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Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life 

Ranker Film
Updated November 5, 2019 334 votes 68 voters 4.9k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite films about people who are drifting from place to place with no clear direction.

You never know where you'll end up when you follow a drifter on film. The top movies about drifter characters feature free spirits going wherever the wind may take them and enjoying life in the moment. This is a list of the greatest movies about drifters, including everything from Lost in Translation to The Place Beyond the Pines to The Master.

What films will you find on this list of the best drifter character movies? In Easy Rider, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star as a pair of bikers traveling through the South and meeting a lot of interesting people along this way. Before Sunrise is another great movie about drifter characters. A folk singer struggling to make it in the music business is at the center of the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis. Other good films featured on this list include My Own Private Idaho, Mud, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

It's up to you to decide which of these movies about tramps deserves the top spot on the list. Vote your personal picks up to number one, and please add any great movies that are missing.

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1
Easy Rider is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Easy Rider Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
2
High Plains Drifter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, John Hillerman

Released: 1973

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

High Plains Drifter is a 1973 American film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, written by Ernest Tidyman, and produced by Robert Daley for The Malpaso Company and Universal Studios. ...more

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3
Before Sunrise is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg

Released: 1995

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Before Sunrise is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse, a young American man, and Céline, a ...more

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4
Inside Llewyn Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Inside Llewyn Davis is a 2013 American comedy-drama film edited, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was produced by Scott Rudin, Ethan and Joel Coen. Set in 1961, the film stars ...more

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5
Paris, Texas is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Nastassja Kinski, Sam Shepard, Dean Stockwell

Released: 1984

Directed by: Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas is a 1984 drama film directed by Wim Wenders and starring Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, and Hunter Carson. The screenplay was written by L.M. Kit Carson and ...more

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6
The Master is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Released: 2012

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

The Master is a 2012 American drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. It tells the story of ...more
7
Badlands is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek

Released: 1973

Directed by: Terrence Malick

Badlands is a 1973 American film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Warren Oates and Ramon Bieri are also featured. Malick has a small speaking ...more

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8
Lost in Translation is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Anna Faris

Released: 2003

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It stars Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, and Fumihiro Hayashi. The ...more

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9
Mud is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Paulson

Released: 2012

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Mud is a 2012 American drama film directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, and Reese Witherspoon. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film

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10
The Place Beyond the Pin... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling

Released: 2012

Directed by: Derek Cianfrance

The Place Beyond the Pines is a 2012 drama film directed by Derek Cianfrance. In 1997, Luke Glanton (Gosling) is a motorcycle stuntman. In Schenectady, New York, Luke reunites with his ex-lover ...more
11
Five Easy Pieces is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Sally Struthers

Released: 1970

Directed by: Bob Rafelson

Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, with Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite, ...more

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12
My Own Private Idaho is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Keanu Reeves, Jim Caviezel, River Phoenix

Released: 1991

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

My Own Private Idaho is a 1991 American independent drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant, loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V, and starring ...more

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13
Dead Man is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Johnny Depp, Steve Buscemi, John Hurt

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

This film is a 1995 American Western film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It stars Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, John Hurt, Michael Wincott, Lance ...more

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14
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb

Released: 2002

Directed by: Alexander Payne

About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. It is very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis ...more

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15
The Station Agent is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Michelle Williams, Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 2003

Directed by: Thomas McCarthy

The Station Agent is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. McCarthy's script about a man who seeks solitude in an abandoned train station in the Newfoundland ...more

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16
Even Cowgirls Get the Bl... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Uma Thurman, Heather Graham, Keanu Reeves

Released: 1994

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a 1993 American comedy-drama-romance film based on Tom Robbins' 1976 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant and starred an ensemble cast led ...more

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17
Wendy and Lucy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Michelle Williams, Will Oldham, Will Patton

Released: 2008

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

"The degree to which Wendy and Lucy slowly-but-surely grows on the viewer is nothing short of astounding, as the movie suffers from an opening half hour that's almost mind-numbing in its ...more
18
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst

Released: 2012

Directed by: Walter Salles, Sam Riley

On the Road is a 2012 adventure drama film directed by Walter Salles. It is an adaptation of the 1957 novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Garrett ...more
19
Frances Ha is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen

Released: 2012

Directed by: Noah Baumbach

Frances Ha is a 2013 American comedy-drama film directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. Gerwig also plays the title role. The film premiered at the Telluride Film ...more

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20
Cardboard Boxer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life
Cardboard Boxer Thomas Haden Church, Terrence Howard, Boyd Holbrook

Directed by: Knate Gwaltney