It is often said that real life leads to even more exciting stories than fiction and in the case of some of the world’s most daring adventurers and sporting pioneers this is often the case. Snow-covered mountains, rolling waves, dramatic cliffs and daring pursuits make for incredible experience days as well captivating films. But it takes a special movie to truly capture the adrenelin-fuelled adventure of some of the most extreme activities on the planet. From mountain climbing disasters to blissful days riding the waves, here are five of the best extreme sports movie documentaries ever made:
Touching the Void
The true story of mountain climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates who faced the terrifying choice that all climbers dread - whether or not to cut the rope. After Simpson breaks his leg in a fall during their descent, his co-climber Yates tried to lower him down the mountain but after lowering him over a cliff edge is forced to cut the rope to stop himself being dragged over as well. Remarkably, Simpson survives the fall and faces the virtually impossible challenge of getting off the mountain with no food, water and a broken leg. The close-to-the-bone documentary features real life interviews and reenacted footage and is a story of the triumph of human spirit when faced with the greatest adversity.
Man on Wire
French daredevil Philippe Petit found infamy when he performed a death-defying tightrope walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York back in 1974. Rare footage, recent interviews and startling still photographs all go into this poignant 2008 documentary which charts the build-up to the iconic stunt, as well as Petit’s street performing roots and previous tightrope challenges, as well as the pressures his extreme lifestyle put on his loved ones.
The Endless Summer
The ultimate surf movie which spawned films galore following in its wake and inspired a generation of chilled-out surf dudes. The iconic 1966 documentary follows surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson on their global quest to find the perfect wave, capturing beautiful images from exotic locations around the world as well as capturing the surfers’ psyche which motivates their pursuit of perfection.
A startling true account of climber Aron Ralston’s decision to cut off his own arm after getting it trapped under a boulder while canyoning in the Utah desert. An inspiring tale of one man’s determination to survive in the most extreme situations, with the added bonus of some beautiful footage of daring outdoor pursuits.
Let it Ride: The Craig Kelly Story
Charting the rise of not only snowboard’s first superstar, but the sport itself with seven-times world champion Craig Kelly among the pioneers of snowboarding in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This film is more than just a snowboarding documentary but a personal chronicle of a man’s dedication to the sport he loves, plus the stunning snow-covered scenery makes for beautiful footage.
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