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Top 50 Best Mountain Climbing Movies Of All Time
Aishwarya-Updated June 29, 2023
Mountain climbing is considered an adventure sport. Depending on the difficulty of the climb, it can be an extreme sport too.
However, to a rock climber, it is a sort of meditation, a journey of discovery of self, a conquest, etc.
To some, it is also a fun adventure. So what is the big charm of mountain climbing or rock climbing is that we have so many people flocking to it.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, he simply said, “Because it's there..” Edmund Hillary had a more philosophical approach to climbing and said that it was not the mountain that was conquered but ourselves.
Different people have different motivations, but one thing is standard with every climb. It is the adrenaline rush that we get from reaching the summit.
To capture this exhilarating feeling, many filmmakers have made movies on this theme, but the best and the most iconic rock climbing movies are the documentaries of the climbers themselves.
ENTOIN has curated a list of the best mountain climbing films that you must watch to enjoy the thrill.
Hope you enjoy the films as much as we have in preparing this list.
50. The Climbers (2019)
The Climbers is a Chinese film about a real-life team of climbers who conquered the north face of Mount Everest in 1970.
The film had a star cast of big names in the Chinese film industry, and it premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
A highly trained and motivated team of Chinese commandos attempted to climb the treacherous north face of Mt. Everest but had to turn back on four attempts.
It cost them a lot of physical effort and injury. In this attempt, they reach the second step to the peak, and will they be able to conquer, which makes up the story.
The cast shot the film on location in Tibet Autonomous Region. Wu Jing underwent half-month cold tolerance training in Mount Gangshka.
49. High Lane (2009)
High Lane is a French film titled Vertige. It is a horror-adventure film that revolves around the mountain climbing trip of a group of friends.
The film was praised for its cinematography and the climbing sequences. The direction and the story were good. However, the bad acting spoiled the otherwise great film.
A group of five friends set out on a rock climbing adventure trip in Croatia. They find that it has been closed, but Fred, being an experienced climber, convinces his friends to proceed.
As they go deeper into the trek, they encounter more and more accidents and mishaps that are not coincidental.
Their trip has been set up for the entertainment of a psychotic serial killer.
48. The Ledge (2022)
The Ledge opens with Kelly and Sophie embarking on a rock-climbing expedition in Northern Italy. However, their peaceful trip takes a dark turn when a man named Josh attempts to assault Sophie.
She escapes and is pursued by Josh and his friends. Kelly witnesses her friend being thrown off a ledge and captures the moment on camera, alerting the men to her presence.
The rest of the film follows Kelly as she free-climbs the mountain to evade her pursuers.
The climbing scenes are well-executed, adding tension to the movie. The director's skill in capturing shots at great heights is commendable.
However, the film suffers from weak dialogue and wooden acting, undermining its potential. Despite its promising premise and visually impressive moments, The Ledge falters due to its flawed screenplay.
47. Into Thin Air: Death on Everest (1997)
Into Thin Air: Death on Everest is a biographical action drama that is based on the best-seller Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer. It recreates the events that took place on the disastrous Everest expedition on May 10, 1996.
In 1996 many mountain climbing expeditions were launched to climb Mt. Everest. However, deadly blizzards struck all teams, and there were a total of 12 fatalities across all teams.
Jon Krakauer was also a member of one of the expeditions and narrowly escaped death. The film focuses on his experience and how he managed to survive the ordeal.
The same story was recreated in the 2015 film as well.
46. Everest: The Summit of the Gods (2016)
Everest: The Summit of the Gods is a Japanese film based on the manga series Kamigami no Itadaki by Baku Yumemakura.
The film is the only Japanese film shot on the topic of Mount Everest. The film premise is that George Mallory had a camera with him on his Everest expedition.
This camera was discovered by photojournalist Fukamachi. After viewing the shots and recognizing the value of the information, he decides to go on his own Everest expedition with his friend Joji.
