Filmography of Nature and Environmental Movies

PLEASE NOTE: This page is no longer being updated. It is now out of date. The filmography has moved to a live database system that is being maintained by members of The IECA. It is available to members when they are logged in to the site.

This page lists feature films with environmental/nature themes. It began as a collaborative project of the members of ECN and was maintained and updated by Mark Meisner.

As a rule, documentaries, wildlife films and similar "non-fiction" genres are not included in this list. There are so many that it would be difficult to catalog them in anything but a haphazard way.

For each film listed here, I have provided the year it was released, the director's name, a link to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) page for that film, and in some cases, a description/review/comment and/or keywords related to the film. I will try to add to these as I get time, but I would welcome assistance.

At the end of the list, there are some related readings and related Internet links.

Adaptation, 2002, Dir. Spike Jonz, IMDB

Can a flower, an orchid, be made exciting to moviegoers? Only if it is tied to sex and drugs I guess. Based on Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief.
Keywords: Sublime, Natives, True Story, Drama, Conservation

African Queen, The, 1951, Dir. John Huston, IMDB

Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart (who won his only Academy Award for Best Actor) star in this adaptation of C.S. Forester's 1935 novel. Hepburn plays Rose, a British Methodist missionary in German East Africa in 1914. Her singing to (at!) the African villagers is priceless. When Germans burn the village Rose convinces the alcoholic captain Charlie (Bogart) to man up, run the rapids, and convert the "African Queen" into a torpedo to take out a German gunship downriver.
Keywords: Drama, Culture Clash, Natives, Religion

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre: The Wrath of God), 1973, Dir. Werner Herzog, IMDB

Aguirre and his men rapidly disintegrate in the Amazonian "heart of darkness." Very realistic and haunting film.
Keywords: Amazon, Survival, Historical, Drama

All the Little Animals, 1998, Dir. Jeremy Thomas, IMDB


Altered States, 1980, Dir. Ken Russell, IMDB

Keywords: Drama

American President, The, 1995, Dir. Rob Reiner, IMDB

Invokes environmentalism.

Americathon, 1979, Dir. Neal Israel, IMDB

This is an extremely cheesy film featuring John Ritter as the President of a United States that is bankrupt and devoid of oil. People live in old cars and ride bicycles everywhere. Meat Loaf duels with the last automobile. And the "National Indian Knitting Enterprises" (NIKE) are everywhere in the film in an early and crude example of product placement. That they also hold most of the US's debt is also a prescient commentary on real economic power. I will never forget this film; it was sooo cheesy.
Keywords: Resource Depletion, Comedy

Apocalypse Now, 1979, Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, IMDB

Everything that Heart of Darkness is, plus "the horror" of the Vietnam War. Robert Duvall's defoliation scene is famous.
Keywords: Drama, Surviving in the Wilderness, Effects of Pollution

Arrival, The, 1996, Dir. David Twohy, IMDB

Global warming is an alien plot...
Keywords: Action, Climate Change, Sci-Fi

At Play in the Fields of the Lord, 1991, Dir. Hector Babenco, IMDB

Keywords: Drama

Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner, 2001, Dir. Zacharias Kunuk, IMDB

Winner of Camera D'Or at Cannes Film Festival, this is the first every feature film in Inuktikuk. It tells of a legend of Inuit survival, betrayal, revenge and forgiveness in the harsh arctic environment. Powerful. Recommended.
Keywords: Natives, Survival, Historical, Drama

Atomic Cafe, 1982, Dir. Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty (II), Pierce Rafferty, IMDB


Avatar, 2009, Dir. James Cameron, IMDB

You've all seen it, right? The very bad corporation wants to mine the planet of the spiritually-one-with-nature blue people (no, not the Smurfs). If only the humans could understand what it's like to be a blue person. Lots of action, great special effects, etc. in this predictable, but didactic adventure.
Keywords: Action, Sci-Fi, Natives, Resource Depletion, Forests

Babe , 1995, Dir. Chris Noonan, IMDB

Who can forget the talking pig and his friends that save the day.
Keywords: Animals, Comedy, Drama

