Many of us have been whisked away by protagonists on mysterious and dangerous adventures. Who hasn’t fantasised about discovering lost treasure or venturing into a different realm? Adventure movies can transport us from the sometimes mundane reality, into worlds of wonder and excitement. Here we will present you with 10 of the best adventure movies and the reasons behind their success.
Adventure movies encompass several styles and genres. Whether you’re looking for horror, romance, sci-fi or action, an adventure movie will have it all. There’s no limit to what an adventure movie can be with most narratives containing some essence of adventure. This diversity in the genre has resulted in such a large community of adventure lovers.
To celebrate this genre, we wanted to bring you some of the best adventure movies of all time. We’ve included some classics as well as some less obvious picks. We’ll discuss the process behind making them and the critical response they received. Make sure to stay until the end to see which movie takes the number one spot!
Let’s get into it! What are the best adventure movies ever made?
The Hunger Games is a wonderful adventure film that has a darker undertone to it.
Katniss Everdeen is taken away from her poverty-ridden home of District 12 and forced to fight for her life in the annual Hunger Games. One girl and one boy from each of the 12 districts all with one goal, to become the last survivor!
Based on the outstanding books, The Hunger Games has gained a cult following. Many relate to Katniss and her hardships and that is the reason we root for her evermore. A small-town girl who beats all the odds and becomes a legend within this dystopian world. Her adventure is one we can’t help but deeply support, even with the ridiculous way she says Peter! Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect pick to play this role and has been widely celebrated for her achievements in it.
Released in 2012, this Gary Ross film saw huge success. It has become the 22nd highest-grossing film in North America as well as the highest ever grossing film that has been distributed by Lionsgate. Despite Metacritic only rewarding the film a score of 68/100, Rotten Tomatoes rewarded the film a score of 84%. This certainly makes The Hunger Games a good adventure movie.
The original King Kong stands out as one of the best fantasy adventure movies since the genre’s conception. A legendary film within itself, King Kong has influenced much pop culture and the film industry.
We’ve all seen the evermore questionable modern adaptations of King Kong but less so for the original. Despite this, you have to be living under a rock to not know the scene where King Kong is clutching the iconic Fay Wray atop the Empire State Building. Who knew the death of an oversized gorilla could bring the world to tears?
Of course, this film is regarded highly by critics and audiences alike. With a Metacritic score of 90/100 and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%, this stands out as a prominent film despite the genre. The lack of computer-generated imagery and advanced special effects is what so many love about this film. To create such a fantasy adventure that enticed the world in a time where technology was limited is an achievement in itself. Merina C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack made this film into the masterpiece it still is today.
Now, this might not be the first film to come to mind, but Alien is still an adventure just packed with sci-fi and horror. This Ridley Scott film is another that has transcended the ages and is a significant part of film history. You don’t have to be into films to know the significance of this one, but an IMDb rating of 8.4/10 and Rotten Tomatoes score of 98% should highlight that fact.
Exploring a derelict spaceship on an unknown planet in deep space is a sci-fi lovers adventure fantasy. This sinister story as Ripley becomes the last survivor has induced nightmares in many. Sigourney Weaver played this role perfectly and can be credited for much of the success in her career.
Again, you don’t need to of seen this film to know some of the most iconic scenes. Xenomorph babies breaking through the chest is referenced in film and TV countless times. Its current success is undeniable, but upon release, the film saw mixed reviews. This just shows that this film was ahead of its time, now being known as one of the most influential sci-fi’s ever made.
This is another you might not have expected to be on the list, but The Incredibles is everything we could ask for in an adventure. Daring missions to secret enemy bases on tropical islands, not to mention superpowers!
A more alternative pick but certainly one of the best family adventure movies. Not just a family-friendly movie, but a movie about a family of superheroes. What we love about his film is that it is the kids who save the parents. As Violet and Dash discover the scope of their powers they set out on their valiant adventure. Of course, we can’t forget Jack-Jack and the iconic Edna Mode, darling!
At the time this became Pixar’s highest-grossing film as well as the highest-grossing November Disney release. Making it into the top 20 highest-rated animations, it has received a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score. No matter your age, this is a film to be enjoyed by all.
The original Jurrasic Park is another one of those legendary films. Even just the theme music is so recognisable in itself. Purely the concept of Jurrasic Park is an adventure alone. A theme park on a beautiful island where you can step back in time and witness the wonders of the Jurrasic Period. The idea is wonderful, the reality, however, was of course not so fantastical.
