25 Movies All Adventure Fanatics Should Watch
For adventurers like us, there’s simply nothing better than going out into nature doing what we love. Whether that be in the form of hiking, road trips, camping, rock climbing, surfing, hunting, or anything in between, nothing compares to the thrill and joy of outdoor adventure.
The universe seems to have different plans for us sometimes. Inclement weather, pandemic lockdowns, or off-season months never fail to throw a monkey wrench into our well-planned getaways.
So, what’s there to do when you’re all hyped up for adventure but you can’t go out?
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Making the Most Out of an Indoor Day
If for whatever reason, I can’t be outside adventuring, I’ll go for the next best thing…
Enjoying the feeling of adventure by watching someone else doing what I want to do, usually through a movie or two.
Below I’ve listed down just some of the best go-to films/documentaries for outdoor adventurers stuck at home.
In no particular order:
1. Edie (2017)
Edie is a touching 2017 British drama film about a bitter, gruff woman in her eighties.
With her husband dead and the relationship between her and her daughter becoming more strained, Edie feels like it’s the beginning of the end for her. With her daughter recommending a retirement home for her, she decides to finally go do the trip her father planned for them: climbing Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands.
2. A Walk in the Woods (2015)
A Walk in the Woods is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the excellent book of the same name by Bill Bryson.
The film follows the tale of unlikely duo Bill Bryson and Stephen Katz as they attempt to walk the Appalachian trail with minimal experience. Of course, nothing on the journey ever goes as planned. The film truly captures the thru-hiking experience between friends who find out what they can do when they dig deep and push themselves to the edge.
3. Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Unless you’ve never heard of Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey before, odds are you know about the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber.
In my opinion, it’s obviously dumb, but is actually a fairly decent road trip movie. It follows the story of Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas who, after finding a briefcase full of money which they thought was abandoned by accident, set out on a cross-country trip to Aspen, Colorado, to return it to its rightful owner, not knowing that it was actually left as ransom money.
4. Logan (2017)
Superhero movies have been all the rage as of late and you can usually predict the plot as you watch on. The same can’t be said about the 2017 film Logan, though, as this is one definitely unique superhero film.
It’s basically a western and a road movie as three individuals representing the past, present, and future of mutant-kind try to evade capture as they journey to find a rumored mutant refuge. Of course, with Wolverine in this flick and with an R-rating, that journey will never be without violence, both good and bad.
5. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
During the mid-nineteenth century, Jeremiah Johnson, after a stint in the US Army, decides that he would prefer a life of solitude and more importantly peace by living with nature in the mountains of the frontier of the American west.
This plan entails finding a piece of land upon which to build a house. This quest ends up being not quite what he envisioned as he does require the assistance of others to find his footing, and in turn, he amasses friends and acquaintances along the way, some who become more a part of his life than he would have imagined.
6. RV AKA Runaway Vacation (2006)
RV (also known as Runaway Vacation) is a 2006 road comedy film starring Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines.
Considered a camping classic, this film tells the story of a family going on a Hawaiian getaway. Except that the father is actually taking them on a cross-country trip to Colorado after his boss sends him on a business trip there. He decides to take the family there in an RV without telling them about his business trip.
7. Meru (2015)
Meru is a 2015 film documenting the first ascent of the 21,000 ft “Shark’s Fin” route on Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayas.
This documentary chronicles the 2008 and 2011 attempts to climb the Shark’s Fin by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk. The film is a story of both the glory and pain of alpine climbing and first ascents and what inner demons the team had to face to triumph over impossible odds.
8. Free Solo (2018)
Free Solo is a 2018 American documentary film chronicling rock climber Alex Honnold’s quest to free solo climb the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in June 2017.
This film depicts Honnold’s dedication to rock climbing, treating it more as a lifestyle than just a sport. However, together with this addiction to achieve human perfection is the looming shadow of an agonizing relationship which threatens to shake Honnold’s resolve.
9. The Endless Summer (1966)
Certainly the definition of a surfing movie classic, The Endless Summer is a film that no doubt has influenced people around the world to try surfing.
This film is a 1966 American surf documentary film about two longboarders, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world in search of the endless summer. They meet several characters along the way, some of who have never even seen a surfboard before.
10. Chasing Mavericks (2012)
Chasing Mavericks is a 2012 American biographical drama film about the life of American surfer Jay Moriarity.
Jay Moriarity, as an 8-year old, was saved by his next-door neighbor, Frosty Hesson. As a young surfer with an absentee father, Moriarty finds a father figure in Hesson who ignites his passion for the sport and teaches him the character to ride the giant waves.
11. Dances with Wolves (1990)
Dances with Wolves certainly belongs up there with the best films of all time, and it does as it was one of the few westerns to win an academy award.
This 1990 American epic Western film was adapted from the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake. The film tells the tale of Union Army Lieutenant John J. Dunbar who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and how he develops a relationship with a group of Lakota. Blake becomes attracted to the Lakotas’ simpler lifestyle and chooses to leave his former life behind to be with them, all while the looming threat of the civil war slowly catches up to him.
12. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
The Ghost and the Darkness is a 1996 American historical adventure film depicting the fictionalized account of a pair of male lions, called the Tsavo man-eaters, that terrorized workers in and around Tsavo, Kenya during the building of the Uganda-Mombasa Railway in East Africa in 1898.
While fictionalized, the film is based on real-life events that saw two lions killing 120 workers before being dispatched by a British engineer, John Henry Patterson, and a big-game hunter, Frederick Remington.
13. The Moment (2017)
The Moment is a film about the origin of freeride mountain biking. In the backwoods of British Columbia, Canada, three small but dedicated crews of adventure seekers quietly change the course of cycling and carve their paths in history, all while being unknown to each other and the cycling world.
14. The Revenant (2015)
A thrilling tale of survival set in the brutal wilderness of 19th century America, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
15. Into the Wild (2007)
Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, who abandons his comfortable life to live in the Alaskan wilderness, directed by Sean Penn.
16. 127 Hours (2010)
A true story of Aron Ralston’s harrowing experience of being trapped in a canyon with his arm pinned by a boulder and how he finally got out, starring James Franco.
17. Wild (2014)
Based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after experiencing personal tragedy, starring Reese Witherspoon.
18. The Way (2010)
A father travels to France to collect the body of his estranged son who died while walking the Camino de Santiago, and decides to complete the pilgrimage himself, starring Martin Sheen.
19. Touching the Void (2003)
The true story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates’ perilous climb of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, and the disastrous events that follow.
20. Everest (2015)
Based on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, a group of climbers on a guided expedition face numerous obstacles and setbacks as they attempt to summit the mountain.
21. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
A whimsical adventure about a daydreamer who embarks on a journey to find a missing photo negative, starring Ben Stiller.
22. The Way Back (2010)
A group of prisoners escape from a Soviet Gulag in Siberia and trek 4,000 miles to freedom in India, starring Jim Sturgess and Colin Farrell.
23. Tracks (2013)
Based on Robyn Davidson’s memoir, a woman treks 1,700 miles across the Australian Outback with four camels and her dog.
24. The Edge (1997)
A survival thriller about a group of men stranded in the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash, starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.
25. The River Wild (1994)
A white-water rafting trip down a dangerous river becomes a fight for survival when a family is threatened by two criminals, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon.
MORE ADVENTURE RELATED READING:
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To your next adventure!