Films That Pay Tribute to Our Desire for the Great Outdoors

Now that we are slowly able to reintroduce ourselves into the ‘real world’, let’s take a look at some of the movies that pay tribute to our desire to be out and about!

As the pub gardens start to fill up and the sun begins to peak out from the clouds, now more than ever we are appreciating the outside world as we creep out from our homes. People are coming together again, Summer is just around the corner, and never before have we had such a craving for the freedom and excitement that comes with being outside. 

We’re all itching to get out into the world and utilise our newfound sense of adventure. 

There are some films that capture this feeling perfectly, whether through their depiction of sweeping landscapes, stories of travellers and characters on missions across the world, or simply a strong sense of wandering.

Let’s take a look at some of the films that capture our intense desire to be in the outside world!


A film that perfectly captures the meaning of adventure and wanderlust, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty follows the story of Walter Mitty, a film processor for Time Magazine. Walter finds himself on the journey of a lifetime as he goes out to track down a photographer that holds the best photograph of his career. 

The film is set across a sea of stunning and wanderlust-inducing landscapes. However, Walter’s character is what makes this film so great. A quiet and unassuming man, the joy comes from seeing him take off and explore the world during his quest. It’s a story that would inspire anyone to get up and jump on a plane to the middle of nowhere. 

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THE BEACH (2000)

The Beach, based on the book of the same name, is the story of a named Richard who learns of a solitary island during his travels in Thailand. The island, a paradise for a select few, seems like euphoria at first, until he discovers the inner politics and malevolent undertones of those who inhabit it.

Whilst not the cheeriest of stories, The Beach certainly captures the sense of yearning for more. Richard pushes for adventure and goes to great lengths to get to the island. The tropical scenery and bright blue waters of the lagoon seem like the perfect reward. Even though it quickly becomes less of the initial paradise that Richard hoped for, the beautiful setting and portrayal of what it feels like to be a foreigner in a strange place could tempt even the most introverted of travellers.

WILD (2014)

Yet another film based on a book, Wild is the true story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who hiked solo hundreds of miles across the Pacific Crest Trail in America. Working through emotional and physical pain, Wild is not only an amazing tale about accomplishment and adventure, but also about the female spirit and moxie. The setting of Wild takes us through scorching desert, lush forestry, snowed-over mountains, and ends in the overcast rainy setting where Cheryl finishes the hike.

The scenery and story of Cheryl’s journey is awe-inspiring. Although not a task for everyone, it is certainly enough to make you want to grab a map and strap on some hiking boots. This film certainly captures what it means to commit to an adventure that’s way out of your comfort zone.


Although not necessarily set in the great outdoors, The Truman Show is an example of a film that can make you desperate to get to the outside world. The film follows Truman, who is unknowingly the subject of a television show that has captured him throughout his entire life. Truman doesn’t know he’s living in a soundstage surrounded by actors and is being watched by millions of viewers each and every day.

The end of the film (spoiler alert – but hey, it’s been 23 years!) shows Truman sailing to the end of the soundstage, battling man-made hurricanes and storms. He finally reaches the end of the set and hits the wall. In the last few frames we see him stepping out of the door and into the unknown. Perhaps more relevant than ever, the film captures what it means to feel trapped and to desperately want to get out. The time we spend with Truman as he slowly works out the set up around him is an incredible build-up to a finale that will make you want to step out of the door yourself.


A sweet and light-hearted film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the story of young Ricky and his foster uncle Hec as they evade a nationwide manhunt by trekking through the New Zealand wilderness.

A lovely story of an unlikely pairing, the film takes us through the New Zealand bush that is overwhelming, hostile, and beautiful all at once. It is no secret that New Zealand is a stunning place and Hunt for the Wilderpeople takes us through the landscape with a strong sense of adventure and companionship that Hec and Ricky develop.


Granted, Pride and Prejudice doesn’t exactly immediately make you think of the great outdoors, but bear with me! The English countryside setting where the characters walk through wild fields and expansive gardens definitely makes you want to go dress in your finest clothing and go for a long rambling walk. 

Most notable awe-inspiring location? The fields where Mr Darcy and Elizabeth meet towards the end on a very misty and romantic morning.


These two films get paired together not because they are similar in plot or style, but because they both take their Italian settings and showcase them in such a way that induces major travel envy. Both taking place in Italy, the films manage to showcase the best of the country from it’s clear blue coasts to the rustic towns that the characters find themselves in.

Before you book your ticket to Italy when restrictions ease, one of these movies might be worth a watch for a bit of European inspiration!

Photo Credit: Wild, Pacific Standard

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Tags: fictional world, films, locations, lockdown, movies, outdoors, restrictions, settings

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Jessica Cullen
I'm an avid lover of film and television. I'm also a true crime obsessive and I swear by the three F's: flea markets, frozen margaritas, and Fleetwood Mac. When I'm not writing, I'm posting pages of my embarrassing childhood diaries on my newsletter The Jessica Diaries.
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