Iconic Movie RVs

There are a lot of awesome road trip movies, but iconic RVs aren’t always the main player in a film, sometimes they’re just a supporting actor, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome.

Here are just a few RVs that deserve recognition for how awesome they are, without being the main player. 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

As Ian Malcom heads onto Site B, Isla Sorna, we get glorious interior and exterior shots of their convoy’s crown jewel a 1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm; outfitted in camo with floodlights, barred windows, and a bull bar up front this delightful bus is homebase for our wayward explorers, and the scene of impromptu dino leg surgery. 

Unfortunately, it meets a fiery demise at the hands (or rather, teeth) of a pair of parentally enraged tyrannosaurs and is sent off a cliff.  

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

A gem of a film, this half heist, half road trip helmed by Robert Rodriguez stars heartthrob George Clooney and foot fetishist Quentin Tarantino on screen as the Gecko Brothers who take a family of three hostage in their own 1978 Fleetwood Pace Arrow motorhome in a bid to sneak across the border into Mexico.

This gold hued RV even gets to ride into the sunset, or rather sunrise, before the end credits. No spoilers for the ending, but the road to hell is littered with surprises. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Much to Clark Griswold’s dismay, Cousin Eddie rolls in “on fumes” in his beat-up rust-bucket of a 1973 Ford Condor II. Iconic for all the right (and wrong) reasons, Eddie’s Condor can now be found as Christmas ornaments, and probably in an abandoned car lot in Nisku. 

This motorhome carries not only Eddie, but his family: sweet Catherine, silent (and possibly infectious) son Rocky, precocious daughter Ruby Sue, and of course the slobbering and lovable rottweiler Snots. All of whom partake in the continuing havoc of the Christmas season, including, but not limited to, abducting Clark’s cheapskate boss for a true Grinch’s heart grew three sizes moment (just with more SWAT members). 

Spaceballs (1987)

If Luke Skywalker thought the Millenium Falcon was “a hunk of junk” I can only imagine what he’d think of Lone Starr’s Eagle 5, a 1986 Winnebago Chieftain 33 with a couple of wings slapped on for aerodynamic purposes…in space…where there are no air currents…I’m sure it made sense at the time. This RV, err I mean ship, hosts a periscope, infrared scanner, and graffitied fire hydrant for Starr’s faithful and not at all creepy sidekick Barf. 

(Seriously, what were the writers smoking when they wrote this script…)

Independence Day (1996)

Somehow this is the second film on this list to have Jeff Goldblum amongst its cast…ANYWAY!

After Will Smith welcomes an alien to earth with a well deserved punch to its… face (?? I mean it’s an alien) a veritable armada of RVs crests the horizon in a triumphant bedlam. One of those RVs, a 1967 Winnebago Brave (apt name) and its friendly driver give Smith (and his creepy cargo) a lift to Area 51. So really, the true hero of this film is the Winnebago, you couldn’t shove an alien corpse into a Prius after all! 

Blues Brothers (1980) 

Chasing the titular Brothers are the police, neo-Nazis, and Good Ole Boys (a country band whose jimmies they twisted along the way) in their “direct from Nashville”, bull horn toting 1976 Fleetwood Southwind. But why is this RV so iconic you ask if it isn’t even driven by every dad’s favorite duo (you know there’s a Blues Brothers t-shirt someone in your pop’s wardrobe don’t lie), well that would be how Elwood got said RV off their tail, gluing the accelerator pedal and sending the Good Ole Boys for a dip to cool off.  

Fun note: getting a full body shot of this motorhome was extremely difficult to achieve, it feels like the art department wasn’t given enough credit for outfitting this guy so let’s send a little appreciation their way, eh?  

Paul (2011)

If there was ever an ode to the friend’s road trip, it’s Paul. The boys who brought you Shaun of the Dead, take on the extraterrestrial as they head from Britain to the USA for San Diego Comic Con – a geek’s Super Bowl – in a rented RV, hitting famous UFO sites while they’re there. 

Really, this movie is a love letter to the road trip, Pegg and Frost who worked double duty as both stars and script writers, even rented an RV and took a road trip of their own from Los Angeles to Denver to capture the right feel for the movie – and wrote a few scenes inspired by the trip too! However, their Beagle Traveler won’t be found on any lots used or new, it was created by production specifically for the film using a 1980s Winnebago for the exterior shots, and a Fleetwood Bounder for the interior.

Honourable Mention…

Scooby Doo (2002)

Name a more iconic hippy van, I’ll wait…

The Mystery Machine has graced our screens for over 5 decades, and since its first incarnation based on a 1978 LT 40 Van, it’s crossed from animation, to live action, to occasionally passing you on the QE2 (with varying authenticity). 

Not an RV per-say, we still have to put it on this list for a number of reasons. 1, we all know that Shaggy and Scooby were living in it on the beach in the 2002 movie, and 2, it was introduced to live action audiences in the same movie driven by THE Pamela Anderson. And for that, it wins all the awards. The hero car on screen is a 1972 Bedford CF, built by Vauxhaull in the U.K. But, if you feel like taking a gander yourself, the Volo Museum in Volo, Illinois actually owns a promotional Mystery Machine, but it’s built from a 1976 GMC not the Bedford used in the film. 

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