Adventure movies can incorporate any number of other genres, most frequently action, fantasy, science fiction, and drama. Location, and the journey to and from it, play a major role in the genre. 2021 alone saw the release of several excellent original and franchise films, such as Free Guy and Dune.
Almost every year of film history has seen the release of a cinematic adventure that’s worth watching. However, the way Redditors see it, some years have provided cinephiles with more great adventure movies than others.
1972 was the year for trapped-in-the-woods adventure movies. There was Sydney Pollack’s Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford, and The Call of the Wild, with Charlton Heston. Even more reputable than those two films, however, is John Boorman’s Deliverance. Toss in the classic disaster adventure The Poseidon Adventure and 1972 was probably the biggest year of the decade for the genre.
It may have been released 50 years ago, but Deliverance holds up to this day. Or, as Superheroicguy described their first viewing, “Deliverance was one of the most draining and sobering film experiences of my life. What a perfect movie.”
BunyipPouch started a thread to discuss a review for the film, to which a now-deleted user replied: “Saw it again a few months back, thinking it wouldn’t have aged well, but it’s actually really good.”
Along with swords and sandals epics Excalibur and Clash of the Titans, 1981 gave audiences the ultimate adventure with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Furthermore, viewers got another adventure with Max Rockatansky in The Road Warrior.
On a thread comparing The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Fury Road, _EarlofSandwich__ gave the edge to the former: “The Road Warrior remains one of the leanest, meanest, most iconic movies to date.”
Indiana Jones’s first adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is a timeless action-adventure masterpiece with uniformly perfect performances and consistently exciting set pieces. Or, as a now-deleted user phrased it: “Raiders of the Lost Ark has no equal.”
Like how Redditors see 1984 as a big year for horror movies, they also see it as substantial for cinematic adventures. While the year is populated with cult sci-fi adventures like Dreamscape, The Last Starfighter, Starman, and David Lynch’s Dune. There were also box office smashes Indiana Jones and the Temple of Dune and Robert Zemeckis’s Romancing the Stone.
Of Zemeckis’s romantic adventure, MrDudeWheresMyCar wrote “I’ve heard that Romancing the Stone is considered a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark but I never really saw it that way. It may be capitalizing off the adventure genre that Raiders popularized again but I thought it was a very different movie overall.”
On a separate thread, Saint_Stephen420 wrote about the first Indiana Jones sequel: “I like Temple of Doom. It’s honestly about even with Last Crusade for me. But Raiders is still the best, to me.”
1985 had adventure movies from all over the genre map. There were treasure-seeking adventures like The Goonies and Romancing the Stone‘s inferior sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. There were also sci-fi skewing adventures like Explorers and Enemy Mine as well as Ridley Scott’s fantasy adventure Legend.
There was even the underrated Ladyhawke as well as John Rambo’s more bombastic second entry, Rambo: First Blood Part II. Most fans consider First Blood to be the best, but Barnaclephil wrote “Rambo 2 is actually my favorite.”
Pea_Tear_Griffin put their love for The Goonies simply: “This movie is fantastic and has a strong fan following because it is fantastic.”
1993 had two very distinct animal-related adventures. For the younger kids there was Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey while, for everyone else, there was Steven Spielberg’s box office sensation, Jurassic Park. There was also Sylvester Stallone’s lone, stealthy infiltrator movie, Cliffhanger.
On a thread devoted to ranking the series’ installments, a now-deleted user wrote about Spielberg’s classic: “I’m amazed (but not surprised) at how well Jurassic Park holds up. It’s masterfully shot and edited.”
As for Renny Harlin’s mountain-climbing Stallone movie, Pedro_Bonucci started a thread to write that it’s “thrilling and tense with spectacular action scenes. It might be formulaic and cliched yet it works because it entertains and the actors deliver charismatic and committed performances….”
1997’s releases included a slew of underrated adventure movies, such as Dante’s Peak, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Anaconda. However, the year’s biggest movie, adventure or otherwise, was easily James Cameron’s epic romantic disaster Titanic.
Funobtainium summarized Anaconda‘s appeal well with “It is what it is…an adventure movie with a healthy helping of cheese.”
James Cameron’s quotable romantic epic, Titanic, set the box office on ice-melting fire and continues to hold a major fanbase. Rachel_BA1 added the scene’s impact on her: “Ironically, Titanic is my biggest comfort movie.”
2001 gave audiences adventurous sequels, franchise-starters, and one-offs in equal measure. There was the start of Peter Jackson’s fantasy-skewing The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and even a video game adaptation in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. As for sequels, 2001 provided fans with The Mummy Returns and Jurassic Park III. There were also some fun original films, particularly the cable TV favorite A Knight’s Tale.
A Knight’s Tale still has a large fanbase, like WalterBCobb: “I think there’s a lot to be said for an entirely predictable but well-executed story. We know what’s going to happen from the outset but the entire cast is incredibly charming.”
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie may not be widely deemed a classic, but it does have its fans on Reddit. Such as mrdeeds1972, who called it “Overall an enjoyable view for a Saturday afternoon.”
While The Core and Timeline weren’t met with their intended success, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Rundown did well. However, their box office tallies were nothing in comparison to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Even with four sequels, The Curse of the Black Pearl always tops Pirates of the Caribbean movie rankings. Marywilkie recommended the first Pirates movie by mentioning its title. Bmac_TLDR then replied, “The first Pirates still holds up really well.”
Just as Pirates was gearing up, LOTR was slowing down. The three-film arc ended strong, as The Return of the King was a massive box office hit. It was also the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, and is considered by many to be the best of the trilogy. Seabass16981 started a thread to discuss the film, leading off with “…I can officially say it is my favorite film of all time….”
2011 saw the release of adventure movies stretching multiple genres. Throwbacks like Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, the Liam Neeson-led survival film The Grey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, and the spy film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. 2015 was also a great year for sci-fi adventure franchise starters, such as X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Thor.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II was a satisfying final chapter to the Potter saga and still has its fans. Like derekdawson1200, who wrote, “I’m a huge book fan, but this was an amazing adaptation for me.”
Gambiit succinctly described how they felt about The Grey, writing, “It blew me away….”
Perhaps the best year of the 2010s for adventure movies overall, 2015’s most impressive contribution to the genre is assuredly Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Along with fellow Academy Award for Best Picture nominee Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015 saw the release of Everest, San Andreas, In the Heart of the Sea, and Jurassic World.
Arch_Angel666 started a thread to discuss their first time watching The Revenant: “I have no idea how they pulled off so many of the scenes in this movie. It’s incredible. Tom Hardy and Leo DiCaprio were so good.”
Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea didn’t do particularly well when released in theaters, but it’s a visually stunning movie with a stellar cast, including Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson. MikeArrow called the cinematography “gorgeous,” and wrote “Loved the use of extreme close-ups with wide lenses. Very unsettling.”
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