10 movies every would-be adventurer must see

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Calling all armchair adventurers – vote for your favourite film below...
Written by James LuxfordPublished on
Fancy yourself as a bit of an adventurer, but don't know where to start? A good place to get your inspiration may be the big screen. Here is our top ten most action-packed cinematic adventures. Vote for your favourite below.

1. Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981)

“The Return of The Great Adventure” promised the poster for Steven Spielberg's classic, and they weren't wrong. Harrison Ford's globe trotting archaeologist is the archetypal adventurer, and he's never better than here. From the nail biting opening sequence it's action a-go. From rescuing an idol from a booby-trapped temple in Peru, to escaping from an underground snake pit, or chasing ancient artefacts across the world there's never a dull moment. It may not be the safest of lifestyles, but it's definitely the most exciting!

The Goonies (1985)

Of course, an adventurer doesn't have to be a chiselled action hero, as shown in a Spielberg-produced family favourite where a gang of misfit kids go in search of pirate gold. With criminals on their tail, a treasure map to follow and no end of comedy hijinks, it would take a hard heart not to get caught up in a story that will appeal to anyone after a fun-filled quest.

Point Break (1991)

Maybe your idea of adventure is catching the biggest waves? One of the first extreme sports action movies, bromantic testosterone fuels some incredibly filmed stunts as Keanu Reeves' FBI agent infiltrates a gang of high-risk loving criminals. Patrick Swayze's sun-kissed anti-hero, Bodhi, turns activities such as surfing and skydiving into a philosophy that's hard not to be seduced by, provided you ignore their sideline in robbing banks dressed as ex-presidents.

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2004)

OK, so it's unlikely that you'll meet wizards or orcs on your travels (unless you walk into a really strange bar!), but what trilogy sums up the spirit of adventure more than Peter Jackson's action epic? Sword fights, underground caves and a lot of trekking across New Zealand are all par for the course in three films that exemplify friendship, bravery and excitement.

Up (2009)

You may just remember it for making you cry like a toddler in the first ten minutes. However, if you can keep your eyes dry for long enough, you'll find that it is a story about moving on and finding adventure whether you're a curious youngster or a curmudgeonly old man. Plus, who doesn't want to fly on a house lifted by balloons while chased by a giant Zeppelin?

127 Hours (2010)

The first of several cautionary tales for any of you looking to push the limits of your exploration. James Franco's limitless supply of charm does him no good when trapped underneath a rock in a remote rock canyon. Based on the real-life experiences of canyoneer Aaron Ralston, it shows that even the most prepared of adventurers come up against the unexpected, and that no-one can truly do it all on their own.

Cast Away (2000)

If “127 Hours” was a cautionary tale, Tom Hanks' drama is the worst case scenario! After a horrific plane crash, everyone's favourite award winner gets stranded on an island. While your adventures are hopefully less solitary, it's a crash course in resourcefulness as the star creates his own fire, builds his own escape raft, and forms a closer bond with a volleyball than most of us have with our oldest friends.

The Mummy (1999)

While he may have been absent from our screen for the last few years, in the late '90s Brendan Fraser was the apparent successor to Indiana Jones in this classic Hollywood romp. Cursed Egyptian Pharaohs and ancient curses aside; Fraser and his co-star, a pre-Oscar Rachel Weisz, can teach any would-be adventurer that even the greatest of foes can be seen off with some ingenuity and the occasional witty one-liner.

Life of Pi (2012)

Anyone curious to see the world would be well served to remember the idiom that it's about the journey, not the destination. Never was this more true on screen than in Ang Lee's beautiful film, following the charismatic Pi as he retells his adventures alone on a life boat with a tiger. Delving into themes of bravery, friendship and self-discovery, it also highlights the best part of any adventure – the stories you tell when you return.

The Beach (1998)

A young, spiky-haired Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a backpacker looking for the ultimate retreat from civilisation, only to find a commune that isn't quite as idyllic as it seems. Again directed by Danny Boyle (who really puts his leads through the mill), it's the best and worst of global exploration wrapped into two hours, and if nothing else teaches you not to trust isolated communities run by crazy hippies (even if they are played by Tilda Swinton).
Which film did you like best? Vote below...
James Luxford is a film critic for Radio Times, City AM and the BBC. He also also written about film for Empire Magazine, Little White Lies and Canvas By Grolsch. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.