Backwoods, 1987, Dir. Dean Crow, IMDB


Bailey's Billions, 2005, Dir. David Devine, IMDB

When talking golden retriever Bailey inherits billions, a cheesy caper is triggered involving a puppy mill, dognappers, an animal psychologist, a bungling children's' services officer, an animal rights campaigner, and two resourceful kids. Light fare where the activists and animal lovers are not only good looking, they're also the good guys.
Keywords: Animals, Comedy, Drama

Ballad of Little Jo, The, 1993, Dir. Maggie Greenwald, IMDB


Bambi, 1942, Dir. David Hand, IMDB

Though not environmentally messaged with a club, as say Lion King, it came out at a time that has seared it into the American psyche and has had lasting impact on how we view or have erroneously viewed hunting and forest fires.
Keywords: Animated, Animals, Drama

Baraka, 1992, Dir. Ron Fricke, IMDB

More of an art film, it juxtaposes the environmental and human relationship with an eerie minimalist score. Similar to Koyaanisqatsi.
Keywords: Animals, Dystopian, Culture Clash, Sublime, True Story

Battle for the Planet of the Apes, 1973, Dir. J. Lee Thompson, IMDB

Classics on all levels: perils of wildlife as pets, arrogance of human sentiency, slaves becoming the master, nuclear war and what will rise to claim the Earth, etc.
Keywords: Animals, Drama, Dystopian, Nukes Gone Bad, Post-Apocalyptic

Beach, The, 2000, Dir. Danny Boyle, IMDB

This film was controversial before its release because of how the production had destroyed the real beach where it was filmed. Leonardo Dicaprio is an American backpacker in Thailand who finds his way to a remote island inhabited by other young travellers looking for the ultimate beach experience. Nature is a minor character in the narrative, but does provide some dramatic scenery and threatening moments. All in all, there is not much here besides the controversy and it's a pretty annoying film. Not recommended.
Keywords: Lame, Sublime, Tropical, Drama

Beneath the Planet of the Apes, 1970, Dir. Ted Post, IMDB

Keywords: Animals, Drama, Dystopian, Nukes Gone Bad, Post-Apocalyptic

Big Trees, The, 1952, Dir. Felix E. Feist, IMDB


Bio-Dome, 1996, Dir. Jason Bloom, IMDB

Two words: Pauly Shore. Hey buddy, your favorite 90s surfer dude stars with Stephen Baldwin in this ridiculous send up of the Arizona Biosphere projects.
Keywords: Comedy

Birds, The, 1963, Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, IMDB

Hitchcock's classic film of nature gone awry. Anyone who has seen this film will never look at a flock of crows the same way again.
Keywords: Nature-Gone-Awry, Animals, Horror

Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World), 1991, Dir. Wim Wenders, IMDB

What would happen if we could read another person's dreams?
Keywords: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Technology

Black Robe, 1991, Dir. Bruce Beresford, IMDB

When Christians meet Native North Americans...
Keywords: Historical, Natives, Drama

Blade Runner, 1982, Dir. Ridley Scott, IMDB

Keywords: Dystopian, Effects of Pollution, Sci-Fi, Drama, Technology

Boy and His Dog, A, 1975, Dir. L.Q. Jones, IMDB

Based on a story by Harlan Ellison. Post-apocalyptic story of a boy who communicates telepathically with his dog. They discover the remnants of society underground.
Keywords: Post-Apocalyptic, Animals, Drama

Brazil, 1985, Dir. Terry Gilliam, IMDB

Set in a futuristic techno-world that is dehumanized and denaturalized. Recommended.
Keywords: Dystopian, Comedy

Burning Season, The, 1993, Dir. Harvey Crossland, IMDB

"The Chico Mendes Story" with Raul Julia as famed Brazillian rubber tapper and environmentalist, Mendes.
Keywords: Amazon, Natives, True Story

