Many people dream about visiting Alaska, but the distance, expense and freezing weather are road blocks that are often unconquerable. Luckily, there are a slew of great movies about the great land that will take you on your dream Alaskan adventure from the cozy confines of your couch. Watch these films to see this fascinating land filled with wild animals, endless forests and beautiful scenery.
1. 30 Days of Night (2007)
This vampire horror film from 2007 is set in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), playing on the intense winter darkness that falls when the sun disappears for a month each year. Josh Hartnett stars in this bone-chilling adaptation of the cult-hit graphic novel where vampires can freely roam in the long, dark Alaska winter.
2. Big Miracle (2012)
Based on the inspiring true story, Big Miracle is the story of a small town news reporter (played by John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (played by Drew Barrymore) who join forces to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Ocean. This feel-good family film was shot in Alaska and involved many local people and businesses.
3. Balto (1995)
An animated adventure about an outcast half-wolf, half-dog who risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska. The tale of the serum run that is retraced each year by the Iditarod sled-dog race, this movie is a thrilling ride.
4. Insomnia (2002)
Al Pacino and Robin Williams play two LAPD detectives who travel to rural Alaska to solve a murder. Pacino finds he can't sleep in the Alaska summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun, and goes slowly insane with insomnia. Hilary Swank is also featured as a young local detective working the case with them.
5. Spirit of the Wind (1979)
True life story of George Attla, the famous Alaskan musher. The film chronicals the life of Attla from a young Athabaskan trapper living in the bush to a hospitilization for tuberculosis. He recovers and goes on to find his way to fame as a dog musher.
6. Brother Bear (2003)
In this Disney animated film set in a time long ago, a young Inuit hunter needlessly kills a bear then is magically changed into a bear himself. He must figure out how to change back with the help of a cub. This magical story gives Alaska the full Disney treatment and includes a trip into the northern lights.
7. On the Ice (2012)
This film was shot in the snow-covered town at the top of the world, Barrow (now named Utqiagvik), where two teenage boys try to get away with murder. This Indie darling was honored with many awards and accolades.
8. White Fang (1991)
In this classic adventure story by Jack London a friendship develops between a gold miner and a half-wolf, half-dog he rescues from a cruel owner.
9. On Deadly Ground (1994)
Steven Seagal stars and directs in this action adventure story about a mystical martial artist and environmental crusader who takes on an oil company in Alaska. It's as epic as it sounds, and there is no shortage of explosions or hand-to-hand combat.
10. Mystery, Alaska (1999)
This hockey movie starring Russell Crow is about an underdog group of misfits who give it all to train for the big game. The incredible scenery of the outdoor hockey locations adds to the gorgeous cinematography and heart-warming story to make for a great film.
11. The Guardian (2006)
Kevin Costner plays a teacher at the Coast Guard Academy and trains a swimming champion (played by Ashton Kutcher) to save lost seafarers in the icy waters of Alaska in this thrilling adventure drama.
12. Grizzly Man (2005)
This documentary is a look into the fascinating character of Timothy Treadwell, a.k.a. the "Grizzly Man". He fearlessly spent a lot of time with the grizzly bears in Alaska until his untimely demise by the claws of one of them.
13. The Proposal (2009)
This delightful romantic comedy centers on a Canadian executive (played by Sandra Bullock) who learns that she may face deportation from the U.S. because of her expired visa. Determined to retain her position as editor-in-chief of a publishing house, she convinces her assistant (played by Ryan Reynolds) to temporarily act as her fiancé. They travel to Sitka to meet his family and have an Alaskan adventure.
14. The Grey (2012)
Liam Neeson stars as a man stranded after a plane crash who is forced to battle a pack of wolves in the cold, dark of the Alaskan wilderness.
15. Into the Wild (2007)
This movie chronicles the real life journey of Christopher McCandless, a top student and athlete who abandons his possessions, donates his savings account to charity, and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.
16. Honorable Mention: Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
This popular television show was not filmed in Alaska, nor reportedly had any of the writers ever been to Alaska, but the show is burned into the minds of many in the U.S. as documentary evidence of what life is like in the farthest north state. This show centered around a recently graduated New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who was sent to practice medicine in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska to fulfill his obligation after Alaska paid for his medical education. The fictional town of Cicely was filmed in Roslyn, Washington, but reportedly based on Talkeetna. The show was widely acclaimed and brought a lot of attention to Alaska at the time.
How many of these movies have you seen? Were you part of the filming? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you’re interested in a sneak peek, check out some of the trailers: