Are you looking for a rock-climbing movie for your next movie night? Some films will make you laugh at the absurdity of their depiction of rock climbing, and others will leave you with sweaty palms while you peer through your fingers at the screen!

From daring and historical ascents to learning about the dirtbag lifestyle to silly inaccuracies, one of these rock-climbing movies will be perfect for your next movie night.

Get Ready for Rock Climbing Action with These 7 Epic Films

woman eating popcorn while watching a movie
  1. Free Solo (2018)

At number one, Free Solo may be the most famous rock-climbing movie ever. Alex Honnold, renowned free soloist, climbs Freerider on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. A 3,000-foot-tall route that many can’t comprehend climbing, he climbs without a rope.

This film follows how he prepared for his epic adventure and showcases the mind of a free soloist mentality. One wrong move and it can result in disastrous consequences for Honnold. Get your chalk bag ready because you will have second-hand sweat when watching this movie.

  1. The Dawn Wall (2018)

Next on the list is another extraordinary climbing feat in Yosemite National Park. The Dawn Wall is the story of Tommy Caldwell, a long-time professional rock climber, teaming up with Kevin Jorgeson, a boulderer at heart, to climb the never-completed ascent of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan.

This film is full of heart and perseverance. It shows the backstory of Caldwell’s rocky history with rock climbing and his drive to complete a project few others have dared. 

  1. Valley Uprising (2014)

If you’ve ever wondered why Yosemite National Park was regarded as the ‘mecca’ of rock climbing, this movie will take you back to the days of the original dirtbags and their fight for living on the fringes. It will teach you about the rock climbing legends from three different generations who pioneered the dirtbag lifestyle to do what they wanted: rock climb.

Valley Uprising shows life for early climbers in Yosemite–fighting for their right to climb, finding a sketchy plane crash, and eating tourists’ leftovers.

  1. King Lines (2008)

If you’re looking for a movie to get you psyched about climbing, look no further than King Lines. Chris Sharma, a professional rock climber who took the world by storm when he started competing at a young age, stars in this film. The film follows him, looking for challenging routes requiring creativity and technique. In this film, Sharma climbs rocks all around the world. It is sure to inspire you to get out and send your project!

  1. Meru (2015)

This film follows the story of three rock climbers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk. It shows just how close they were to the summit in their 2008 attempt to achieve history. After getting close to the peak, harsh conditions required them to retreat, ending their incredible journey into the sky.

Then, in 2011, the trio returned to Shark’s Fin, rising 20,000 ft above the Ganges River in the Indian Himalayas, and followed their next attempt at reaching the summit of Meru. Will they make it?

  1. The Alpinist (2021)

Marc-André Leclerc was a free-spirited unknown rock climber, ice climber, and alpinist who achieved enormous feats of free-soloing simply because he enjoyed climbing. Leclerc was little known outside of the climbing world but pushed boundaries and broke records by himself on the wall.

This film follows his story of attempting the first winter solo ascent of Torre Egger, an on-sight. If you’re looking for a movie to remind you why you enjoy rock climbing’s natural simplicity, The Alpinist is sure to deliver.

  1. Vertical Limit (2000)

If realistic is what you’re looking to avoid, Vertical Limit is the movie for you. Although a survival thriller, this film is popular among rock climbers because of everything it gets wrong. Be ready to either get really upset or laugh until you cry at the inaccuracies of this film so you can decide if it counts as a rock-climbing movie.