Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip

Watch Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip

"American History"
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 8.0  (587)

Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip is a documentary film released in 2003, directed by Ken Burns and written by Dayton Duncan. The film is narrated by Keith David, while Tom Hanks portrays Horatio Nelson Jackson, the main character on this incredible journey. The film tells the story of how a man named Horatio Nelson Jackson embarked on a journey to drive from San Francisco to New York City in 1903, something that had never been done before. The journey was arduous and dangerous, as Jackson and his co-driver Sewall K. Crocker drove across rough and often unmapped terrain in an open-top, 20-horsepower car that they had bought on a whim.

The documentary follows Jackson's journey from start to finish, from financing the trip to recruiting Crocker to join him. We see how the two men tackled the challenges of the road, and how they navigated through a landscape that was largely uncharted at the time. Along the way, they encountered all manner of obstacles, from snowdrifts to muddy roads, and even got lost in the wilderness at one point. But through it all, Jackson's indomitable spirit kept him going forward.

The film also provides an interesting look at the United States at the turn of the century, a time of great change and modernization. The country was still largely rural, with many of its roads little more than dirt tracks. The concept of long-distance driving was still very new, and there were few gas stations or repair shops along the way. This meant that Jackson and Crocker had to bring along a makeshift repair kit and a set of spare tires, just in case.

But even as they faced these challenges, Jackson and Crocker encountered a spirit of welcoming hospitality from the people they met along the way. They made friends with cowboys, Native Americans, and even a man claiming to be the outlaw Jesse James. They were cheered on by crowds of spectators in towns and cities along their route, who were captivated by the spectacle of two men driving cross-country in a car.

Adam Arkin provides valuable narration throughout the film, offering insights into the historical context of Jackson's journey and the wider cultural significance of the car as a new technology. He also introduces viewers to the many colorful people that Jackson and Crocker met on their journey, adding depth and texture to the story of their adventure.

Overall, Horatio's Drive is a fascinating and entertaining documentary that sheds new light on an important moment in American history. It celebrates the pioneering spirit that helped to make the country what it is today, and offers a glimpse into the past that is both informative and engaging. Anyone with an interest in history, travel, or technology is sure to find something to enjoy in this charming film.

Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip
Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (587)