The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies – From Best to Worst

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Wanna sit back and watch some awesome climbing movies? Don’t miss this ultimate guide to climbing movies, rated from best to worst. How many have you seen?

If you aren’t looking for something quite so comprehensive, I’ve also cut to the chase and put together a post about the best climbing movies ever made, decided by a reader survey and vote.

Five Star Climbing Movies

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstTouching the VoidThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2003 R 107 minutes
Mixing interviews with dramatic re-enactments of the event, this gripping docudrama retells the mountaineering trek gone awry of Simon Yates (Nicholas Aaron) and Joe Simpson (Brendan Mackey), who falls and breaks his leg while climbing in the Andes. Yates, who’s tethered to him, attempts to lower him to safety but fails, forcing him to make a pivotal decision that may or may not save both of their lives. The question is, was it the right one?

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstFirst AscentThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2006 NR 90 minutes
Scaling steep faces and alpine walls in the Himalayas, Thailand, Canada and the United States is the goal of the world-class mountain climbers featured here. Viewers will be blown away by their truly incredible feats of athleticism and courage. One amazing highlight of this extreme sports program is Didier Berthod’s dangerous attempt to become the first person ever to climb the imposing Cobra Crack in British Columbia.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstNorth FaceThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Nordwand)
2008 NR 121 minutes
In 1936, young German climbers Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) face off against a rival Austrian duo in an attempt to be the first team to scale the infamous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. As the men make the treacherous climb, journalist Luise (Johanna Wokalek) — Toni’s childhood love — covers the biggest story of her career. Philipp Stölzl helms this drama based on a true story.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst180° SouthThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless)
2010 PG 85 minutes
Inspired by pioneering outdoorsman Yvon Chouinard’s freewheeling 1968 van trip to Patagonia, South America, a band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out — in 2007, by boat — to remake the journey in this adventure documentary. Jeff Johnson and his buddies hug the coast, stopping at the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island before arriving in Patagonia — a region that’s still breathtaking but is now besieged by environmental threats.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Wildest DreamThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest)
2010 PG 94 minutes
When Conrad Anker finds the body of George Mallory on Mount Everest 75 years after Mallory’s death, Anker becomes obsessed with learning whether the man determined to become the first to reach the mountain’s summit actually met his goal before dying. Narrated by Liam Neeson, this visually spectacular documentary also features the voices of Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson and Hugh Dancy.

51UD7ga2O2L._AA160_Vertical FrontierThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2002 NR 90 minutes
Just who are the daredevils who devote their lives to climbing the legendary walls of Yosemite? This fascinating documentary produced through the Sierra Club and narrated by Tom Brokaw aims to answer that question, profiling noteworthy climbers David Brower, Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Jim Bridwell, Lynn Hill and more. Breathtaking footage shows off a national treasure as it was meant to be seen: up close and personal.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstEverest: Beyond the LimitThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2006-2009
TV-PG
Seasons 1-2 DVD
Discovery Channel’s ambitious documentary project follows a series of yearly expeditions led by New Zealand mountaineer Russell Brice up the world’s highest peak, paying heed to all of its deadly dangers. Extraordinary feats of perseverance are captured, including the dogged conquest of Everest by a double amputee and the inspirational saga of Katsusuke Yanagisawa, who at 71 wants to become the oldest person ever to scale the mountain.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstNational Geographic: Everest: 50 Years on the MountainThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2003 NR 90 minutes
Celebrate 50 years of mountaineering magic with this awe-inspiring documentary replete with sensational footage of Mount Everest. The award-winning National Geographic crew tracks the three children of mountain-climbing icons Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two people ever to conquer the fabled peak.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstEverest: IMAXThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1998 NR 44 minutes
Noted climber David Breashears leads an IMAX crew to the top of Mount Everest and provides the first 360-degree view from Earth’s highest peak. Along the way, the group faces avalanches, scarce oxygen, hazardous ice walls and a deadly snowstorm.

Bouldering in the Alabama Hills after climbing Mount Whitney.

Instagram Adventures: Bouldering in the Alabama Hills after climbing Mount Whitney.

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Four Star Climbing Movies

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstTo the LimitThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Am Limit)
2007 NR 95 minutes
Written and directed by Pepe Danquart, this gripping documentary follows the adrenaline-spiked sport of speed rock climbing, as German überclimbers Thomas and Alexander Huber attempt to set a record scaling Yosemite’s legendary El Capitan. Featuring wicked camera shots of the pair in action, the film also explores the brothers’ unique relationship, fueled by love and rivalry. Will they make it up the monolith in record time?

