Top 10 Environmental Movies: Films Provide Insight Into World History and How Things Developed

Movies can significantly impact people’s behavior towards the world around them. Movies often portray real-life situations to motivate viewers to explore topics further or change their habits. Environmental movies, in particular, can be very influential in shaping people’s attitudes toward the environment.

Environmental films usually focus on wildlife or ecological issues and depict animals needing protection or help from humans to survive. These movies are designed to encourage viewers to become aware of environmental threats and take action to preserve them. In today’s article, we’ll look at 10 of the best ecological movies that inspire audiences to protect the planet and its animal inhabitants. 

Greener Globe

Top 10 Environmental Movies

1. The Human Element 2019 by Matthew Testa

The film explores what the ancient Greeks believed to be the four elements of nature: water, fire, air, and Earth. It portrays man as the dominant fifth element that alters the other components in dramatic and sometimes terrible ways. This film is centered around the quest of environmental photographer James Balog to showcase how the elements drastically contributed to wildfires and hurricanes because of the disruption of balance. 

To explore the impact, Balog travels to America’s front lines of climate change, including residents of Tangier Island, a fishing town threatened by increasing sea levels. This film inspires viewers to reevaluate their relationship with nature.

2. Bambi 1942 adapted from Bambi, a Life in the Woods

Bambi is a 1942 American animated film made by Walt Disney and based on Austrian author Felix Salten’s book Bambi: A Life in the Woods. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 21, 1942, as the sixth picture in the Disney Animated Canon.

It’s been 70 years since Bambi shocked youngsters with the most famous hunting expedition in film history. Despite this, the story of Bambi and his buddies continues to encourage people to care about animals. The relationships among Bambi, his protective mother, and his buddies are as touching, heartbreaking, and frightening as any other on display today.

3. Eyes of the Orangutan 2021 

Eyes of the Orangutan delves into the murky world of wildlife tourism and examines the toll it has on one of our closest ancestors. The production of this powerful movie took a total of four years. These truths need to be brought into the light, although some people may find it difficult to watch.

The documentary sheds light on how the orangutan-smuggling syndicates work and documents the forcible removal of orangutans and other wild animals from their natural habitats, where they are then forced to perform in degrading shows for human audiences. 

Eyes of the Orangutan

4. An Inconvenient Truth 2006 by Davis Guggenheim

An Inconvenient Truth is a concert film that tells the story of the efforts that former Vice President of the United States Al Gore made in the year 2000 to educate people about the dangers of global warming. One of the motivations behind making the documentary was to give it an innovative narrative style. 

According to Al Gore, this presentation has been presented to audiences in over one thousand locations worldwide. Gore also includes autobiographical details about his youth on a farm and his involvement in the presidential campaign.

5. Riverblue 2016

This breakthrough documentary, narrated by Jason Priestley, an advocate for clean water, analyzes the degradation of our rivers, its impact on humanity, and the remedies that offer hope for a sustainable future.

Through contacts with local environmentalists and videos of rivers and oceans extensively contaminated by harmful chemicals, this eco-fashion film invites us to reconsider our need for fast fashion and rethink our consumption habits.

degradation of our rivers

6. Artificial 2019 by Josh Murphy

Produced by Patagonia, Artificial highlights the effects of overfishing, particularly on North American wild salmon, who are on the edge of extinction. The video reveals the repercussions of uncontrolled salmon breeding in aquaculture farms and fish hatcheries, one of our numerous attempts to profit from nature. Artificial reveals with honesty how our obsession with seafood is diminishing the diversity of biological systems.

7. Racing Extinction 2015 by Louie Psihoyos

Racing Extinction is a 2015 documentary by Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos about the ongoing Anthropogenic mass extinction of species and the attempts of scientists, activists, and journalists to document it.

Horrors of the black market animal trade are revealed, including trading shark fins and manta ray gill plates for traditional Chinese medicine in Hong Kong and mainland China. In addition to the Amphibian extinction crisis and the Florida grasshopper sparrow extinction catastrophe, the video finds several more grounds for worry.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking.

8. The Road 2009 by John Hillcoat

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel of the same name, The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic survival film directed by John Hillcoat and written by Joe Penhall.

The Road depicts a father and his kid as they hunt for food in the aftermath of a catastrophe that has wiped off the natural world and most of civilization. Some survivors explore the wreckage of the planetary wasteland for cans of food and beverages. Others have formed cannibal gangs that wander the countryside. It’s a ruthless vision of a time better avoided.

9. Wall-E 2008 Andrew Stanton

Wall-E tells a story of a robot, Wall-E, who is cleaning up a polluted planet Earth. It explores the themes of environmental collapse and humanity’s abandonment of the world and features many pretty humorous scenes. The movie generally received positive reviews and was even selected as the top animated film of 2008 by Rotten Tomatoes.

The film has a beautiful visual style. As with so many other Pixar animated films, it employs a color palette that is bright and cheery but not overbearing and a little realistic.

10. Before the Flood 2016 by Fisher Stevens

Before the Flood is a documentary film directed by Fisher Stevens in 2016, the film urges world leaders to advocate for a more sustainable future and provides viewers with actionable answers, such as limiting meat consumption and voting for leaders who will work in better policies for the environment. As the Guardian has described, ‘Before the Flood’ is a shocking and moving movie that is a heartfelt, decent, and educational film regarding the most critical issue of our generation.

Author’s Note

More people are noticing global warming and pollution becoming a more significant global issue. With this, more movies are being produced to highlight specific topics, contributing to the overall awareness of these issues. Some movies are more lighthearted and comedic, while others tackle more severe cases. 

These films give you an insight into the state of the world today and how it got to where they are now. If more movies like this were to be made, perhaps, there would be less pollution and more awareness about saving our planet. Thank you for reading!

Related: Environmental Volunteering Opportunities, History of Environmentalism, Greta Thunberg’s Story

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