We’ve all dreamt of what taking an adventure worthy of cinema would be like. Exploring depths unknown, defeating evil at impossible odds, meeting and making lifelong friends…you get the picture.

It’s why adventure remains a popular entertainment format even today. And the genre doesn’t seem to be slowing down either…

Capturing moviegoers’ imaginations, the 2023 releases of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” and “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” affirms this trend conclusively. 

There’s good news for fans of reel epics filled with breathtaking journeys and heart-stopping escapades. With platforms like IMDb, uncovering the crème de la crème of adventure films is a mere click away.

Based on the democratic verdict of millions of viewers on IMDb, we bring you the most revered adventure movies of all time. These films often glitter with accolades, embodying the zenith of cinematic exploration and adventure.

Related: 10 Best Movie Remakes of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

The top 10 slots, as chosen by IMDb users, feature recurring appearances from monumental franchises such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.

It’s a further testament to these cinematic giants’ lasting influence on the adventure genre and why they’re often mentioned among the best movies of all time.

And for the cherry on top, we have an animated sequel just released in June 2023 that’s killing it at the box office! Time will tell if it can keep up with the greats.

10 Highest-Rated Adventure Movies of All Time, According to IMDb

  • ‘Spirited Away’ (2001) – 8.6
  • ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ (1977) – 8.6
  • ‘Interstellar’ (2014) – 8.7
  • ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980) – 8.7
  • ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966) – 8.8
  • ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (2002) – 8.8
  • ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001) – 8.8
  • ‘Inception’ (2010) – 8.8
  • ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003) – 9
  • ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023) – 9

10 ‘Spirited Away’ (2001)

Spirited Away (2001) - #10 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.6/10 791K | Popularity: 382 | Top 250: #32 | Metascore: 96
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family

Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino (voiced by Rumi Hiiragi) navigates a surreal spirit world to rescue her parents in Hayao Miyazaki‘s masterpiece. Her transformative journey unfolds in Yubaba’s intimidating bathhouse, filled with unique creatures like the enigmatic No-Face.

This acclaimed Studio Ghibli film blends stunning animation, creative character design, and a compelling narrative of resilience and hope. As Chihiro harnesses her inner strength, audiences are taken on an emotional rollercoaster through an impeccably crafted spirit world, making ‘Spirited Away‘ an essential entry in the canon of adventure cinema.

[ Watch on Max ]

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

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) - #9 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.6/10 1.4M | Popularity: 316 | Top 250: #29 | Metascore: 90
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

In 1977, George Lucas created a film that changed the world – ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope‘ – a galactic hope diamond of cinema.

It told an exciting space opera story starring Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. The mission? To fight against Darth Vader’s empire to save the galaxy.

This epic contained incredible special effects and memorable characters shaped around good versus evil themes, appealing to millions worldwide.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

8 ‘Interstellar’ (2014)

Interstellar (2014) - #8 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.7/10 1.9M | Popularity: 63 | Top 250: #26 | Metascore: 74
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Matthew McConaughey plays Joseph Cooper – a former NASA pilot who joins forces with scientists to explore the depths of space.

Their mission? Find an escape from Earth and save humanity’s future. Time is not on their side.

In ‘Interstellar‘ (2014), Christopher Nolan captures this epic quest and its heart-warming moments – friendships forged in adversity; love that transcends distance and time. A journey into outer reaches is also a voyage towards inner truths – showcasing courage, hope, and resilience when confronted by impossible odds.

The film’s visceral exploration of space, time, and human emotion sets it apart as a remarkable entry into adventure cinema.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

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

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - #7 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.7/10 1.3M | Popularity: 695 | Top 250: #16 | Metascore: 82
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

In 1980, Irvin Kershner directed “The Empire Strikes Back.” This sequel to George Lucas‘ 1977 movie deepened the confrontations between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance. It has been widely praised as one of cinema’s best sequels ever.

Our heroes face a new challenge. Luke (Mark Hamill) returns to complete his training with Yoda (Frank Oz). It also brings back the beloved Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in her heroic arc that joins fan favorites like Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew‘s Chewbacca.

An intense battle between themselves and Darth Vader’s Empire awaits them. From the chilly Hoth to swampy Dagobah, followed by Cloud City’s revelations, their journey tests each of them differently, confronted with unexpected turns at every corner.

Fans appreciate this installment for its battles, effects, and revelations about Luke’s destiny. Critics praise it as a masterpiece due to its storytelling, character development, and spectacle.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

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

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - #5 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.8/10 778K | Popularity: 479 | Top 250: #10 | Metascore: 90
Genres: Adventure, Western

Sergio Leone crafted an intense narrative of relentless pursuit in ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly‘ that starred Clint Eastwood. The movie orbits around three eponymous characters on a mission to unearth hidden treasure despite being set during America’s Civil War.

