Today we’ll be taking a detour from our usual content to present you with the most important list any hunter needs to have in their arsenal: the best hunting movies.
Or, at least movies that portray hunting in one way or another.
The offseason can often get dull, boring, and impatient. So what we do to pass the time is watch movies where we can see movie stars that have definitely never put foot in the woods, shot a gun or skinned an animal do their best to imitate our sport.
We’ve picked movies that aren’t necessarily about hunting, but rather really spectacularly great movies that include the sport in one way or another.
Here are our top 8 favorite movies that portray hunting in modern film!
#8 Legends of the Fall (1994)
“Legends of the Fall” (1994) is an epic historical drama starring Brad Pitt, my favorite actor Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, and Henry Thomas. Set against the backdrop of the early 20th century in Montana, the film follows the lives of the Ludlow family and their tumultuous experiences in love, war, and the changing American frontier.
Hunting is featured in the movie as a symbol of the character’s connection to the wild and their struggle for independence. The hunting scenes are portrayed with authenticity, showcasing the characters’ skills and reverence for the wilderness. However, it is definitely not the focal point of the movie.
The film primarily focuses on the emotional journeys of its characters rather than the intricacies of hunting itself but is still a must-watch for any hunting enthusiasts. With breathtaking cinematography and a beautiful score “Legends of the Fall” offers a captivating exploration of love, family, and the untamed beauty of the American West.
Man, they just don’t make them like this anymore.
#7 The Hunter (2011)
“The Hunter” (2011) is a truly gripping and atmospheric film starring Willem Dafoe in the lead role (and he does a fantastic job). Set in the beautiful but rugged Tasmanian wilderness, the movie delves into the world of hunting through a more character-driven narrative.
Dafoe’s exceptional performance as a mysterious and skilled hunter actually manages to add depth to the story, something that a lot of lower-quality hunting movies often fail at.
The film portrays hunting fairly realistically, emphasizing the patience, skill, and challenges involved in tracking down elusive prey that is thought to be extinct. The lead-up to the final hunt is truly fantastic, and the climax will ensure every hair on your arm stands up.
With absolutely stunning cinematography and a thought-provoking storyline, “The Hunter” offers a compelling exploration of the hunter’s psyche while showcasing the untamed beauty of the Australian wilderness.
#6 The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
“The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996) is a true classic starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. Based on true events (!), the movie follows the story of an ambitious engineer tasked with building a railway bridge in Africa while facing the threat of two legendary man-eating lions.
For real, at least read up on the real story. The Tasavo Man-Eaters were two lions that were thought to have killed 135 people and only ate humans, and this movie tells that story in a real entertaining way.
In all honesty, it portrays hunting in an overly dramatic and fictional manner rather than a realistic depiction, but it’s still fun to watch.
“The Ghost and the Darkness” delivers an entertaining and adrenaline-pumping adventure that I think, if you’re anything like us, will find very entertaining.
#5 A River Runs Through It (1992)
“A River Runs Through It” (1992) is a visually stunning drama directed by Robert Redford. The movie stars bigshots the likes of Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, and Tom Skerrit. It explores the lives of two brothers growing up in Montana and their deep connection to fly fishing.
Yeah, fly fishing.
In all honesty, hunting is a secondary role in the movie – but the hunting scenes are portrayed both realistically and cinematographically beautifully (say that 5 times really fast) and really manage to showcase a hunter’s reverence for the wilderness and their understanding of the delicate balance between humans and animals.
The film primarily delves into the transformative power of the river and the philosophical and spiritual lessons learned through the art of fly fishing.
With its beautiful cinematography, stellar performances, and heartfelt narrative, “A River Runs Through It” captivates audiences with its exploration of family bonds, love for nature, and the profound connections that can be found in the pursuit of passion!
Be warned though, you’re going to want to go straight to Montana for a week-long hunt after this one. The movie truly manages to captivate the state’s unparallelled beauty.
#4 White Hunter Black Heart (1990)
“White Hunter Black Heart” (1990) is a really fun drama directed by the one and only Clint Eastwood, who of course also stars in the film. Inspired by true events, the story revolves around a renowned “don’t-give-a-damn” filmmaker named John Wilson (played by Eastwood), who becomes obsessed with hunting an elephant during a location scouting trip in Africa.
The film explores the complexities of Wilson’s character and his relentless pursuit of the ultimate hunt.
The hunting itself also serves as a metaphor for Wilson’s inner conflicts and his quest for personal validation and is portrayed in a wonderful (yet a bit 90’s exaggerated) manner.
#3 The Edge (1997)
Of course I had to include another Anthony Hopkins movie on the list.
“The Edge” (1997) is a survival thriller that features some solid performances by, again, my favorite actor Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin (yeah I know, he’s still a great actor though).
Set in the vast, treacherous but beautiful Alaskan wilderness, the film explores the harrowing journey of two men stranded after a plane crash.
Hopkins delivers a captivating portrayal of a resourceful and intelligent billionaire, while Baldwin shines as this confident and enigmatic photographer. “The Edge” skillfully portrays the primal instincts required for hunting in a realistic manner, highlighting the characters’ desperate attempts to find food and fend off predatory animals.
The film captures the tension and danger of the wilderness, providing an exciting and pretty damn thought-provoking experience for viewers. This movie really got me at “the edge” (get it??) of my seat with some truly spectacular cinematography of the best hunting state there is.
It’s also fun to imagine what I would do in certain situations.
#2 The Deer Hunter (1978)
One of my favorite movies of all time “The Deer Hunter” (1978) is an epic war drama that features a powerhouse cast including Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. The film explores the lives of a group of friends from a small Pennsylvania town who have been traumatized by their experiences in the Vietnam War.
The movie showcases the characters’ love for hunting as a means of bonding and escape from their everyday lives, and plays a great role in the film.
The hunting scenes are beautifully shot, and serve as some really solid metaphors for the characters’ loss of innocence and the harsh realities they face.
#1 Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
“Where the Red Fern Grows” (1974) is a heartwarming family drama directed by Norman Tokar. The film stars James Whitmore, Beverly Garland, and Stewart Petersen.
Based on the novel by Wilson Rawls, the story follows the adventures of a young boy named Billy and his beloved hunting dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann.
Hunting isn’t really portrayed that much in the movie, but it still ranks as my #1 because technically he does hunt and wins a few trophies out of it so I’m counting it. I hunt with dogs, so this movie has always hit close to home since I was a little kid.
Be warned though, it does not matter how tough you are or how many animals you’ve killed: if you’ve ever had a furry companion, you’re going to bawl your eyes out. One of my all-time favorites.
You can also find the entire movie for free on youtube right here!
There you have it, the 8 best hunting movies out there!
Disagree with the list, or have any additions? Let us know!
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