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12 Movies Every Outdoorsman Should See

12 Movies Every Outdoorsman Should See

While you can’t smell the pine trees or feel the early morning dew on your feet while watching a movie, certain films have a way of bringing you right to that point where you swear you can. If you have a bag packed for spontaneous adventure, here are some of our favorite films to fuel your (camp)fire.

The Way

Martin Sheen plays a grieving father who sets out to complete the journey his son was on when he was killed. The brilliance and brutality of nature becomes a vehicle for coping with what’s out of our control. And as with any great journey, the reward is in the journey itself. You’ll want a walking stick. Amazon iTunes Netflix


Released late last year, Wildlike is an adventure tale based in the Alaskan wilderness. A young girl follows the lead of a mysterious backpacker in hopes of finding her way out. It didn’t receive wide distribution, but it’s won numerous film festival awards and is worth a watch for any lonely explorer. The scenery is drool-worthy for any adventurer. Site

127 Hours

Movies set in the great outdoors are often survival-based. And few survival stories are as impactful as Aron Ralston’s. Yes, there’s that scene, but James Franco’s performance as the young mountain climber trapped in a canyon puts the viewer right under a boulder with him for the duration. It demands you question what you’d do if you were in his hiking boots, and that’s powerful. iTunes Amazon

Alamar (To the Sea)

There are a great number of films about man getting in touch with nature and, in turn, getting in touch with himself. For the finest example, watch Alamar. It’s a meditation on the topic. You’ll feel the waves calmly beating while it lulls you in. There are three main characters: a father, a son, and Mother Nature. iTunes Amazon

Grizzly Man

We’re not sure whether, as an outdoorsman, you should or shouldn’t see Grizzly Man. The Werner Herzog doc tells the story of Timothy Treadwell, a grizzly bear expert who was killed by one of the animals he was studying and protecting in 2003. You get an interesting look at an eccentric man and his passion in life. It’s a cruel reminder that nature isn’t always gentle, in fact, it rarely is. iTunes Amazon

Touching the Void

So you want to be a mountain climber, huh? Touching the Void is just one in a long line of horrifying mountain climbing movies. Based on a true story, the film follows Joe Simpson and Simon Yates on an adventure in the Peruvian Andes. Your knuckles will be as white as some fresh powder. Amazon Netflix


When the book this film was based on came out, far too many guys wrote it off as “chick lit.” It’s not. Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, a woman seemingly lost after the death of her mother, the destruction of her marriage, and the many drug- and sex-fueled nights that dotted the path along the way. In turn, she seeks to do something insane to find herself again (or something “wild,” if we wanted to make you cringe). That insane thing is to hike more than a thousand miles along the Pacific Coast Trail with little knowledge and even less experience. Amazon

180 South

This is basically adventure porn with a healthy dose of activism on the side. Jeff Johnson is an adventurer who sets out to experience Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins’ 1968 journey into Patagonia. From the beauty and power of nature, Johnson begins to see why the duo fought for preservation. Grab a backpack with your popcorn, because you’ll want to get lost. Amazon iTunes Netflix

Into the Wild

For the man who’s always wanted to leave it all behind and see how he fares in the wild, we can’t recommend the movie based on Christopher McCandless enough. Infused with the spirit of rebellion, Emile Hirsch plays the late adventurer. If reading Thoreau makes you want to leave the city behind, Into the Wild is necessary viewing. iTunes Amazon

A Lonely Place To Die

A Lonely Place To Die is a suspense thriller set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s creepy and beautiful at the same time. The story will kick your nerves into overdrive like you were slipping off a rocky cliff. And while your heart is woodpecker-ing your rib cage, the amazing scenery will subtly make you still want to get outside. iTunes Amazon

Cast Away

When your supporting actor is a volleyball, you’re probably going to need to carry the movie. Luckily, Tom Hanks does just that for the majority of Cast Away. One of the most entertaining survival movies ever made. iTunes Amazon

The Way Back

Not to be confused with the 2013 film The Way Way Back, this movie starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris takes place in and out of a Soviet Union labor camp. Watching it, you’ll want to jump through the TV to quiet the crunching snow beneath their boots. It’s not the most radically fresh storyline, but the acting and moody outdoor scenery make it worth watching. iTunes Amazon Netflix

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