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Eiger SanctionThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1975 R 128 minutes
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this action adventure as a former hit man summoned from retirement to “sanction” (assassinate) an enemy spy. With government secrets stolen and a U.S. operative murdered, Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood) must join a three-man climbing party scaling Switzerland’s Eiger Mountain to eliminate the foreign spy among them. George Kennedy and Jack Cassidy also star in this thriller based on the novel by Trevanian.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstMasters of Stone 5The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2001 NR 55 minutes
Get a grip on a rock-climbing film that rocks! With a pulse-pounding soundtrack featuring Metallica, this fifth volume in the Masters of Stone series showcases audacious climbers performing feats not to be believed. Witness the mountain-goat agility of Dean Potter and Dan Osman during their ill-fated final climb. Whether it’s speed-soloing, high-ball bouldering or rope freefalling, these daredevils continue to push the limits of the sport.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstPsycheThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2007 NR 70 minutes
Three action-packed segments make up this riveting mountain-climbing film that showcases the skill and athleticism of British sport climber Steve McClure, alpine climber Andy Kirkpatrick and traditional climber Dave Birkett. “Magic Numbers” profiles some of McClure’s most amazing climbs; “Patagonian Winter” documents Kirkpatrick’s attempt to ascend Torre Egger; and “Skye Wall” follows Birkett’s first ascent at the famous Cuillin Range.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstAmazonia VerticalThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2005 NR 63 minutes
Deep in the Amazon lives Auyan Tepui — known to locals as the “Mount of the God of Evil.” After becoming the first person to completely traverse the enormous table mountain, climber Slovak Becko Ondrejovic returns for more. But this time, he brings his friends along to experience this full immersion into nature. This Slovakian documentary features breathtaking vistas of a world virtually untouched by modernity.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstHigh LaneThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Vertige)
2009 NR 85 minutes
In this French thriller, a mountain climbing trail closed to the rest of civilization becomes a path to adventure and horror for a group of friends who dare to go beyond its barriers. It’s not just because they trespassed into forbidden territory or because they’re testing the laws of gravity. It’s because they’re not the only ones willing to push the envelope out there, and their visitor isn’t very welcoming at all.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstTouch the Top of the WorldThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2006 NR 89 minutes
Victim to a rare eye disease at age 3, Erik Weihenmayer refused to let his impaired vision stop him from leading not just a “normal” life but a heroic one, overcoming myriad obstacles to assay the world’s tallest mountain. This film tells his story. Peter Facinelli stars as Weihenmayer in this Peter Winther-helmed presentation for A&E that follows the athlete-adventurer and his climbing buddies as they risk their lives in pursuit of a dream.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Alps: Climb of Your Life: IMAXThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2007 NR 45 minutes
Scale one of Europe’s greatest mountain ranges with a fearless American climber determined to ascend the perilous wall of rock and ice known as the Eiger Nordwand, which claimed his father’s life. With breathtaking cinematography capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural wonder, this stunning IMAX film charts John Harlin’s personal journey and celebrates the power of the human spirit to prevail in the face of staggering odds.
The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst

