8 Adventure Films that’ll stoke your Adventurelust


There’s only so much wanderlust we can muster up by constantly scrolling through #travelporn on Instagram and videos thrown out daily by UNILAD Adventure. Sometimes, we need to clear some head space, allow a couple of hours of free-time in the diary and immerse ourselves in a story – a series of beautiful moments, a whole entire other-world – to really stoke our wanderlust. You’ll need an adventure movie for that.

But more than just watching films set in stunning locations, it’s movies that encompass entire adventures and take you into an almost palpable alternate reality which will have you desk-dreaming. Through beautiful shots, undeniably brilliant direction and epic feats of movie-making, here are 8 adventure-centred movies which are sure to see you skating, surfing, photographing and travelling at high speed into your next trip. Popcorn optional. Adventure froth guaranteed.

1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Where you’ll want to go: Iceland, Nepal
What you’ll want to do: Snow leopard spotting in the Himalayas, relish beautiful travel moments, and go longboarding

I honestly can’t believe this movie only entered my life THIS year. A ridiculously beautiful story about the call of adventure, with a passionate undertone of photography (which ends up being the subject of the final crescendo of the movie). We can all relate to run-of-the-mill office guy Walter Mitty with his love struggles and relentless daydreaming. No-one could have predicted the ending which is sure to send shivers through your spine, have you cleaning your camera lenses with the next available cotton bud and give you an endless craving to book a ticket to Iceland with a longboard in tow.

2. View From A Blue Moon

Where you’ll want to go: Anywhere remotely tropical that has a surf break
What you’ll want to do: Download the soundtrack STAT, and surf

Ok, so this is a super surfer-head movie, but it can be appreciated by those who don’t JUST want to watch surfporn day in, day out. The soundtrack is beautiful with highlights by Joywave (listen to Tongues!) and I can guarantee you’ll be Shazamming your way through the movie, all while appreciating some seriously beautiful surfing by the legend that is John John Florence. If you have ANY interest in surfing and the ocean, you’ll love the dreamy tropical locations featured and sure to feel inspired to paddle out into your next surf sesh – beginner, intermediate or experienced! All that along with having a serious Spotify download sesh afterwards.

3. Lords of Dogtown

Where you’ll want to go: Venice, LA
What you’ll want to do: Skate, skate, skate… maybe surf too

If you have any interest in skating or even surfing (which formed the origins to skateboarding) you’ll love this film. A fictional movie that recreates the true story of the z-boys of Dogtown and their rebellious yet adventurous behaviour. The original crew who began skating asphalt banks and progressed to unruly break-ins to dried up pools in neighbours’ back yards during a drought in the mid 1970s. The predecessor to the righteous skate bowl. Expect sun-saturated shots which will whisk you back to 1970s Venice along with some appearingly experimental skate moves on old school decks. If you don’t already own a plank of wood with 4 wheels attached to it, you’re likely to be googling it stat for your newest summer accessory. And if you’re a chick, you’ll probably go a bit gooey-eyed for the dreamy long-haired skater boys too.

4. Under An Arctic Sky

Where you’ll want to go: Iceland
What you’ll want to do: Surf no matter how cold the water, see the Northern Lights with the naked eye

Adventure. Surf. And the quest to capture a dream shot for surf photographer Chris Burkard. This docu-movie might be short at just 40 minutes running time, but it’s FULL of sweet stoke. Following 6 surfers as they search for swell in the fjords of Iceland’s Honstradir Nature reserrve, and facing brutal winter conditions, at times you’ll wonder if they’re ever going to even make it. Seeing how hyped these guys get for swell that some of us would simply be terrified to even attempt to paddle into, is enough to send shivers of joy down your spine.

The lengths the team go to is inspiring – to get that ultimate shot of a surfer riding a wave beneath the Northern Lights. It’s the definition of art meeting adventure with all of the surf stoke thrown in for good measure. To fully appreciate this documentary movie you’ll need to watch it a minimum of three times; once for the general story, again to appreciate the surfing, and a third time to really soak up those beautiful shots. You’re sure to be feeling all kinds of adventurous after this.

And if you’re not already following Chris Burkard on Instagram, start RN. The beauty and out-of-this-worldness of his images are sure to bring you adventure-spiration daily.

5. 180 Degrees South

Where you’ll want to go: Easter Island, Patagonia
What you’ll want to do: Surfing, Hiking, Sailing, Climbing and get wildly protective over Mother N (be prepared to be inspired!)

“The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn’t even think to ask”

When I first watched this movie, I honestly thought it was just a really well shot ‘based-on-a-true-story’ flick. Little did I know until the end credits that it’s actually a documentary film. Following Jeff Johnson as he follows his dream to climb Mount Corcovado in Patagonia, embarking on an epic journey from Seattle to Patagonia – via Rapa Nui (Easter Island) – with surfboard, journal and camera in hand. This movie is sure to throw thought provoking ideas about adventure at you and quotes you’ll be scribbling down as you watch. Prepare for all of the adventure froth and surf feels. If you have an affectionate relationship with Mother N, expect a well up of emotion. If you don’t? You’ll have one after this.

6. Chasing Mavericks

Where you’ll want to go: San Francisco (Mavericks), Portugal (Nazare), Hawaii (Pe’ahi aka Jaws), Tahiti (Teahupo’o)
What you’ll want to do: Go and watch some big wave surfing IRL (in real life)

Not all the locations I’ve mentioned above are featured but all these locations are home to big waves. And after watching Chasing Mavericks you’ll want to see these breaking in the flesh before your very eyes – and moreso see the crazy people who are big wave surfers having a crack at surfing them. Based on a true story about surfer Jay Moriarty the story follows one man’s quest to feed his surf addiction and determination to ride one of the gnarliest waves on the planet. With an average ‘hold down’ time (that’s time spent being sucked beneath the wave) of between 10 to a grim 30 seconds, big wave surfing is no mean feat. A story of friendship, love and pure surf froth, if you love surfing and surf culture, this is a must to tick off the watch list. It’s one of the classics.

7. 127 Hours

Where you’ll want to go: Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, Utah, U.S.A
What you’ll want to do: Go mountain biking and canyoning or cliff jumping

Ok, I think we all know how this one goes. But beyond an extraordinary story of survival and a very short gory part, 127 Hours will see your emotions run all the way from buzzy adrenalin right through to welling up with tears of joy and have you reaching for your swiss army knife and mountain bike at the soonest possibility. Directed by Danny Boyle, it’s got his signature stamp on it of snappy cuts, detailed shots and a seriously good soundtrack. Whatever adventure you’re inspired to go on, just don’t head out on your own into the middle of nowhere without taking the appropriate safety precautions, ‘k?!

8. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Where you’ll want to go: New Zealand
What you’ll want to do: Get lost in the bush (safely!)

We can all relate to the emotional hardships of being a teenager. And being tossed from one foster family to another, the plights of Ricky Baker’s teenage years are tougher than most. But when Ricky does a classic teenage runaway he does it really well. The way we all imagined doing it; learning reall survival skills with his Uncle and his dog 2-Pac. It’s warm, emotional, funny and hard all at once. And if you speak to any Kiwi, chances are they’ve seen this film and they absolutely love it. This movie will have you dialling in annual leave with your boss and planning your next epic trip hiking and camping in the forest ASAPs.

Do you have a favourite adventure movie?

Comment below and share with a likeminded community of adventure seekers. Let’s all share the stoke!

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