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10 OUTDOOR AND ADVENTURE SPORTS FILMS TO STREAM RIGHT NOW


When you can’t get out there or you just want a little inspiration, look no further than your trusty online streaming services.  Whether you’re recovering from injury, hiding from the weather, or simply have a bit of time to yourself indoors, you can always count on a quality movie to bring you some outdoor inspiration and help shape your next challenge. Here are our top picks on Netflix and Amazon Prime right now*. 

 

*Correct as of April 2020

Netflix

The Dawn Wall (2017)

If you’re into climbing (and even if you’re not), this one’s for you. Following the fascinating life of Tommy Caldwell, the documentary captures how he and his climbing partner tackled one of the world’s toughest climbs. It took them seven years to plan and complete the first ever free climb of The Dawn Wall on El Capitan, culminating in a 19-day ascent. Just as much about tackling crags as is it about overcoming personal limitations, it’s hard not to be captivated. 

Iron Cowboy (2016)

The story of James Lawrence (AKA The Iron Cowboy) and his self-imposed challenge to take on 50 Ironmans in 50 US states in 50 days. Even if you’re not a triathlete, it’s hard not to be mesmerised by the sheer determination, motivation and at points, stubbornness exhibited by one man who has set himself a seemingly impossible challenge. This documentary shares Lawrence’s unbelievable mental and physical journey, redefining the limits of what is humanly possible. 

Mountain (2017)

Better described as art than film in many places, Mountain, is exploration of our obsession with high places and how what were once places of peril are now places of beauty, wonder and challenge. It admires all kinds of peaks and high places, and includes a variety of mountain activities including footage of early mountaineers and examples of the modern-day exploitation of mountains. Narrated by Willem Dafoe and scored by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, this is a simply beautiful piece of cinema that draws on over 2000 hours of footage and serves as a visual and aural ode to the beauty, mystery, and power of mountains. 

Valley Uprising (2014)

Another climbing film set in (you guessed it) Yosemite, but this documentary follows the park’s 60-year legacy of rock-climbing revolution and counterculture. Featuring some 50 rock climbers telling their stories, this is more than a climbing film, broaching broader issues including freedom, authority and challenging the norm with a backdrop of the most famous crags in the world. From the Golden Age of the 50s and 60s, through the 70s and 80s and into the modern age of climbing, this documentary has something for every generation of climber, and something for those who don’t climb too.  

Meru (2015)

Winner of the U.S. Audience Documentary Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this gripping film documents the historic first ascent of “Shark’s Fin”, a 4000ft wall at the peak of Mount Meru, the most technically complicated and dangerous peaks in the Himalayas. It combines footage from both the first failed attempt in 2008 and the successful 2011 ascent (spoiler) and follows three friends who overcome setbacks and nature’s harshest conditions to confront this previously impossible challenge.  

Amazon Prime

Sherpa (2015)

Filmed during the 2014 Mount Everest ice avalanche, Sherpa follows Phurba Tashi, a Nepalese Sherpa who has made 21 Mount Everest ascents, his family and community, exploring their culture and relationship with the mountain as well as their contentious and life-threatening occupation. The film documents the devastating ice avalanche that killed 26 Sherpas, and the events following, including Sherpa protests and the later April 2015 Nepal earthquake which cause further and more devastating avalanches in the region. With archival film of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary pitched alongside raw and jaw-dropping footage of the Sherpas’ lives, this is a spectacular, intimate and provocative look at life in the mountains.

Free Solo (2018)

Perhaps one of the most famous climbing stories of all time, if you haven’t seen this yet, you really should (and even if you have, just watch it again). A true sweaty-palm, nail-biter of a documentary which follows Alex Honnold on his pursuit of a free solo climb of El Capitan’s 900-metre rock face in Yosemite National Park. A fascinating insight into how passion and personality can drive a person to take on the impossible, working both with and against nature for what is a truly captivating and thrilling watch from beginning to end. Arguably the ultimate climbing film, do not miss this. 

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey (2017)

From our good friends at Patagonia, this multi award-winning film documents the ground-breaking real-life story of a rebel athlete and mountaineer, who inspired generations of climbers. Hailed as one of the most prolific and influential climbers of all time, Fred Beckey began his adventures in the 1930s and 40s, with his nomadic mountaineering lifestyle rendering him the original ‘Dirtbag’ climber. Fred’s exceptional life inspired him to author a numbered of books based on his own journals, connecting aspiring climbers to the mountains, and through this film, us too. 

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)

This film offers insight into a highly secretive event that redefines success and failure (with a failure rate of 99%).  The gruelling and mysterious Barkley Marathons sees runners take on a brutal 100+ mile course through one of Tennessee’s national parks. Since 1989, only 15 people have completed it (which requires them to finish within 60 hours) with most entering the race knowing only one thing for sure: that they likely won’t finish it. The total elevation is so intense that runners do the equivalent of climbing and descending Mount Everest twice and it’s thought that the 20-mile loop is closer to 26. Need we say more? 

Winterland (2019)

A true celebration of ski and snowboard culture, Winterland is award-winning production company TGR’s 24th annual release, on which they collaborated with 23 of the world’s most accomplished freeskiers and snowboarders, showcasing some of the best footage from their 22 years of production. Its creators describe it as a ‘state of mind’ one which embodies the magic skiers and snowboarders feel out in the mountains. Presented by The North Face, the film showcases the pure joy and adventure of snowsports, exploring the history, places and people that make up this world.