Everest is already one of the most talked about movies of the autumn as Baltasar Kormákur explores the 1996 disaster that happened on the mountain.

Touching The Void

Touching The Void

Everest is the latest in a long line of mountain/climbing movies - a topic that has been a real fascination for Hollywood and filmmakers over the years.

There have been a wide range of films from thrillers to edge of your seat documentaries and we take a look back at some of the best.

- Touching The Void (2003)

Kevin Macdonald returned to the director's chair in 2003 for documentary Touching The Void, which told the true story of two climbers as they tried to climb Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

The movie is based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson who, along with Simon Yates, battled to survive when the climb went wrong and one of them was injured.

For me, Touching The Void is one of the best movies from director Macdonald and is a movie that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I watched this movie knowing nothing of this story and found it to be a tension-filled and emotionally draining movie.

Touching The Void is a film that really is about the human spirit and the strength many seem to find when facing impossible odds and death. It is also a film about friendship and the terrible decision that one of them has to make.

The movie is a mix of documentary footage, interviews with Simpson and Yates, as well as some great re-enactment performances from Brendan Mackey and Nicholas Aaron.

Touching The Void really is one of the most powerful and tense documentaries that I have ever watched and it is regarded as a great in this genre. It is a movie that explores the strength and will to survive and will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

- North Face (2008)

In 2008, we were treated to another mountaineering movie as North Face hit the big screen, a German film that was directed by Philipp Stolzl and also based on a true story.

North Face was only the second live-action feature for Stolzl and came six years after he made his debut with Baby. As well as being in the director's chair, he teamed up with Christoph Silber, Rupert Henning, and Johannes Naber to pen the screenplay.

The movie is based on the true story of a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps in 1936. Nazi propaganda urged German climbers to scale the unclimbed north face, resulting in Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser taking up the challenge. But things don't go to plan.

North Face is another very tense watch that is as gripping as it is harrowing. That feeling of unease is elevated by the fact that much of the movie was shot on location so many of the sets and backdrops are natural and real. This adds to the danger that you know is lurking around every corner as well as being breathtakingly beautiful.

North Face really is a man v nature movie and from the moment the climbing of the mountain begins, the film becomes a truly heart-pounding and exhausting watch.

- Cliffhanger (1993)

In 1993, Sylvester Stallone returned to the big screen for new action/thriller Cliffhanger, which took place throughout the Rocky Mountains. The movie saw Renny Harlin in the director's chair, while John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, and Janine Turner were also on the cast list.

A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. Mountain climbers Gabe and Hal (Stallone and Rooker) find themselves trapped in the middle when they are tricked into helping find the cases, which have beacon locators.

Cliffhanger really is a cat and mouse game between good and evil in a battle to survive on the mountain; not only are Gabe and Hal in danger from the bad guys, but from the mountain itself.

It really is a rollercoaster ride with danger around every corner and some truly wonderful stunts. The film shot most of the mountain scenes in the Dolomites in Italy and it really is a stunning backdrop - the film's cinematography only adds to the atmosphere and danger of the film.

Upon release, Cliffhanger was both a critical and box office success, going on to gross over $250 million at the global box office.

- The Eiger Sanction (1975)

It was back in 1975 when Clint Eastwood starred in and directed The Eiger Sanction, which was based on the novel of the same name by Trevanian.

Rod Whitaker, Hal Dresner, and Warren Murphy penned the screenplay, while Eastwood took on the role of art history professor Dr. Jonathan Hemlock as well as being in the director's chair.

The humble life of an art history professor is upended when his dark past catches up with him and he is blackmailed into resuming his former career as a professional assassin for a secret international organization.

The leader of the organization tells the killer that they will release him after he performs this last "sanction" which is to take place during an ascent of the Swiss Alps notorious mountain, the Eiger. The trouble is, the killer is to shoot one of three climbers, but he doesn't know which one it is.

The Eiger Sanction is perhaps not only of Eastwood's best-known acting or directing roles but it is an intriguing thriller with some wonderful climbing scenes and action moments. The climbing sequences and the mountain footage is really what elevates this film into a very tense and exciting drama.

The movie was filmed in Grindelwald, Switzerland and it really does look fantastic and captures the desolate and dangerous environment of the mountain. Sadly, the movie was not a success at the box office when it was released in 1975.

- Alive (1993)

Of all of the movies that we have talked about so far, Alive is the only none-climbing film. Directed by Frank Marshall, Alive is based on the true story of the Uruguayan rugby team who are stranded in the Andes after surviving a plane crash.

The screenplay was adapted by John Patrick Shanley from Piers Paul Read's book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and saw Ethan Hawke take on the central role. The actor was joined on the cast list by Josh Hamilton, Vincent Spano, Bruce Ramsay, and John Newton.

The fact that alive is based on a true event makes this movie even more powerful and harrowing. The survivors of the crash are forced to make some difficult decisions as they struggle to survive on the mountain.

Alive is a truly gripping story of survival and the personal cost to each and every one of them that made it off the mountain. Once again, this is a movie about the strength of the human spirit and the power to survive in the face of certain death.

All of the cast turn in wonderful performances but Hawke really is terrific from start to finish and was one of his early roles that help put him on the acting map.

Other mountain movies not to miss include The Mountain, Vertical Limit, Third Man on the Mountain, K2, and The Climb.

Everest is released 18th September.

by for www.malextra.com
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