Captain Planet, 1990, Dir. Unknown, IMDB


China Syndrome, The, 1979, Dir. James Bridges, IMDB

Keywords: Drama, Nukes Gone Bad, Eco-Disaster, Technology

Chinatown, 1974, Dir. Roman Polanski, IMDB

Water supplies in California are the context for this classic thriller.
Keywords: Drama, Conservation, Water, Politics

City Slickers, 1991, Dir. Ron Underwood, IMDB


Civil Action, A, 1998, Dir. Steven Zaillian, IMDB

Based on the true story of Jan Schlichtmann's lawsuit on behalf of the people of Woburn Massachusets whose water supply was contaminated by industry.
Keywords: True Story, Drama, Effects of Pollution

Clearcut, 1991, Dir. Ryszard Bugajski, IMDB

Based on M.T. Kelly's book A Dream Like Mine about native land threatened by logging and white liberal responses to the issue. Violent, but recommended; Graham Greene is incredible.
Keywords: Action, Culture Clash, Natives, Development

Cold Comfort Farm, 1971, Dir. Peter Hammond, IMDB


Conagher, 1991, Dir. Reynaldo Villalobos, IMDB


Continental Divide, 1981, Dir. Michael Apted, IMDB


Core, The, 2003, Dir. Jon Amiel, IMDB


Country, 1984, Dir. Richard Pearce, IMDB


Crocodlie Hunter: Collision Course, The, 2002, Dir. John Stainton, IMDB

A spinoff from the popular Crocodile Hunter TV show featuring an action/espionage plot. Steve and Terry Irwin try to protect a crocodile from what they think are poachers unaware that the beast has swallowed part of a downed US spy satellite. Features the usual mix of Crocodile Hunter humour and macho natural history. Light entertainment.
Keywords: Animals, Conservation, Action, Comedy

Cross Creek, 1983, Dir. Martin Ritt, IMDB


Dances with Wolves, 1990, Dir. Kevin Costner, IMDB


Dante's Peak, 1997, Dir. Roger Donaldson, IMDB


Day After Tomorrow, The, 2004, Dir. Roland Emmerich, IMDB

Abrupt climate change causes really extreme weather events around the world. New York is first flooded by rising seas, then flash frozen.
Keywords: Climate Change, Action, Eco-Disaster, Drama

Day After, The, 1983, Dir. Nicholas Meyer, IMDB

Keywords: Nukes Gone Bad

Day of the Animals, 1977, Dir. William Girdler, IMDB


Day the Earth Caught Fire, The, 1961, Dir. Val Guest, IMDB


Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster, 1992, Dir. Paul Seed, IMDB


Deadly Harvest, 1977, Dir. Timothy Bond, IMDB


Deliverance, 1972, Dir. John Boorman, IMDB


Dersu Uzala, 1974, Dir. Akira Kurosawa, IMDB

Considered one of Kurosawa's masterpieces, one of the main themes of this film is the clash of civilization and nature.
Keywords: Culture Clash, Surviving in the Wilderness

Earth Walk, 1990, Dir. Sylvie Van Brabant, IMDB


Earthling, 1980, Dir. Peter Collinson, IMDB


Earthquake, 1974, Dir. Mark Robson, IMDB


Edge, The, 1997, Dir. Lee Tamahori, IMDB

Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin duke it out with a grizzly bear while unintentionally roughing it in the bush.
Keywords: Surviving in the Wilderness

Emerald Forest, The, 1985, Dir. John Boorman, IMDB

A powerful film apparently based on a true story about a young American boy raised among a tribe of Amazon natives. His father, an engineer building a huge dam in the forest, spends 10 years looking for his son. Meanwhile the forest peoples are being displaced from their world by the dam construction and other development. When the father finally finds his son, the boy has become a man and is fully a part of the tribe. The film combines a powerful personal story with a subtle commentary on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and its people.
Keywords: Amazon, Natives, Development, Culture Clash, Action

Erin Brockovich, 2000, Dir. Steven Soderbergh, IMDB


Escape from the Planet of the Apes, 1971, Dir. Don Taylor, IMDB


FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue, 1997, Dir. Richard Tulloch, IMDB


