There’s always downtime for adventurers—rain delays in the woods, injuries, exhaustion. You could lose hours or even days on Facebook. You could longingly stare out a window. Or, you could kick back and enjoy the relaxation with a great, classic adventure movie.
The Man Who Would Be King
In this movie, two men leave the British army to become kings of Kafiristan. It’s based on a book by Rudyard Kipling (so it has to be good) and stars Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, and Sean Connery.
Lawrence of Arabia
Another British soldier making a name for himself, this time in the Arab Revolt of WWI. He leads a guerrilla campaign against the Turk army, derailing trains and stealing camels, all against the wishes and orders of his superior officers. It stars Peter O’Toole & Alec Guiness, bringing home seven academy awards.
The Jungle Book
Yes, Disney’s cartoon version is actually a pretty good adventure story. A bear and a panther raise a human baby who eventually falls in love. It doesn’t follow the book as strictly as some other film adaptations might, but it’s great entertainment and a perfect rainy-day distraction. It had an all-star cast of voice actors including Louis Prima (an old swing band leader), Sterling Holloway (the voice of Winnie the Pooh), and Phil Harris (who you don’t remember from the movie Rock-a-doodle, even though he was in it).
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Errol Flynn, Olivia De Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains—a classic all-star lineup. You already know the story—a man of means fights back against the powers that be—with swashbuckling, hearty laughter, and manliness despite the tights and tunic-based wardrobe.
The new one’s good, the old one’s better—if nothing else, because of John Wayne. The daughter of a murdered man seeks out a man with “true grit” to help her avenge her father’s death. If you like westerns, this one’s probably your favorite. If you hate westerns, you should watch this one anyway.
Kirk Douglas plays the title role of Spartacus, a slave in the Roman empire who leads a revolt and ultimately pays for his courage. It’s not a “feel good” movie but, rather, a bold adventure worthy of countless retellings.
Humphrey Bogart leads a retreating tank crew into the Sahara. They fight Nazis to defend a well that’s their only hopes of survival in the harsh desert. It’s not even remotely related to the McConaughey/Zahn flick by the same name, but that’s a pretty good one, too.
King Solomon’s Mines
Allan Quartermain was our grandparents’ Indiana Jones—a larger-than-life adventurer in khakis and a hat. Played by Stewart Granger, he’s called upon to help Deborah Kerr find her husband who went into the heart of Africa in search of King Solomon’s Mines.
The African Queen
This movie is about Bogart on a boat. And sometimes out of the boat, as he’s dragging it through leech-infested waters. There are Nazis, a nagging Katharine Hepburn who turns out to be a hero as well, and a constant struggle for survival against the perils of life on the Ulanga River.
Around the World in 80 Days
Jules Verne wrote a novel about a man who, on a bet, ventured out to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. There have been a few, more recent, iterations, but the 1956 version is what most like to call “the right one.” David Niven plays Phileas Fogg who’s accompanied on the race against time by his manservant Passserpartout (Cantinflas). It won five Oscars, three Golden Globes, and a handful of other awards.
So, regardless of the weather, injuries, or the need for a rest day—you can still enjoy a great adventure; it just might not be your own.