20 Best Adventure Movies of All Time, Ranked According to IMDb

Recently released blockbusters like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water underscore the enduring popularity of the adventure genre. Fans of films that depict epic journeys and thrilling encounters will be happy to learn that it’s easier than ever to discover the best adventure movies, thanks to IMDb.


Users’ votes on the platform have determined the highest-rated adventure films, which are often award-winning classics that represent the best that the genre has to offer. The top 10 adventure movies on the platform rightly include several entries from the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings franchise (as well as the Avengers movies), which are essential films from the genre.

Updated on May 23, 2023, by Hannah Saab:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done it again, with the recently released Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now part of IMDb’s top adventure films. It’s worth delving into alongside numerous other award-winning hits further down the list.

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20 ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (2023)

guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-3-karen-gillan-james-gunn-chris-pratt
Image via Disney

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Now considered among the best MCU movies ever, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a pleasant surprise for fans of the franchise. It focuses on Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) tear-jerking backstory and the gang’s frantic scramble to save his life after a powerful new antagonist pursues and hurts him.

GotG Vol. 3 brings back everything fans know and love about the Guardian movies, from the epic needle drops to the gut-busting humor. On top of that, it hits all the emotional notes that some Marvel films have been missing lately, reminding viewers why it’s so easy to feel invested in the heart-melting stories of these fictional heroes.

19 ‘WALL-E’ (2008)

Wall-e skimming stardust

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Wall-E may be a delightful animated movie, but it deals with the real issue of climate change via its compelling tale about the last robot in a world filled with waste. Directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Pixar, the arrival of a spacecraft inhabited by a technologically superior robot causes Wall-E to deviate from his usual routine of cleaning and sorting the garbage. Everything changes after the discovery of a single live plant.

Wall-E’s wild adventure through space is the stuff of dreams, as he boldly ventures through an unfamiliar ship where humans rely on technology for most everything. The film manages to balance lighthearted and funny moments with heavier themes – of course, there are some tear-jerking moments along the way.

Watch on Disney+

18 ‘Coco’ (2017)

Miguel playing guitar

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

There is a solid reason why many people consider Coco to be one of the best films that Pixar has ever produced. Fans have grown to anticipate exceptionally clear and stunning graphics from the studio, and the film delivers on those expectations. Also, the film tells an extraordinary tale about a little boy who has adventures in the Land of the Dead.

In the film, an unexplained ban on music is revealed to have been motivated by a tragic backstory, which will almost certainly move viewers to shed at least a few tears. Stunning and grandiose moments in the animated film are brilliantly accompanied by scenes that are more personal and moving – all of these work well and make up the engrossing and unforgettable trip of a lifetime for the film’s lovable protagonist.

Watch on Disney+

17 ‘Aliens’ (1986)

Aliens - Ellen Ripley holding a weapon
Image via 20th Century Fox

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

In this terrific sequel to Alien, Sigourney Weaver reprises her now-iconic role as Ellen Ripley, who is finally rescued after spending decades asleep in cryo. She quickly becomes a member of a team that is sent to a settlement of colonists on a planet that may be inhabited by extraterrestrial beings, and she is disheartened to discover that everyone around her appears to be underestimating the monsters.

James Cameron‘s Aliens is able to successfully present audiences with a more extensive storyline since it has much improved special effects, expanded approaches for world-building, and even a more intimate look into Ellen’s backstory. Widely regarded as one of the most iconic sci-fi movies, Aliens will keep audiences glued to their screens as Ellen survives one horrific encounter after another.

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16 ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)

infinitywar.0-2

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

The stakes are higher than ever before in Avengers: Infinity War, where the group of familiar heroes faces off against a truly terrible antagonist, Thanos (Josh Brolin), an intergalactic Titan warlord who’s on a quest to collect all six Infinity Stones. His goal? To destroy half of all life across the universe to “restore balance.”

For MCU fans, Infinity War left a sinking feeling in their stomachs that would only be resolved by the even more iconic sequel. It showed the world that the Avengers could lose in a spectacular fashion, and gave audiences a legendary antagonist with a twisted goal that changes everything for the mighty heroes.

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15 ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981)

Harrison Ford in'Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark'
Image via Lucasfilm Ltd.

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the courageous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) embarks on an incredible journey. Alongside his brave love interest Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the characters find themselves entangled in a race against villains who are searching for the lost artifact for their own nefarious purposes. What comes next is a treacherous adventure that is full of twists and traps, both of which the protagonist needs to overcome.

The thrilling movie is packed with unexpected turns that shed light on the individuals and their motivations for the actions they do. As the audience becomes increasingly attached to Jones and Marion, the story focuses less on the artifact itself and more on the adventurous journey that they go on. Fans can only hope that the upcoming legacy sequel, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30, 2023), manages to live up to the exceptionally high standards the original film set.

