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Our Favorite Adventure Movies

In a previous post, we made recommendations for our favorite books about adventure and other cultures. For more immediate gratification than the few days it might take to read a book, here are some of our favorite adventure-related movies. This batch is all based on or inspired by real people or true events and can be found on at least one of the many streaming services out there. 

Matt: The Way is a poignant, inspiring, and sometimes funny story of a father who walks the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route to honor his son and grieve his death. It was inspired in part by Martin Sheen and his grandson who did the Camino together in 2003 and also by parts of Jack Hitt’s experiences in his book Off the Road. Watch the trailer

Karen: Out of Africa is loosely based on the memoir (which I also love) of Karen Blixen, a Danish women in the early 1900s who marries a nobleman and moves to Kenya. While the film differs from the book in many ways, it provides an interesting look at colonial Africa and showcases the stunning East African landscape. Watch the trailer

Deborah: The Motorcycle Diaries is based on the memoir of revolutionary Che Guevara.The book and film recount the 1952 ultimate road trip that he took with a friend to explore South America. Departing from Buenos Aires, they travel for nine months and cover more than 5,000 miles. Part travelogue, part coming of age story, it also provides some background for Che’s future political involvement. Watch the trailer

Michelle: Unlike the other listings in this email, Jane is a documentary about the life and ground-breaking research of Jane Goodall in Tanzania. The film draws from over 100 hours of archived footage from National Geographic that has never been seen before. It’s incredible to see this conservationist icon in her early days. Watch the trailer

Kristen: Seven Years in Tibet is based on the memoir of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer, who travels to the Himalayas in the early days of World War II. It chronicles his escape from an Indian POW camp to Tibet where he becomes a tutor and friend to the 14th Dalai Lama. The film also depicts the tense political relationship between Tibet and China. Watch the trailer

Emily: Cinema Paradiso (a favorite of most of us here) was inspired by the writer-director’s (Guiseppe Tornatore) experiences growing up in a small Sicilian village with a local cinema and a projectionist who took Tornatore under his wing. The film touches on the power of memories and movies with a beautiful soundtrack, and makes for a heartwarming escape. Watch the trailer

Katya: Queen of the Desert is based on the experiences of Gertrude Bell who was an English writer, traveler, and archaeologist. She is often described as the “female Lawrence of Arabia” and, in fact, crossed paths with T. E. Lawrence numerous times. She fearlessly traveled throughout Asia Minor, the Arabian Peninsula, and greater Syria even during wartime. Watch the trailer

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