11 Fugitive Romances to Prepare You for 'Mud'

Grab the kids and go on the lam from the law with these classics about breaking in and hiding out.

11 fugitive romances to get you in the mood for Mud
11 fugitive romances to get you in the mood for Mud
Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon star in the upcoming dramatic thriller Mud from Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols. Already a favorite on the festival circuit, this edgy adventure follows two teenage boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who discover a fugitive from the law named Mud (McConaughey) hiding out on a small island in the Mississippi. Mud mesmerizes the youngsters with his fantastic yarn about the man he killed in Texas, and the bounty hunters that are now hot on his trail. The two boys soon learn that Mud plans to meet with his former lover, Juniper (Witherspoon), and escape into the sunset. While skeptical, Ellis and Neckbone decide to help the killer meet up with Juniper, only to find themselves trapped in a dangerous and deadly struggle for survival. In the end, its love that saves the day.

In theaters April 26, we've culled together 11 awesome movies that will get you in the mood for Mud. Check out these titles, which combine fugitives, adventurous kids, bounty hunters, and the eternal search for love in no particular order.

1Kalifornia (1993)

Kalifornia

Young love never looked this muddy. In his first truly gritty role, heartthrob Brad Pitt broke free from his Tiger Beat image with this thriller about a young killer jumping parole to be with his equally dangerous true love, real-life girlfriend at the time, Juliette Lewis. Hoping to escape the clutches of the law, the pair decides to pose as a 'normal' couple looking for a free and breezy road trip. They tag team with a writer and a photographer (Michelle Forbes and David Duchovny) who are traversing America to visit the various landmarks of our most famous serial killers with the hopes of writing a novel. This quartet are bound (and gagged) for California, and along stretches of asphalt as bleak as a cold gray sky, the two yuppie artists soon find themselves in the midst of their own infamous murder spree. Bodies pile up as they all make their way down the interstate, but when that moment of truth finally comes for this mismatched pair of lovers, its that special kind of fugitive love the rules the day and wins the ultimate prize.

2Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma & Louise

There's nothing quite like the romance between two middle age women finally finding freedom from their desparate and desolate domestic lifestyles. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis play the iconic title couple in this classic fugitives on the run story that finally gave the world a strong pair of female heroes we could all root for. These two working class best friends are fleeing from their faded married lives for a weekend getaway that goes completely awry when one of them kills a rapist. They are soon zooming across the desert with the cops hot on their tail. Harvey Keitel plays a police officer that becomes sympathetic to their plight, but that doesn't stop him from chasing them right off the edge of the Grand Canyon. Thelma & Louise ends with one of the all-time greatest shots in cinema. And even though we can imagine that the pair didn't live through the wreckage of their final stunt, we know that they found true freedom in a death they didn't deserve.

3O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001)

O Brother Where Art Thou?

Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney) is a tried and true mud-covered fugitive on the run, looking to reconnect with his wife. From the Coen Brothers, this epic road trip takes on shades of Homer's The Odyssey as three chain-gangers in the deep South set off in search $1.2 million dollars. Things take a turn for the weird when they encounter gangster Baby Face Nelson, a trio of deadly Sirens, the Klu Klux Klan, and eventually record a hit record that sweeps through Mississippi. None of this matters though, because Everett's wife has shacked up with a "bonafide" gentleman, and has been telling everyone in town that her first husband died in a train wreck. The trio soon find themselves embroiled in a political plot, and are swept away in a great flood, thus proving that not all fugitive romances end on a high note.

4Natural Born Killers (1994)

Natural Born Killers

Forget Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma & Louise. There is no greater fugitive love story than that between Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) in this blazing hot expose on reality TV and the celebration of serial killing from the demented, peyote soaked minds of director Oliver Stone and writer Quentin Tarantino. A cultural satire ahead of its time, this frenetic, bloody bit of violence follows two mass murderers as they make their way across a harsh American landscape earmarked by childhood abuse and a torrid teenage love affair. Mickey and Mallory are united by their desire to kill, setting off on a spree that captures much media attention. On their way to becoming tabloid sensations, the pair are locked away in prison. But a high profile interview during the Super Bowl stages the way for an epic and extreme jailbreak that eventually sees our two lovebirds back together and making babies in the back of a Winnebago on their way to solidifying the American dream. It's an opera of violence that has yet to be matched thirty years after its initial release.

