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A road movie
is a film genre in which the main character or characters leave home to travel from place to place. They usually leave home to escape their current lives.
The genre has its roots in spoken and written tales of epic journeys, such as the Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...
and the Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...
. The road film is a standard plot employed by screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...
s. It is a type of bildungsroman
In literary criticism, bildungsroman or coming-of-age story is a literary genre which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood , and in which character change is thus extremely important...
, a story in which the hero changes, grows or improves over the course of the story.
The on-the-road plot was used at the birth of American cinema but blossomed in the years after World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, reflecting a boom in automobile production and the growth of youth culture. Even so, awareness of the "road picture" as a genre came only in the 1960s with Easy Rider
Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of achieving freedom...
and Bonnie and Clyde
The film was originally offered to François Truffaut, the best-known director of the New Wave movement, who made contributions to the script. He passed on the project to make Fahrenheit 451. The producers approached Jean-Luc Godard next...