What comes to mind when someone says the word ‘jungle’?
Most probably it is the lines “In the jungle, the mighty jungle…” from the song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ by the artist group called The Tokens.
When it comes to experiencing the magic of cinema, films that are based and shot in a jungle environment are always thrilling as all the goodness is enjoyed without actually being in discomfort, sitting comfortably in theatre seats or your sofa set at home.
It also makes for a good watch for the kids as the landscapes are outlandish for them unless of course, you live in the jungle!
Best Jungle Adventure Movies Ever
Apocalypse Now (1979)
You must have surely heard this name before as it is one of the most iconic Hollywood films ever.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the godfather of The Godfather film series, it is an American war film. It boasts of actors like Marlon Brando & Robert Duvall both of whom had collaborated with him earlier for The Godfather. And, it is based on a novel, ‘Heart of Darkness’.
The protagonist is Colonel Kurtz who has gone insane and commands his own troops of local tribesmen. Captain Willard has been assigned to kill him owing to his vigilante operations. What follows is a chunk of the experience of Vietnam War and is a perfect mix of combat action and war talks right in the forests of neutral Cambodia.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
A historical drama film is written & directed by the highly renowned German filmmaker, Werner Herzog.
Set in the jungle of Amazon, it is about a Spanish soldier Lope de Aguirre leads an exploration group in search of the fabled city of gold, El Dorado.
The magic of this film lies in its soundtrack creating an ethereal mood for the viewer, as he contemplates action of the men as they explore the Amazon.
An American anti-war film About Vietnam War, directed by the ‘Scarface’ writer, Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe & Charlie Sheen. Stone is also himself a veteran of the Vietnam War himself, he has used his memories to lay a strong foundation of the film in reality.
Set in the jungles of Vietnam, this film is about a platoon of American soldiers who deal with the horrors of the bloody war. It is made from the point of view of infantrymen.
The unique aspect of ‘Platoon’ is that Stone has managed to make it inspire no thrilling emotions for the view regarding combat action, unlike usual films that depict wars.
The Jungle Book (2016)
While the Rudyard Kipling fable requires no introduction, this is a live-action/CGI film by Jon Favreau.
It showcases the story of Mowgli who is an orphaned boy, having animals as guardians esp. a black panther called Bagheera.
Poor little Mowgli has to deal with the death threat from Shere Khan, the tiger, who has a personal problem with Mowgli as he is human, and once a human had inflicted serious damage to Shere Khan. He wants to keep the jungle human-free.
The film often raises ethical questions about man’s relation with nature.
Another film by Werner Herzog in this list; seems like he had a penchant for the jungle setting in his works.
The film’s protagonist is Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald aka Fitzcarraldo, who is an Irishman who attempts to transport a steamship over a steep hill to gain access to a rich rubber territory in the basin of Amazon.
This is worth a watch due to the realistic and honest efforts of a filmmaker.
A Hollywood animated film by Disney. It is the first animated film based on ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
It follows the story of Tarzan, whose parents are killed, and is raised by gorillas, who are depicted as sentimental beings.
It is a very beautiful film with the magic of Disney all over it, its scenes perfectly crafted, doing justice to the creative imagination cooked up in mind of Burroughs.
King Kong (2005)
Directed by Peter Jackson who had gotten free from the LOTR trilogy back then, it is a monster film on the iconic fictional giant gorilla called King Kong.
The story is set in 1933 during the Great Depression era. A filmmaker sets sail to Skull Island along with his cast & some ship crew, where they encounter King Kong and take him to New York City, Hollywood’s favorite city to portray destruction.
It depicts Kong as a humane beast generating goodwill emotions in humans, unlike earlier films.
Also Read: Best Movies for Animal Lovers
Death in the Garden (1956)
Directed by Luis Buñuel, it is a surrealist adventure film based on the novel of the same name written by Jose-Andre Lacour.
The story is set in South America where there is a revolution going on. A group of people – rogue adventurer, local hooker, priest, diamond miner, miner’s deaf-mute daughter, flee to a jungle to save their lives.
And then, things happen!
Tropic Thunder (2008)
It is an action comedy film starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, etc.
It is one of the most brilliant satirical takes on the film industry cliché esp. when it comes to the action genre.
The story involves a film crew which is supposed to make a Vietnam War film. The director is very frustrated with the incompetence of the actors that he drops them in the middle of a jungle, and they have no option but to utilize their acting skills to survive real dangers.
The Emerald Forest (1985)
It is a British drama film based on a true story, set in the jungles of a Brazilian rain forest.
An American who has been hired to design a dam goes there with his family. But someone very dear to him is snatched away from him by the local tribesmen.
It is quite an engrossing film and visually stunning.
Jurassic Park trilogy (1993, 1997, 2001)
One of the most iconic franchises, first two of them directed by Spielberg. John Hammond, portrayed by Richard Attenborough, has successfully built a theme park, upon an island Isla Nublar, containing actual dinosaurs using DNA cloning technology and fossils.
A series of events follow that lead to dinosaurs escaping their designated areas & causing havoc and violence. The very execution of scenes in this film is poetic. It terrorizes the audience no matter how used to they are to the genre.
It was also a landmark film when it comes to CGI. The second film follows the plot on another island Isla Sonar, where Hammond has left the dinosaurs in their habitat without creating any fences unlike before, letting them live naturally without interference. The evil corporation, InGen, has other plans. It wants to bring the animals to San Diego as a world attraction. And as expected, things go haywire. The third film has been criticised heavily but it still is spectacular.
The Kirby couple ventures into the island to find their son who went missing while parasailing. They also take along Alan Grant, the paleontologist from the first film, for insights on dinosaurs without informing about their son, pretending to go as tourists. It is a decent watch owing to the scenes involving dinosaurs, it maintains the agility and suspense of the franchise, overall…
Note: There are plenty of other great Movies about Jungle Adventure like Anaconda, Welcome to The Jungle, Journey to the Mysterious Island and many more.
Do comment below if you know more films about Forest adventure.