5The Fugitive (1993)

The Fugitive

Another ill-fated fugitive romance is that between Dr. Richard Kimble and his murdered wife. The mother of all fugitive movies, this 1993 box office smash hit pits Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in the ultimate game of cat and mouse. Dr. Richard Kimble's frustrating and intensive search for the man with one arm is based on a 1960s TV series, and its one of the few shows to ever make that perfect transition from the boob tube to the big screen. Kimble is an esteemed physician who arrives home late one night to find his wife slaughtered in cold blood. Tried and convicted, Kimble makes his big escape while being transported to the prison by bus in one of the most thrilling action scenes every captured on film. Surviving the crash, the innocent doctor goes on the lam and is relentlessly pursued by U.S. marshal Sam Gerard. Filled with plenty of shocking twists and turns, the second half of the film is stuffed to the brim with surprises that will likely knock any first time viewer for a loop. If you're ever forced to go on the run, it might be best to sit down and watch The Fugitive before making any further decisions.

6Little Fugitive (1953)

Little Fugitive

Dr. Richard Kimble can't have all the fun, can he? This kid version of the same idea is no mere piece of Saturday afternoon fluff. Though it deals with two young boys not yet into their teens, this charming and edgy drama will appeal to adults probably more so then children. And it serves as a black and white time machine that will whisk you directly back to the glory days of Coney Island. Joey is a 7-year-old Brooklynite left in the care of his 12-year-old brother when their mother must make an impromptu business trip (is she a hooker?). Without a father to guide them in life, Lennie has taken it upon himself to be the man of the house, but his childhood needs soon take over, and he decided to ditch his little bro with a cruel practical joke. Playing ball with some of the other kids in the neighborhood, Lennie fakes his own death, convincing Joey that he is the murderer. With his brother dead and mother nowhere to be seen, Joey gathers up all the cash left for their weekend alone and hightails it to Coney Island to live out the remainder of his days as a little fugitive. He blows through his savings quickly, gorging on corndogs and funnel cakes, and carnival rides. Soon, he is collecting bottles on the beach and living as a true yeg. Back home, Lennie is living the good life, free from the hassles of having to content with a younger brother. But when he learns his mother is coming home early, Lennie must hightail it down to Coney Island and collect his brother, who has devoted himself to caring for a stable of ponies. This rough and tumble look at growing up is a perfect precursor to the loving relationship between Ellis and Neckbone in Mud, proving that not all romances are about the love between a man and a women, but can also encompass the misunderstood love between two brothers.

7Desperate Living (1977)

Desperate Living

Thelma & Louise aren't the only two women in love on this list, only this time, we're dealing with a truly unique pair of bawdy broads. The only thing filthier than muddy waters is John Waters, and the maestro of raunch was at the height of his game when he set out to make the 'fugitives on the run' comedy of the grotesque Desperate Living. Not all criminal romances end in a blaze of glory, as Peggy Gravel discovers. This mad housewife kills her husband in a fit of rage, and is forced to go on the run with her rotund maid Grizelda. After being molested by a cross-dressing cop with gingivitis, the pair takes refuge in the shantytown of Mortville, which serves as a hideout for some of the world's worst criminals. There, they find a Queen in danger of losing her throne, and must help carry out a plot to infect this town of lowlifes with rabies. Filled with offensive scenes too shocking to believe, this piece of gross-out cinema is a crime against nature itself, and marked John Waters' never-wavering reputation as the King of Trash. It's a truly muddy affair that will make you desperate for a hot bath afterwards.