FernGully: The Last Rainforest, 1992, Dir. Bill Kroyer, IMDB


Fire Down Below, The, 1997, Dir. Félix Enríquez Alcalá, IMDB

Steven Seagal plays an environmental protection agent fighting companies dumping toxic waste.
Keywords: Action, Drama, Effects of Pollution

Fire Next Time, The, 1995, Dir. Tom McLoughlin, IMDB

Keywords: Eco-Disaster, Action, Climate Change

Fitzcarraldo, 1982, Dir. Werner Herzog, IMDB

The tale of a man obsessed with idea that art can tame the wilderness. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role as Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, a would-be rubber baron intent on building an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest. All he needs to do is drag his 180-ton ship up and over a mountain into another river, but the natives who agree to help him have their own agenda. This is a great movie.
Keywords: Drama, Amazon, Natives

Flash of Green, 1984, Dir. Victor Nunez, IMDB


Fly Away Home, 1996, Dir. Carroll Ballard, IMDB


Free Willy , 1993, Dir. Simon Wincer, IMDB


Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, 1995, Dir. Dwight H. Little, IMDB


Free Willy 3: The Rescue, 1997, Dir. Sam Pillsbury, IMDB


Frogs, 1972, Dir. George McCowan, IMDB


Giant, 1956, Dir. George Stevens, IMDB


Gods Must Be Crazy Part II, The, 1989, Dir. Jamie Uys, IMDB


Gods Must be Crazy, The, 1980, Dir. Jamie Uys, IMDB


Gold Rush, The, 1925, Dir. Charles Chaplin, IMDB


Golden Seal, The, 1983, Dir. Frank Zuniga, IMDB


Good Earth, The, 1937, Dir. Sidney Franklin, Victor Fleming, Gustav Machaty, IMDB


Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, 1988, Dir. Michael Apted, IMDB

The joy and the trials of Dian Fossey and the Gorillas she loved.

Grapes of Wrath, The, 1940, Dir. John Ford, IMDB


Graset Sjunger (Grass is Singing, The), 1981, Dir. Michael Raeburn, IMDB


Grey Owl, 1999, Dir. Richard Attenborough, IMDB

The true story of Archie Belaney who for years posed as a native North American Indian and wrote several books in the 1930's promoting conservation under that guise. Pierce Brosnan is pretty good as Grey Owl.
Keywords: Conservation, Natives, True Story, Historical, Drama

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984, Dir. Hugh Hudson, IMDB


Guerre du feu, La (Quest for Fire), 1981, Dir. Jean-Jacques Annaud, IMDB


Happening, The, 2008, Dir. M. Night Shyamalan, IMDB

Apparently feeling threatened, plants start to let off a toxin the leads people to kill themselves. Well, that's the theory anyway. This is kind of creepy if you like that sort of thing.
Keywords: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Nature-Gone-Awry

Happy Feet, 2006, Dir. George Miller, IMDB

A young emperor penguin who cannot sing (but can dance) sets off to find out who has been taking all the fish.
Keywords: Animated, Resource Depletion, Animals, Action/Comedy

Heartland, 1980, Dir. Richard Pearce, IMDB


Heaven Can Wait, 1978, Dir. Warren Beatty, Buck Henry, IMDB


High Noon, 1952, Dir. Fred Zinnemann, IMDB


Hoot, 2006, Dir. Wil Shriner, IMDB

Based on the book by Carl Hiaasen, it tells the story of a boy who moves to Florida and fights to save an endangered owl species.
Keywords: Adventure, Comedy, Animals, Conservation, Politics

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000, Dir. Ron Howard, IMDB

In this much-elaborated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic, the Whos are competitive consumers and the Grinch the recipient of all their garbage and toxic waste. Though he creatively reuses it for his own purposes, he still resents their decadence and waste. Ah, those grinchy green environmentalists...maybe by the end of the story, their hearts will grow and they'll just get with the game.
Keywords: Comedy, Drama, Pollution, Consumerism, Garbage