The novel by Baku Yumemakura has been converted into a manga series and an animated version as well apart from the live-action film.
45. Vertical Limit (2000)
Vertical Limit is a Martin Campbell film written by Robert King. This action-adventure was envisioned as a sequel to Cliffhanger.
However, it was later made as a stand-alone film with Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, etc., playing the lead roles.
The Garrett siblings are estranged after Peter had to cut his father loose during a rock climbing adventure. He did it to save Annie, but she blames Peter for killing their father.
Now, Annie is heading the summit team to K2, a very dangerous peak in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas.
Inclement weather is disregarded, and the climb proceeds, but they encounter danger and get stuck. It is up to Peter to gather a rescue team to help his sister.
44. Fall (2022)
The story of Fall begins with an emotionally fragile climber Becky and thrill-seeking friend Hunter deciding to climb the abandoned 2,000-foot B67 TV tower to scatter ashes and find closure.
However, their descent goes awry when the ladder breaks, leaving them stranded hundreds of feet above the ground.
They try to signal for help but face challenges, including interference and unhelpful campers. Secrets are revealed, including Hunter's affair with Becky's late husband.
Despite setbacks, they persist in their efforts, using a failed drone and eventually sacrificing themselves to transmit a message. In a delirious state, Becky hallucinates Hunter's presence until she succumbs to a vulture attack.
Becky, however, manages to send a text message for help using Hunter's body, leading to her rescue and reunion with her father.
43. K2 (1991)
K2 is a survival drama loosely based on the experience of Jim Wickwire and Louis Reichardt. The two climbers were the first Americans to summit K2, the world’s most dangerous peak to scale and the second-highest mountain peak.
Taylor Brooks and Harold Jameson are two white-collar workers, who pursue mountain climbing as a hobby. During one of their adventures, they meet a billionaire Claiborne, who is setting up a team to scale K2.
They join the team and reach the Karakoram range in Pakistan. The movie depicts the experiences they faced on their climb and the dangers on the descent.
The film story is adapted from a play of the same name by Patrick Meyers in 1982. The play won a Tony award for Best Scenic Design.
42. Scream of Stone (1991)
Scream of Stone of a German adventure drama titled Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein. The film was directed by Werner Herzog but he did not write the script and this caused a lot of dissatisfaction for him.
He refused to call it his film. Scream of Stone is about the intense rivalry between two mountain climbers.
One is an experienced mountaineer, and the other is a champion rock climber in indoor competitions. They each denounce the other’s worth, and all this competitiveness causes them to make a bet on who will climb the Cerro Torre, Argentina’s most difficult mountain first.
This race results in more than they bargained for as each experiences many hardships and personal loss to get to the finish line.
41. The Eiger Sanction (1975)
The Eiger Sanction is an action thriller directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Trevanian.
The film earned a moderate profit with mixed reviews. The climbing sequences were praised by the critics. Jonathan Hemlock is an art professor and collector.
During his free time, he worked as an assassin for a secret government organization. He is now called back and blackmailed to take up a case for information on his old friend, who was assassinated.
The mission is to climb the north face of the Eiger peak in the Alps. All the difficult stunts in the film were performed by Eastwood himself.
There was only one sequence of a 2000 feet drop where he used a dummy instead.
40. The Abominable Snowman (1957)
The Abominable Snowman is a British horror movie based on the legend of the Yeti. The film is based on the television play, titled The Creature, also written by Nigel Kneale.
The film was the first of the 22 movies made by Peter Cushing with Hammer Films, although it was released second.
John Rollason is a British botanist who resides in a monastery in a remote Himalayan location. He, along with his wife and assistant, are researching rare Himalayan herbs.
When they are contacted by an American team to locate the abominable snowman, he agrees. Initially, the intention was stated as exploration, but as the expedition progresses, Rollason discovers that the American and his team intend to capture the Yeti for commercial earning.
The actual danger starts when another able-bodied Yeti wants revenge.
