10 Best Movies About Expeditions to Unknown Worlds | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Ever dream of exploring ancient ruins and uncovering hidden treasures nestled there? Maybe you’re charmed by the mysteries of forgotten civilizations and the secrets they hold. Well, guess what? There are some awesome movies out there that can take you on epic expeditions to an uncertain land, where you’ll experience all the thrills and dangers. Here are our ten best suggestions on the same. 


Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

In 1914, linguist Milo Thatch dreamed of finding Atlantis. With a journal and millionaire Preston Whitmore’s backing, Milo leads a motley crew aboard the Ulysses submarine.

Milo and the crew dabble with all kinds of underwater dangers and also make some friends along the way, including Captain Rourke and mechanic Audrey. Once they’re at the city’s doorsteps, they find a crumbling civilization ruled by King Kashekim Nedakh. As the film goes on, Atlantis’s true history is revealed, and Milo has to make a choice that will decide the city’s fate.  


Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

Professor Trevor Anderson, a geologist, his nephew Sean, and a tour guide, