Wilderness in film

My criteria here is pretty loose.  I haven’t seen any of these in quite some time and none are fresh enough in my mind to say anything especially interesting, but these are all flicks that I love and have for some reason or another stuck with me and resonate with my love for wild places.

Walkabout.  Nicolas Roeg, Australia, 1971.

Gorgeous desert photography and the best portrayal of human place in the world that I can think of.


Aguirre, the Wrath of God.  Werner Herzog, Germany, 1972.


Herzog has probably directly addressed the idea of wilderness more than any other director on this list and he doesn’t think it’s a nice place .  I’ve seen Aguirre more than any of these and it still makes me squirm.  One of my favorite movies.


Badlands, Terrence Malick, USA, 1973.


While Herzog has taken on themes of wilderness more explicitly, I think Malick understands it better than anyone on this list.  Badlands is my fav, so it makes the list. 


Tropical Malady. Apichatpong Weerasethaku, Thailand, 2004.


Because I love restraint.  Following someone around a landscape completely foreign to me is an awesome experience.


Lawrence of Arabia.  David Lean, USA, 1962.


Not really about wilderness, but there aren’t many films that capture the feeling of a place like this one.  Seeing it on the big screen a few years ago was one of my favorite movie experiences ever.


Deep Water. Jerry Rothwell and Louise Osmond, USA, 2006.deep waterAdventure.  And a reminder to read all Bernard Moitessier.


I know I’m neglecting lots.  Feel free to recommend more.


7 thoughts on “Wilderness in film

  1. A timely entry as I’m homebound with a sick daughter today and haven’t heard of a few of these. Thanks.

    I’d highly recommend North of the Sun, a 45min. documentary released in 2013, following 9 months of living and surfing through a Norwegian winter on a remote island.

    • Just finished Deep Water on Netflix. Good stuff, thanks! I definitely need to pick up some Mortissier now. Sorry my pick above isn’t technically “film”, but it was the first to come to mind.

  2. Awesome Craig; glad you enjoyed it. I’ll definitely check out North of the Sun. Sounds great. Sailing to the Reefs is a good place to start with Moitessier and probably my fav of what I’ve read.

    • Another I have to recommend is Herzog’s “Happy People: A Year of Living in the Taiga”. It’s streaming on Netflix. I loved the pace and quiet of this one, a nice meditation on living simply off the land.

  3. Old Joy comes to mind. Stars Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy and a score by Yo La Tengo. Two friends reunited camping in Oregon. Subtle movie, more about mood than plot and the wilderness setting really makes it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: