The 100 best environmental movies of all time

inconvenient-truth
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 somewhat random with their choices.

In this list, you’ll find a comprehensive round-up of the best green films – new and old – here for you in one place. We’re saying 100, but actually, it’s 100 and counting as we keep adding in the best of the new releases.

You’ll see 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 out there.

Let us know what you think in the comments. And whether we’ve missed any good ones!

FEATURE FILMS
Avatar
Children of Men
China Syndrome
Deepwater Horizon
Silkwood
Dances With Wolves
Erin Brockovich
Gorillas in the Mist
Into the Wild
Safe
The Age of Stupid
The Day After Tomorrow
Silent Running
Honourable mentions: The Road, Interstellar, Chinatown, Born Free, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

KIDS
Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest
Bambi
Free Willy
Happy Feet
Hoot
Horton Hears a Who
Over the Hedge
The Lion King
The Lorax
Wall-E
Whale Rider

SUSTAINABILITY
Surviving Progress
The Wisdom to Survive
Time to Choose

CLIMATE
An Inconvenient Truth
Climate Refugees
Cross of the Moment
The 11th Hour
This Changes Everything
Disruption
Not Without Us
Honourable mentions: Years of Living Dangerously (documentary television series)

SOLUTIONS
Demain
Life Off the Grid
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Carbon Nation
How to Let Go of the World (and Love all the Things Climate Can’t Change)
Switch: The Future of Energy
Catching the Sun

PEOPLE
Garbage Warrior
No Impact Man
Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson
Force of Nature – The David Suzuki Movie
Chasing Ice
Grizzly Man
The Island President

ADVOCACY
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
Earth Days
Disobedience
Elemental

PLACES
In the Shadow of the Moon
Encounters at the End of the World
Monsoon

CLOTHING
The True Cost

HOUSING
Garbage Warrior
Tiny: A Story About Living Small
Blue Vinyl

FOOD and AGRICULTURE
Food, Inc
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
GMO OMG
King Corn
Dirt! The Movie
A Place at the Table
Fast Food Nation
Just Eat It – a food waste story
The Future of Food
Forks Over Knives
Fresh
The World According to Monsanto
Genetic Roulette
Seeds of Time

BEES
Queen of the Sun: what are the bees telling us
Vanishing of the Bees
More Than Honey

POLLUTION and WASTE
Bag It
Gasland
The Great Invisible
The Babushkas of Chernobyl
The City Dark
The Politics of Pollution: Toxic Soup
Trashed
Waste Land
Into Eternity
Honourable mention: The Story of Stuff (YouTube video)

FOSSIL FUELS
A Crude Awakening
Blind Spot
Crude
Dirty Business: “clean coal” and the battle for our energy future
Fossil Free

TRANSPORT
Bikes v Cars
Idle Threat
Revenge of the Electric Car
Who Killed the Electric Car?

CITIES
Urbanized
Contested Streets
The End of Suburbia

CONSERVATION and ANIMALS
Racing Extinction
Revolution
The Burning Season
Earthlings

OCEANS
Blackfish
Oceans
Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Sharkwater
Sonic Sea
The Cove
The End of the Line
The Whale

WATER
Flow
Tapped
Watermark
Blue Gold: world water wars
DamNation
Last Call at the Oasis

NATURE
March of the Penguins
Winged Migration
Travelling Birds
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
Microcosmos
Animals in Love
Honourable mentions: David Attenborough TV documentaries e.g. The Blue Planet

VISUAL SPECTACULARS (NATURE AND HUMANITY)
Koyaanisqatsi
Baraka
Home
Planetary
Samsara
General Orders No. 9

A few things to note about these movies:

Exposure
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.

Categories
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.

Your turn
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.

Related posts
Too many to contemplate? Check out our ‘Best Environmental Films of All Time’. We’ve shortened it down for you. These are the 4 and 5 star movies that will really get you to think or take you the biggest cinematic ride.

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 also put together a list of ‘The Best Environmental Film Festivals’.

Honorable mentions
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.

Trailers
Want to overdose on trailers for environmental movies? Watch this – our compilation of green film trailers.

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