There are a TON of movies on Netflix, but be sure to browse through to the end for a bonus listing of my favorite related outdoor flicks.
I don’t have cable, so I love having Netflix. One thing I hate about Netflix though is the search and category functions… They make it especially hard to find related movies unless you know exactly what you are searching for. For example: I click on the “Mountaineering & Climbing” category and only six movies show up!
But I love being able to dig up some obscure flick about climbing and mountaineering, and I think I’ve pretty much seen just about all that is available for DVD rentals (I don’t have internet streaming) in terms of mountaineering and rock climbing movies on Netflix.
Some of the movies below are absolutely amazing and would be of interest to climbers or non-climbers alike, while some of the movies are marginal or even pretty terrible.
Some of these are based on true stories, some are documentaries, and some are pure fiction, but they all are on the rock or in the mountains–perfect for the armchair alpinist in all of us.
Below is a list of all the mountaineering and climbing movies that I have personally seen and rented from Netflix. They are sorted by my rating (some ratings might be inflated for Netflix to suggest other related movies).
Maybe you’ll discover something new from the list. If I am missing anything available from Netflix that you think should be added, please let me know!
And if you’re like me and you’ve run out of cool mountaineering and climbing movies on Netflix, well you should definitely get (or finally start using) an American Alpine Club membership in order to take advantage of their library.
The AAC library has many, many other DVDs available which you can borrow for free (you pay only for return shipping). It’s an awesome service from the AAC, though I wish they had a better interface and a shipping system more like Netflix in place—I don’t really need the big plastic DVD cases!
Mountaineering and Rock Climbing Movies on Netflix (DVD.com Rentals)
Touching the Void
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.
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.
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.
(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 Wildest Dream
(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.
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.
Everest: Beyond the Limit
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.
National Geographic: Everest: 50 Years on the Mountain
2003 NR 90 minutes
Celebrate 50 years of mountaineering magic with this awe-inspiring documentary replete with sensational footage of Mount Everest.
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.
To the 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.
The Eiger Sanction
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.
Masters of Stone 5
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.
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.
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.
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.
Touch the Top of the World
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.
The Alps: Climb of Your Life: IMAX
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.
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.
Rainier 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.
Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa: IMAX
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.
A Lonely Place to Die
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.
Everest: The Death Zone
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.
Hillary & Tenzing: Climbing to the Roof of the World
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.
Third Man on the Mountain
(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 Man Who Skied Down Everest
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.
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 month-long road trip seeking out the perfect route on the perfect rock and meeting other ace climbers along the way.
Soul Cal: Southern Cali Bouldering
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.
Best of the West
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.
Return 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.
A Day in the Life: 5 Women Who Climb
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.
Cragcam’s Guide to Joshua Tree National Park
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.
80 Meters Below the Summit
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.
Dosage: Vol. 2
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.
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.
Team Everest: A Himalayan Journey
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.
Into the Thin Air of Everest: Mountain of Dreams, Mountain of Doom
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.
Sport Climbing 101 with Chris Lindner
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.
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.
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.
National 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 White Hell of Pitz Palu
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.
The Holy Mountain
(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).
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.
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.
Into Thin Air: Death on Everest
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.
Climb Against the Odds
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.
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.
Train to Climb Mt. Rainier
(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.
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.
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Related Outdoor Films
Below is a list of my favorite four and five star outdoorsy films on Netflix.
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.
Into 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. E
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
Running 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.
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.
Shackleton’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.
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.
The 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.
Encounters 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.
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.
Mountain 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.
(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.
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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Check out this comprehensive list of mountaineering and #climbing movies on @Netflix via @desktodirtbag
And if you’ve come across any other great climbing or mountaineering movies on Netflix that I am missing in the list above, please contact me or leave a comment below.
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