Ah outdoor movies. They are a wonderful solution for when you crave the excitement and wild of nature, but you must do so from the comfort of your couch. To help our home-bound adventurer friends, we have complied a list of the most iconic outdoor films for every type of outdoorsperson. From epic adventure flicks, to feel-good romps in the woods, here are our picks for outdoor movies that inspired (or horrified) us, sorted by outdoor activity genre.
Cliffhanger: Looking for an action flick that makes you feel superior in your knowledge of how climbing REALLY works? Scoff and chortle your way through this Stallone action “masterpiece”.
Vertical Limit: Like Cliffhanger is to climbers, this film is absolutely perfect for alpinists who want to scream “oh come ON!” at the screen every few minutes. Revel in the sheer absurdity of the guy who also played Robin in some of the Batman movies wielding ice axes in a manner never before known to humankind.
Touching the Void: Be thankful that your only choice today is choosing peanut butter or grilled cheese for lunch. This “docudrama” (yes that’s a word) will make you want to call your best friend.
Better Off Dead: An absolute classic. Get your $2 worth watching John Cusack playing John Cusack, but on SKIS. It seems the only way to watch would be the O.G. VHS version of this in your basement (but check YouTube perhaps…).
127 Hours: This amazingly acted true story will give you all the Nope. We’re never hiking alone again.
Cast Away: Sure, you’re on your couch, not stranded on a desert island, but maybe there’s something to creating your very own make-believe friend like Wilson… Or maybe just Facetime your bestie.
A River Runs Through It: Lots of fly fishing, beautiful scenery, angst, and metaphors.
Deliverance: Know almost entirely for banjo riffs and that one part we won’t mention, this movie is actually about a canoe trip.
The River Wild: A mostly forgotten 90’s thriller about a family whitewater rafting trip, this one stars Meryl Streep(!) as a whitewater guide in a rocky marriage and Kevin Bacon(!) being a smooth criminal. Shockingly, this was not Kevin Bacon’s first role being a creeper in a flick about whitewater rafting…
The Great Outdoors: A silly romp from the ‘80s with the comedic stylings of John Candy and Dan Aykroyd and some critters. Classic.
Homeward bound: Cute animals! Adventure! Nostalgia!
Free Solo: Need an adrenaline rush? White-knuckle your throw pillow while watching the absolute madness, or genius, of Alex Honnlove* climb a Very Large Rock™.
180 Degrees South: This inspiring documentary says, “Adventure responsibly and stuff.”
Meru: A nail-biting “Will they? Won’t they?” alpine climbing documentary that will have the hardcore on the edge of their seats, but the layperson saying “why tho?”
Blizzard of AAHHH’s: Old SKOOL! Mohawks! Freestyle was WILD man.
Art of Flight: Snowboarding. So pretty. A bit scary. You’ll want your own helicopter.
Banff Film Festival Movies: See a compiled list here, if you’re more into the Indie stuff.
That our list! Feel free to let us know in the comments if you have an addition. We think this was a pretty comprehensive list of outdoor movies, but we’re always open to suggestions.
*His name is Alex Honnold. We know.