You can’t climb a mountain without breaking a few heads, or at least that what my pun professor (Professor Pun) told me. Let’s get right into the definition here; We’re talking about movies set on mountains that largely include a people dying or at least in severe peril whilst climbing. The type of movie that’ll do for climbing what Psycho did for bathrooms. Got it? Good. Onwards (or upwards?)..,
5. Lonely Place to Die (2011)
It’s a little misleading this one. The title and poster would definitely have you believe that this is a climbing based horror/thriller, and it is, for about 60% of the time. Which is a shame, as the best moments occur when weekend climbers find themselves target practice for mysterious gunmen. Some of the fall sequences are spectacularly raw and realistic. But the overly convoluted plot is completely unnesesary. Way too many cooks in the plotting kitchen.
4. The Mountain (1956)
This movie has a pretty dark core which the drama plays out around. Two bothers (Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner) set off to climb the Swiss Alps in order to rob the bodies of a fatal plane crash. Yep, grave robbers. The movie is really about the journey from base to summet and two brothers growing tension and distrust (Wagner is very much the antagonist of the two) along the way. The movie features some beautiful alpine photography and is well worth a watch for that alone.
3. Cliffhanger (1993)
An incredibly enjoyable Stallone-marquee-90s affair. From that opening fall sequence, through gorgeous scenery, naff studio sets, and a deliciously evil John Lithgow, Cliffhanger rarely disappoints. Few people realise that the movie’s outdoor climbing sequences were largely shot on Mount Falzarego Italy with the Colorado Rocky’s used sparingly. HANG ON!
2, North Face (2008)
This lesser known German movie is an incredibly effective piece inspired by true events. In 1936 the Nazi propaganda machine encourages two climbers to conquer the Eiger – the most dangerous rock face of the Swiss Alps. It’s a very well crafted piece that’s engaging and tragic. There’s some beautiful photography which blends with studio work impeccably.
1, Touching the Void (2003)
An utterly heart-stopping docu-drama based on the perils encountered by two British climber’s ascent up the Peruvian Andes in 1985. As events go from bad to worse and from unthinkable to downright horrific you’ll wince and grimace throughout. Fascinating and completely engrossing.