We’ve put together our pick of the best adventure movies on Netflix for 2021 as, let’s face it, we’ve all found ourselves with extra time stuck on the sofa these days. We’re hoping these outdoorsy films and documentaries, ranging from life-affirming epics to documentaries charting human endurance, will inspire you out of hibernation. At the time of writing (March 2021) they can all be found on Netflix for your immediate escapism.
So what makes a good adventure movie? Well, looking through a few of these movies, there are some truly epic tales of survival and astonishing feats of human endurance – all of which have follow the central theme of human’s hardwired passion to explore to some of the most remote locations on Earth. So take a seat, grab the popcorn, and get stuck into our list of the best adventure movies on Netflix for 2021.
Release Date: 10th May 2019
After surviving a plane crash in the middle of the Arctic, Overgård is left to use his survival training to fight for his life in one of the most inhospitable places in the world. And, although Overgård looks to be making all the correct calls in an effort to stay alive, it always feels as though the Artic is always one step ahead in making his life that bit more miserable.
This gripping survival story has been dubbed “one of the best adventure movies ever made” by IndieWire – and we couldn’t agree more. With a single character focus, minimal dialogue and a moody edit, the film manages to make you feel like you’re surviving the Arctic horrors with Overgård. This is certainly a survival story you won’t want to miss. Move aside 127 Hours.
The Dawn Wall
Release Date: 14th September, 2018
The Dawn Wall follows the fascinating life of Tommy Caldwell and how he went about tackling one of the hardest free climbs in the world – The Dawn Wall. The film was first released in 2018 but didn’t get shown on Netflix until 5 March 2019, probably shuffled into their line-up following the huge mainstream success of Free Solo, Jimmy Chin’s Oscar-winning documentary on Alex Honnold’s epic ropeless ascent of El Capitan.
The climb in focus here took Tommy Caldwell and his climbing partner seven years to plan and complete, with the pair finally topping-out back in January 2015. What took them so long? That’ll be the 8c+ crux pitch that’s found right in the middle of the route. Get this documentary on your watch list to see just how tough this climb is.
Release Date: 5th April 2019
David Attenborough’s soothing sounds had once only been available to hear if you had access to the BBC’s Planet Earth series which was frustratingly only free online to people living in the UK on the BBC iPlayer. Now, Attenborough is available for the whole world (the Netflix world) to listen to via the all-new nature documentary Our Planet, an eight-part series exploring some of the world’s remaining wilderness areas and the creatures within them. It received widespread critical acclaim on its release and has since been nominated for a whopping 10 Emmy awards.
Release Date: 1st September, 2014
We’ve carried this historic documentary over from our previous Netflix adventure movies round-up as it’s a real must-watch, even if you’re not the most serious climber. Valley Uprising looks back on a motley crew of hard-living hippy climbers in the campgrounds of 1970s Yosemite Valley National Park. Prepare to hear stories of these ‘dirt-bag’ climbers pushing themselves to their physical limits conquering the seemingly impossible heights of the surrounding mountains while at the same time seeing their counterculture being monetised into the type of mainstream sport they resented.
Release Date: 4th August 2017
Another Oscar-winning documentary takes a spot in this year’s best outdoor and adventure movies – Netflix is spoiling us this year. Icarus follows the efforts of one documentarian as his small-scale investigation into drugs in cycling uncovers secret after secret and eventually culminates in one of the biggest geopolitical crises of the year.