- In Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon (1991), Steve Martin's character, an action movie producer who experiences a revelation after being mugged, temporarily decides to make high-quality "life drama" movies, but soon returns to the action genre when he decides that violence is life and should be welcomed and watched. Martin's character recommends that his friend (played by Kevin Kline) check out Sullivan's Travels, as "movies are where we get our answers to life".
- O Brother, Where Art Thou by Sinclair Beckstein
In the airplane scene in Sullivan's Travels, the author of the book O Brother, Where Art Thou? is shown to be "Sinclair Beckstein", which is an amalgamation of the names of authors Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, and John Steinbeck, all of whom wrote socially conscious fiction. The title of Sullivan's unrealized dream project has resurfaced in several other works.
- A 1991 episode of The Simpsons, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", got its title from the film and features Homer's half-brother Herb, who goes from CEO of a major car manufacturer to a hobo.
- In the 1993 film Amos & Andrew, Samuel L. Jackson's character has won the Pulitzer Prize for a play called Yo Brother, Where Art Thou?
- A 1998 episode of Sliders titled "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" features main character Quinn Mallory finding his brother in a simplistic reality reminiscent of early colonial times.
- The Coen brothers' 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? borrows the title and has many plot similarities to Sullivan's Travels; on the special-edition DVD the Coens say the film is almost what Sullivan would have ended up making after Sullivan's Travels ends.