I ♥ Huckabees, 2004, Dir. David O. Russell, IMDB

The head of a local conservation group, for whom things are not going well, turns to an existential detective agency to help him with his issues. Along the way the film's characters explore the nature of being, interconnectedness, oil dependency, superficial appearances, religion, refugees, childhood trauma, sex, celebrity, nihilism, and the inevitability of development. Entertaining, and though the environmental issues appear to be merely background context, the core themes of the film are entirely relevant to the environmental crisis. But, it's up to you to decide whether or not to take any of it seriously...
Keywords: Existentialist, Conservation, Consumerism, Development, Comedy

Ice Station Zebra, 1968, Dir. John Sturges, IMDB


In Country, 1989, Dir. Norman Jewison, IMDB


Incident at Dark River, 1989, Dir. Michael Pressman, IMDB

Keywords: Drama, Effects of Pollution

Insel Der Ungeheuer, Die (Food of the Gods), 1976, Dir. Bert I. Gordon, IMDB


Instinct, 1999, Dir. John Turteltaub, IMDB

Keywords: Animals, Drama

Into the Wild, 2007, Dir. Sean Penn, IMDB

Based on Jon Krakauer's book about Christopher McCandless, a young American man who cuts himself off from his family in order to set off on an adventure that takes him to the Alaskan wilderness. A very compelling story featuring beautiful landscapes and challenging situations.
Keywords: Adventure, True Story, Surviving in the Wilderness, Sublime, Animals

Island of Dr. Moreau, The, 1996, Dir. John Frankenheimer, Richard Stanley, IMDB


Jaws, 1975, Dir. Steven Spielberg, IMDB

Classic film based on book by Peter Benchley. This film brought the Great White Shark to the world's attention and has arguably been responsible for a great deal of anti-shark sentiment. Benchley eventually decried the story's negative influence on people's views of sharks. It was a pretty scary movie in its time.
Keywords: Killer Animal, Drama

Jeremiah Johnson, 1972, Dir. Sydney Pollack, IMDB


Jurassic Park, 1993, Dir. Steven Spielberg, IMDB


Kaze no tani no Naushika, 1984, Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, IMDB

Also known as Nausicaä / Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds / Warriors of the Wind. In a post-war world where a "toxic forest" is spreading across the land, ecologically-minded Princess Nausicaä saves her people and the creatures of the forest by coming to understand its real purpose. A children's movie, but with a lot of battle scenes.
Keywords: Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Animated, Drama

Koyaanisqatsi, 1983, Dir. Godfrey Reggio, IMDB

Keywords: Art

Last of the Mohicans, The, 1992, Dir. Michael Mann, IMDB


Legend of Grizzly Adams, The, 1990, Dir. Ken Kennedy, IMDB


Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, The, 1975, Dir. Richard Friedenberg, IMDB


Limbo, 1993, Dir. John Sayles, IMDB


Lion King, The, 1994, Dir. Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff, IMDB


Local Hero, 1986, Dir. Bill Forsyth, IMDB

A Texas oil company wants to buy up all the property in a picturesque Scottish seaside village and build a refinery there. One local man who owns the beach refuses to sell and the oil company folks have a change of heart. Charming and magical. Recommended.
Keywords: Sublime, Sense of Place, Development, Comedy

Logan's Run, 1976, Dir. Michael Anderson, IMDB


Lonely are the Brave, 1962, Dir. David Miller, IMDB

Adapted from Edward Abbey's second novel The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale in a New Time. Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay to the film, which Abbey championed.

Lonesome Dove, 1989, Dir. Simon Wincer, IMDB


Lorax, The, 1972, Dir. Hawley Pratt, IMDB

A Dr. Seuss movie based on the book of the same name.

