Best movies in the romantic travel genre

Mar 18 2012 - 6:32am

Love is always lovelier some place other than home. Well, at least in the celluloid universe.

Traveling by boat, train or even bus can lead to romantic entanglements in the movies, as does visiting uber-romantic locales such as Rome, Paris and Venice, Italy. Of course, these romances may not last, or they may even end tragically -- just think of poor Jack and Rose in "Titanic" -- but it doesn't matter. Movie audiences crave these idealistic, sexy trysts.

Here's a look at some of the best films in the romantic travel genre:

All aboard!

Trains are great locations for love and romance.

In 1932, hearts beat a little faster with Josef von Sternberg's lush romance "Shanghai Express," set in 1931 during the Chinese Civil War. The film was one of the more successful collaborations between Von Sternberg and his muse, Marlene Dietrich.

Even more erotic is Cary Grant's encounter with Eva Marie Saint on a train in Alfred Hitchcock's sophisticated and funny romantic thriller "North by Northwest." Hitchcock enjoyed trains in such films as 1938's "The Lady Vanishes" and 1951's "Strangers on a Train."

One doesn't think of "Out of Africa" as a train movie, but it is on a train that Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) meets the love of her life, the dashing Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) while traveling to meet her boorish husband at his Kenyan coffee plantation.

On a bus

A cramped, bumpy bus doesn't sound like the recipe for romance, but that's exactly what happens in the 1934 comedy classic "It Happened One Night." Claudette Colbert plays a runaway heiress who thinks traveling by bus will be the safest way to travel from Miami to New York. Clark Gable is a down-on-his-luck reporter who recognizes her at the bus station and decides to go along for the ride.

Location, location ...

Can't find love in the U.S.A.? Head to Rome, Venice or Paris, where -- at least in movies -- one will always find love and romance.

Audrey Hepburn became an overnight sensation in William Wyler's 1953 romance "Roman Holiday" as a bored princess who decides to slip away incognito while in Rome and finds love with American newspaper reporter Gregory Peck.

The other Hepburn -- Katharine -- earned an Oscar nomination for 1955's "Summertime," David Lean's sumptuous romantic drama set in Venice based on Arthur Laurents' play "The Time of the Cuckoo." Hepburn plays a middle-aged single secretary who goes to the Italian city for her first vacation abroad and ends up falling in love.

Though Woody Allen has long been considered the quintessential New York director, his recent movies have been set in London, Barcelona, Spain and Paris. The City of Light has given the 76-year-old filmmaker one of the biggest hits of his long career with 2011's acclaimed "Midnight in Paris." Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter and Rachel McAdams is his fiancee, who have two vastly different experiences when they travel to Paris.

Bright lights of Tokyo

Bill Murray gives a funny and heartfelt performance in 2003's quirky "Lost in Translation." Murray's Bob Harris is in Tokyo to do a whiskey commercial for which he'll earn $2 million. Though he's been long married, Bob is having marital issues and is alone at a swank hotel in Tokyo. But he's not alone for long when he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson).

Food and Bardem

Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir "Eat, Pray, Love" has a huge following. But the 2010 film based on her memoir doesn't exactly come together. What does work are the exotic locales and Javier Bardem in a romantic role. Julia Roberts plays Gilbert, a recent divorcee who decides to go on a journey of self-discovery.

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