Watch on Paramount+

14 ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018)

Peter B. Parker and Miles Morales swinging through the forest in'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'
Image via Sony

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a critically acclaimed animated film that introduced the Marvel hero to the concept of the multiverse before it became mainstream. It follows the likable Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he attempts to juggle superhero responsibilities with schoolwork, a task that quickly gets more complex as he encounters other Spider-Man characters from all over the universe. Before it’s too late, they have to work together to put a stop to the nefarious Kingpin and his “super collider.”

The film’s stunning visuals steal the show, overshadowing even its well-written characters in impact. It seems as if pages from a comic book have come to life in order to convey Miles’ amazing experience thanks to the vivid colors and wild transitions that are used. It’s an incredible animated movie that stands up remarkably well to more recent entries in the genre.

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13 ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark about to snap his fingers in Avengers: Endgame
Image via Marvel Studios

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Following the devastating deaths caused by Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, the survivors are left to pick up the pieces in Endgame. The events of Phase Three come to a head in the box office hit, which sees the remaining Avengers banding together for one final attempt at reversing the chaos and destruction all over the universe.

The Russo brothers manage to depict a complicated story with numerous moving parts in a cohesive and exhilarating way in one of the best adventure movies from Hollywood. With wild portrayals of time travel, tear-jerking final goodbyes, and visually stunning epic battles on a scale never before seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Watch on Disney+

12 ‘The Lion King’ (1994)

The Lion King

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

The Lion King is an animated Disney classic that tells the story of Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick), a cub and successor to King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) in the Circle of Life. When Simba’s scheming uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) murders Mufasa and manipulates the lion cub that it’s his fault, however, he finds comfort far away from home among new carefree friends, Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). It takes a childhood friend, Nala (Moira Kelly), and a shaman, Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), to get Simba back on the right path.

Among the greatest movies to come out during the Disney Renaissance, the touching story of Simba’s adventure is an important part of numerous audiences’ childhoods. The well-written film is still worth revisiting today, as adults may find new perspectives on Simba’s journey.

Watch on Disney+

11 ‘Gladiator’ (2000)

russell crowe in gladiator prepared for battle in armor

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Director Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is a historical drama centered on the Roman general, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe). Maximus is betrayed, and his family is murdered by the treacherous Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who wanted to claim Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ (Richard Harris) throne. Maximus is sent away and into slavery, but he soon becomes a gladiator and climbs the ranks to seek revenge.

Anyone who has seen the hard-hitting yet spectacular movie knows that Maximus’ adventure isn’t a happy one. He repeatedly risks his life to get right back to where he was and confront his family’s murderer. It’s an inspiring and heartbreaking tale of a courageous soldier who never stops fighting.

Watch on Paramount+

10 ‘Back to the Future’ (1985)

Michael J Fox as Marty and Christopher Lloyd as Doc test out the Doctor's remote-controlled time machine/car hybrid in Back to the Future
Image via Universal Pictures

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Back to the Future is a film that needs no introduction. The critically-acclaimed classic directed by Robert Zemeckis follows the misadventures of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), who accidentally uses Doc Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) modified DeLorean to travel back in time. He’s soon in a messy situation when he ruins the early stages of his parents’ relationship, which threatens Marty’s existence.

Campy, wacky, and surprisingly heartfelt, it’s not hard to see why the movie is beloved by fans. Any disturbing challenges Marty encounters are never too troubling thanks to the comedic tone and light atmosphere throughout the film.

9 ‘Spirited Away’ (2001)

spirited-away-1

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is centered on ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino’s (Rumi Hiiragi) tale as she ventures deeper into the world of the Kami to find a way to rescue her parents. She has to learn to muster up the courage to survive in Yubaba’s (Mari Natsuki) bathhouse, deal with creatures like No-Face, and rely on her inner strength to keep going.

Still considered Studio Ghibli’s most popular film, the animated masterpiece has gorgeous visuals, imaginative character design, and a touching narrative of independence and hope. Chihiro’s adventure is unlike any other and will take viewers along for an awe-inspiring ride through the spirit world.

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8 ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ (1977)

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) looking to the distance in the desert planet of Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Image via LucasFilm

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

The film that birth the iconic franchise that’s still thriving today, A New Hope transported viewers to a galaxy far, far away. It introduced iconic characters like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who join forces to rescue Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) from the villainous Darth Vader (David Prowse / James Earl Jones).

Depicting the struggle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, the legendary classic redefined the sci-fi genre, and provided an adventure of a lifetime for an entire generation (and perhaps, for generations to come). It has cemented its place in cinematic history as one of the greats, and will forever be part of annual viewing traditions for countless fans.