39. Nanga Parbat (2010)
Nanga Parbat is a German biographical film about the tragic expedition to climb the Naga Parbat in 1970. The Nanga Parbat is the ninth-highest peak in the world, and it rises in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The movie follows the expedition of the Messner brothers. Reinhold and Günther Messner are experienced mountaineers from Italy. They acquire German funding for their expedition up the Nanga Parbat and set out with a German mountain climbing team.
Inclement weather and avalanches disrupt their descent after reaching the peak. Sadly Günther Messner died on the way, and Reinhold got separated.
After he came down via a different route, he reunited with the team. The name Nanga Parbat literally means Bare Mountain.
38. The Mountain (2012)
The Mountain is a Turkish drama written and directed by Alper Çağlar. The film’s Turkish title is Dag; it is about the bravery of Turkish soldiers.
It is regularly shown in the military academy in Izmir. Four soldiers are sent to repair a radio tower in the mountains that are disrupted.
Unexpectedly, the team encounters a rebel attack, and only two survive with the bare minimum provisions and weaponry. The two soldiers were always bickering and wrangling at each other’s throats before but now they have to depend on each other to survive.
They have to traverse through the mountainous terrain, repair the radio tower and hold it against rebels.
37. Gran Paradiso (2000)
Gran Paradiso is a German drama and an inspiring tale directed by Miguel Alexandre. The film is about the expedition of an unlikely bunch of climbers who have more to prove with the climb than enjoyment.
Mark is wheelchair-bound after a motorcycle accident, and he is depressed. His therapist suggests that he take the rock climbing expedition that he always dreamed of.
Along with Mark and his therapist, Lisa, the group consists of three jail inmates and two mentally handicapped patients.
All of them are brought here for rehabilitation and therapy. They have to learn essential social skills and work together to make it up and back down.
36. Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell (2013)
Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell is a documentary about David Lama’s free ascent of Cerro Torre. The documentary covers the attempts and previous failures of Lama to make a free ascent without any climbing aids along the compressor path of Cerro Torre.
Cerro Torre is a notoriously difficult mountain to climb. It is located in Patagonia along Argentina and Chile. It is the highest peak in the range, and David Lama attempted to do a free ascent in 2009.
Unfavorable weather canceled their climb, but the film crew was blamed for drilling too many bolts and disrupting the climb for others.
After the cancellation of the second attempt, in 2012, David Lama and Peter Ortner came back to make a free ascent after a previous team removed all 120 bolts along the route.
35. Wampler’s Ascent (2013)
Wampler’s Ascent is a documentary about the sheer willpower, and determination of Steve Wampler to conquer the monolith, El Capitan in Yosemite.
The documentary was filmed by Elizabeth Wampler to capture his journey. Steve Wampler suffers from severe cerebral palsy and has the use of only one limb, his right hand.
Normally, he travels using an electric wheelchair. For this expedition to triumph against all odds, Wampler spent six days and five nights trying to climb the El Capitan and overcome his sheer terror with the support and love of his family.
The inspiring tale of Steve Wampler, who made 20,000 pull-ups with his special harness to climb, has been supported and praised by many celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Will Forte, Diane Sawyer, etc.
34. Third Man on the Mountain (1959)
Third Man on the Mountain is an adventure film made by Walt Disney productions about the dream of a young man to fulfill his father’s dying dream of climbing the Citadel.
This 1959 film is based on the 1955 novel Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. Rudi Matt is the 18-year-old son of a deceased mountain-climber guide who died on the Citadel trying to save his client.
Now, the famous British mountaineer, Capt. John Winter is attempting to climb the Citadel, along with a guide, and agrees to take Rudi along as the Third man on the mountain.
The Citadel is a fictional peak in the Swiss Alps. The production team used the Matterhorn as the peak that was unscalable in the film.
33. The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975)
The Man Who Skied Down Everest is a documentary film that captured the 1970 expedition of Japanese alpinist Yuichiro Miura.
