The Best Adventure Films

March 31, 2020 by
Alex hiking in Connemara
POSTED BY March 31, 2020

Looking for the best adventure films ever made? I was too and luckily I work with lots of adventure film enthusiasts in the Hillwalk Tours office. So I posed them the important question: What is your favourite adventure film?

I got an impressive list back, with some films that aren’t strictly adventure films but still classics.

‘What film evokes your sense of adventure?’ seems a lot more appropriate – we aren’t limited to a specific genre, with everyone’s opinion on an adventure film is different (although I think Chicken Run is pushing the boundaries a little bit). 

This opened up a whole new scope and selection of films so, without further ado, here are some of Hillwalk Tours’ favourite adventure and not-so-adventure films (no spoilers!).

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a much discussed adventure film in the Hillwalk Tours office. It’s an adventurous comedy about a young boy who goes to live in a foster home.

Ann says: 

“My favourite adventure film is  “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” because the characters seem very real and it’s very funny!”

Julian Dennison, who plays Ricky Baker in the film, in particular deserves a shout-out for his excellent straight-faced humour.

Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison

IMDB Description: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

The Motorcycle Diaries

Fan of Che Guevara? Then “The Motorcycle Diaries” is the adventure film for you!

It was chosen by both Sarah and Pauline as their favourite adventure film, so it must be worth a watch.

Sarah says:

“I spent 3 weeks in Cuba over Christmas and became really interested in everything Che Guevara – if I’d have stayed there any longer I might not have come back!”

Pauline says:

“My favourite travel movie is the Motorcycle Diaries. While into the wild is the story of a solo traveller, the Motorcycle Diary is at heart more a tale about friendship.

The story is about Ernesto “Che” Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado involved in a crazy adventure across South America.

I love the fact that the movie shows the mental journey of this young man learning about poverty, politics and philosophy.

I think that is exactly what travelling has always been to me. If you allow yourself to go on such a journey, it will change you forever in many way. This trip was probably the transition that turned Ernesto into the famous revolutionary he became.

The movie also features amazing shots of the South American continent including beautiful images of the Andes and Machu Picchu, which are places I would absolutely love to visit.”

Starring: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna

IMDB Description: The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life’s calling.

Into The Wild

Into The Wild is a must-watch for anyone wanting the hobo-travelling lifestyle.

It’s about a guy who gives up everything after college and takes off to travel to Alaska.

Alex says:

“My sister banned me for years from watching this film because she thought it would be something that I’d be inclined to do.

I don’t think my sense of adventure is that strong, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t mind trying!

It’s one of my favourite adventure films because it really shows the different people in the world and the different experiences you can have just by giving up a normal life”

Starring: Emile Hirsch

IMDB Description: After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Through The Woods

Alex says:

“There’s not much about this online, but I randomly came across it on Netflix and really enjoyed it.

It’s about the Okee Dokee Brothers hiking part of the Appalachian Trail, playing music and meeting musicians along the way who play unique instruments.”


“Wild” was on the list quite a bit and it’s easy to see why!

A true story of the grit and determination of a female solo-hiker on the Pacific Crest trail.

Camille says:

“It is the movie based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, about a young woman who finds herself in a tough patch of her life, and as a sort of last resort to find meaning to her life, sets out to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, with no prior experience in long-distance hiking.

The movie manages to depict how grueling long-distance hiking can be, while at the same time showing the satisfaction nature can give back.

I have a fascination for the American wilderness, and I remember thinking ‘”God, I could watch this scenery for hours on end”.

One of the other reasons I love it is because it is about a strong, determined, yet vulnerable, young woman, which I think a lot of us can relate to.

Also the fact that a friend of mine thru-hiked the AT recently makes me even more so fascinated by the willpower of these women!”

Eimear says:

“I saw this recently and although again, I prefer the book, It is still a great film, again, because, hiking (Pacific Crest trail ) and endurance and defeating the odds and not giving up –  a great story, based on real , about a messed up woman going through some life trauma, sets out to, basically, re-set her compass and get herself straight.”

Starring: Reese Witherspoon

IMDB Description: A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

The Misja Section!

“I know there are others, but these three popped into my head initially, which I enjoyed watching, because I am a total armchair adventurer.”

North Face

“A great, German adventure film about climbing the north face of the Eiger, by Kutz and Hinterstoisser (yes the guy the Hintestoisser traverse is named after).”

Touching The Void

“I prefer the book, but the film is also really interesting, especially as it also has the two guys talking about the experience from a viewpoint of years later, when the book was already a great success.”  

The Big Blue

“The Big Blue,  a beautiful (fictionalised but based on real people) film about free diving.

I love the cinematography, and the story of the friendship between the two main characters, both champion and the girlfriend of one of them. It’s beautiful.

And again, that pull, to see how far you can go, courage, endurance.”

Chicken Run…?

Not strictly an adventure film, but who says it doesn’t evoke a sense of adventure?

Chapin says:

“I don’t really watch adventure movies and I’m blanking on any that I like, but I’ll pick Chicken run because it’s a classic.

And who doesn’t love watching chickens escape in clay-mation?”

Starring: Mel Gibson as a chicken.

IMDB Description: When a cockerel apparently flies into a chicken farm, the chickens see him as an opportunity to escape their evil owners.

Chicken Run - not really an adventure film

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Richard says:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Steve Martin & John Candy…enough said! Was so good that the film ‘Due Date’ is pretty much a replica of it.”

Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy

IMDB Description: A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Richard says:

“Not a Ben Stiller fan at all but thought was a really good flick. Some nice destinations in it and real feeling of ‘just do the things you’ve always wanted to do or do the things your inner self tells you not to sometimes’.”

Starring: Ben Stiller

IMDB Description: When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

The Titanic

Rebekka says:

“Does romantic adventure count?”

Of course it does. I included Chicken Run so I think anything goes now.

Also, there was definitely enough room for 2 people on that door.

Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet

IMDB Description: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Lord Of The Rings

Anthony says:

“If you classify Lord of the Rings as an adventure film then there’s a great hiking connection with the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand where Mordor was filmed and which I hiked while there (I remember it was pretty cool especially with some Enya music from the film playing on my I-pod to set the mood!).”

Starring: An endless, star-studded cast.

IMDB Description: A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

James says:

“Human sacrifice, pagan rituals, death by crocodile and a villain who could pull your beating heart from your chest with his bare hands… what’s not to like?!”

This is the man that leads us.

Starring: Harrison Ford

IMDB Description: After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

The Way

Starring: Martin Sheen

IMDB Description: A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

We hope that you enjoyed this post on the best adventure films. If you feel inspired to now starting planning your own adventure – check out our range of self-guided hiking tours.