Ohhh mountains…Some people love them for their majesty and beauty, and some climb them to face challenges and get adrenaline-rush. If you’re longing for some nice mountain views, hikes in nature, or simply want to dream a bit – maybe it’s time to watch a good adventure mountain movie?
Here’s our ultimate mountain-movies’ list with 20 great films. From exciting thrillers, survival stories, and breathtaking documentaries, to comic dramas about human relations and psychology, these mountain-themed movies will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate the incredible human potential.
One of the best mountaineering movies in recent years, adventure drama “Everest” focuses on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Eight people were caught in a blizzard and died while attempting to descend from the summit. One of the survivors, journalist Jon Krauer, later wrote a well-received book “Into thin air” which the movie is loosely based on. Apart from the spectacular setting and intriguing plot, “Everest” is also worth watching for its star-studded cast (which includes Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhall, Keira Knightley, and others).
Nanga Parbat (2010)
Nanga Parbat is a mountain in the Himalayas, the 9th highest peak in the world. The movie tells the story of two brothers, Reinhold and Günther Messner, who went on an expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1970. After reaching the summit, the younger brother, Günther, tragically died on the descend. The movie is based on Reinhold’s recollections about what really happened during the expedition.
Into the White (2013)
“Into the White” is a great adventure movie inspired by a real story that happened during World War II. After an aircraft battle, two German and British planes crash in a mountainous area in Norway, and a group of survivors find shelter in the same cabin. Soon enough they realize that the only way to stay alive in the wilderness is to place the rules of war aside and act together.
Vertical Limit (2000)
A young mountaineer Peter Garrett takes a hard decision to climb the K2 (second highest peak in the world) to save his sister Annie. Her team is stranded in an icy cave at 26,000 feet: it’s the vertical limit of endurance where the human body cannot survive for long. Apart from Chris O’Donnell in the leading role and some other great actors, there’s also a well-known climber Ed Viesturs playing himself in the movie (he also worked as a trainer for the actors).
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
One of the best travel movies of all time, “Seven Years in Tibet” is based on an autobiography book of the same name. An Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer (played by Brad Pitt) takes part in an expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1938. After the break-out of World War II, Heinrich finds himself captured in British India. After escaping prison, Heinrich manages to reach Tibet and becomes friends with Dalai Lama.
North Face / Nordwand (2008)
German historical fiction movie, “North Face” is about the 1936 attempt to summit the northern wall of the Eiger peak in the Swiss Alps (AKA North Face). The last major unclimbed Alpine face at that time, 5900-feet-high rock attracts two competing teams from Austria and Germany. The ascent is being covered by the Nazi media that intends to portray the mountaineers as national heroes.
127 Hours (2010)
“127 hours” is a great adventure hiking movie that was nominated for a ton of awards, including an Academy Award nomination for its leading actor James Franco. Based on real-life events, the movie follows mountaineer Aron Ralston as he sets on a hike in Canyonlands National Park in Yuta. While climbing, Aron slips and falls into a canyon while his right-hand gets pressed against the wall by a huge rock.
The Climb / L’ascension (2017)
“The Climb” (available on “Netflix”) is not your typical mountain climbing movie. A French comedy was inspired by a real-life story of Nadir Dendoune, the first Frenchman of Algerian descent to climb Mount Everest. Until this adventure, Nadir did not have any mountaineering experience whatsoever, and he only did it to impress a woman he loved…
Malabar Princess (2004)
Another French comedy-drama, “Malabar Princess” takes us to the foot of the French Alps where an eight-year-old Tom comes to live with his grandpa. Tom’s mom has recently disappeared in the Alps, and so he is determined to find her. As Tom is wandering the mountains with his new friend Benoît, they discover the remnants of a plane that crashed there in 1950.
