The Best Adventure Films

This is the list of my favorite adventure movies.  I've been meaning to write this post for a while, and since I'm at a quiet farmhouse in the middle of a Swiss national park, I finally have the time on my hands.  

As an added bonus, here is a list of international filming locations that you can visit on your next trip!

Up (2009)

Up ties with The Incredibles for my favorite Pixar movie.  It makes me want to go to South America and track down an old explorer.  It also makes me want to train an army of cats to do my bidding...

If you haven't seen it: The story follows Carl from childhood to the loss of his wife.  Now an old man, he has given up on friendships and his lifelong dream of traveling to South America, but an altercation with police officers sends him towards his dream, with a few unwilling accomplices.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Another movie that makes me want to go to South America.  And Egypt.  And Illinois.

If you haven't seen it: Indiana Jones is an archeologist with a Clark Kent double life.  When he's not teaching droves of students who adore him, he's chasing down Nazis and other people who try to acquire historical artifacts for their own malevolent purposes.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This movie might be about a conman who cheats airlines out of millions of dollars, but at heart, it's an adventure film.  I have a tradition of watching it the night before leaving on a big trip.

If you haven't seen it: Based on a true story, this movie follows the life of Frank Abagnale, a young con artist who traveled the world by pretending to be a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

One of my favorite movies, adventure themed or not.  I love Jude Law, Matt Damon is the best, and you can't help loving Gwyneth (I've always been a fan...).  You'll come out of this movie loving jazz, wanting to learn how to sail, and also trying to convince your parents to foot the bill for a trip to Italy.  Just try not to get murdered.

If you haven't seen it: Thomas Ripley is a conniving man without a penny to his name.  When he's given the opportunity to go to Italy in order to convince a shipping magnate's son to return home, he falls in love with the lifestyle and tries to make it his own.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

European libraries?  Check.  Sassy father figure with amazing accent? Check.  Incredible soundtrack?  Check.

I listen to the Indiana Jones soundtrack more often than I would like to admit, and I can do a mean Sean Connery impression.

If you haven't seen it: A wealthy benefactor entices Indiana into finding the Holy Grail, but Indiana only agrees to do it because his father went missing trying to accomplish the same thing.  When Indiana finds his father, they wind up in more trouble than ever, hunted by Nazis and Holy Warriors alike.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

If you haven't seen this movie, you have only yourself to blame.  It will make you reconsider your childhood dreams of running away to join a band of pirates, then hunting down your best friend and...wait...never mind.  Just see the movie!

If you haven't seen it: Edmond Dantes is a naive young sailor who does a favor for Napoleon, only to wind up in France's worst political prison.  When he finds out that his best friend set him up in order to steal his fiance, Edmond vows to escape prison and get revenge.  

Finding Nemo (2003)

Have I mentioned that I love Pixar?  This movie makes me want to visit Australia like nothing else can.

If you haven't seen it: Finding Nemo is about an overprotective father and the journey he must take when his only son goes missing.  He literally has to cross an ocean to get him back again...did I mention that all the characters are fish?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Paul Newman is one of my favorite actors, and I can't think of a better pair of best friends.

If you haven't seen it: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were real bank robbers who worked in tandem in order to gut all the banks out West.  They run out of luck when they find that they're being followed by one of the best trackers in America, however, and they are forced to leave their native stomping grounds.

Little Nemo (1989)

You know those dreams that are so good that you never want to wake up from them?  Nemo has an overactive imagination, and sometimes his dreams are good, sometimes they're bad, and sometimes they refuse to stay where they belong, tucked safely away in the nighttime.  This was my favorite movie when I was growing up, and it's just as good today as it was back then.

If you haven't seen it:  Little Nemo really wants to see the circus, but his parents are too busy.  When Nemo falls asleep, he's greeted by royal visitors, who insist on taking him to Slumberland, the royal region where dreams exist.  Nemo fails to keep a promise, and the nightmare creatures begin to seep in...will Nemo summon the courage to restore everything back to normal?


The 10th Kingdom (2000)

This is technically a 9 hour mini-series, but who cares?  My friend Laura bought the VHS tapes off a TV commercial when we were in middle school, and we used to watch it once a week.  If you like fairy tales, Europe, and stories where fairy tale worlds collide, you'll love this story.  I can't remember how many times I've seen it, even as an adult.

If you haven't seen it:  Virginia lives with her father in Manhattan, where they live a predictable and boring life.  When a portal opens into their world and a hunted prince seeks Virginia's help, she's dragged into the world of fairy tales, where she learns that she has a demented relative.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

I watched this movie a few months before my trip to France, and it was bittersweet.  I was sad to be moving away from Los Angeles, but also excited to go traveling again.

If you haven't seen it: The Grand Budapest Hotel was once the fanciest hotel in Europe, but it has declined considerably in the last few decades.  A writer pays a visit to the hotel to find out why, and the current owner regales him with a story of love, friendship, and bravery in the face of death.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Another movie that makes me want to visit South America!

If you haven't seen it: Based on the diaries of Che Guevara, this story tells about two young doctors who embark on a tour of South America, not knowing what to expect.  When they begin, they are privileged and naive, but by the end, Che realizes the need for a revolution.

Casino Royale (2006)

Not technically an adventure movie, but who can watch a James Bond movie and not want to hop on a plane?

If you haven't seen it: James Bond is back, this time chasing down a terrorist financier named Le Chiffre.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Adventure doesn't play a HUGE role in this movie, but it's pretty clear that Pierce Brosnan is a jet-set billionaire.  Plus, he takes Rene Russo on a spontaneous trip to a tropical island, so I think this counts.

If you haven't seen it: Thomas Crown is a bored philanthropist whose hobby involves stealing priceless works of art from prominent museums.  While the bumbling police can't seem to catch him, a bounty hunter sent by the insurance agency has her work cut out for her.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

I did NOT expect to like this movie.  It looked like an advertisement for a worn-out video game, but when I heard everyone obsessing about it, I decided to give it a shot.  Oh my god!  So good!  I've seen it five or six times now, and every time, I'm surprised at how emotional I get.

If you haven't seen it:  Wreck-It Ralph is tired of being seen as the bad guy, so he embarks on an adventure through different arcade games in order to discover who he really is.

Up in the Air (2009)

Adventure doesn't play a huge role in this movie, but it makes me want to hop on a plane.  It's all about leaving baggage behind, and reminds me how much I want a job where I can be in a different city in a matter of hours.

If you haven't seen it: Ryan gets contracted by different companies around America to fire their employees.  He's created a lifestyle around his ability to drop physical and emotional baggage, but when he meets someone who could change that, he begins to question everything.

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