Lord of the Flies, 1963, Dir. Peter Brook, IMDB


Mad Max, 1979, Dir. George Miller, IMDB


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, 1981, Dir. George Miller, IMDB


Magnificent Ambersons, The, 1942, Dir. Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, Jack Moss (I), Robert Wise (I), IMDB


Man in the Wilderness, 1971, Dir. Rchard C. Sarafian, IMDB


Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, The, 1962, Dir. John Ford, IMDB


Matewan, 1987, Dir. John Sayles, IMDB


Matrix, The, 1999, Dir. Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, IMDB


Medicine Man, 1992, Dir. John McTeirnan, IMDB

Sean Connery is a biochemist in the Brazilian Rainforest doing research on rainforest flora. He discovers a cure for cancer in a flower that grows in the canopy. The problem is, of course, that the forest is being destroyed.

Michael Clayton, 2007, Dir. Tony Gilroy, IMDB

A large agricultural biotech/chemical company is being sued by farm families because of the cancerous effects of their weed killer. When the company's main lawyer (Tom Wilkinson) discovers that the company knows its chemical kills more than weeds, he loses faith and jeopardizes the company's case. It falls to Michael Clayton (George Clooney), the law firm's "fixer" to clean up the mess, but he gets much more than he bargained for.
Keywords: Biocide, Effects of Pollution, Ethics, Drama, Thriller

Milagro Beanfield War, The, 1988, Dir. Robert Redford, IMDB


Mind Walk, 1990, Dir. Bernt Amadeus Capra, IMDB

Based on Capra's The Turning Point.

Mission, The, 1953, Dir. Joseph Marzano, IMDB


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939, Dir. Frank Capra, IMDB

Newly appointed to the Senate, idealistic Mr. Smith soon learns the hard way that challenging corrupt vested interests is not for the faint of heart. When wrongly accused of graft himself, he sticks to his principles to fight the appropriation for the dam and promote his idea of a camp for boys, even in the face of a manipulated media. A classic.
Keywords: Dam, Drama, Politics, Sense of Place

Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, The, 1991, Dir. David Zucker, IMDB


Naked Gun 33 1/3, 1994, Dir. Peter Segal, IMDB


Never Cry Wolf, 1983, Dir. Carroll Ballard, IMDB


Night of the Lepus, 1972, Dir. William F. Claxton, IMDB


Nineteen-Eighty-Four, 1984, Dir. Michael Radford, IMDB

Keywords: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

O Pioneers!, 1991, Dir. Kirk Browning, Kevin Kuhlke, IMDB


Old Man and the Sea, The, 1958, Dir. John Sturges, Henry King, Fred Zinnemann, IMDB


On Deadly Ground, 1994, Dir. Steven Segal, IMDB


On the Beach, 1959, Dir. Stanley Kramer, IMDB


Ours, L' (The Bear), 1988, Dir. Jean-Jacques Annaud, IMDB


Outlaw, 2001, Dir. Bo Svenson, IMDB


Parasite, 2004, Dir. Andrew Prendergast, IMDB

Keywords: Action, Nature-Gone-Awry, Survival, Killer Animal

Piranha, 1978, Dir. Joe Dante, IMDB


Places in the Heart, 1984, Dir. Robert Benton, IMDB


Planet of the Apes (remake), The, 2001, Dir. Tim Burton, IMDB


Planet of the Apes, The, 1968, Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, IMDB


Pochahantas, 1995, Dir. Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg, IMDB


Project X, 1987, Dir. Jonathan Kaplan , IMDB


Prophecy, 1979, Dir. John Frankenheimer, IMDB

A pulp mill's pollution causes a bear to mutate into a giant and violent beast that brings terror to the community.
Keywords: Effects of Pollution, Mutant Animal, Drama

Quantum of Solace, 2008, Dir. Marc Forster, IMDB

James Bond seeks revenge against a prominent environmentalist (Mr. Greene!) for making Bond drive a Prius instead of his Aston Martin. Actually, Greene is hoarding water in Bolivia and making deals with would-be dictators. Thanks to Bond, the greenwashing is exposed. You'll have to wait for the end to see all the action from the hydrogen fuel cells - not good.
Keywords: Action, Climate Change, Resource Depletion, Spy