Deadly AscentThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2006 NR 56 minutes
Enticing climbers to its frozen summit, Alaska’s Mt. McKinley — a.k.a. Denali — is among the planet’s deadliest peaks. This edition of “Nova” follows doctors, rescuers, an astronaut and others as they try to unravel mysterious deaths on Denali. Hidden fissures or succumbing to temperatures of 70 degrees below zero aren’t the only dangers the mountaineers face: they sometimes perish from incapacitating illness that occurs at extreme altitudes.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstRainier the Mountain
1999 NR 60 minutes
In this retrospective tribute, acclaimed filmmaker Jean Walkinshaw hails the 100th anniversary of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington by talking to those who know it best: the scientists, naturalists, mountain climbers and artists whose lives have been touched by the peak’s far-reaching shadow. The result is a harmonious blend of archival material and high-definition footage celebrating an icon of the Pacific Northwest.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstKilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa: IMAXThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2002 NR 42 minutes
In this spectacular program, join a diverse group of trekkers — demonstrating courage as well as endurance — when they journey to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro — the world’s highest free-standing mountain at 19,340 feet above sea level. As the climbers pass through Africa’s beautiful, very rugged terrain and extreme conditions (five climate zones!), their expedition becomes an adventure of the human spirit.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstA Lonely Place to DieThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2011 NR 99 minutes
Five mountaineering friends on vacation in the Scottish Highlands stumble upon a tiny chamber in the woods, in which a young Serbian girl is trapped. But when they free her and try to take her to safety, they become the kidnappers’ next targets.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstEverest: The Death ZoneThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1998 NR 60 minutes
PBS’s “Nova” chronicles a scientific study of high-altitude physiology, gauging a group of Himalayan climbers’ physical and mental changes as they set out to conquer Mount Everest — the very pinnacle of Earth. Jodie Foster narrates as the “Nova” camera crew captures Everest’s simple but stunning splendor. The drama reaches a gripping climax during the descent, when the fate of a desperately ill climber hangs in the balance.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstHillary & Tenzing: Climbing to the Roof of the WorldThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2003 NR 60 minutes
This hourlong documentary chronicles one of the most celebrated events in mountaineering history: the ascent of expeditioner Edmund Hillary and his climbing partner, Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay, to the top of Mt. Everest in 1953. Facing exhaustion, glacial temperatures and oxygen deprivation, the men were the first to accomplish the impressive feat. The video recounts their dangerous journey via historical footage, interviews and reenactments.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThird Man on the MountainThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Banner in the Sky)
1959 G 107 minutes
After his father is killed on an expedition to climb the highest peak in their Swiss village, 18-year-old Rudi (James MacArthur) vows to climb the towering mountain in this inspirational Disney film shot on location in Switzerland. While Rudi’s mother tries to get her headstrong son to change his mind, he is bound and determined to reach the peak before anyone else does. The film inspired the Matterhorn ride at the Disneyland amusement park.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Man Who Skied Down EverestThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1975 G 90 minutes
This Oscar-winning documentary follows world champion skier Yuichiro Miura and his tireless team of adventurers as they grapple with frostbite, icefalls, altitude sickness and even death to ascend and then descend — by slaloming — the world’s tallest mountain, Everest. A truly gripping film about a one-of-a-kind stunt, The Man Who Skied Down Everest is a landmark in the sports documentary genre.

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Climbing in Squamish, British Columbia.

Instagram Adventures: Climbing in Squamish, British Columbia.

