Along the way, the pair get into various scrapes and meet a number of colourful characters including morphine-addicted sage Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen) and eccentric political poet Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge). Their complicated and often tempestuous relationship with women is also a key feature and with the likes of Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and Amy Adams on board, it's fair to say that the film's casting director deserves a medal for managing to attract such a talented ensemble.
It was Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) that inspired Coppola to have another crack at adapting the book for the big screen, and although Salles has produced a mixed bag of films since his big 2004 hit, he's clearly more than capable of delivering the goods.
On The Road has all the trappings of being one of this year's must-see American indie hits, and if it's only half as inspiring and influential as Kerouac's novel, then anyone who is a stranger to the story is in for a treat.
The 65th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 16-27 May, 2012. For more of our Cannes 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.