Hiking events

10 Best Backpacking Movies To Watch (That Aren’t Horror), Ranked According To IMDb

Over the years, adventure and survival films and documentaries have made their mark in the industry. Many of these films are made even more powerful because they are based or inspired by real events. Whether it’s an aging man searching for meaning near the end of his life or a young girl trying to escape an abusive life, these stories are made more meaningful within the context of nature and the themes around the union with the Earth.

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Although the horror genre has picked up many of these stories, there are plenty of incredible stories of journeys through the Appalachian Trail, soul-searching in the wilderness, and even learning to survive when things don’t go right. as expected.

ten A Walk in the Woods (2015) – 6.4

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk in the Woods

A walk in the woods came out in 2015 and has a star-studded cast, led by Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. The two actors embark on an introspective journey through the Appalachian Trail in an effort to escape their age and have one last adventure. Although it didn’t do so well at the box office, the story was sentimental and provided lessons about aging and never giving up despite its limitations.

Most of the reviewers were primarily interested in watching the two veteran actors converse on screen, cracking jokes, and making viewers smile, especially those who know what it takes to hike in the AT. It’s one of the must-do’s on the list, if not for its smoothness and beautiful locations.

9 Southbound (2005) – 6.5

Amy Peterson as Olivia in Southbounders

This drama also follows a journey along the Appalachian Trail. In The people of the south, Young Olivia, unlucky, decides to help him gain confidence by hiking alone the Appalachian Trail, more than 2,000 miles long. The story follows her journey as she encounters different types of people on the trail and wonders if she should continue or not.

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The independent film was released in 2005 and remained mostly in the independent film festival circuit. Director Ben Wagner creates wonderfully relatable characters and makes the audience feel like they’re walking the trail with them.


8 Eddie (2019) – 6.6

Sheila Hancock as Edie in Edie

This 2017 British film was directed by Simon Hunter and follows an elderly woman named Edie, played by Sheila Hancock, as she embarks on the journey of a lifetime. Eddie is a wonderful story of overcoming regrets from the past, learning to make decisions for yourself, and embracing nature.

After Edie’s husband dies and her relationship with her daughter becomes increasingly strained, she decides to take a trip to the Scottish Highlands to go hiking. It was a trip she was supposed to take with her father, but since he passed away, she is starting the trip on her own. Although the film itself is a bit ordinary, Hancock’s performance and the story itself are nice driving forces.

7 Wild (2014) – 6.6

Ella Purnell and Bruce Greenwood in Wildkind

Savage is a wonderful adventure film about discovery and coming of age. The story deals with adult subject matter after a troubled teenager has an inappropriate interaction with an uncle she is staying with in Alaska. She decides to run away and meets a backpacker in his 50s and decides to follow him. Eventually, the two work together to get her home to Seattle.

The film did very well on the festival circuit and has very positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans might recognize Ella Purnell from her last role as Jackie in Yellow jackets. The landscape is magnificent and director Frank Green uses its beauty and the silence of nature to “show without saying” the bond that develops between the two main characters. The story is, at its core, an outdoor adventure story with incredible character development.

6 Wild (2014) – 7.1

SavageThe screenplay of is based on a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed and follows Reese Witherspoon, portraying Strayed, as she embarks on a hiking journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. Recently divorced and her life in shambles, Strayed’s mission for this trek is to discover herself and heal from all her recent misfortunes.

She encounters many people along the way, including animals she interprets as her late mother’s spirits, played by Laura Dern. Both Witherspoon and Dern received Oscar nominations for their roles in this film. The film wowed critics and is considered one of the best self-discovery films of its time. It touches on what it is like to live with a loss and how much you sometimes have to push yourself to detach yourself from the pain. The film is a must-watch for nature lovers everywhere.

5 Tracks (2013) – 7.2

Wasikowska on the slopes

Generally known for her horror acting, Mia Wasikowska changes her tune in this epic memory film. Tracks is based on the true story of a young woman who embarks on a solo journey through the deserts of Australia with just four camels and her dog. Adam Driver plays a National Geographic photographer who documents parts of his journey.

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The film did very well on the festival circuit and scored with critics. Wasikowska’s performance as a temperamental prodigy added to the beauty and realistic nature of the film. The dreamlike visuals of the Australian Outback aren’t common in outdoor movies, and they provide an interesting perspective to the storyline.

4 The Way Back (2010) – 7.3

A motley group of Gulag escapees sit behind bushes in The Way Back

Another film based on a true story, The way back is an intense survival film that highlights the struggle of a Polish army officer trying to escape from a labor camp in Siberia. The story is told against the backdrop of World War II, and at its core is an adventure survival story, full of self-discovery, camaraderie and a deeply rooted theme of man versus nature. .

The cinematography, screenplay, and overall creative technical aspects of this film make it a highly recommended film for viewing. Director Peter Weir has the audience cheering for the group of outcasts throughout the film, and he really seals the deal with the star-studded cast.

3 The Path (2010) – 7.4

Martin Sheen in The Way

The path is a moving tribute to the son of a man grieving a loss no parent should have to bear. Emilio Estevez directs this hiking drama and spotlights a famous outdoor hike rarely seen in movies. The film stars Martin Sheen as Dr. Thomas Avery, who travels to France after his son’s death while making the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago which ends in Spain.

Rather than simply picking up the ashes as he had planned, Dr. Avery decides to make the trip himself. The film is a wonderfully sentimental visual of a father’s love for his son. There is a pattern of healing hiking movies, The path is no exception, but the stunning scenery and moments of spiritual guidance make this a must-see.

2 127 Hours (2010) – 7.5

James Franco stuck under a rock in 127 hours

127 hours is yet another dramatic real-life survival and rescue story, this time set in the wilderness of Slot Canyon in southeastern Utah. James Franco plays the real-life character, Aron Ralston, as he embarks on a bicycle trip through the canyon when he finds himself with his arm caught by a rock, off-road. The rest of the film follows his efforts to break free and get to safety.

The film was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, of which Franco received a nod for Best Actor. Some critics say it is one of his best performances. He manages to create an on-screen atmosphere that makes the audience feel like they’re stuck in the canyon with him. The reality of what could go wrong on a solo trip kicks in and viewers find themselves gasping for air in front of the screen with no way to help it out.

1 Into the Wild (2007) – 8.1

Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild

In nature is at the top of the list for a reason. This film allows audiences to get lost in the dream of escaping into nature with nothing but a backpack and shoes on their feet. Sean Penn captivates viewers with this movie based on a true story and makes them believe they can do anything. The film follows Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, as he treks across North America and into the Alaskan wilderness.

The film was nominated for two Golden Globes and two Oscars, winning a Golden Globe. This film is full of life and really questions what is worth doing with the little time people have on Earth. The interesting subject matter, beautiful cinematography, important lessons, and excitement of adventure make this a must-watch trail movie.

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