Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Everest'
Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, and for decades people have tried to reach the summit. Many have succeeded, but many have also failed, and the stories that have emerged from these journeys have inspired lots of great movies about Mount Everest.
The reason that so many movies about Mount Everest are at least partly based on real events is that the stories about people climbing Everest are almost beyond belief, particularly when you look at the people who were attempting to climb the mountain decades ago before they had access to all of the technology we've now created to make the climb easier. So in this sense, filmmakers have no need to create any fictional stories about Everest - they can simply refer to what really happened.
Now let's take a look at what we believe to be the best movies about Mount Everest ever made:
Unsurprisingly, we've included quite a few documentaries in this list - The Wildest Dream is probably the best of the bunch in our opinion. Narrated by Liam Neeson, this movie follows 2 mountaineers who attempt to follow in the footsteps of George Mallory, who failed to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1924. The film is a hybrid in that it not only documents the journey of the 2 mountaineers but also includes elements of recreation of Mallory's original journey. It's the type of movie that will stick with you long after you've finished it, and it'll likely give you sweaty palms too.
This is a slow movie that takes time to get exciting, but once it does it is well worth the wait. The characters are given time to be fully fleshed out, and the performances from the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin are excellent. Although the scenery of Mount Everest is pretty spectacular throughout this movie, you probably won't fancy climbing it after watching this movie - put it this way, things go pretty badly wrong for the crew.
This movie might not feature the same type of high-energy, spectacular footage as some of the other entries in this list, but it does a remarkable job at demonstrating the incredible efforts that have been made to climb Everest during the early 20th century. The film focuses on the 1953 excursion which saw Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reach the top. Much of the footage in this documentary was shot by the man who directed the film, George Lowe. We highly recommend you give it a watch. You can stream this movie via Prime Video with IMDBtv.
This movie is about a young girl called Poorna, who becomes the youngest female in history to climb Mount Everest. What's remarkable about Poorna's story is that she came from a poor background, but has incredible determination. The movie is very inspiring and focuses on the positivity of what Poorna achieved rather than her life in poverty. It's also worth noting that the budget for this film wasn't huge, but the mountaineering scenes are excellent. You can stream this movie via Prime Video.
This documentary is a stark reminder that although the focus tends to be on people climbing Mount Everest, there is actually a community of people living a dangerous life on the mountain itself. The documentary is about an avalanche that hit the mountain in 2014 and killed 16 people within the Sherpa community. There is a lot to unpack in this film - it raises questions about how people tend to think of Mount Everest as a tourist destination rather than someone's home, and how that perspective impacts the people who live there. The interviews with the Sherpa people in this film are enlightening and the scenery is stunning, but there is a deep sadness at the heart of the film. We highly recommend you watch this, it's no surprise to see that the film is sitting with a near-perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This movie follows a photojournalist who heads out on a journey to find out the truth about Mallory, a climber who went missing on the first-ever expedition to Mount Everest in 1924. It's based on a true story but the movie is partly fictional and is also animated, making it really interesting and unique within this list. It's originally in French but subtitles are available, and we really enjoyed watching it. The movie is streaming exclusively on Netflix at the moment. You can stream this movie via Netflix.