One of my all-time favorite Audrey Hepburn movies — and the only one that earned her an Oscar win — Roman Holiday will steal your heart and spirit it away to the narrow streets of Italy's capital city. Hepburn plays a princess who, on the Roman leg of her European capitals tour, rebelliously sneaks away from her entourage and strikes off on her own. She falls asleep on a bench, however, and is discovered by an American reporter (Gregory Peck) who is thrilled that he can get the inside scoop on the runaway princess. A charming romance, of course, ensues. Rome often looks beautiful in the movies, and this film is no exception. Watching it makes me more fully understand the meaning of "roman-tic."
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National Lampoon's European Vacation
And for something completely on the other end of the spectrum, one of my favorite travel comedies is National Lampoon's European Vacation. The Griswold family has won themselves a grand tour of Europe, and in true National Lampoon's fashion, the trip is anything but smooth. From Clark (Chevy Chase) trying to drive on the "wrong" side of the road in London, to him single-handedly destroying Stonehedge, this movie is pure comedic entertainment. My favorite part is when Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) finds herself plastered on billboards across Italy wearing just a towel after the family's new video camera is stolen. Classic. I find myself compelled to watch this movie every time I am preparing for a long vacation.
Where do you bring your down-on-his-luck buddy when he needs to get away? "Vegas, baby, Vegas!" This movie features a much skinnier Vince Vaughn back when his sleaziness was funny and endearing. Vaughn plays Trent who harbors arrogant delusions regarding his power to attract the ladies. John Favreou plays his glum-faced friend Mike whose self-esteem is suffering after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend. In Vegas, the duo meet a couple "beautiful babies," though both girls end up cooing over Mike, the friend in need. And, of course, there is my favorite part when Mike swing dances with a lovely stranger (Heather Graham) to a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy song. The movie is a testament to the fun, healing powers of vacation (and swing dance).