Adventure Movies

Best Adventure Movies | The Mary Sue

August 29, 20236 Mins Read

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is terrified of a cobra snake in

Will you answer the call?

The call to action, to exploration, to adventure? And no, I’m not talking about an adventure into the circle of hell formerly known as Twitter. Nor do I mean an adventure into the deepest and most homoerotic parts of Ron DeSantis’ confused psyche. I’m talkin’ REAL adventure.

An adventure into the big screen! Where the only booby trap is making sure that you delete your watch history so your roommate doesn’t find out that your eyes have been guzzling down Love Island for the better part of a month.

So let’s get started and talk about the best adventure movies ever. Here they come! Like a giant boulder rolling down an ancient tunnel!

Raiders of the Lost Ark

A white man carries a white woman in a white gown out of a cave in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Speaking of giant boulders! This is the film where they all started! Directed by Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first of the many Indiana Jones flicks. It’s about a brainy AND brawny archeology professor who moonlights as an adventurer extraordinaire. After Indiana finds out that the Nazis (gasp) are trying to find the Biblical Ark of the Covenant (bigger gasp) in order to obtain its awesome power and establish a new world order (biggest gasp), he does what any self-respecting, red-blooded American would do and punches them all in the face.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

A white man holds a sword in front of his face while looking intensely into the camera in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
(Warner Bros.)

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings trilogy may shape up to become the most enduringly popular series of all time. There’s just something in it for everyone. Heroic warriors, homoerotic hobbits, hair-raising battles, hot elves, and haughty dwarves. There is also one very hungry steward of Gondor who does unspeakable things to tomatoes with his mouth.

Jurassic Park

A white woman rises up out of her seat in a jeep with a surprised look on her face in "Jurassic Park"
(Universal Pictures)

Somebody got a big idea. That big idea was to resurrect dead dinosaurs, put them in a theme park, and charge people money to see them … how could it possibly go wrong? Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park centers around a group of scientists and survivors who have to make it out of the park alive when it all goes to dinosaur shit.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

A white woman with wet hair points a gun while standing on a ship in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise films
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

F*ck Johnny Depp. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the movie. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was inspired by a random-ass theme park ride at Disney World and then became one of the most successful franchises of all time. Directed by Gore Verbinski, this part action, part adventure, part romance, part horror centers around a madcap pirate captain named Jack Sparrow. He is on a quest to lift an ancient curse that was placed on him and his former crewmates for stealing the wrong gold.

The Princess Bride

A white man stands protectively of a white woman in the forest, both wearing medieval clothing in "The Princess Bride"
(20th Century Studios)

Directed by Rob Reiner, The Princess Bride also happens to be one of the greatest romances ever made. Westley will do anything for his beloved Buttercup, but their love goes south when Westley answers the call to adventure and is lost at sea. Buttercup is forcibly engaged to Prince Humperdinck, a total scrub, and thinks her life is over. Just then, a mysterious man in black—who looks suspiciously like Westley—shows up to save the day.

Mad Max: Fury Road

A bald woman on her knees screaming into the sky in "Mad Max: Fury Road"
(Warner Bros.)

Directed by George Miller, the post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road is set in the desert wasteland that was once Australia. A lone warrior named Max is captured by a roving band of survivors and taken to a desert city ruled by a tyrannical despot. He is saved by a group of women who serve the despot as drivers and sex slaves, and they attempt to escape out into the desert to be free. The city’s ruler isn’t gonna let them get away that easy, cue the heavy metal car chase scenes!

Stand By Me

Four young white boys in the woods looking curiously into the distance in "Stand By Me"

Stand By Me tells the heartbreaking coming-of-age story of four boys living in rural America in the late 50s. After one of the boys hears the tale of a dead body somewhere along the railroad tracks, the gang sets out on an adventure in order to find it. They battle junkyard dogs, blood-sucking leeches, and a particularly psychopathic group of bullies. Inspired by the Stephen King novella The Body, this film shows the boys’ first real exposure to death and the idea that things don’t always work out in the end.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

An animated trio of an older white man, Black boy, and young white girl stand curiously with electric rays around them in "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse"

Set to a bangin’ soundtrack, the animated romp Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse follows the story of Miles Morales, a teenager from Brooklyn who gains spider-like abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider. After Miles uncovers a universe-warping plot orchestrated by the villainous Kingpin, he learns that there are multiple versions of Spider-Man across different dimensions. Some of them are having a rough time … Miles has to team up with a gracelessly aging Peter Parker from another dimension in order to stop Kingpin’s plans.


A white man in gladiator armor stands yelling with a weapon in his hand in "Gladiator"
(Universal Pictures)

The epic Gladiator by director Ridley Scott tells the tale of an ancient Roman general who falls out of favor with the Emperor and is forced to compete as a gladiator. The TRUE star of this movie is a young Joaquin Phoenix who plays the villainous Emperor Commodus in what is one of the best bad-guy performances in cinematic history. Not a fan of Russell Crowe? I get it. But Joaquin Phoenix will make you hate his character so much that you forget how much you dislike Rus in real life.

Spirited Away

An animated young girl looks nervous as an older woman with a wart on her face stands behind her in "Spirited Away"
(Studio Ghibli)

Arguably Hayao Miyazaki’s magnum opus, Spirited Away tells the story of a young girl named Chihiro whose parents get the idea of messing around in a haunted village in the Japanese countryside. After eating some food they shouldn’t, Chihiro’s parents are turned into pigs by the spirits and prepared for slaughter. In order to save her parents, young Chihiro finds work at a bath house for spirits headed by the powerful witch Yubaba.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Jack Doyle

Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like… REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They’re like that… but with anime. It’s starting to get sad.

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