Up until now, it’s been hard to track down the best environmental movies. Sure, there’s the odd ‘top 10’ list here and there. Those lists tend to be short and pick off a few of the obvious films (like An Inconvenient Truth.) But in fact there are many great green films out there.
In this list, you’ll find a comprehensive round-up of the best environmental movies – new and old – here in one place. We’re up to 100 environmental films and counting as we keep adding the best of the new releases.
To make sense of this big list we’ve grouped them by topic or genre. These categories begin to give you a feel for the range and depth of green films. The first films here are fictional feature films, however, if you keep going you’ll find this list is predominantly documentaries.
Let us know what you think in the comments. And whether we’ve missed any good ones!
Honourable mention: Chinatown.
Children of Men
The Age of Stupid
The Day After Tomorrow
Honourable mention: Interstellar.
Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest
Horton Hears a Who
Over the Hedge
The Lion King
Honourable mention: Years of Living Dangerously (documentary tv series)
Mother – Caring for 7 Billion
A Fierce Green Fire: the battle for a living planet
If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
How to Change the World
The True Cost
FOOD and AGRICULTURE
A Place at the Table
Dirt! The Movie
Evolution of Organic
Fast Food Nation
Food for Thought, Food for Life
Fresh – New Thinking About What We’re Eating
Seeds of Time
Seed: The Untold Story
The Future of Food
The Gateway Bug
CONSUMERISM AND WASTE
Honourable mention: The Story of Stuff (YouTube video)
CONSERVATION and ANIMALS
The Burning Season
Sushi: The Global Catch
The End of the Line
Animals in Love
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
March of the Penguins
Honourable mentions: David Attenborough TV documentaries e.g. The Blue Planet
General Orders No.9
Here are some observations about all these movies as a whole:
Very few green films get wide exposure or even a run at movie theatres. (‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is one of the few standouts.) Yet there are many great enviro films out there that are just as good. The vast majority fall under the radar.
We’ve categorised these films for you. This came about as we compiled them. We started to see patterns with sub-categories of green films. Hope this helps if you have an interest in one of those areas.
The sum total
When you put the message of them all together, it is a little confronting. Some might say depressing. But that’s what we’ve got: a planet with systems in decline on multiple fronts – thanks to the weight of human activity. We all need to get our heads around it and understand how we are affecting our home – planet Earth.
That’s why these films together are so important. They’re a big wake up call. It ain’t just climate change we need to worry about. That’s just one symptom of a larger challenge. Humans have put systems for the whole planet under pressure. We need live sustainably with the planet. That’s the big picture.
Old and new
The list includes films from many decades ago (when only the odd green film came out) to recent time – when there’s a swag of new green movies released each year. It’s possibly a sign of growing awareness of the problems that there seem to be an ever increasing number of environmental films. Or maybe the problems are getting bigger. Or both.
Have we missed any good green films? Let us know what they are in the comments.
Keep an eye on this list too. We’ll be adding other good ones as they’re released. Our intention is to make best reference on the internet for finding green movies.
Too many to contemplate? We’re working on a shortened ‘Best of the Best’ list.
Want the very latest green films? One of the best places to look are the environmental film festivals. They snaffle the best of the new releases. To help you out on this front we’re also putting together a list of ‘The Best Environmental Film Festivals’.
If you have tips on either of these let us know!
We’ve mostly steered clear of TV and video programs as we’ve wanted to stay focused on film. There are some honourable mentions in our list – which tend to be pieces which have been largely produced for TV.
Want to overdose on trailers for environmental movies? Watch this – our compilation of green film trailers.
Here’s a summary of the categories:
Food & Agriculture
Energy and Waste
Consumerism & Waste
The Natural World
Conservation & Animals