Quiet Earth, The, 1985, Dir. Geoff Murphy, IMDB


Rainbow Warrior, The, 1992, Dir. Michael Tuchner, IMDB


Return to Snowy River, 1988, Dir. Geoff Burrowes, IMDB


Return to the Planet of the Apes, 1975, Dir. Doug Wildey, IMDB


River Runs Through It, A, 1992, Dir. Robert Redford, IMDB


River Wild, The, 1994, Dir. Curtis Hanson, IMDB


Rollerball, 1975, Dir. Norman Jewison, IMDB


Safe, 1995, Dir. Todd Haynes, IMDB

Keywords: Effects of Pollution, Drama

Sahara, 2005, Dir. Breck Eisner, IMDB

Keywords: Action, Eco-Disaster, Effects of Pollution

Scott of the Antarctic, 1948, Dir. Charles Frend, IMDB


Secret of Roan Inish, The, 1994, Dir. John Sayles, IMDB


Shy People, The, 1987, Dir. Andrei Konchalovsky, IMDB


Silent Running, 1972, Dir. Douglas Trumbull, IMDB


Silkwood, 1983, Dir. Mike Nichols, IMDB

True story of Karen Silkwood, whistleblower.
Keywords: Nukes Gone Bad, True Story, Drama

Simpsons Movie, The, 2007, Dir. David Silverman, IMDB

When Homer Simpson dumps his silo of hog manure in a local lake, it sets off an eco-disaster of epic proportions, leading the EPA to turn Springfield into a giant Super-fund Dome.
Keywords: Animated, Comedy, Pollution, Eco-Disaster, Water

Sleepy Hollow, 1999, Dir. Tim Burton, IMDB


Smilla's Sense of Snow, 1997, Dir. Bille August, IMDB

Smilla is a snow expert. Based on footprints in the snow, she determines there has been a murder. This leads her on an improbable adventure to find out just what a mining company is hiding up in the arctic. The film stretches one's ability to suspend disbelief.
Keywords: Action

Smoke Signals, 1998, Dir. Chris Eyre, IMDB

Keywords: Comedy, Drama, Natives, Sense of Place

Snow Kill, 1990, Dir. Thomas J. Wright, IMDB


Sometimes a Great Notion, 1971, Dir. Paul Newman, IMDB


Son of Paleface, 1952, Dir. Frank Tashlin, IMDB


Soylent Green, 1973, Dir. Richard Fleischer, IMDB

The last flick that Edward G. Robinson was in, it also features Charlton Heston as the crusader out to discover just what goes into Soylent Green. A dystopian vision of food shortages, economic inequality and the absence of real nature.
Keywords: Dystopian, Eco-Disaster, Climate Change, Drama

Squirm, 1976, Dir. Jeff Lieberman, IMDB


Stanley and Livingstone, 1939, Dir. Otto Brower, Henry King (I), IMDB


Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986, Dir. Leonard Nimoy, IMDB

The crew of the enterprise must travel back in time and acquire a pair of humpback whales. The whales are the only species able to communicate with an alien ship that is destroying the Earth. Cheesy as usual, but with a message against anthropocentrism.
Keywords: Animals, Conservation, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Drama

Stone Boy, The, 1984, Dir. Christopher Cain, IMDB


Sunshine State, 2002, Dir. John Sayles, IMDB

Keywords: Development, Drama, Sense of Place

Tale of Ruby Rose, The, 1988, Dir. Roger Scholes, IMDB


Tank Girl, 1995, Dir. Rachel Talalay, IMDB

Based on a UK comic book series. It's 2033 and water is hard to come by due to a meteor having hit earth (um...whatever...the resource shortage is a suitable premise...). The Water and Power company/government (how true is that!) ruthlessly controls as much water as they can get. Tank girl is motivated to right their wrongs and has a can-do attitude. Worth watching for its campy punk style, rockin' feminist subtext and unusual interpsecies relationships.
Keywords: Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Mutant Animal, Sci-Fi, Action/Comedy

Tarzan and His Mate, 1934, Dir. Cedric Gibbons, Jack Conway (I), James C. McKay (I), IMDB


