10 Films to Inspire your Travels

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Inspirational Adventure Films to Watch

When we’re not off on some epic adventure in a far-flung destination, there’s nothing we love better here at The Bucket List Company than dreaming about – well – our next adventure in a far-flung destination!

We all love a bit of travel inspiration – and whether you’re counting down the rainy days until your next trip, or you’re looking for some ideas to fulfil your wanderlust, there’s nothing better than watching a film jam-packed with travel adventures!

The Dawn Wall

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As you may know, Bucket List Company HQ is located right above a climbing centre in Devon – our sister business, if you will. That means that most of us in the office are keen climbers, and THAT means that this list of adventure-inspiring films absolutely has to mention The Dawn Wall.

The Dawn Wall is one of the most famous rock climbing docu-films of all time. It follows the journey of professional climber Tommy Caldwell and his rise to fame, making climbing history in Yosemite National Park. We follow Tommy from being taken hostage in Kyrgyzstan as a teenager, through heartbreak and years of perseverance to completing the first ever free climb of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall with his partner Kevin Jorgeson. This film is part climbing documentary, part life story, and 100% adventure.

The Bucket List

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Okay, okay, so you knew this one would be on the list. It kind of had to be – it is our namesake, after all! The Bucket List is a classic buddy-comedy film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. If you haven’t seen it already, don’t be deterred by the initial scenes. Two terminally-ill men meeting in a hospital ward might not seem like the foundations of a great adventure travel film, but you’d be surprised!

Carter and Edward soon make friends, and decide to go on a road trip to fulfil a wish list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”. They travel everywhere from the Great Wall of China to Mount Everest, the Great Pyramids to Tanzania, and we follow all of their exploits along the way. Over the next few months, they make the best memories of their lives. And so the phrase “bucket list” was born into the public consciousness.

The Climb

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The Climb – or L’Ascension in the original French – is a love story with a twist. But if you’re not a fan of the soppy stuff, fear not, because the twist is certainly full of expedition-style excitement. The film follows Samy Dhiakate, an unemployed young man living in Paris, who is in love with his childhood friend, Nadia. Of course, being a film, this love is unrequited. Nadia believes he is only interested in a fling, and when asked what he can do to prove his love, she suggests he climbs Mount Everest.

To most of us, this would generate a slightly nervous laugh, but Samy instead goes out and takes on the challenge in the name of love. I won’t give you any spoilers, but suffice to say that this is both a gripping and very enjoyable watch.

Pedal the World

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For all the keen cyclists out there, this is the film for you. Felix Starck takes many a traveller’s dream to travel the world on two wheels and makes it into a full-blown 90-minute documentary in his film, Pedal the World. It follows Felix as he leaves from home in Germany and begins his epic journey of 18,000 kilometres, spanning 22 countries in just one year.

Vlog-style and personal in essence, this film is less about impressive endeavours or extreme circumstances, and more about a personal journey. Watching it, you can gain an insight into the highlights and challenges of long-term solo travel, as well as life away from home – be it losing a family member, or falling in love. This film might not be adrenaline-fuelled, but it is an eye-opener for those who are curious about turning travel into more of a ‘lifestyle’ – and, of course, for bike enthusiasts!

Thelma & Louise

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Thelma and Louise is one of the most famous buddy films ever made – largely because it took this genre and placed two female protagonists at its heart. However, this is not your classic lighthearted adventure. Thelma and Louise are friends who set out on a weekend away in the mountains to escape the mundanity of their day-to-day lives.

However, soon after they leave, a man in a bar attempts to assault Thelma, leading Louise to intervene with dramatic consequences. The friends drive from Oklahoma to Mexico, becoming fugitives and encountering endless obstacles along their way.

Whilst this is certainly not a depiction of the dream holiday, Thelma and Louise has become a very culturally significant film, heralded by many as a feminist twist on the classic outrageous road trip movie.

Expedition Happiness

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Expedition Happiness has become something of a Netflix cult classic, inspiring aspiring travellers around the world to leave their everyday commitments behind and, well, travel the world.

This home-made travel film follows a young couple (Felix Starck from Pedal the World and musician Selima Taibi) who leave their homes in Berlin and head to the wide expanses of the U.S.A in search of inspiration. They buy and refurbish a school bus in North Carolina, converting it into their home on wheels, which they then live in with their dog as they travel south.

Along the way, they encounter various setbacks, with visas, their dog’s health, and more, but overcome them all and gain a sense of peace as they drive down the country to Mexico. With beautiful, organic cinematography and stunning self-made music, this is a lovely travelogue to watch on a Sunday afternoon.



Mountain comes from the same director who created the film Sherpa, which we always watch at Cafe 8848 in Namche Bazaar on our Everest Base Camp treks. Jennifer Peedon is generally regarded to have directed a classic of travel cinematography in Mountain, which features astonishing footage of the highest peaks in the world.

The film is narrated by actor Willem Dafoe, who reads passages from Robert Macfarlane’s book Mountains of the Mind. As Rotten Tomatoes states, “Mountain offers a visually thrilling — and surprisingly affecting — look at man’s relationship with some of Earth’s most imposing natural wonders.” Whilst this is not a narrative film, the beautiful images are sure to make you want to go mountaineering and stand on some snowy summit far, far away.

Under an Arctic Sky


This captivating docufilm shows what can go wrong when a group of intrepid travellers head out, unsupported, into unchartered territory. Under An Arctic Sky was created by photographer Chris Burkard, and follows six surfers who travel to a remote part of Iceland, in the depths of winter, in search of the world’s best waves.

However, just a few days into their adventure, the worst storm Iceland had seen in decades arrives and turns their surfing holiday into a life-threatening emergency. Under An Arctic Sky shows how the surfers survive on the frozen shores in some of the most adverse conditions imaginable. It is certainly an adrenaline-fuelled watch!

Losing Sight of Shore

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Losing Sight of Shore also documents an epic journey taken over challenging waters. However, this time the (true) story is of a group of women known as the Coxless Crew, who set out to row across the Pacific Ocean unsupported.

We follow the valiant group as they row from San Fransisco in America to Cairns, Australia, crossing over 8,000 miles of water during nine months at sea. Their journey entails severe physical and emotional challenges, most notably when they run out of food with several days still to go. However, they overcome it all through their inner strength, teamwork and friendship, making history in the process.

Roll With Me

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Roll With Me is one of the most inspiring stories on this list. Inspired by his own life events, producer Gabriel Cordell stars in this film about the life-changing journey a paraplegic takes across the United States. In the film, a newly-sober Gabe crosses over 3000 miles of the U.S. as an attempt to save his gangbanger nephew from his destructive way of life – in a wheelchair.

On the way, Gabe and his nephew end up meeting a whole host of unlikely co-conspirators, each processing their own traumas, from PTSD, to homelessness, to family estrangement. As they ride across the country, they encounter countless others who are going through their own struggles, weaving together a truly humbling story of human resilience – and showing just how positive travel can be in transforming lives.


If these films have inspired you to get out and see the world, why not check out our once-in-a-lifetime adventures? From climbing the highest summits to diving in the deepest seas, our trips are sure to fulfil your wanderlust.

For more information, feel free to contact our travel experts on 01769 309 003.

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