The film was captured by the Canadian filmmaker F. R. "Budge" Crawley. It was a long-standing dream of skier Yuichiro Miura from Japan to ski down Mount Everest.
In 1970, he attempted the trip and skied 2000 meters in 2 minutes and 25 seconds. He fell for a good 400 meters but broke his fall with parachutes to slow down the speed.
He stopped in the nick of time before hitting the bergschrund. For this film, Crawley won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.
During the time of this ski trip, other mountain climbing expeditions were underway. Sadly, six sherpas and three Japanese climbers died.
32. North Face (2008)
North Face is a historical German film about the 1936 competition to climb the treacherous North face of the Eiger peak in the Swiss Alps.
The film is a fictional account of a real-life event that took place as part of Nazi propaganda before World War II.
A Berlin newspaper worker, Louise is friends with alpinists Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser. They decide to compete in the Eiger North Face challenge to climb the Alpine peak, with Louise covering it for the newspaper.
The expedition was tragic, and Louise resigned from her job after witnessing it. During the 1936 expedition, close to 64 climbers lost their lives trying to climb the Nordwand, which was later nicknamed the Mordwand.
31. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)
Encounters at the End of the World is an American documentary film made by Werner Herzog. The team covers the type of expeditions that take place in the Antarctic continent and the kind of life they lead.
Werner Herzog and his cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger take up an expedition to the Antarctic continent. They reach the McMurdo Station and meet all the different scientists, researchers, and oddballs who prefer to spend time in the wilderness and the various studies they conduct.
There is a sequence where a scientist explains how he can hear seals by putting his ear to the ice.
This was an incorrect dramatization that Herzog suggested.
30. 180° South (2010)
180° South is a documentary film, also known as 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless. It follows the journey of Jeff Johnson as he retraces the path of mountain climbers Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins who summited Fitz Roy in 1968.
In 1968, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins journeyed from Ventura, California to Patagonia and climbed the infamous Fitz Roy, one of the most difficult mountains in the Andes range.
In the present, Jeff Johnson retraces their journey while surfing the waves and reaches the port in Chile to trek up the Corcovado Volcano in Patagonia.
The documentary uses footage of Chouinard and Tompkins during their original climb. The film title, Conquerors of the Useless, was borrowed from the mountaineering autobiography of Lionel Terray titled Les Conquérants de l'inutile.
29. Everest (2015)
Everest is a biographical action film that depicts the ill-fated expedition of 1996, which saw one of the highest numbers of fatalities during the Everest climbing season.
The film was a commercial success with an ensemble star cast of Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Martin Henderson, Emily Watson, etc.
On May 10th and 11th of 1996, two expeditions up Everest were struck by a sudden ferocious blizzard. It battered the two teams with blistering winds and freezing temperatures.
The team suffered from frostbite, high altitude sickness, oxygen deprivation, etc., before they made it back. During this expedition, two guides and two of the clients in the teams died before rescue arrived.
Overall, during this year, 12 climbers expired in their attempt to climb.
28. The Climb (2017)
The Climb or L'Ascension is a French comedy adventure. It is a movie based on the novel Un tocard sur le toit du monde written by Nadir Dendoune.
It depicts the real story of an inexperienced mountain climber who sets out to conquer Everest. Samy Diakhaté is a Senegalese-French national who falls in love with Nadia from his neighborhood.
He tries every which way he can think of to impress her. During one of his attempts, he proclaims that he can climb Everest for her.
Nadia laughs off his declaration, but Samy takes it seriously and begins to make preparations to fund his journey.
Although the film claims to be a real-life story, his name, location, and reason for climbing Everest were all altered.
The film was the first commercial movie to be shot at Everest's south base camp.
27. Cliffhanger (1993)
Cliffhanger is an action-adventure film based on an international heist set in the Colorado Rocky mountains. The film is based on the story idea by John Long and features a star cast of Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, and Janine Turner.