A Lonely Place to Die (2011)
“A Lonely Place to Die” is a mountaineering movie with crime-thriller elements. A group of mountaineers is hiking in the Scottish Highlands as they discover an abandoned eight-year-old girl. To save her, the mountaineers need to climb down a dangerous cliff, though this is not the only threat coming upon them. “A Lonely Place to Die” is a great British movie that keeps the tension until the last seconds.
A total classic, “Cliffhanger” is one of the most iconic adventure mountain movies of all time. Action-movie star Sylvester Stallone plays Gabe, a mountaineer whose girlfriend died in the Rocky Mountains. After almost a year, Gabe comes back to the mountains to help a group of alpinists stranded there. The story takes an unexpected twist when it turns out that it’s actually a group of international criminals that are looking for help to locate missing suitcases with 100k USD!
Biographical survival drama, “Alive” is based on real-life events. In 1972, a plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team crashes in the Andes mountains. Surviving passengers are looking for ways to stay alive in harsh conditions. As they’re not being rescued for days, a group of the strongest survivors decides to hike through the Andes and find a way out.
Free Solo (2018)
Academy-Award-winner for best documentary, “Free Solo” will definitely get your heart racing and your adrenaline rushing. The movie follows mountain climber Alex Honnold as he prepares for the challenge of a lifetime: climbing the face of 3000-feet-high El Capitan rock in Yosemite national park. “Free Solo” is a shocking thriller that will change your understanding about the human physical and mental potential.
The Wildest Dream (2010)
Another wonderful mountain-themed documentary, “The Wildest Dream” tells the story of George Mallory, a famous mountaineer, and his younger colleague Sandy Irvine. The mountain climbing duo disappeared in 1924 as they were attempting to summit Mount Everest. Mallory and Irvine were last spotted only about 2600 feet from the top which raised the question, where they the first people to summit Mount Everest? Or they never even reached the top? Mallory’s frozen body is only found 75 years later by another alpinist Conrad Aker. Maybe he’ll be able to find out what really happened?
The Way Back (2010)
“The Way Back” is an emotional story about a group of prisoners that managed to escape the Siberian Gulag in 1940, and attempted to reach India by foot. A challenging journey of almost 4000 miles leads them through the woods, a desert, and finally the Himalayan mountains. Based on a real-life story, the movie has a great cast, including Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, and others.
The Loneliest Planet (2010)
Alex and Nica are a young couple that decides to travel to the Caucasian mountains in Georgia before their wedding. Together with a local guide, they hike through the beautiful nature, share travel stories, and funny incidents. Everything changes when the trio bumps into an older man who threatens them with a gun. “The Loneliest Planet” grabs the attention with the breathtaking views and unexpected storyline.
The Himalayas (2015)
“The Himalayas” is a movie by a famous South-Korean director Lee Seok-hoon. It tells the story of two mountaineers that meet under unfortunate circumstances and become climbing partners. Their professional carrier reaches its peak during the expedition to the Himalayas, though every achievement has its price. A super emotional movie, “The Himalayas” emphasizes friendship and sacrifice as the most important values.
Force Majeure / Turist (2014)
Eba, Tomas, and their two children are an ordinary Swedish family skiing in the French Alps. A fun vacation turns into a family drama when during lunch at a mountainside restaurant they experience an avalanche. This interesting and emotional movie shows how differently people react in unexpected or extreme situations.
Touching the Void (2003)
“Touching the Void” is a docudrama that has become a classic, and is considered as one of the best mountaineering movies of all time. In 1985, two mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were climbing to the Siula Grande summit in the Peruvian Andes. On the way down, Simpson fell and broke his leg. “Touching the Void” is an incredible story about courage, sacrifice, and friendship.
Why are we so drawn by mountains? Why do people climb mountains despite all the risks and dangers? These are some of the questions that are being raised in the second mountain-themed documentary by an Australian director Jennifer Peedom (her first movie “Sherpa” is also worth watching). “Mountain” shines with its stunning cinematography and wonderful music, also featuring the voice of actor Willem Dafoe as the narrator of the film. Available on “Netflix”.
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