It’s hard to beat movie night, especially if you get to tune into a quality climbing film. The right climbing movie can transport you from your couch to the crag, even when you can’t be in the mountains.

Whether you’re looking for motivation to send your next project or an inspiring story about an up and coming climber, here are our 12 favorite climbing movies of all time.

Everest

Everest
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes (Actors)
  • Baltasar Kormakur (Director) - William Nicholson (Writer) - Tim Bevan...

The year is 1996 and a number of large commercial expeditions are staged at the base of Mount Everest, ready to make their ascent of the world’s tallest peak. The forecast calls for a window of decent weather in the coming days, so the dozens of mountaineers at Everest Base Camp are making their final preparations before their summit attempt.

Little did they know, however, what was waiting for them high on the mountain. Over the course of the next few days, tragedy strikes. Heinous weather, questionable decision making, and the perils of altitude sickness spell trouble for the teams stuck near the summit as they fight their way down the mountain in their last bid for survival.

Everest is the dramatic recreation of the infamous 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which claimed 12 lives and injured many more. Filled with beautiful cinematography that’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, this film is the perfect option for mountain history buffs and climbing enthusiasts, alike.
Watch It On Amazon

Touching The Void

Touching the Void
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Simon Yates, Joe Simpson (Actors)
  • Kevin Macdonald (Director) - John Smithson (Producer)

When Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set out to climb Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in the mid 1980s, they never could’ve fathomed how their story would unfold.

After their successful attempt to summit the mountain by its then-unclimbed West Face, the duo found themselves in a precarious position on the descent: Yates accidentally lowered Simon into a large crevasse, leaving him dangling in mid-air.

Slowly slipping under Simon’s weight, Yates makes the difficult decision to cut the rope to save himself, knowing that if he doesn’t, they both will perish. Miraculously, Simon survives the fall after being cut loose from Yates’ rope.

What happens next, though, is a tale of survival and perseverance even when all hope is seemingly lost.

In Touching The Void, you travel back in time and experience this true story first-hand, as well as a gripping account of survival against the odds in the mountains.
Watch It On Amazon

Fine Lines

Fine Lines
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, Jimmy Chin (Actors)
  • Dina Khreino (Director) - Dina Khreino (Writer) - Dina Khreino...

To the casual non-climber, the fact that so many people risk their lives every day to stand atop a lofty summit or to ascend a steep cliff is nearly incomprehensible. To climbers, however, not climbing is just as seemingly absurd.

Fine Lines takes a deep look at what drives the world’s best climbers to do what they do best. In this dramatized account of climbing, adventure, and risk, you get a close-up look and unique insight at what it means to put it all on the line for a pursuit that you love, from the perspective of professional climbers.

If you’re in the mood for an intellectually-focused film that’s filled with spectacular mountain scenery and cameos by some of the most famous climbers on earth, Fine Lines is a must-watch.
Watch It On Amazon

The Eiger Sanction

The Eiger Sanction
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee (Actors)
  • Clint Eastwood (Director) - David Brown (Producer)

An absolute classic climbing movie, The Eiger Sanction a Clint Eastwood film that literally goes to new heights.

Based off of Trevanian’s novel of the same name, The Eiger Sanction follows the story of a climber, professor, and former assassin who gets blackmailed into returning to his past life to avenge the death of his friend while climbing the Eiger in Switzerland.

Featuring thrilling (and surprisingly realistic) climbing and action sequences filled with plenty of suspense, this film is a must-watch for any climbing aficionado with a penchant for old-school movies.
Watch It On Amazon

Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker (Actors)
  • Renny Harlin (Director) - Alan Marshall (Producer)

Sylvester Stallone might not seem like your typical climber, but in the uber-classic movie Cliffhanger, he takes his role as a mountaineer to a new level.

When Ranger Gabe (played by Stallone) and his co-worker Ranger Jessie are dispatched to rescue a group of stranded climbers, they never could’ve predicted what was going to happen next. One expertly-planned money heist and dozens of action scenes later, Gabe and Jessie find themselves embroiled in a battle for survival and justice high up in the mountains.

While Cliffhanger isn’t exactly known for its realistic portrayal of climbing, it’s a suspenseful and engaging film that’s sure to spice up any mountain-themed movie night – and provide a few ironic laughs along the way.
Watch It On Amazon

K2

K2
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Biehn, Matt Craven, Luca Bercovici (Actors)
  • Franc Roddam (Director) - Scott Roberts (Writer) - Marilyn Weiner...

Taylor and Harold spend most of their lives sitting behind a desk, hoping for the weekend when they can finally get out and climb. Polar opposites in personality, these 2 friends soon find themselves on an expedition to Pakistan alongside an eccentric billionaire, Phillip Claiborne.

Their objective? K2, the second highest peak on earth.

During their expedition, the duo routinely butts heads with others on their team, while struggling with their own personal lives on the slopes of one of the world’s most dangerous mountains. Based loosely on the story of the actual first American ascent of K2 in the 1970s, K2 is a captivating film of survival and friendship on an 8000m peak.
Watch It On Amazon

North Face (Nordwand)

North Face (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Benno Furmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek (Actors)
  • Philipp Stolzl (Director) - Benjamin Herrmann (Producer)

In the 1930s, few people attempted to climb the North Face of the Eiger and none had ever succeeded. That is, of course, until Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser decide to try their luck at making the first ascent of the last major unclimbed face in the Alps.

This based-on-a-true-story drama follows as Toni and Andi run away from the German army and set their sights on the north face of the Eiger. Throughout the film, Toni and Andi rush to make their ascent before another team of Austrian climbers is able to summit the mountain first.

