What exactly is an adventure movie? It is usually a fast paced film which often leaves you breathless, or on the edge of your seat. Quite often, it involves a quest or a heroic figure fighting against the odds. Adventure movies in the 20’s and 30’s were frequently shown as serials. At the end of each segment, the hero would be in a death-defying situation. Would he survive? You had to wait until next week.
Adventure films give the audience highs and lows, but usually end on a high. One man (or woman) or a small group of people will be up against a more powerful foe. Will they win out? You see, that’s why you go to see an adventure movie.
Here is a list of five of the greatest Adventure Movies. As with any list of this type, the selections here are subjective.
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
This is an adventure story that has been done several times. In fact a new version directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Russell Crowe as Robin, and Cate Blanchet as Marian is due to be released in 2010. However, the 1938 film starring Errol Flynn, and Olivia de Havilland remains one of the best ever filmed. It was also one of the first major studio films to be released in color. (Gone with the Wind, and the Wizard of Oz would be released in color the following year.) Most of us remember the age-old stories of the band of Merry Men who rob from the rich and give to the poor, from our childhood.
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
This Michael Todd production of the classic novel by Jules Verne, starred David Niven. Phileas Fogg (Niven) makes what seems like a foolish bet at his Gentlemen’s Club. He wagers his entire fortune that he can travel around the world in 80 days. With his new servant Passepartout, (Cantiflas) Fogg sets out to win the wager. Many Hollywood legends had cameo appearances in this film including Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, Red Skelton, Charles Boyer, and many others. The film won 5 Oscars including Best Cinematography, and Best Picture of the Year.
National Treasure (2004)
Nicholas Cage stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a treasure hunter from a family of treasure hunters. Ben is on a quest to determine if our founding fathers left a clue to a hidden fortune on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Joining Ben are his best friend, Riley Poole, (Justin Bartha) and Abigail Chase. (Diane Kruger) Sean Bean plays a rival treasure hunter, who plans to steal the Declaration and find the treasure first. Harvey Keitel is the Federal Agent who is trying to stop both of them. The film also stars Jon Voigt, and Christopher Plummer as Ben’s father, and grandfather. A sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets was released in 2007. Another is planned for 2011.
Rob Roy (1995)
Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, and John Hurt star in this true story of Robert Roy McGregor, a Scottish Highlander who is attempting to better himself by purchasing cattle to raise and sell. He borrows money for this venture from The Duke of Montrose. (Hurt) When the money is stolen, he becomes something akin to a Scottish Robin Hood. This film has one of the finest sword fights in film history.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1979)
Steven Spielberg directed one of the most famous adventure films of all time, creating the character of Indiana Jones. Jones has been portrayed by Harrison Ford in this film and its three sequels. Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones is an archeologist and a teacher who goes on a quest to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Rene Belloq, (Paul Freeman) an old rival who is attempting to find the Ark for the Nazis, opposes him. The film also starred Karen Allen, John Rhys Davies, and the late Denholm Elliott. Spectacular special effects and great chases make this one of the greatest adventure films.