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Three Star Climbing Movies

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstSwedish MeatballsThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2007 NR 95 minutes
This thrilling video follows two of Sweden’s top rock climbers, Dylan Smith and Carl-Ola Bostrom, as they hit the highway for a monthlong road trip seeking out the perfect route on the perfect rock and meeting other ace climbers along the way. What — and who — will they encounter around the next corner? Climbers of all experience levels will be inspired and challenged by this duo’s relentless pursuit of bouldering perfection.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstSoul Cal: Southern Cali BoulderingThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2005 NR 60 minutes
Join the Soul Cal crew on an intense road trip in search of perfect bouldering. Check out the moves of Natasha Barnes, Chris “Lick” Linder, Garret “G-Unit” Gregor, Buck Branson and more as they make their way through Southern California, scaling the granite and volcanic boulders of Bishop, tackling the sandstone of Stoney Point and visiting other classic climbing destinations. DJ Revolution provides the bumping hip-hop soundtrack.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstBest of the WestThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2005 NR 52 minutes
Expert rock climbers Boone Speed, Chris Sharma and Nate Gold take on the boulders at Hueco Tanks, Texas, in this thrilling real-life adventure film. After braving harsh conditions at Hueco, the climbing crew then tackles a second expedition to New Zealand’s mountainous Castle Valley. Jason Kehl, Mike Beck, Tim Kemple, Anna Burgos, Bret Lowell, Steve Maisch and many others also get in on the action. Extras include outtakes and bonus scenes.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstReturn 2 Sender
2005 NR 100 minutes
Peter Mortimer, creator of the award-winning documentary Front Range Freaks, returns with his cohorts for this inspired collage that features mind-blowing climbing and adventure footage from the four corners of the world. Includes the highly acclaimed segment “Parallelojams,” a first ascent in Greenland, 10-year-old wunderkind Cicada Jenerik, Mexico BASE jumping, Michael Reardon’s soloing spree and Biscuit the climbing dog.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstA Day in the Life: 5 Women Who ClimbThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2005 NR 60 minutes
Filmmaker Paul Dusatko’s gripping look at the lives of five women climbers is a study of strength, both on and off the rocks. Each athlete represents a different age, personality and background, but all share the determination and spirit needed to overcome real-life obstacles as well as those encountered in their sport. Special features include interviews, a slide show, production and film stills and more.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstCragcam’s Guide to Joshua Tree National ParkThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2006 NR 140 minutes
Discover what makes Joshua Tree National Park one of America’s most popular road trip destinations in this informative travel-planning guide filled with beautiful landscape and wildlife footage. The interactive menu divides park activities into three sections — rock climbing, hiking and camping — where you’ll find everything from a review of local climbing ethics and an overview of the 22 trails to helpful camping tips.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst80 Meters Below the SummitThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1997 NR 57 minutes
Rising 28,169 feet above the Earth’s surface, Nepal’s Kanchenjunga — or “five treasures of snows” — is the world’s third-highest mountain and the object of destiny for the members of the Slovak expedition at the heart of this documentary. Weather, geography and legend all conspire against those who set out to conquer the five-peaked behemoth in this film that reveals many of the mountain’s most spectacular vistas.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstDosage: Vol. 2The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2003 NR 70 minutes
This collection of six short “doses” of climbing action showcases the unbelievable stunts of some of the sport’s top rock jocks. Perfecting his deep-water free-soloing technique, Austrian Klem Loskot conquers the cliffs of Mallorca, and American Dave Graham tackles boulders in the States and in the forests of Fontainebleau, France. Goggle at Ivan Greene in New York, and discover why Southern Illinois is a hot new climbing mecca.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstAbove All Else: The Everest DreamThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1999 NR
This insightful documentary follows seasoned climbers Alan Hobson and Jamie Clarke as they make their third attempt to reach the highest point in the world: the summit of Mount Everest. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at the planning, training and sheer determination it takes to tackle one of the most physically challenging undertakings known to man. But high winds, illness and arguments threaten to keep these daredevils grounded.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstTeam Everest: A Himalayan JourneyThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2008 NR 111 minutes
Join an incredible group of trekkers with a range of disabilities — including five men in wheelchairs — as they tackle the world’s highest mountain, trekking through the Himalayas for 21 days in an effort to reach the base camp of Mount Everest. Once there, team leader and amputee Gary Guller plans to continue in an attempt to reach Everest’s summit. This gripping documentary includes plenty of spectacular footage of Nepal.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstInto the Thin Air of Everest: Mountain of Dreams, Mountain of DoomThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1999 NR 190 minutes
One person dies for every five who head to Mount Everest’s top, the world’s tallest peak. This thrilling collection tells the story of the men and women who’ve risked — and lost — their lives to claim the glory that comes with reaching the summit. Three films (including the original 1953 documentary about Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest conquest) show the mountain’s past and present through the voices of the climbers who know it best.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstSport Climbing 101 with Chris LindnerThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2007 NR 60 minutes
Professional climber Chris Lindner is your guide in this how-to video that will introduce you to the basics of sport climbing, including types and use of equipment, rope work, clipping, belaying, falling, specialized vocabulary and climbing ethics. This presentation includes everything you need to get started in this rapidly growing sport — even a yoga program designed specifically for climbers.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstVertical LimitThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2000 PG-13 124 minutes
Trapped near the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, Annie Garrett (Robin Tunney) radios to base camp for help. Brother Peter (Chris O’Donnell) hears Annie’s message and assembles a team to save her and her group before they succumb to K2’s unforgiving elements. But, as Annie lays injured in an icy cavern, the rescuers face several terrifying events that could end the rescue attempt — and their lives.

