Noovie 9: Great Movies for Hikers

Today is National Hiking Day. Here are nine great movies for the great outdoor adventurers.

By Chuck Walton

Reese Witherspoon in "Wild."

© Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Happy Tuesday! Today's National Hiking Day, so what better way to keep things going than a nice jaunt outside, plus some movie recommendations to go along with it? Here, we present 9 movies great for the outdoor adventurers.

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    Wild

    ©Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved./Courtesy Everett Collection

    Reese Witherspoon mesmerizes as real-life novice hiker Cheryl Strayed, who attempts the rigorous Pacific Crest Trail (over 1,100 miles on her journey) as a form of therapy after losing her mother, her marriage and falling into a spiral of destructive behavior. It's a tough and beautiful film with a great supporting turn from Laura Dern as Strayed's mom, and features Witherspoon at her absolute best.

    Wild

    Drama / 2014 / R

    Driven to the edge by the loss of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), the dissolution of her marriage and a headlong dive into self-destructive behavior, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) makes a decision to halt her downward spiral and put her life back together again. With no outdoors experience, a heavy backpack and little else to go on but her own will, Cheryl sets out alone to hike the Pacific Crest Trail -- one of the country's longest and toughest through-trails.

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    Into the Wild

    © Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

    Based on Jon Krakauer's incredible book, director Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" chronicles the amazing life and tragic death of wanderer Christopher McCandless, who dropped out of society, took to the great outdoors and ended up living for a short time in the Alaskan wilderness. Plenty of colorful characters add to his journey, including a young Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn and Hal Holbrook in a heartbreaking role as a wise mentor to the good-hearted, somewhat naive McCandless.

    Into the Wild

    Drama / 2007 / R

    Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), son of wealthy parents (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt), graduates from Emory University as a top student and athlete. However, instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.

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    The Way

    © Icon Entertainment International / courtesy Everett Collection

    Emilio Estevez wrote and directed this worthy story that stars his dad Martin Sheen as a grieving father. After his son dies attempting the "Camino de Santiago" (the Way of St. James), a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, Sheen takes up the path in his place. Through the walk, he hopes to come to peace with his son, and himself.

    The Way

    Drama / 2010 / PG-13

    An American father travels to France to claim the body of his estranged son, who was killed on the trek through the Pyrenees.

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    A Walk in the Woods

    © Broad Green Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    Sundance Kid Robert Redford (also the star of another great outdoors at sea tale called "All Is Lost") is the lead here in this comedy adventure. Redford plays a travel writer determined to take on the two thousand miles that comprise the Appalachian Trail. Lucky/unlucky for him, he decides to bring along an old buddy (Nick Nolte) who's not exactly the ideal travel companion.

    A Walk in the Woods

    Comedy / 2015 / R

    Travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) takes a long-lost old friend (Nick Nolte) for a hike along the Appalachian Trail, which stretches more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine.

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    Never Cry Wolf

    © Buena Vista Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    Disney's "Never Cry Wolf" is a gorgeous travelogue based on Farley Mowat's book about his time in the Canadian Arctic wilderness. The biologist was sent there by the government to study the declining caribou population and determine whether wolves are responsible. Played by Charles Martin Smith ("American Graffiti," "The Untouchables"), the scientist makes some incredible, life-impacting discoveries.

    Never Cry Wolf

    Drama / 1983 / PG

    Research scientist Tyler (Charles Martin Smith) is sent to the desolate Canadian tundra to find out whether the local wolf population is responsible for decimating Canada's caribou herds. Helped by Ootek (Zachary Ittimangnaq), a local Inuit native, Farley manages to establish an observation post and, while braving the harsh climate, begins to study a family of wolves, as well as the caribou. He eventually determines that the greatest danger to the caribou doesn't move on four legs.

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    Gerry

    © ThinkFilm Inc. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Gus Van Sant ("Drugstore Cowboy," "My Own Private Idaho") writes and directs this somewhat polarizing, yet hypnotic cautionary tale about drifting too far off the trail. Told mostly with visuals and not a lot of dialogue, it's the story of buddies Gerry (Matt Damon) and Gerry (Casey Affleck) whose hike through Death Valley becomes less and less appealing as they wander from the path and become – perhaps irrevocably – lost.

    Gerry

    Drama / 2002 / R

    Friends Gerry (Casey Affleck) and Gerry (Matt Damon) hike into Death Valley, but they stray so far from the trail that they have no idea how to get back. Initially, they maintain morale by rehashing old stories and reciting inside jokes, but the gravity of their situation sinks in as a return to civilization becomes more unlikely. As the sheer scope, hypnotic pull and spirit-crushing mirages of the desert affect the men, their will to live and sense of identity is challenged and transformed.

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    127 Hours

    © Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This despairing, ultimately inspiring real-life story recounts what happened when canyoner Aron Ralston (James Franco) set off for an expedition in south Utah and became trapped with his arm pinned between a boulder and rock wall. Over the course of five days, Ralston tries to think his way out of his circumstances, reflects on his life and ultimately accepts what he must do to survive.

    127 Hours

    Drama / 2010 / R

    While exploring a remote canyon in Utah, mountaineer and adventurer Aron Ralston (James Franco) becomes trapped when a boulder falls on his arm. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life and considers his options, leading him to an agonizing choice: to amputate his arm so that he can extricate himself and try to make his way back to civilization or remain pinned to the canyon wall and likely die. Based on Ralston's book, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place."

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    Tracks

    © Weinstein Company / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Starring Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") and imposing Adam Driver pre-Kylo Ren era, "Tracks" documents the incredible journey of Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska) as she travels the 1,700 miles from Alice Springs across the Australian deserts to the Indian Ocean. Her only companions, besides Driver's National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, are her loyal dog and four Arabian camels.

    Tracks

    Docudrama / 2013 / PG-13

    Accompanied only by her faithful dog and four camels, an Australian (Mia Wasikowska) satisfies her craving for solitude by embarking on a solo trip across the desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean.

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    Everest

    © Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    An all-star cast (Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke and more) assemble to tell the heroic and tragic stories that revolve around the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. As weather conditions turn and a severe winter storm descends on Everest, rescuers mobilize to bring two separate expedition groups – led by veteran climbers - off the mountain alive.

    Everest

    Drama / 2015 / PG-13

    On the morning of May 10, 1996, climbers (Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin) from two expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.

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