Beautiful Movies Where Nature Is the Star

There’s no substitute for exploring the great outdoors. But when circumstances force us to stay at home, try these exquisitely shot films for a stunning visual escape.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The epitome of a movie epic, not just because of its running time of nearly four hours, but also the scale and scope of its production, shot across Jordan, Morocco, and Spain. Directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole in the title role, this engrossing Oscar-winner utilizes some of the most beautiful photography ever seen on screen to transport you to another place and time.

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)

Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy is not only a worthy adaptation of the fantasy world in JRR Tolkein’s books, but also an ode to the beauty of New Zealand, where the films were shot across 150 different locations. New Zealand’s landscapes are now synonymous with Middle Earth; marvel at the stunning scenery in the films, then join the thousands of fans who have visited the magnificent country to soak them up for real.

The Tree of Life (2011)

Terrence Malick’s epic is truly one of a kind, capturing the connection between man and the universe like nothing before it, or since. Shot by Malick’s masterful go-to cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, it’s mysterious, magical, and complex – finding beauty in both the smallest and grandest things – echoing our relationship with mother earth.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Following the journey of a young Che Guevera through Latin America, this movie captures the beauty of locations including Patagonia, the Amazon River, and Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s a breathtaking road trip, wonderfully captured by cinematographer Eric Gautier, which inspires its viewers to taste these iconic destinations for themselves.

Into the Wild (2007)

Masterfully directed by Sean Penn, this is the true story of nomadic young adventurer Christopher McCandless, who rejects the superficiality of the society he lives in to trek across America. Penn and his talented cast, including leading man Emile Hirsh, all shine as they turn this tragic tale into a powerful and even uplifting experience. But perhaps the biggest star here is the awe-inspiring country that provides the setting for this American odyssey.

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