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstCliffhangerThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1993 R 113 minutes
A year after losing his friend in a tragic 4,000-foot fall, former ranger Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner, Hal (Michael Rooker), are called to return to the same peak to rescue a group of stranded climbers, only to learn the climbers are actually thieving hijackers. Highlighted by jaw-dropping stunt set pieces, the high-altitude action adventure scored Oscar nominations for Best Sound, Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstNational Geographic: Return to Everest/Surviving Everest
1999 NR 97 minutes
National Geographic offers an insider’s look at the history of Mount Everest — the highest peak on Earth — and the remarkable athletes who dare to scale it. Climbers Peter Hillary, Jamling Norgay and Brent Bishop battle the extremes 50 years after their fathers made successful treks to the top in this one-hour documentary, which includes interviews with Sir Edmund Hillary and others who have answered the mountain’s call.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe White Hell of Pitz PaluThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1930 NR 133 minutes
Filmed in Switzerland, this German “mountain film” follows distraught husband Johannes Krafft (Gustav Diessl) as he combs a 12,000-foot peak searching for the body of his wife — who was lost years earlier during a climbing expedition. A young couple on holiday agrees to join Krafft on a thorough exploration, but catastrophe strikes again. The supporting cast includes Leni Riefenstahl and Ernst Petersen.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Holy MountainThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Der Heilige Berg)
1926 NR 105 minutes
Featuring stunning cinematography and spectacular action sequences, this spellbinding silent melodrama stars the infamous Leni Riefenstahl as Diotima, a professional dancer whose beauty bewitches macho mountaineers Karl (Luis Trenker) and Vigo (Ernst Petersen). Their rivalry soon leads the green-eyed Karl to challenge Vigo to a treacherous climb up the north face of an Alp … in the dead of winter.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Dark Glow of the Mountains / Ballad of the Little Soldier / Precautions Against FanaticsThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2008 NR 101 minutes
This anthology includes three films from celebrated German auteur Werner Herzog, including “The Dark Glow of the Mountains,” a gripping examination of mountain climber Reinhard Messner’s relentless internal drive as he makes two challenging ascents. “Ballad of the Little Soldier” explores the plight of child soldiers in Nicaragua, and “Precautions Against Fanatics” features a comic, faux-documentary look at the world of horse racing.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe MountainThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1956 NR 105 minutes
When his younger brother (Robert Wagner) announces his intentions to scale a treacherous mountain slope to reach the site of a recent plane crash, a retired guide (Spencer Tracy) reluctantly agrees to go with him. But his brother’s intentions turn out to be shockingly selfish. The bonds of family loyalty are tested against the raw pull of humanity when the pair finds a lone survivor (Anna Kashfi) who needs their help.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstInto Thin Air: Death on EverestThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1997 NR 90 minutes
This made-for-TV movie follows author Jon Krakauer as he joins a team of mountain climbers making the journey to the top of Mount Everest. Krakauer has come along to write an article, but when conditions turn deadly, his only concern is survival.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstClimb Against the OddsThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
1999 NR 85 minutes
Narrated by Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis, this affecting documentary follows 12 women who face seemingly insurmountable odds on an expedition up North America’s tallest peak: Alaska’s towering Mount McKinley. But scaling it isn’t their only challenge — five of them are also breast cancer survivors, and their struggles on and off the mountain serve as an inspiring tribute to women’s courage under daunting circumstances.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstEverestThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2007 PG-13 137 minutes
A group of mountaineers faces the unforgiving elements and nearly insurmountable hardships as they attempt to scale Mount Everest to fulfill the dream of climber John Laughlin (Jason Priestley), who lost his life in a solo expedition. Journalist Norman Kelly (William Shatner) documents their struggles in this gripping miniseries based on real events. Eric Johnson and Gord Rand also star.

Two Star Climbing Movies

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstTrain to Climb Mt. RainierThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
(Train to Climb Mt. Rainier Or Any High Peak)
2003 NR 66 minutes
Prepare yourself to climb Mt. Rainier — the highest peak in the Cascade Range — or to scale another mountain or do other strenuous climbing with this informative program which lays out a comprehensive six-month plan for peak physical conditioning. Elements of the conditioning plan include aerobic and anaerobic routines, strength training, exercises to increase flexibility and specialized workouts to train for climbing.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe ClimbThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst
2002 PG 99 minutes
A pair of mismatched rock climbers must learn to work together to conquer one of the world’s most treacherous mountains in this adventure tale. After rescuing a wealthy man (Dabney Coleman), solo climbers Michael (Ned Vaughn) and Derrick (Jason George) are rewarded with a chance to summit Mount Chicanagua. Risk-taker Derrick clashes with safety-conscious Michael, but in order to live through the ordeal they must figure out how to work as a team.

Related Outdoor Films

Below are a few of my favorite four and five star outdoorsy films. And while they aren’t explicitly mountaineering or climbing flicks, I think that any lover of the great outdoors would greatly enjoy the following movies and documentaries.