Gabe and Jessie are mountain rangers in the Rockies. They are called to rescue fellow ranger Hal and his girlfriend, who dies during the rescue attempt.
Hal blames Gabe for this, and Gabe decides to resign from his job as a ranger. On his last day at work, Gabe, Hal, and Jessie receive a call for rescue that turns out to be fake.
It was an elaborate scheme to steal US Treasury bills, set up by a ruthless international team. The film features an aerial stunt where Simon Crane has to jump between two helicopters without any safety harnesses or trick photography.
It was the costliest stunt, as per the Guinness Book of World Records, and Stallone took a pay cut to fund this stunt.
26. K2: The Impossible Descent (2020)
K2: The Impossible Descent is a documentary film made by Slawomir Batyra and Steven Robillard. It captures the ski descent of Polish skier Andrzej Bargiel as he goes down K2, the second-highest peak in the world and a notoriously dangerous mountain.
Andrzej Bargiel is a Polish skier and he dreams of skiing down K2. The documentary covers his journey from Poland to Pakistan and up to a height of 8611 m.
Here, he clicked into his gear to start his impossible descent down K2 to make history. The film promises breathtaking scenery and skiing action.
25. Alive (1993)
Alive is a biographical survival story about the Uruguayan rugby team's crash aboard an Uruguayan Air Force flight in 1972.
The narrative is based on the book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, written by Piers Paul Read.
The film was praised for not resorting to sensationalization of the issue and handling it with the necessary sensitivity and dignity.
However, another reviewer was disappointed that the psychological angle and the societal hierarchies were not explored sufficiently. The Uruguayan rugby team, with their friends and family, is traveling to Chile over the Andes mountains when they strike turbulence and crash.
The survivors suffer from various levels of injury and slowly die due to injury and cold weather. Those who survive have to make some hard decisions to ensure their survival.
24. Chasing Ice (2012)
Chasing Ice is a documentary film that studies the evidence of climate change on the icy glaciers in Greenland.
The film was directed by Jeff Orlowski, who follows National Geographic photographer James Balog and the team of Extreme Ice Survey.
James Balog was skeptical about climate change and took up the assignment to track the changes in the ice glaciers in Greenland with time-lapse cameras to study the multi-year record of glacial melting.
This award-winning documentary captured the glacier calving event that took place at Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland.
23. Sherpa (2015)
Sherpa is a documentary film that was supposed to delve into the role and importance of Sherpas for the 2013 faceoff with an angry mob of sherpas.
However, the filmmaker Jennifer Peedom captured something totally different and tragic. Jennifer Peedom aimed to capture the lives and livelihood of Sherpas in the Himalayan mountain climbing trips.
It started with the sherpa Phurba Tashi, who is an experienced climber who assists the international team. However, in 2014, the community faced its biggest avalanche in the Khumbu icefall that claimed 16 lives.
This was captured in the documentary altering the perspective of the world on these climbing guides.
22. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a documentary film that captures the lives of the people of the village of Bhakta.
The film was directed by Dmitry Vasyukov while Werner Herzog narrated it and made the English version of it.
The Bhakta village is located near the Yenisei and the Bakhta Rivers in Eastern Siberian taiga. The village is home to trappers who hunt sable and fish for livelihood.
We meet the Ket people who are local to this region and learn the historic prominence and heritage of the people.
The film was originally conceived by Mikhail Tarkovsky and Gennady Soloviev, who are fishermen and trappers from the village.
They wanted the world to know about this little-known community from the Siberian wilderness.
21. Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey is a biographical documentary about the reclusive and rebellious climber Fred Beckey. He is described as the original ‘Dirtbag’ climber who climbed extensively in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest.
The documentary captures an exclusive look at the private life of Beckey, who spent a good part of his life in the nomadic mountaineering lifestyle.
He has achieved hundreds of first ascents of the tallest peaks and best routes up several peaks. He has established seven of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, and all this is documented in the 13 books that he authored.
20. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Seven Years in Tibet is a biographical drama that is based on the memoir of the same name by Heinrich Harrer.
The film stars Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, and B. D. Wong, etc., captured the experiences of Herrer in Tibet between 1944 and 1951.
Heinrich Harrer is an Austrian mountaineer and SS sergeant who was stationed in British India when the world war broke out.
He was immediately captured and sent to the POW camp in Darjeeling along with fellow Austrian Peter Aufschnaiter. They escaped the camp and trekked their way to Tibet where they met the Dalai Lama.
The film was on location in Argentina, and they had to import yaks for the shooting. Each yak was issued its own passport with its photograph and teeth imprint for identification.
19. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021)
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible is a documentary film about the exploits of Nirmal Purja. The film was made by Torquil Jones using the footage captured by the expedition team to include interviews and images to create the narrative.
Nirmal Purja is a Nepal-born British mountaineer who attempted the seemingly impossible feat of climbing all 14 peaks that are above the height range of 8000 meters in a short period of under 7 months.
The film also features climbers like Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Vasarhely, along with interviews with Reinhold Messner and other high-altitude climbers.
Although only Nirmal Purja completes all 14 peaks, he uses many Nepali sherpas for his climbs and introduces every one of them through the film.
18. Meru (2015)
Meru is a documentary film about the attempt to climb the ‘Shark’s Fin’ route of the Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayan range.
The film was made by the mountaineering couple Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. In 2008, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk made a failed attempt to scale the Meru peak along the Shark’s Fin route.
In 2011, they made the second attempt to be the first to ascend along the Shark’s fin route and succeeded.
The film is a mixture of footage from both attempts that captures their struggle and triumph over the coveted peak.
The film was short-listed and reached the top 15 list for the Best Documentary Oscar award.
17. Touching the Void (2003)
Touching the Void is a docudrama about the ordeal of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. They were the first to climb the west face of Suila Grande in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
The film depicts the near-fatal descent. In 1985, the two friends, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set out to attempt the west face of Suila Grande in Peru.
This was a feat, as yet unaccomplished. After a difficult ascent, they achieve success, but the journey down brings in a new set of problems.
They both land in a potentially fatal situation, and chances of survival are slim. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates acted as the body doubles of the lead pair portraying them in the film. The long shots were filmed on Simpson and Yates.
16. The Climb (1986)
The Climb is a TV movie that offers a biographical account of the first ascent on Naga Parbat by Hermann Buhl in 1953.
It is based on the book Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage by Buhl, and it was telecast on British TV in 1986 as part of Mountain Men.
Nanga Parbat is a treacherous peak in the Himalayas, and it is the ninth-highest peak that was not yet scaled successfully.
Hermann Buhl, an Austrian mountaineer, attempts the climb using the Alpine climbing technique. He succeeds and writes history. The expedition was planned under the autocratic Dr. Karl Herrligkoffer. However, the risk-taking, dedicated and independent climber Buhl succeeds where others fail.
15. The Alpinist (2021)
The Alpinist is a documentary of the famous solo climber Marc-André Leclerc who is extremely camera-shy and reclusive. The filmmaker, Peter Mortimer, tracks down Leclerc with great difficulty and attempts to capture and follow him on his amazing solo climbs.
The intensely private and camera-shy Leclerc has refused to let film crews follow him on his various solo adventures on the most dangerous mountain climbing adventures.
He goes solo on all the treacherous peaks where he has only himself to rely on when the elements strike.
While Peter Mortimer tries to follow him, Leclerc decides to go on a new solo adventure to Patagonia.
14. Hillary: Ocean to Sky (2019)
Hillary: Ocean to Sky is a documentary made by Michael Dillon based on the Edmund Hillary expedition called the Ganges jet boat expedition in 1977.
This documentary in 1977 was an award-winning film, and Michael Dillon revisits it with additional footage and interviews with the crew that worked on the expedition.
