For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.
Adventure films so horrendously awful, they’re brilliant.
10The River Wild (1994)
The plot is washed out, and villains Kevin Bacon and a pre-comedic John C. Reilly are mediocre at best. But when the bad guys force a buffed-out Meryl Streep and her family to run—oh, what should they call it?—the Gauntlet, the whitewater scenes actually hold up.
9 On the Edge (1985)
The heroes of this documentary about California’s Dipsea Trail Race are men with mustaches and beards and short shorts and knee-high socks. The soundtrack could be from a porn film. And after watching this, you will immediately go running. Possibly in short shorts.
8 Cane Toads (1988)
With a cast of the real-life toad-obsessed to put Best in Show’s eccentrics to shame, this justly celebrated documentary follows the scorched-earth path of Australia’s cane toads, imported in the 1930s to eat the continent’s sugarcane grub.
7 Hot Dog … The Movie (1984)
With its “slobs vs. snobs” theme and too-awesomely-crude-to-be-offensive sense of humor, it’s the Caddyshack of raunchy nineties ski films. Only with way more gratuitous nudity—and surprisingly good action scenes.
6 Point Break (1991)
The bankrobber-nabbing plot is juvenile, the acting (Keanu and Swayze) is worse, but few movies are this fun to watch—it’s specifically about the pursuit of adrenaline. To be specific, in Keanu’s words, “One hundred percent pure adrenaline!”.
5 Into Thin Air: Death on Everest (1997)
The movie version of Jon Krakauer’s book, starring 30 Something’s Peter Horton as Scott Fischer and Christopher McDonald as Krakauer, was painful. The on-mountain scenes looked like they were filmed in a studio with a snowblowing machine, and the actors must’ve been told to pant heavily to imitate what it’s like to breathe at high altitude. Do yourself a favor—read the book.
4 Aspen Extreme (1993)
Detroit factory worker turned Aspen ski instructor + hot wealthy cougar + neon one-piece + cute girl next door with heart of gold + evil German instructor + much cocaine = brilliance.
3 Gleaming the Cube (1989)
Christian Slater as skateboard misfit seeks the killers of his adopted Vietnamese brother. How that became the plot of a Hollywood skate film, we have no idea. More baffling is how they convinced Tony Hawk to appear in the movie.
2 Cliffhanger (1993)
“If you’re looking for Qualen, look about 4,000 feet south of here. He’ll be the one wearing a helicopter.” —Sylvester Stallone
1 Vertical Limit (2000)
Nitroglycerin! Terrible acting! Pulmonary edema! Avalanches! Self-sacrifice! The plotlines are so contrived, the actions sequences so absurd, and the movie in general so awesomely bad, it easily takes the cake as the worst adventure story ever put to film.