88 On the Lam (1967)

8 On the Lam

If your brain is jelly from watching the back-to-back depravity of a Natural Born Killers/Desperate Living double feature, head back to a simpler time when Bob Hope and Jonathan Winters were kings, and comedy was lighthearted and fun. This family romp from 1967 stars Hope as a lowly widower with 8 kids and a mounting pile of debt who finds $10,000 in cash floating around an abandoned parking lot. Before he can even take his starving family out for a nice Chinese buffet-style dinner, the cops come gunning for our innocent hero, forcing this misguided fugitive into hiding with his large brood. Phyllis Diller is Hope's babysitter who comes along for the ride, and proves to be very useful in keeping her dim-witted boyfriend cop (Winters) from being the one to bring the unfairly accused criminal to justice. With a wild manhunt pressing down on their father, the eight kids set out to restore their family's good name and clear pop's newfound criminal record. Do they ever get that Chinese dinner? You'll have to stay tuned to the very end to find out! There's nothing stronger than the loving bond between a close knit family.

9The Perfect Host (2011)

The Perfect Host

As millions of Instagram pictures prove, nothing comes between a man and his love for a good meal. This chilling thriller finds David Hyde Pierce delivering one of his most delicious and deceptive performances to date. The former Frasier star plays a perfectionist with a penchant for throwing lavish dinner parties. In the midst of preparing an immaculate duck and wine feast, his timing is thrown off by an early ring at the doorbell. Career criminal John Talyor has just robbed a Los Angeles bank, and needs to get off the streets fast. Posing as a friend of a friend, he convinces Warwick Wilson to break his cardinal rule, allowing an early guest to the table. John claims to have been mugged, with all of his luggage and ID stolen. While they wait for the other guests to arrive, conversation begins to flow as freely as the Chardonnay, and we learn that appearances can be very deceptive. This keen psychological thriller turns on the twists, pulling the skin back to expose how far people will go to satisfy their own needs. The Perfect Host is the perfect essay on how to deal with an unwanted fugitive that plans to ruin your lavish supper with close friends. Hey, its the only thing Warwick has.

10Three Fugitives (1989)

Three Fugitives

Another film that perfectly blends kids and fugitives, and the power of love is the Disney comedy Three Fugitives, which has one of the funniest bank robbery scenes in heist history, and also remains one of Martin Short's best movies. Based on a French film of the same name, Short stars as the father of a special needs child. He decides to take on a life of crime with the hopes of paying off his daughter's private school bill, but a well-planned bank hold-up goes horribly wrong. Ned finds himself in need of a hostage, and pulls the wrong guy when he puts a gun to the head of Lucas, played by Nick Nolte, a former convict fresh out of the pen and looking to start a new life. Seeing Ned and Lucas pull away from the scene of the crime, cops of course believe that Lucas is the true suspect, which forces this unlikely duo into hiding. Ned's daughter Meg, who has been mute since birth, finds herself drawn to Lucas' gruff demeanor, and the trio end up becoming more than partners in crime, they become a family.

11Shoeshine (1947)

Shoeshine

When you take the adult out of the equation, you're left with just two kids. And without the proper role model to steer them in the right direction, those kids will eventually become criminals themselves. This classic in the Italian neorealist movement follows two young orphaned boys who make their way though life shining shoes on the streets. They truly love each other as the best of friends. And their dream is to someday own a pony (were they 1947's answer to the Brony movement?). They see that chance materialize when they are asked to deliver black market goods to a fortune teller. While they earn enough money to buy a beautiful white horse, their good fortune doesn't last for long. The two boys are fingered and sent away to an overcrowded boys prison, where they are soon separated and forced to live a harsh life behind bars all on their own. This doesn't have a happy ending like Little Fugitive, with the cold, harsh reality of crime and punishment ripping our heroes' childhoods away forever!

Mud was released April 26th, 2013 and stars Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon. The film is directed by Jeff Nichols.


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Comments (4)

  1. CelluloidDreams

    Great fun list...esp "Kalifornia"!

    2 years agoby @2movieguysFlag

  2. thedude-abides

    @bawnian-dexeus Lol. Yeah, with a bunch of movies nobody's ever heard of, lol.

    2 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  3. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    @thedude-abides Did your screen get flooded with Mud advertisement? Mine just did

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag