Just because we're spending more time indoors doesn't mean we can't enjoy the great outdoors right in our living rooms. We put together the most ambitious outdoor/adventure movie list of the year (if you ask us). No matter what streaming service you have, you'll be able to get your outdoor fix in one of these 57 movies!
The real-life story of Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, who is in a remote slot canyon in southern Utah when a dislodged boulder pins his right hand and wrist to the canyon wall. Left alone, trapped, with limited food and water, and no help coming, this is a harrowing tale (and was featured in our adventure book recommendation list!
We’re starting with one of the best movies on the list: Jeff Johnson retraces the iconic 1968 journey into Patagonia originally done by Doug Tompkins and Yvon Choulnard (who founded Patagonia).
Professional freeclimbers Alex Honnold and Hazel Findlay travel around Africa’s remarkable, death-defying climbing routes.
Robert Redford stars in this adventure movie about a man’s battle for survival against the elements on the open sea after his sailboat is impaled by a rogue shipping container.
Tom Hanks is stranded on an uninhabited island for four years with Wilson, his volleyball, and well - you know the rest.
Follow acclaimed National Geographic photographer James Balog as he brings time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
A young chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo’s life is forever changed after a bow-hunting trip in the Montana backcountry. After coming across the dry remains of a bear, Garcia uses his knife to remove a claw when he hits a 2400-volt power line hidden underneath the carcass — leaving him severely burned.
Sylvester Stallone is an ultimate mountain man that faces off against John Lithgow (you know, Lord Farquad in Shrek) in this R-rated thriller.
Colorado climber Craig DeMartino once took a 100-foot fall that took his right leg and left him with spinal injuries, but that hasn’t kept him from climbing - including the First Disabled and In-A-Day Ascent on El Cap. It’s only 24 minutes, but it’s intense and emotional.
Fred Beckey is one of the most prolific and influential climbers of all time, and this cinematic movie shows what’s possible when people set the bar high.
Jeremy Collins is an artist, father and climber that travels across the earth to find closure for his friend that dies in an avalanche and “see” his way up four new climbs. Combining hand-crafted animation with live action, you’ll be transported to Yosemite, China, the Vampire Spires, and Venezuela.
So bad it’s good. Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, and another man are stranded by a plane crash. They fight each other (and Bart the Bear) to survive!
Picture this: Clint Eastwood is an art history professor, professional assassin, and rad mountain climber tasked with tracking down a man in the Alps.
Remember the first book we recommended two weeks ago in our adventure book recommendation pos
t, Into Thin Air
? Well, if you like that book, you’ll either love or hate this movie (the author said the movie’s ’total bull’). Watch it to find out for yourself!
Director Dina Khreino interviews world-class mountain athletes, asking them what drives them to leave behind everyday comforts for high-risk mountain adventures. It’s brutally honest — and includes climbers Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, and Jimmy Chin.
Junior-high me was really into this documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a man that loves grizzly bears and wildlife preservation. He lived unarmed among grizzlies in Alaska for 13 summers, and his story is as interesting as it is gut-wrenching. Definitely don’t follow his actions, but this is a beautiful, powerful story.
A documentary about the village of Bakhtia, where 300 people live in the deep Siberian wilderness. This shares the incredible story of a remote community that also happen to be the happiest.
I absolutely love this movie, and it actually sparked a deep dive into books about nature, wilderness, and our relationship to it. This is the true story of Christopher McCandless, who walks out of his life (and family) and into the wild in search of adventure. Come for the wanderlust, stay for the rad Eddie Vedder soundtrack (just don’t repeat the story yourself).
Robert Redford is all over this list! Starring as a mountain man that leaves civilization behind to survive in isolated mountains.
Want to be transported to the desert? Get ready to spend nearly 4 hours with this movie - which also won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
This movie isn’t about outdoor ethics, it’s a drama that premiered at Sundance about an Iraq War veteran and his daughter that live off-grid in an Oregon park until they’re forced into traditional housing - and their journey home.
Laura Dekker was 14 years old when she attempted to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. This is a very rad movie, including a lot of her own footage from her two-masted ketch.
Cute? Yes. Morgan Freeman? Yes. This ultra-cute film shows the annual journey of emperor penguins in Antarctica.
Like Free Solo with Alex Honnold? Check out this movie also shot by Jimmy Chin joins Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk’s struggle to climb a big wall in the Himalaya’s facing nature’s harsh elements on impossible heights.
Five friends hike the John Muir Trail — 219 miles in 25 days. Watch this to fall in love with the High Sierra (if you haven’t already!).
Ken Burns is either wildly interesting or reminds you of long, quiet history classes from high school. But this one doesn’t disappoint! This six-episode series shares a TON of information about the parks and their advocates.
A Disney movie about a biologist that investigates whether or not wolves are as bad they’re made out to be.
Based off the best short novel I’ve ever read, this movie stars two brothers that rebel against their stern, religious father in the Montana wilderness. The story is semi-autobiographical of the writer Norman Maclean. More slow-motion shots of fly-fishing, please (it did win an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, after all).