Along the way, the duo find themselves wrapped up in a series of catastrophic events, leading them to join forces with their competition or risk losing it all on the mountain.

Filed with all the suspense and drama you could hope for, the North Face interweaves actual mountaineering history on one of the world’s most storied peaks into an exciting and critically-acclaimed movie that you won’t want to miss.
Watch It On Amazon

The Wildest Dream

The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Liam Neeson (Narrator), Ralph Fiennes (Voice), Natasha Richardson...
  • Anthony Geffen (Director)

Perhaps one of the most enthralling mountaineering tales of all time, the life and disappearance of George Mallory high up on the slopes of Mount Everest in the 1920s is the stuff of climbing lore.

In The Wildest Dream, we get an up close look at what might’ve happened on that fateful day. The movie follows Conrad Anker, the famous mountaineer who discovered Mallory’s body on the mountain in 1999) and mixes in real letters that Mallory and his then-wife wrote to each other in the months and years leading up to his expedition to the Himalaya.

This film offers an exceptional and dramatized account of the often-overlooked history behind one of climbing’s most influential early mountaineers. It tells the story of a man who was willing to risk everything for his wild dream, wearing nothing but hobnailed boots and with an ice axe in hand as he ascended to where no person had ever gone before.
Watch It On Amazon

Third Man On The Mountain

Third Man On The Mountain
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Rennie, James MacArthur, Janet Munro (Actors)
  • Ken Annakin (Director) - Eleanore Griffin (Writer) - William H....

An oldie but a goodie, Third Man On The Mountain is a family adventure and climbing movie that also happens to be one of Disney’s earliest live action films.

Based loosely on the 1955 novel, Banner in the Sky, this film takes us all the way back to a small town in Switzerland during the Golden Age of Mountaineering in 1865. It follows along as a young Rudi Matt attempts to finally climb the Citadel, the peak that killed his father many years earlier.

Surprisingly faithful to the realities of climbing during this incredibly important era in mountaineering history, Third Man On The Mountain is an exciting choice for any climbing enthusiast that wants to learn more about the pursuit they love.
Watch It On Amazon

Vertical Limit

Vertical Limit
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney (Actors)
  • Martin Campbell (Director) - Lloyd Phillips (Producer)

For Peter, Annie, and their father, Royce Garret, climbing was a family affair. But, when Royce falls during a family climbing trip to Monument Valley, he forces his children to cut his rope and send him plunging to the ground to save themselves in the process.

Years after the incident, a noticeably shaken Peter is officially retired from climbing, that is, of course, until he plans a trip to meet up with his estranged sister at the base of K2. In the meantime, Annie, now a professional climber, is readying herself for a summit attempt on the world’s second highest peak.

After Annie and her team depart from basecamp, disaster strikes. Out of nowhere, Peter is thrust back into the world of climbing as he has one last chance to save his sister, but this time, it’s from the icy slopes of K2.

Although it’s perhaps not the most realistic portrayal of climbing that Hollywood has ever seen, Vertical Limit is a classic film that should be on any climber’s watch list.
Watch It On Amazon

The Climb (L’Ascension)

For some climbing-inspired comedic relief at the end of the day, The Climb is a must-watch.

This French adventure-based comedy movie is based on the real story of Nadir Dendoune, who sets his sights on summiting Mount Everest, despite having zero previous climbing experience.

Why might someone who’s never climbed before plan a trip to the world’s highest peak? For love, of course!

After expressing his love for Nadia, his friend and crush since middle school, Nadir tells her that he’s willing to do anything to win her over, even if it means climbing Mount Everest. Even though he’s never climbed before in his life, Nadir quickly starts raising money for his expedition and gets to work learning the ropes.

Throughout this funny, romantic, and exciting climbing film, Nadir throws his heart and soul into this last-ditch effort to convince Nadia that he’s the guy she’s always wanted on his way to the top of the world.
Watch It On Netflix

High and Hallowed

High and Hallowed
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • JonKrakauer, TomHornbein, WilliUnsoeld (Actors)
  • Jake Norton (Director) - Jake Norton (Producer)

Short but sweet, High and Hallowed is the often untold true story of the first American Ascent of Mount Everest.

When Norman Dyhrenfurth, Willi Unsoeld, Tom Hornbein, Jim Whittaker, and some of climbing’s biggest names set out for an expedition to climb the world’s loftiest summit, they never could’ve imagined how their trip would pan out.

After losing one of their teammates just days after arriving at Everest Base Camp, the team knew that they had to continue on despite their tragic loss. Set amongst the backdrop of the Cold War and the need to prove the United States’ climbing mettle on the world stage, the team set its sights on the then-unclimbed West Ridge.

Throughout the course of a daring summit attempt, which remains, to this day, one of the most committing ascents in Everest history, Unsoeld and Hornbein pushed themselves to the limit of what they thought was possible. Their journey wasn’t over at the summit, however, as they stumbled upon 2 of their teammates just below the top of Everest who were nearly on the brink of disaster.

High and Hallowed tells the real story behind this bold ascent and the open-air bivouac at 8000m that followed soon afterward. Whether you’re a self-described climbing history enthusiast or you’re looking for a gripping tale, this film is one to watch during your next movie night.
Watch It On Amazon

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoy watching these climbing movies as much as we do. If you found your next favorite mountain film in our list, let us know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to share this list with your friends so they, too, can have a fantastic movie night with a quality climbing movie.

Gaby

Gaby

I am a mountaineering and climbing guide, as well as a professional outdoor educator. I split my time between working in the polar regions as an expedition guide, working as a climbing instructor, and pursuing my other passions of traveling, writing, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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