Route 66 is an integral part of the United States' history, and because of this it has featured as the backdrop to countless works of art from novels to songs and, of course, film.
In fact, if it wasn't Bobby Troup's "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" that introduced you to Route 66, it may very well have been a piece of American cinema. Let's have a look at a few of the iconic moments Route 66 has spent in Hollywood's spotlight.
1. The Grapes of Wrath
This classic film saw Academy Awards for actress Jane Darwell and director John Ford, just as its source material – the novel by John Steinbeck won the National Book Award, the Pullitzer Prize for fiction, and was cited extensively in the author's Nobel prize reception.
Like the novel, the film depicts Route 66 during one of its most meaningful times – the Great Depression of the 1930s. A man, recently released from prison, finds his family impoverished by the Dust Bowl and together they must pilgrimage to California from Oklahoma in pursuit of a better life. Guess which road they followed. The journey is not without losses and the onus to keep the family together falls on the matriarch, Ma Joad.
This iconic story highlights the importance of Route 66 to the people of the United States back in '30s as a path toward opportunities and realising dreams.
2. Little Miss Sunshine
If you can't quite convince yourself to watch a movie from 1940, you can easily enjoy the themes of the Grapes of Wrath in this modern homage.
Though no such intent was expressed by directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, many online reviewers have pointed out the similarities between Grapes and 2006's Little Miss Sunshine. This movie sees a dysfunctional family travelling from Albuquerque to California so that the daughter, Olive, can compete in a beauty pageant for an impressive cash prize. Olive's mother Sheryl does her best to coordinate the collection of misfits until they reach the pageant.
There are clear similarities between characters in Grapes and Little Miss Sunshine. Spoilers ahead: there's the matriarch holding everyone together, the father figure who carries flyers promising wealth in California, a brother who barely speaks, and an elderly person whose body has to be smuggled across state lines.
That's right – Disney Pixar's Cars is an instant Route 66 classic.
But we haven't forgotten. That's why, when you tour with us along Route 66, you'll get to see the real-life inspiration behind the icons shown in Cars, including the car Tow Mater himself!
To find out more about witnessing the subject of these incredible movies, get in touch with us here at Route 66 Tours today.