Outdoors-Inspired Movies & TV Series

Since many of us have found ourselves with significantly more time at home, we wanted to share our favorite outdoors-inspired movies and TV series to keep the adventurous spirit alive. Even if we can't leave our homes, we can still experience the world through these uplifting, thrilling, and thought-provoking shows.

Movies

1. Free Solo - Available to stream on Disney+  National Geographic Documentary from award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin. An unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the world's most famous rock without a rope. The 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

2. Meru - Available to stream for free with Amazon Prime  The Shark's Fin on Mount Meru sits 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India. The mountain’s obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world's toughest climbers. In October 2008, renowned alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to tackle Meru. Their planned seven-day trip quickly declined into a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures with depleting food rations. Despite making it to within 100 meters of the elusive summit, their journey, like everyone before them, was not a successful one. Heartbroken and defeated, the trio returned to their everyday lives. By September 2011, Anker had convinced his two lifelong friends to tackle the Shark's Fin once more. This documentary chronicles their extraordinary undertaking. 

3. Wild - Available to Rent on Amazon Prime  Based on the true story from the best-selling memoir, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) lost all hope after the dissolution of her marriage and death of her mother. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. WILD powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

4. Cast Away - Available to Rent on Amazon Prime An exploration of human survival and the ability of fate to alter even the tidiest of lives with one major event, Cast Away tells the story of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a Federal Express engineer who devotes most of his life to his troubleshooting job. His girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) is often neglected by his dedication to work, but on Christmas Eve, Chuck proposes marriage to Kelly right before embarking on a large assignment. A plane crash strands Chuck on a remote island, miles removed from any human contact. Finding solace only in a volleyball he befriends, Chuck must survive and learn to endure the emotional and physical stress of his new life, unsure of when he may return to the civilization he knew before.

5. Fishpeople - Available to stream on Netflix  To some, the ocean is a fearsome place. But to others, it's a limitless world of fun, freedom and opportunity where life can be lived to the full. A new documentary presented by Patagonia and directed by Keith Malloy, Fishpeople tells the stories of a unique cast of characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea. From surfers and spearfishers to a long-distance swimmer, a former coal miner and a group of at-risk kids, it's a film about the transformative effects of time spent in the ocean—and how we can leave our limitations behind to find deeper meaning in the saltwater wilderness that lies just beyond the shore.

6. Life of Pi - Available to Rent on Amazon Prime Director Ang Lee creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor...a fearsome Bengal tiger.

7. Chasing Coral - Available to stream on Netflix Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called "coral bleaching"-a sign of mass coral death-has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen.

8. Tracks - Available for Rent $3.99 on Amazon Prime Director John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don't Live Here Anymore) tells the remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska), a young woman who leaves her life in the city to make a solo trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert. Accompanied by only her dog and four unpredictable camels, she sets off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) who begins to photograph her voyage.

9. Jumbo Wild - Available to stream for free with Amazon Prime  Jumbo Wild is a gripping documentary film that tells the true story of the decades-long battle over the future of British Columbia's iconic Jumbo Valley and highlights the tension between the protection of wilderness and the backcountry experience and ever-increasing development interests in wild places. Set against a backdrop of incredible backcountry ski and snowboard footage, Jumbo Wild documents all sides of a divisive issue bringing the passionate local fight to protect the Jumbo Valley to life for the first time.

10. 14 Peaks - Available on Netflix  An absolute must see, 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible tells the story of the fearless Nepali mountaineer, Nirmal Purja and his quest to climb the world’s 14 tallest peaks in world record speed, just 7 months. Having grown up in Nepal, Purja feels a deep connection to mountaineering and sets out on a mission not just for himself, but for all of the Sherpas who are often overlooked by the Western mountaineering community. Despite a lack of funds, naysayers, governmental road blocks, family health issues, and of course the absolutely terrifying and difficult nature of his mission, Purja sets out on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible. His positive attitude carries him. “If I can stay alive, I can do this,” says Purja. This is a film that brings you into the harrowing world of mountaineering and shows you just how far determination, positivity, and belief in yourself can take you. 

11. A Walk in the Woods - Available for Rent $3.99 on Amazon Prime In this comedy adventure, celebrated travel writer Bill Bryson (Academy Award winner Robert Redford), instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife (Academy Award winner Emma Thompson) and happy family, challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail - 2,200 miles of America's most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek - his long lost and former friend Katz (Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who, after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep one step ahead of the law — sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure before its too late.

12. My Octopus Teacher - Available on Netflix  A documentary filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world. 

13. The Alpinist - Available on Netflix  Marc-André Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. On remote alpine faces, the free-spirited 23-year-old Canadian makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. Yet, he draws scant attention. With no cameras, no rope, and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure. Nomadic and publicity shy, he doesn't own a phone or car, and is reluctant to let a film crew in on his pure vision of climbing. Veteran filmmaker Peter Mortimer sets out to make a film about Leclerc but struggles to keep up with his elusive subject. Then, Leclerc embarks on a historic adventure in Patagonia that redefines what is possible in solo climbing.

14. Into the Wild - Available on Netflix  A film of the true story chronicled by Jon Krakauer. Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), the son of wealthy parents, graduates from Emory University as a top student and athlete. However, instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to lead a solitary and ultimately tragic life in the Alaskan wilderness.

TV Series

1. Our Planet - Available to stream on Netflix  From the makers of "Planet Earth," and narrated by Emmy and BAFTA winner Sir David Attenborough. This is a documentary series focusing on the breadth of the diversity of habitats around the world, from the remote Arctic wilderness and mysterious deep oceans to the vast landscapes of Africa and diverse jungles of South America.

2. Lost Cities - Available to stream on Disney+ Lost Cities combines hi-tech archaeology, breathtaking visuals and genuine exploration to make headline-grabbing discoveries, portrayed through the host, Albert Lin. The ambitious approach applies 3D scanning to some of the most extraordinary sites of antiquity. This series delivers powerful, emotional stories with hi-tech imagery to bring the mysteries of the past vividly to life.

3. Epic Trails - Season 1 and 2 available free with Amazon Prime membership Epic Trails is a visually stunning and inspiring TV Series that follows wilderness adventurer, Eric Hanson, on his journey to discover the wold's top trails. Each 30-minute episode follows Eric on his world travels while taking viewers on breathtaking adventures, and telling the unique stories of the places and the people that Eric encounters along the way.

4. One Strange Rock - Available to stream on Disney+ From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, producer Jane Root, and host Will Smith, One Strange Rock reveals the magical twists of fate that have allowed life to thrive only on Earth. This is is a story told by the only people to have left it behind - astronauts.

Sources:
imdb.com
netflix.com
movie and show sites

Post originally published March 16, 2020