In 1977, Hillary and his son, Peter Hillary, set off on the Ganges jet boat expedition. They traveled by jet boats from the mouth of the Ganges up the river to her point of origin in the Himalayas.
They reach the point of origin and climb the Akash Parbat as part of the expedition. The film also introduces the culture and symbolism associated with the river and its prominence while capturing the adventure of mountain climbing.
13. King Lines (2007)
King Lines is a sports documentary about Chris Sharma and all the iconic climbs that he attempted. The film was made by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer that captured the grandeur of the mountains and the adrenaline rush of the extreme sport.
Peter Mortimer and team are back with another masterpiece that showcases more of Chris Sharma’s breathtaking climbs. It covers different mountains in France, California, Venezuela, Greece, Utah, and Mallorca, Spain.
Chris Sharma is one of the foremost rock climbers and the most influential in the climbers' community. He does sport climbing and solo climbing adventures.
12. Progression (2009)
Progression is a documentary about the training and conditioning that ace climbers fall back on to get a breakthrough after failures.
The world of rock climbing, solo climbing, sport climbing, or otherwise has many hurdles and failures that can hamper one's progression.
This documentary looks at some of these instances. The filmmakers Bret Lowell, Josh Lowell, and Cooper Roberts look at some of the biggest names in mountain climbing and share their stories of triumph, breakthroughs, and progression.
We hear from Chris Sharma, Tommy Caldwell, Kevin Jorgeson, Patxi Usobiaga, Johanna Ernst, etc. We hear about their training routines, mental conditioning, and how they bounce back after every ascent.
11. Snow Trail (1947)
Snow Trail is a Japanese drama based on a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa. It stars the famous Japanese actors Toshirō Mifune and Takashi Shimura, who went on to make many more films with Kurosawa.
The story revolves around three bank robbers, Eijima, Nojiri, and Takasugi, who collect their loot and escape to a mountain village.
The police are on their trail but they do not want to take rash actions, as the robbers might hurt unsuspecting villagers.
As the film progresses, the robbers are driven higher up until they plan to use a mountaineer to cross over the mountain to the other side.
This was the film debut of Toshirō Mifune, who later appeared in hits like Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, etc.
10. Valley Uprising (2014)
Valley Uprising is a documentary that focuses on the climbing culture in Yosemite national park. It is made by ace filmmakers Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen.
It gives us a view of the rock-climbing community of the yesteryears and the intense rivalry that exists in the current community.
Yosemite National Park has many daunting, challenging, and riveting climbs for solo climbers, sports climbers, etc. The current generation of climbers in Yosemite campgrounds has created a counterculture that defies laws of gravity as well as laws of the land in some cases.
The traditionalists frown upon this new culture, while others revel in it. The filmmakers capture the changes and interview legends to get their views on these new traditions.
9. Rampage (1999)
Rampage is a documentary film that focuses on a specific style of rock climbing and bouldering. The film documents the adventures of Chris Sharma and Obe Carrion.
They capture each of their bouldering trips across the West. This documentary was credited for making bouldering famous across the rock-climbing community.
The film is a two-month road trip that checks out the best bouldering routes in The West. Witness the first ascents of Chris Sharma and the Sharma Problems.
The documentary features the famous Castle Rock, Lake Tahoe, Priest Draw, Black Mountain, The Tramway, Squamish, Humboldt, and the X-Games.
8. Free Solo (2018)
Free Solo is a documentary film made by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. It is an Academy Award-winning documentary about the solo climb of Alex Honnold as he ascends El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Alex Honnold is famous for his solo-climbing trips. This time, he is attempting to do a free solo up El Capitan.
The documentary captures the first ascent by a solo climber to the summit of El Capitan, which is a famous sheer rock face.
El Capitan in Yosemite is a 3000-foot rock wall. The documentary also captures the ethical dilemma of shooting a solo climb as an accident could be catastrophic to the climber as well as the filmmaker who has captured the gory incident.
