contentment, the overpowering nature of Siberia begins to taint their experience until finally nature unleashes the most devastating attack in its arsenal and they are forced to confront a fear of its all-consuming vastness. Part of its intelligence is never directly making an environmental allegory- simply allowing its audience to make those connections if they see fit whilst being drawn into the dense, beautiful and dangerous world of the great north.

 

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick’s monolithic sci-fi has inspired countless others and gone on to be ranked by many as one of the greatest movies ever made- and it is its utter completeness that is perhaps most to thank for this near universal acclaim. Its journey begins the second you hit play- rather than Dave and HAL’s mission to Jupiter. From the dawn of mankind to our discovery of tools, dangerous dealings with forces beyond our control and eventual exploration “beyond the infinite” (realized magnificently in a still-impressive stargate sequence)- it’s a glorious piece of pure cinema. Loud, proud and ready to challenge with its intriguing ambiguity.

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