Five Stars

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstInto the Wild
2007 R 148 minutes
A young man gives up everything — including his trust fund and ties to a seemingly stable family — to lead a solitary life in the wild. Eschewing convention to trek across Alaska’s harsh and unforgiving terrain, he resolves to live off the land.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstAs Far as My Feet Will Carry Me
(So weit die Füße tragen)
2003 NR 122 minutes
After escaping from a Siberian labor camp in the wake of World War II, German soldier Clemens Forell (Bernhard Bettermann) makes his way toward his wife and children, traveling more than 8,000 miles over the course of three long years to reach his final destination. Hardy Martins directs this critically acclaimed adaptation of the best-selling book by Josef Martin Bauer, a true story of survival and courage.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstSurvivorman
2004-2008
TV-PG
Seasons 1-3 DVD
Les Stroud showcases his survival prowess in various locations — like the Canadian arctic and on a raft in the middle of the ocean near Belize — where locating food, water, and supplies to build shelter pose as his chief challenges. With no production crew present for this gripping television series, Stroud goes for up to seven days video recording his highs and lows during meticulously planned jaunts around the globe.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst127 Hours
2010 R 94 minutes
From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger — and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. The film scored Academy Award nominations in the Best Picture and Best Actor (Franco) categories.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Endurance
2000 G 97 minutes
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail on the Endurance with 27 men aboard, aiming to cross Antarctica. But when the vessel became stranded in frigid waters, the crew began a battle of the human spirit, testing the very limits of their strength. Miraculously, they succeeded, even capturing the experience in pictures and on film as they strove to overcome the debilitating setback. Liam Neeson narrates this gripping document of their ordeal.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstRunning the Sahara
2007 NR 102 minutes
America’s Charlie Engle, Canada’s Ray Zahab and Taiwan’s Kevin Lin embark on an unprecedented quest to traverse the entire Sahara desert — on foot. Along the way, the runners encounter the beauties and hardships that accompany modern African life.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstSteep
2007 PG 92 minutes
From its wild early days in the French Alps to its wild present the world over, extreme skiing is chronicled in breathtaking detail by filmmaker Mark Obenhaus. You’ll meet the superstars of big-mountain skiing, who defy death with every jump. Obenhaus follows the work of renowned skier Doug Coombs, as well as the careers of pioneers Anselme Baud and Patrick Vallencant. The documentary screened at AFI Fest and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007.***Note: I’ve intentionally left off general skiing films, excluding this one, but there are tons of Warren Miller and Matchstick Productions films on Netflix.

Four Stars

The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstShackleton’s Antarctic Adventure: IMAX
2001 NR 40 minutes
One of the greatest survival stories of all time comes to life in this extraordinary true story of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, a testament to heroism and human endurance. All 28 men survived nearly 2 years in the barren, frigid Antarctic when their ship was caught in pack ice and eventually crushed. The film features stunning photography and 35mm motion picture footage.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstDersu Uzala
1975 NR 140 minutes
A party of Russian soldiers hires aged hunter Dersu Uzala (Maksim Munzuk) to guide them on a surveying expedition through Siberia in the early 20th century. Uzala leads the group through life-threatening conditions with reverence and concern for his surroundings. Based on true memoirs, Akira Kurosawa’s Academy Award-winning production is a testament to the value of lasting friendship, loyalty and mutual respect.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Way Back
2010 PG-13 133 minutes
After narrowly escaping from a wretched World War II Siberian labor camp, a small band of multinational soldiers desperately undertakes a harrowing journey to traverse Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on foot.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstEncounters at the End of the World
2007 G 101 minutes
Filmmaker Werner Herzog takes you on a wild and woolly journey to the South Pole in this Oscar contender — from the National Science Foundation’s headquarters on Ross Island to some of Antarctica’s most remote and dangerous terrain.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstGrizzly Man
2005 R 100 minutes
Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness — only to have one of them maul him to death.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstMountain Patrol: Kekexili
2004 PG-13 89 minutes
In the remote mountains of Tibet, a team of volunteer rangers struggles against all odds to save the endangered Tibetan antelope. This remarkable true story pits the determined mountain patrol against a band of ruthless poachers who move like spirits across the massive Kekexili wildlife reserve. And if do-gooders stand in the way of their hunt for the elusive antelope, these gun-toting outlaws won’t hesitate to shoot patrolmen.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstHimalaya
(Himalaya – L’enfance d’un Chef)
1999 NR 109 minutes
As the denizens of a Tibetan village prepare for their arduous annual trek to exchange salt for grain, the community’s allegiances are split between the aging chieftain Tinle (Thilen Lhondup) and rebellious young Karma (Gurgon Kyap). Tinle tries to maintain his clout and preserve obedience to ancient customs when Karma challenges the old man’s power. Director Eric Valli’s mesmerizing tale received an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Language Film.


The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstThe Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to WorstFrozen
2010 R 94 minutes
Three friends hit the slopes for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. But when they convince the chairlift operator to let them take one last run before closing, Parker (Emma Bell), Joe (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan (Kevin Zegers) find themselves stranded in midair, alone and freezing. It’ll be days before anyone returns to the slopes, and their chances of survival are looking slimmer by the minute. Adam Green directs this taut thriller.

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The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Movies - From Best to Worst

Ryan

Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck to road trip across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

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