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The 9 Outdoor Films We Loved Most in 2019

Our favorite outdoor films of the year, from an indie romance to lots of documentaries

From documentaries to indie adventure romances to stop-motion animation films, here are our favorite outdoor movies of 2019. (Photo: Courtesy Annapurna Pictures; The River and the Wall; Sony Pictures; Earth Vision Institute)
From documentaries to indie adventure romances to stop-motion animation films, here are our favorite outdoor movies of 2019.

Outdoor movies got off to an exceptional early start in 2019 when Free Solo, chronicling Alex Honnold’s historic ropeless climb of El Capitan, won an Academy Award for best documentary. We were just as obsessed with that film as anyone else (well, actuallymaybe a little more), but that didn’t stop us from devouring other great films that followed. From documentaries to an indie adventure romance to a stop-motion animation film, here are our reviews of the best outdoor movies of the passing year.

‘Find Me’

Tom Huang as Joe in 'Find Me'
(Photo: Tom Huang)

This is the indie adventure film we didn’t know we needed. It’s a low-budget jaunt, with an encouraging message for anyone intimidated by getting outdoors.

‘Aquarela’

Lake Baikal, Russia
(Photo: Victor Kassakovsky and Ben Bernhard/Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

Acclaimed Russian director Victor Kossakovsky’s abstract film tries to convey the urgency of climate change without a cast or narration. It’s stunningly beautiful and appropriately devastating.

‘Any One of Us’

The narrative of Any One of Us follows the fallout of Paul Basagoitia’s injury over two years.
(Photo: Courtesy Any One of Us)

Professional mountain biker Paul Basagoitia’s documentary about the spinal-cord injury he sustained at Red Bull Rampage struck our features editor, Gloria Liu, as moving and important—even before her partner experienced a similar life-altering accident.

‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’

Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, and Shia LaBeouf in ’The Peanut Butter Falcon’
(Photo: Nigel Bluck/Courtesy Roadside Attractions and Armory Films)

The North Carolina–based buddy adventure brings blue-collar fishing culture to the big screen.

‘Missing Link’

Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by Hugh Jackman and Mr. Link (right) voiced by Zach Galifianakis.
(Photo: Laika Studios/Annapurna Pictures)

In a stop-motion animated feature, Chris Butler adds a contemporary twist to the old-fashioned tale of Bigfoot.

‘The River and the Wall’

Ben Masters and his crew float down the Rio Grande in 'The River and the Wall.'
(Photo: Courtesy The River and the Wall)

This film aims to show what Trump’s border wall would destroy. It chronicles an intense journey down the Rio Grande, bearing witness to the ecosystems and livelihoods along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

‘The Human Element’

James Balog in 'The Human Element.'
(Photo: Matthew Kennedy/Earth Vision Institute)

James Balog’s newest documentary hopes to show the human side of climate change, bridging a deep political and cultural gap by elevating the stories of the people most affected by it.

‘Attla’

George Attla was the first (and probably only) rock star of the dogsled world.
(Photo: Rob Stapleton)

This documentary on PBS’s Independent Lens chronicles the incredible life of George Attla—an icon of the dogsled world who dominated the sport while preserving a dying tradition.

‘Maiden’

Tracy Edwards in 1990. The previous year, she captained the first all-female crew to sail around the world.
(Photo: Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty)

Watch the first all-female sailing team finish the Whitbread Round the World Race in this riveting documentary. (Plus, we talked with the crew’s skipper, Tracy Edwards, about the historic feat.)

Filed To: MoviesFilmMedia
Lead Photo: Courtesy Annapurna Pictures; The River and the Wall; Sony Pictures; Earth Vision Institute
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