With the best rating out of any of the Jurrasic Park series, this film won the Academy Award for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. Furthermore, it has gone on to be recognised as culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by the Library of Congress.
Undoubtedly Steven Speilberg was going to do this film justice. Another fact about this film we love, who better to play the owner of this Jurrasic theme park than David Attenborough’s brother himself!
All the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy are adventure classics. The whole plot is based on a huge adventure to destroy the Ring of Power. Which better film in the series to include than the one that kicks off the whole adventure?
The journey of Bilbo and Sam is an adventure unmatched by many films. 2 small Hobbits travelling across the vast lands of Middle Earth that is the home to men, elves, dwarves, wizards, and orcs. The fact that these two take on the burden of the Ring of Power and accomplish the seemingly impossible makes this adventure one of the most highly regarded. Little fan bases are as passionate as LOTR fans are.
We don’t need to tell you how successful this film was. Winning the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Makeup, Original Score, and Visual Effects makes it a strong contender. Definitely one of the strongest best action-adventure movies on our list.
Annihilation is the most recent film on our list and is worth a watch if you haven’t already. The rather unusual storyline and strong female leads make this one of the more recent best adventure movies on Netflix.
We follow Natalie Portman playing Lena as she is joined by her team and adventure past the “shimmer”. After a meteor crashed into a lighthouse this mysterious shimmer started to expand. Anyone who adventures within the shimmer doesn’t return, apart from Lena’s husband. Because of this she and her team attempt to unravel the mysteries within the shimmer.
What is found in the shimmer is quite mind-boggling. We’re not even going to try to describe what they find, it’s best to leave it for you to watch yourself. We will say, however, that this adventure didn’t turn out how we expected.
With a rather small budget and strange concept, many didn’t expect much from this film. Now, however, the film has received an 88% rotten tomatoes score. It has been widely credited for taking on such a risky project.
Undeniably, Indiana Jones was going to make it onto our top 10. The protagonist is basically the definition of adventure. Despite usually the villains and other influences being fictional, the base of each film can be related to real-life adventures. Indiana Jones sets out on adventures to lost kingdoms in the hopes of finding lost treasure. This narrative is one that is more than real and something many of us fantasise about.
The plot of this film does have a very serious narrative. Indiana Jones is out to stop Hitler from using the Lost Ark to make his army invincible, or so he thinks. What they find within the Ark in reality, isn’t so beneficial.
This film was credited for reviving the old serial films incorporating brilliant style and humour. Another amazing film series was brought to us by Steven Speilberg. It is recognised as one of the most significant films ever made and rightfully so.
The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre is an astonishing film full stop. With a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 98% Metacritic score, its critical response speaks for itself.
Another adventure film based around the hunt for treasure this time starring Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt playing Dobbs and Curtin. They are joined by veteran prospector Howard in Mexico as they search the Sierra Madre mountains for gold. The issues start arising when distrust between the 3 sets in.
One significant aspect of this film is that it was one of the first Hollywood films to be filmed outside of the US. Much of the scenes were shot in Durango and Tampico in Mexico making it all the more realistic. This fact already makes this a great adventure movie.
John Huston won the Academy Award and the Golden Globes for Best Director as well as winning 4 other outstanding awards. To many great film critics and directors, this is a favourite film classic.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is another one of those films that you don’t have to of seen to know about. A martial arts master assembles a group of warriors, including the one and only Michelle Yeoh, to protect and legendary sword. The legendary sword in question is the Geen Destiny, a 400-year old blade that has been stolen.
At the time, for a foreign-made movie, this film did exceedingly well. It became the highest-grossing film in American history that was produced overseas as well as the first foreign-language movie to break the $100 million mark in the US.
Overall the film won 40 awards as well as being nominated for 10 Academy Awards. It went on to be nominated for the most awards for any foreign-language film until Roma came along in 2018. Additionally winning four BAFTAs and two Golden Globes makes it an obvious pick for our number 1 spot out of our top ten adventure films.
That was our review of the top adventure movies. We hope you enjoyed reading and are itching for an adventure of your own!
The adventure genre includes a huge scope of movies. There really is something for everyone within this genre and has served film lovers time and time again. From The Incredibles to Indiana Jones, there is an adventure to be found in all good stories. It is something fundamental to human instinct. We have the urge to adventure ourselves, most of us are just happy doing it from the comfort of our sofas.
If you’ve read this far why not read some of our other film reviews? Our reviews of the Best Spy Movies, Best Fantasy Movies Of All Time, and Best Thriller Movies Of All Time should all be up your street!
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