As this stay-at-home period persists, I am increasingly grateful to be somewhere where I can get out and walk. Even so, cabin fever is very real. I feel it in my bones.
In this particular condition, I find myself drawn to movies that romance the great outdoors, particularly those shot in rich, vibrant color.
Just to be clear, I’m hardly a naturalist, so for me the great outdoors includes the south of France! And beyond all the physical beauty on display, these films must tell great stories.
Thankfully, there are still many worthy candidates. So, take a deep breath of fresh air and treat your eyes-and all your senses- to the special titles listed below.
The River (1951)
Jean Renoir’s stunning film focuses on three teenage girls (two white, one half-Indian) residing near the Bengal River in India, whose lives are touched by the arrival of a disabled war veteran. The first film in India shot in color, “The River” is a sublime meditation on the ebbs and flows of life.
Full review here. | Stream now on Criterion Channel.
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Alfred Hitchcock’s most scenic film concerns jewel thief John Robie (Cary Grant), happily retired in the south of France, who falls under suspicion when a copycat starts nabbing the jewelry of rich American tourists. Grace Kelly is one of them, but she still finds it hard to resist his charms.
Full review here. | Stream now on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, DIRECTV, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.
The Searchers (1956)
John Wayne is Ethan Edwards, a man who goes on a vengeful hunt for his niece, kidnapped by the same Indians that slaughtered his brother and sister-in-law. His quest takes years, and Ethan wonders what he’ll do if he ever finds her. Breathtaking Western classic from John Ford.
Full review here. | Stream now on DIRECTV, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
David Lean’s masterpiece recounts the adventures of British officer T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) during the First World War, as he tries to unite disparate Arab tribes to fight the Turks. The film boasts a literate script, an all-star cast and jaw-dropping location shooting. Unmissable, but watch on a big screen.
Full review here. | Stream now on TCM, Vudu, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Apple iTunes, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.
Set in Australia, Nicolas Roeg’s astonishing film tracks a fourteen year-old girl and her younger brother who are suddenly forced to flee into the outback alone. There they meet a teenage Aborigine, and the three embark on a journey of survival and adventure. Once seen, never forgotten.
Full review here. | Stream now on Kanopy, Criterion Channel, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu.
Days of Heaven (1978)
Terence Malick’s gorgeous second feature follows Bill and Abby (Richard Gere and Brooke Adams), a couple on the run during the Depression. Along with Bill’s kid sister, they work for a farmer (Sam Shepard), posing as siblings. Complications ensue when the farmer starts falling for Abby.
Full review here. | Stream now on Starz Play Amazon Channel, fuboTV, Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, Redbox, Microsoft Store.
Legendary director Akira Kurosawa directs this bold adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” fashioning a larger-than-life epic, full of grand sweep and spectacle. Set in sixteenth century Japan, a powerful warlord banishes his honest third son for challenging his judgment, with tragic consequences.
Full review here. | Stream now on Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, DIRECTV, Redbox, Microsoft Store.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in this magnificent Western epic, playing a Civil War hero assigned to the Dakota territory after the Civil War. There he gets to know the Sioux Indian tribe, and feels conflicted as he witnesses their way of life being destroyed by the westward expansion.
Full review here. | Stream now on DIRECTV, Starz Play Amazon Channel, Starz, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, AMC on Demand, Redbox, FandangoNOW.
House of Flying Daggers (2004)
Zhang Yimou’s sumptuous actioner takes us back to the days of the Tang Dynasty. Two enforcers go on a mission to find and destroy an elite group of rebel warriors. A blind female dancer named Wei (Zhang Ziyi), who is highly proficient in the martial arts, may be key to their success.
Full review here. | Stream now on Showtime Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, Redbox, FandangoNOW.
Into the Wild (2007)
Sean Penn directs this superb adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book about Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a newly minted college grad in search of enlightenment. He decides to shed all his worldly possessions, and venture off into the Alaskan Wilderness alone. Will he survive?
Full review here. |Stream now on Showtime Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Apple iTunes, DIRECTV, Amazon Video, Redbox, FandangoNOW.