A creative journey ensues for its protagonists, who traverse peculiar and brutal landscapes with great tension mounting throughout until it reaches climax.

Related: 10 Best Westerns of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

Sergio displays his signature style through close-ups juxtaposed against long shots and stylized gunfights within this trailblazing film from 1966 that revolutionized adventure cinema forever.

[ Watch on Pluto TV ]

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) - #5 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.8/10 1.7M | Popularity: 663 | Top 250: #14 | Metascore: 87
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) are on a mission to destroy the One Ring in Mordor while their companions battle Saruman’s forces at Helms Deep for the Rohan kingdom’s survival. Gollum becomes unpredictable during this task as they confront him along their journey.

Despite receiving less acclaim than Peter Jackson‘s sibling films, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers‘ is critical to the trilogy due to its intense action scenes and emotional character arcs.

Knowing that it’s an integral part of the story based on J.R.R Tolkien‘s novel makes it an enjoyable yet thrilling cinematic experience.

[ Watch on Max ]

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - #4 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.8/10 1.9M | Popularity: 170 | Top 250: #9 | Metascore: 92
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

This 2001 introduction to J.R.R Tolkien‘s world, known as Middle-Earth, was highly praised by viewers. Eventually becoming a trilogy, this series has completely dominated every list of best adventure movies of all time.

Striding into peril is Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), who has been selected to destroy a powerful object known as the “One Ring.”

A fellowship joins him on his quest, including Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), seeking to destroy this ring in Mount Doom before dark forces led by Sauron snatch it away.

Related: The Rings Of Power: Can It Succeed Like The Trilogy?

Impressive special effects made it an iconic movie brimming with adventure & fantasy flavors accompanied by themes like friendship, courage, and selfless sacrifice that remain unforgettable.

[ Watch on Max ]

3 ‘Inception’ (2010)

Inception (2010) - #3 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 8.8/10 2.4M | Popularity: 80 | Top 250: #15 | Metascore: 74
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Christopher Nolan‘s ‘Inception‘ captivates audiences with its thrilling plot. It follows Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a professional thief hired to plant an idea instead of stealing information from his target’s subconscious mind.

With the help of a crew featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Tom Hardy, extraordinary visuals, complex narrative, and groundbreaking effects all come together for this innovative adventure film set within the architecture of human consciousness.

Fans praise this sci-fi odyssey as one of cinema’s most memorable thrill rides. Each exciting sequence showcases spectacular settings that add depth to their imaginative storyline – making it no surprise why critics consider Inception among some of the greatest science fiction films ever made.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

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

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - #2 Best Adventure Movies of All Time

IMDb: 9/10 1.9M | Popularity: 324 | Top 250: #7 | Metascore: 94
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Peter Jackson‘s acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy reaches its riveting conclusion in ‘The Return Of The King.’

Elijah Wood stars as Frodo Baggins, who must face his destiny as he nears Mount Doom with Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin). Viggo Mortensen plays Aragorn, a brave warrior tasked with rallying forces for an epic battle against Sauron.

Related: 10 Best Action Movies of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

Spectacular fight scenes and tender moments make this powerful film unforgettable. It earned multiple awards, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards – proof of its enduring appeal. Friendships are forged throughout; others prove their loyalty during heart-wrenching sacrifices to restore peace to Middle Earth once again.

[ Watch on Max ]

1 ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) - #1 Best Adventure Movie of All Time

IMDb: 9/10 108K | Popularity: 1 | Top 250: #11 | Metascore: 86
Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure

Miles Morales finds himself amidst a multiverse conflict in this Oscar-winning Spider-Verse sequel. Reunited with Gwen Stacy, Miles discovers the Spider Society, a group of Spider-People preserving the multiverse. A disagreement sees him fighting for himself and those he loves.

Related: 10 Best Animated Shows of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

The film, bursting with dynamic animation and intricate themes, takes viewers on a journey reminiscent of great sequels like “The Dark Knight” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Its plot centers around empowerment and heroism, breaking the traditional superhero narrative and emphasizing personal agency over predetermined destiny.

Gwen Stacy, now part of a Spider-Society, re-encounters Miles when a new villain, The Spot, threatens the world’s stability. Their reunion and action-packed sequences testify to the film’s visual brilliance and thought-provoking storytelling.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” builds on its predecessor’s legacy, pushing the boundaries of animation and superhero narratives. The exceptional vocal performances from the cast further enhance the overall experience. The film ends with a promise of more rewarding chapters, setting the stage for a fascinating continuation of this compelling story.