Tender Mercies, 1983, Dir. Bruce Beresford, IMDB


Terminator II, 1989, Dir. Bruno Mattei, IMDB


Them, 1996, Dir. Bill L. Norton, IMDB


Thunderheart, 1992, Dir. Michael Apted, IMDB

Keywords: Natives, Pollution

THX 1138, 1971, Dir. George Lucas, IMDB


Time Machine, The, 2002, Dir. Simon Wells, IMDB


Total Recall, 1990, Dir. Paul Verhoeven, IMDB


Toxic Avenger, The, 1985, Dir. Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, IMDB


Twelve Monkeys, 1995, Dir. Terry Gilliam, IMDB

Keywords: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Eco-Disaster

Ulee's Gold, 1997, Dir. Victor Nunez, IMDB


Urga (Close to Eden), 1991, Dir. Nikita Mikhalkov, IMDB


Vigilanties of Boomtown, 1947, Dir. R. G. Springsteen, IMDB


Volcano, 1997, Dir. Mick Jackson, IMDB


WALL-E, 2008, Dir. Andrew Stanton, IMDB

Garbage compacting robot WALL-E toils away on Earth after all the humans have left, building monuments to our wasteful ways. But perhaps all is not lost when real plant life is found.
Keywords: Animated, Post-Apocalyptic, Effects of Pollution, Action/Comedy

Watership Down, 1978, Dir. Martin Rosen, IMDB


Waterworld, 1995, Dir. Kevin Costner, IMDB

Kevin Costner's vision of a post global warming scenario. The earth is flooded. People live on floating islands of salvaged materials. The bad guys (smokers) live on a now largely derelict famous oil tanker and drive jet skis.
Keywords: Climate Change, Eco-Disaster, Action

Whale Rider, 2002, Dir. Niki Caro, IMDB

Keywords: Animals, Natives, Drama, Sense of Place

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, 1993, Dir. Lasse Hallstrom, IMDB


Wild River, 1960, Dir. Elia Kazan, IMDB


Witness, 1985, Dir. Peter Weir, IMDB


Wo die grunen Ameisen traumen (Where the Green Ants Dream), 1984, Dir. Werner Herzog, IMDB


Wolfen, 1981, Dir. Michael Wadleigh, IMDB


Year of the Dog, 2007, Dir. Mike White, IMDB

A funny, sad, disturbing, pathos-rich and somewhat satirical look at an animal lover who seems to go too far to find her passion for animal rights. Peggy (Molly Shannon), the main character, and the various people in her life are all treated with a balance of compassion and critique (well, at least it's possible to read it that way). Well worth watching.
Keywords: Animals, Comedy, Drama, Ethics

Yearling, The, 1946, Dir. Clarence Brown, IMDB


Zardoz, 1974, Dir. John Boorman, IMDB


Related Readings

  • Bergman, B. J. (1999) "Earth in the Balcony: To see the environment through America's eyes, go to the movies." Sierra November.
  • Hochman, Jhan (1998) Green Cultural Studies: Nature in Film, Novel, and Theory. Moscow: University of Idaho Press.
  • Ingram, D. (2000). Green Screen: Environmentalism and Hollywood Cinema. Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
  • Liverman, Diana and Sherman, Douglas (1985) "Natural Hazards in Novels and Films: Implications for Hazard Perception and Behaviour." In Burgess, J and Gold, J (Eds.) Geography, the Media and Popular Culture London: Croom Helm.
  • Lutts, Ralph. 1992. "The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature." Forest and Conservation History 36: 160-171.
  • Mitman, Gregg (1999) Reel Nature: America's Romance with Wildlife on Film. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Retzinger, Jean (1995) "Cultivating the Agrarian Myth in Hollywood Films", in David B. Sachsman, Kandice Salomone and Susan Senecaln (eds.), Proceedings of The Conference on Communication and our Environment. (pp. 1-7). Chattanooga: The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
  • Wilson, Alexander. 1991. The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez. Toronto: Between The Lines.

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