There’s something about a spectacular adventure that appeals to our souls time and time again, whether it’s an old literature like “The Epic of Gilgamesh” or a more modern tale like George Lucas’ “Star Wars.” We’ve always been drawn to stories of quests and daring-do, proving the potential of a good adventure to reach deep into the human soul.
When a thrilling voyage is brought to life on the small or large screen, it allows viewers to move outside of their own environment and experience the possibility that a journey can have a transforming effect. There’s nothing quite like settling in with a bowl of popcorn and entering a brand-new universe to take your mind off of travel, be it a trip across the ocean or through space and time. When you next find yourself in need of some excitement, check out our list of the 98 best movies ever made in the genre of adventure.
The Count of Monte Cristo
The events of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” which are based on the novel written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844, follow the exploits of Edmond Dantès, a man who is on the point of enjoying the perfect life… until he is betrayed and thrown into prison by enemies who are jealous of him.
From that point on, we follow Edmond’s adventures as he avoids death in jail, makes his daring escape from the infamous Chateau d’If, searches for treasure, and culminates his transformation into the “Count of Monte Cristo” by introducing himself to the elite of Parisian society. And while all this is going on, he’s hatching some rather elaborate plans for his payback. This movie is filled to the brim with neoclassical pomp as well as swashbuckling excitement, which includes everything from pirates to secret tunnels.
Ready Player One
In the novel “Ready Player One,” the protagonist, Wade Watts, is a young orphan who lives in a dystopian future where RVs are stacked like the most depressing LEGOs in the world. But fortunately for Wade, the quality of the wifi is outstanding. The OASIS, a video game world that serves as the pinnacle of all forms of escapism, is where our protagonist, along with the vast majority of the population, passes their days.
But when the creator of the OASIS leaves his vast fortune and company ownership hidden inside his VR world in the form of an Easter egg, Wade sets out on the ultimate virtual adventure to find it. Along the way, he encounters a world that is populated with references to Generation X pop culture and bad guys for hire.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Dora, a second-generation explorer, embarks on a journey with her monkey buddy Boots and cousin Diego in this live-action rendition of the iconic animated children’s series.
This happens when her parents go missing while searching for a buried city laden with treasure. It is a suitable tribute that gives a fair combination of family-friendly humor, whimsy, and adventure that is offered in “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is a whimsical, teenage reinterpretation of the much-loved show.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
A maritime naval adventure that takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” is based on a series of historical books written by Patrick O’Brian and was adapted from those works. The film, much like the novels in which it is based, chronicles the exploits of Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and Dr. Stephen Maturin, the ship’s surgeon.
In hot pursuit of French privateers, Captain Aubrey steers the HMS Surprise around Cape Horn and onto the Galápagos Islands. There, the crew of the HMS Surprise experiences a variety of maritime adventures, ranging from eerie becalmed waters to strange new species to hand-to-hand combat with unscrupulous mariners.
“Fantastic Voyage” would imagine a world in which miniaturized technology was the latest battleground in the Cold War long before “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Innerspace.” In the space of one hour, a crew of medical researchers will need to travel inside the body of a scientist in order to save both the scientist and his top-secret intelligence from being destroyed by a blood clot.
They will do this while aboard the microscopic submarine Proteus. “Fantastic Voyage” is a pleasant excursion through the human circulatory system with a fair number of peak Red Scare shenanigans peppered throughout. Despite the fact that science probably won’t help anyone through Biology 101, “Fantastic Voyage” is an enjoyable ride.
The Hidden Fortress
In “The Hidden Fortress,” which takes place in feudal Japan, two down-on-their-luck peasants named Tahei and Matashichi chart a course for adventure by becoming members of the powerful Yamana clan of soldiers. Eventually, they are tasked with transporting a princess and her family’s gold through hostile territory.
Tahei and Matashichi, being the flawed heroes that they are, are not nearly capable of rising to the challenge of engaging in combat with opposing samurai. However, with the assistance of a few courageous pals, they are able to escape with their lives only in the nick of time. A great masterpiece of Japanese film, “The Hidden Fortress” was one of the most significant inspirations for George Lucas’s “Star Wars” in 1977.
“Stagecoach” is a Western adventure story that is set in the year 1880 and was adapted from the 1937 short story “The Stage to Lordsburg” written by Ernest Haycox. In this story, a motley group of strangers, including a drunken doctor, a dangerous gambler, a kind outlaw, and a gold-hearted saloon girl, come together aboard a stagecoach that is traveling from Arizona Territory to New Mexico.
As the adventure takes place in a universe in which the American frontier appears to still be wide and hazardous, the party will need to collaborate closely in order to successfully complete their epic journey through the Wild West. “Stagecoach,” a masterpiece among John Ford’s body of work, is credited with catapulting John Wayne to the status of Hollywood superstar.
When it comes to adventure, no one did it better than 17th-century pirates, which is why “Captain Blood” is set during the Golden Age of Piracy. “Captain Blood” is a maritime adventure set in that time period. In this action-packed tale set at sea, an Irish physician named Peter Blood is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the West Indies.
After the attractive Arabella Bishop has purchased Blood, he later flees Port Royal during an attack by a Spanish man-o’-war and begins a new life as a Caribbean buccaneer. His new life is filled with swashbuckling adventures and romance on the high seas. Blood is portrayed by Errol Flynn, the greatest action star of his day, and “Captain Blood” sees him at his most adventurous and charming best. For those who aren’t familiar with old-timey performers, Blood is played by Errol Flynn.
The French Connection
The illustrious William Friedkin helmed the production of “The French Connection,” which is based on the true story of two New York City cops investigating a large-scale heroin operation that stretches all the way from Brooklyn to Marseille. The film was titled “The French Connection.” At the center of the plot is Detective “Popeye” Doyle, the epitome of a corrupt law enforcement officer who was incapable of abiding by any regulation he encountered.
Doyle and his partner find themselves going down a mafia rabbit hole, which eventually leads to one of the greatest chase sequences of all time. This chase sequence was filmed guerrilla-style by Friedkin, which resulted in accidental real-life collisions and the feeling that they were in actual danger. Doyle was played to ferocious perfection by Gene Hackman.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
It is generally agreed upon that “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is one of the very greatest and most influential wuxia films ever made. This is due, in large part, to the breathtaking cinematography and one-of-a-kind fight scenes that the film features.
The story takes place in China during the Qing era in the 19th century. It chronicles the exploits of female machete warrior Yu Shu Lien and her friend Mu Bai, who is a Wudang swordsman. Together, they engage in combat with other warriors over the ownership of the 400-year-old blade Green Destiny. You should come to see the sword fights in the air among the bamboo, but you should stick around for the sweeping romance and epic adventure.
After spending a year exchanging passionate love letters with one another, the protagonists of the novel “Moonrise Kingdom” come to the conclusion that their only option is to start a new life together on an island off the coast of New England.
Suzy and Sam’s plan to meet up and live off the land in a hidden cove they call “The Moonrise Kingdom” doesn’t go quite as planned, and they find themselves on the run from Social Services and Suzy’s parents while a huge storm is bearing down on them. Suzy and Sam call the cove “Moonrise Kingdom.” “Moonrise Kingdom” is an endearing coming-of-age narrative that takes place in the middle of the 1960s and tells the story of a first love that is unburdened by the responsibilities of adulthood.