A controversial story about on of the world’s best trad climbers. After some questionable grading of his climbing routes, Pearson was ostracized from the climbing community. This film tells his story as he faces his demons and searches for redemption.
Ok, this movie might not be adventurous like we think about rock climbing or mountain biking, but we love the message of acting on your daydreams and find your own adventure. Plus, longboarding in Iceland during a volcanic eruption is pretty extreme.
The true-life story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again.
An indie film about a journey on the Appalachian Trail? Grab the popcorn.
Two men embark to climb Peru’s Siula Grande, with no shortage of tragedy, endurance, and disaster. This is a definite classic mountaineering movie.
“Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” Three prospectors set out across the Mexican desert in search of gold but instead find mistrust, betrayal, and death. I watched this movie in an old abandoned mining town outside Crested Butte, CO and absolutely loved it.
Every single one of my friends and family members have seen this movie. I know, because I made them watch it. This documentary explores the deep history of climbing in Yosemite, the climbing capital of the world. From Royal Robbins to Alex Honnold, this super-fun documentary is a must-see.
Nothing like Valley Uprising above — this is a laughable ‘climbing’ action-adventure movie in a race against time for a rescue effort up K2, the world’s second-highest peak. It’s outrageous, but that’s what makes it so fun.
This movie might not be as good as the book (which we covered in our Adventure Book blog post
), but Robert Redford & Nick Nolte share a touching story about two old friends who attempt the Appalachian Trail together.
Martin Sheen is a grieving father who hikes Spain’s Camino de Santiago to recover his estranged son’s body.
Escapees of a WWII Siberian prison camp trek 4,000 miles across five countries in a race for freedom and survival. (Also on Hulu
This uber-popular memoir of Cheryl Strayed (portrayed by Reese Witherspoon) is a modern classic for a reason. Despite knowing nothing about hiking, Strayed hikes the Pacific Coast Trail in a journey of self-discovery and healing.
Another solid, must-see movie: Alex Honnold climbs up Yosemite’s El Capitan with no rope, and Jimmy Chin brings stunning cinematography of it. Whether you love it or don’t understand it, it’ll stick in your memory long after your palm sweat is gone.
Escapees of a WWII Siberian prison camp trek 4,000 miles across five countries in a race for freedom and survival. (Also on Amazon
Climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world in 2015 when they attempted to climb Yosemite’s Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000-foot rock face. They lived on the vertical cliff for weeks — and you’ll learn a ton about Tommy’s life, including when he was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan.
An accident at a remote training camp leaves a group of survivalists bitterly divided — and caught in a brutal fight for their lives.
Ever dreamed about traveling through national parks in a motorhome? These two did it. (Sidenote: Maria and I, the co-founders of Seek More Wilderness, do this too. We run SMW from the road in our self-converted van while we travel through and protect public lands).
Beautiful imagery of mountains and thought-provoking narration from Willem Dafoe as he reads “Mountains of the Mind,” this film will take you to some of the most beautiful summits in the world and give you a thing or two to think about, too.
This is a fun, short documentary about some rad outdoor recreation spots in our national parks. The John Muir quotes help, too. Maria and I first saw this at the Minnesota Science Museum when it first came out while we were converting our Ram Promaster to travel in while we grew Seek More Wilderness, so I've got a soft spot for it.
I’m a total sucker for any nature documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough — this one included.
Warning: don’t watch this right before your next outdoor trip. This is a Swedish horror movie about five college buddies out on a hiking trip with - with something in the forest watching them.
In the remote Canary Islands, a surfer falls off a cliff and fights to survive as he reflects on his life and past romances. Based on true events, too!
Seeking isolation, thrills, and altitude, Eric LeMarque finds himself stranded for eight days in the frozen wilderness.
Dick Proenneke, famed conservationist and wildlife photographer, sets off to the Alaskan wilderness near Lake Clark as he builds his own cabin by hand. It’s absolutely nuts to watch him build this, and oddly relaxing, too. You can visit the cabin today at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.
Starring Pattie Gonia, the environmental drag queen we all need more of in our lives, this documentary shares the impacts of plastics on Mother Nature (aka Mother Natch).
Hear me out: this is a modern (well, future-modern) take on the survivalist, man against nature, shipwrecked alone and must rescue self story so many of our outdoor stories are based on. Matt Damon stars in this sci-fi movie (that’s oddly comedic) about an astronaut stranded on Mars.
Two brothers embark on a trip to Mont Blanc to plunder a crashed aircraft, but quickly discover they asked for more than they bargained for.
Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star in a suspenseful drama about two strangers who become stranded on a remote, snow-covered mountain after their plane crashes, kicking off a journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness.
The movie that finally won Leo an Oscar! An 1820s frontiersman faces wild animals and a very strong Tom Hardy that’s partly based on the real-life mountain man Hugh Glass.
Meryl Streep is a former river guide headed down Idaho’s Salmon River when three mysterious strangers threaten to turn the vacation into a living hell.