7. The Dawn Wall (2017)
The Dawn Wall is a documentary film made by Peter Mortimer and Josh Lowell. It covers the extraordinary journey of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson as they plan, prepare and free-climb the infamous Dawn Wall of El Capitan.
Free climbing is a style where no devices or assistance is used while climbing. Tommy Caldwell is arguably the best mountain climber and has faced many tough situations in life in recent years.
Notably, he was kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan, lost his index finger in an accident, His marriage fell apart, etc. To overcome his tough times, Caldwell focuses on his passion for rock climbing as a therapy.
Their free climbing ascent was closely watched the world over due to the daunting challenge being attempted for the first time.
6. The Beckoning Silence (2007)
The Beckoning Silence is a British TV movie that retraces the doomed mission to summit the Eiger North Face in 1936.
The 1936 Eiger challenge was set up to conquer the only remaining peak of the Alps that had not been conquered.
Amid political propaganda, eagerness for the challenge, and desperation, many climbers lost their lives. The film focuses on the mission of the Austrian climbers Willy Angerer and Edi Rainer and the German climbers Tony Kurz and Andreas Hinterstoisser.
The film is based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson, who also features in the film.
5. Reel Rock 7 (2012)
Reel Rock 7 is a part of the Reel Rock film tour and an adventure sports documentary film made by Sender Films.
The Reel Rock film tour series was founded by Peter Mortimer and Josh Lowell. This series focuses on sports adventure films, rock-climbing films, etc. that are showcased at the film festival and through online subscription channels.
The documentary Reel Rock 7 is the seventh installment that covers the four biggest stories of 2012, La Dura Dura, The Shark's Fin, Wide Boyz, and Honnold 3.0.
The documentary presents the heart, the humor, and the exhilarating action of reaching the summit.
4. Dosage: Volume I (2002)
Dosage: Volume I is a documentary that is part of a series of eight films that showcase the latest in the climbing world in terms of technology, news, events, and profiles of rising climbers.
The film was made by Josh Lowell. The first Dosage volume has Chris Sharma doing his first ascent of The Buttermilks and the September 2000 attempt at Biographie in France.
Next, it follows Lisa Rands, a famous boulderer in action in Bishop, California. Dosage Volume 1 also has a competition between Chris Sharma, Liv Sansoz, Francois LeGrand, Obe Carrion, Steven Jeffery, Jared Roth, and more in Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. Hard Grit (1998)
Hard Grit is a British film that captures the early days when rock climbing was producing the best and the earliest stars.
The film documents traditional climbing, free soloing, and bouldering on gritstone routes in the North of England. Hard Grit was revolutionary in the rock-climbing world and won several awards.
The film opens with a terrible accident of a French climber at the Black Rocks. It moves on to capture various climbers making their first ascent on the gritstone routes and setting records with their attempts.
The film was made when modern rock climbing communities were in the nascent stage and shows masters and upcoming climbers working together for glory.
2. Masters of Stone II (1993)
Masters of Stone II is the second documentary film in the series of six films. The film was made by Eric Perlman in the early days of rock climbing in El Capitan in Yosemite.
The documentary film captures different climbers like Ron Kuck, Rick Lovelace, Dan McQuade, Dan Osman, Hidetaka Suzuki, Mark Wellman, etc.
It showcases their ascents up El Capitan in Yosemite National park. It is a classic rock climbing movie that showcased the solo climber and the dangerous risks that the climbers took.
The film captures the routes like Joshua Tree, the Needles, Yosemite, Vegas, etc.
1. 127 Hours (2010)
127 Hours is a biographical survival drama made by Danny Boyle. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for James Franco.
The film is based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. Aron Ralston, an experienced mountaineer, was on a route in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah, with a group of climbers when an accident occurred.
He was trapped under a boulder and help was far away. While his fellow hikers went to get help, Ralston had to survive for 127 hours, trapped under the boulder.
The film showcased the psychological trauma and the desperate measures a climber has to take to cut his losses.
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