It’s hard to believe a movie just released this month could already top the best adventure movies of all time. However, with the first week’s box office numbers of over $300 million, the pinnacle of popular films, an already high ranking of #11 on the IMDb Top 250, a high metascore, and excellent IMDb ratings, are we even surprised?

[ Watch in Theaters ]

10 More Best Adventure Movies to Watch Next

Just missing out on the top 10 best adventure movies of all time are some classic greats that deserve an honorable mention.

‘Gladiator’ (2000)

Gladiator (2000)

IMDb: 8.5/10 1.5M | Popularity: 218 | Top 250: #38 | Metascore: 67
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

All for the glory of Rome, a general turned slave (played by Russel Crowe) must fight for his life and become the ultimate gladiator.

Set during the peak of the Roman Empire, this epic depicts the ancient civilization like no other movie. We have the Colleseum at max capacity and the murderous Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) that add to the glamour of this story.

[ Watch on Paramount+ ]

‘Back to the Future’ (1985)

Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox

IMDb: 8.5/10 1.2M | Popularity: 140 | Top 250: #31 | Metascore: 87
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

When you think of the stereotypical 80s movie, this one has to top the list. It’s definitely on mine. After all, who hasn’t wished they could time travel?

Related: 10 Best 80s Movies from Childhood, Ranked by Viewers

The ever-loveable Michael J. Fox starts his journey as the time-traveling Marty. Marty McFly and Doc Brown join forces to rescue his family, which begins a fantastic trilogy.

[ Watch on Freevee ]

‘The Lion King’ (1994)

The Lion King (1994)

IMDb: 8.5/10 1.1M | Popularity: 428 | Top 250: #37 | Metascore: 88
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Drama

Hakuna Matata means you don’t have to worry about this movie being a dud. This classic includes catchy music you can’t help but sing along to and the suspenseful adventures of Simba, the future lion king.

Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) embodies family values in “The Lion King.”

He is devoted to his son and shows fatherly love throughout the story. This bonds them together, creating a tale about affection and loyalty between relatives—the ultimate example of what defines strong families.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)

Avengers: Endgame

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.2M | Popularity: 112 | Top 250: #79 | Metascore: 78
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Our favorite superheroes all unite to defeat the most powerful of enemies. But first, we watch as they fight to bring back the ones they lost in ‘Infinity War.’

The grand finale of the beloved Marvel franchise, ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ culminates with Iron Man selflessly sacrificing himself to save everyone.

His heroic act seals a victory for the universe. It’s, no doubt, a tear-jerker for fans.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

‘WALL·E’ (2008)

WALL·E (2008)

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.1M | Popularity: 827 | Top 250: #58 | Metascore: 95
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family

Starring an adorable animated robot with an affinity for recycling everything on Earth’s vast wasteland, what’s not to love?

And he’s got plenty of work to do before humans (who all became lazy bums) can return safely to Earth. ‘WALL·E‘ is such a cute movie about love and dedication.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

IMDb: 8.4/10 1.1M | Popularity: 260 | Top 250: #62 | Metascore: 68
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Prepare yourself to lose some of your most beloved Marvel superheroes. Thanos is about to snap them out of existence for good…or so it seems.

This isn’t the greatest Avengers flick. But it’s part and parcel of the narrative arc, so essential viewing.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981)

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

IMDb: 8.4/10 989K | Popularity: 42 | Top 250: #57 | Metascore: 85
Genres: Action, Adventure

What do hidden relics and Nazis have in common? Both take their best shot at killing Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford).

This classic adventure flick has it all. It features captivating action, intriguing characters, and an iconic story. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark‘ is a must-see for fans of cinematic masterpieces.

[ Watch on Paramount+ ]

‘Aliens’ (1986)

Aliens (1986)

IMDb: 8.4/10 733K | Popularity: 419 | Top 250: #67 | Metascore: 84
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Take some terrifying aliens. Now put them on a spaceship that’s stranded, scared yet? You should be.

Sigourney Weaver plays the original female badass (Ripley) who lays waste to these space vermin. This is how you write a female lead.

[ Watch on STARZ ]

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

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

IMDb: 8.4/10 583K | Popularity: 5 | Top 250: #66 | Metascore: 87
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

The recent success of its sequel has given this Spidey movie a recent boost in popularity. The first great animated Spider-man movie started the Miles Morales story and this successful franchise.

Watch this Spider-Man origin story as this Brooklyn teen adjusts to his newly acquired superpowers – with some help from Peter Parker.

[ Watch on Prime Video ]

Jimmy P

Senior Editor, BuddyTV