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7 ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980)

Mark Hamill as Luke in The Empire Strikes Back
Image via 20th Century Fox

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

Set three years after the events of 1977’s Star Wars, director Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back depicts the ongoing battle between the tyrannical Galactic Empire and the fearless Rebel Alliance. The beloved continuation of the Skywalker Saga also sees Luke (Mark Hamill) training with Master Yoda (Frank Oz), as part of his preparation to face the ruthless Sith lord, Darth Vader (David Prowse / James Earl Jones).

The blockbuster is considered the best from the original trilogy and gives audiences some much-needed answers about Luke’s past and potential future. It also brings back the heroic Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and continues her arc alongside other fan favorites like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).

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6 ‘Interstellar’ (2014)

An astronaut team explores a frozen planet
Image via Warner Bros. 

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

Interstellar is a must-see sci-fi film that’s set in a world suffering from the effects of the climate crisis. With blight threatening humanity’s survival, ex-NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) agrees to lead a risky trip through a wormhole that could lead to the species’ last hope for a new home. He never imagines what kind of dangers and wonders are on the other side.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the movie has won numerous accolades and is widely regarded as a scientifically accurate adventure that (mostly) conforms to established physical laws. This accuracy makes Cooper’s journey even more exciting, knowing that the wild things viewers see could be possible somewhere in the known universe.

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5 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (2002)

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) looking for the kidnapped hobbits in'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' (2002)
Collider database

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Based on J. R. R. Tolkien‘s renowned novels, director Peter Jackson‘s iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy depicts a fantastical sprawling world where magic, evil, and heroism combine, often from the most unexpected places. The second entry in the trilogy, The Two Towers, continues Frodo Baggins’ dangerous journey to Mordor (Elijah Wood) alongside Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin). On the other side, preparations for the Battle of Helm’s Deep begin to sow doubt into Men’s hearts, who have just been forced out of their homes.

It’s impossible to call any of the three films in Jackson’s trilogy bad, but The Two Towers is the weakest among them (at least based on IMDb scores). That said, it serves as a perfectly exhilarating bridge that continues the epic stories in exciting and tear-jerking ways.

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4 ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966)

Clint Eastwood standing in the desert in'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.'
Image via United Artists

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Known as the ultimate spaghetti Western, director Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly follows the three titular characters and their relentless quest to find a buried cache of gold. Nothing will stop the men from locating and claiming their bounty, not even the chaos from the ongoing American Civil War.

The creative and sometimes campy adventure depicted in the film takes the three characters to some strange and violent places. The genre and director’s signature style is obvious through intense close-ups, long shots, and stylized gun fights, which build up throughout the movie all the way to its explosive conclusion.

Watch on Fubo

3 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001)

The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (1)
Image via New Line

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

The widely beloved first movie in director Peter Jackson’s legendary trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring portrays the start of the perilous path the humble Hobbit Frodo Baggins (Wood) must take as the bearer of the One Ring. Alongside loyal friends, new allies, and a powerful wizard, the Fellowship is formed in Rivendell and pushes onward to face whatever may come their way.

The 2001 award-winning movie showcased the magical beauty of Middle-earth for the first time, building up anticipation for the sequels for years to come. Its far-reaching influence is still felt in the continuation of the saga today, though none can compare to the original trilogy that set a high standard for any future adaptation of Tolkien’s work.

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2 ‘Inception’ (2010)

Inception-cast-poster
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Nolan’s Inception is often cited alongside some of the best sci-fi movies of all time. It follows a group of professional thieves led by Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is an “extractor.” They go on a never-before-seen mission into a victim’s subconscious, not to steal information, but to plant an idea. Along the way, Cobb fails to let his team know that something from his past could complicate their already-challenging mission.

An unprecedented adventure into the layers of the mind, the box office hit is lauded by fans and critics alike for its stunning visual effects and novel concept. Its exciting sequences are set in large (often moving) set pieces that add to the fantastical and exhilarating atmosphere of the film.

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1 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)

Elijah Wood in The Return of the King

IMDb Rating: 9.0/10

Director Peter Jackson’s final entry in the legendary The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King portrays the events in J. R. R. Tolkien’s eponymous 1955 novel. The renowned film masterfully weaves the main storylines explored in the first two movies and delivers an epic conclusion that wraps up the trilogy in a satisfying way.

From the last leg of Frodo Baggins’ (Wood) journey to the heart of Mount Doom alongside Samwise Gamgee (Astin) and Gollum (Andy Serkis), to preparations for battles by well-loved characters like Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), the film combines and completes the grand adventures and arcs that have enthralled and captivated audiences for years.

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NEXT: The Best Thriller Movies of All Time, Ranked According to IMDb

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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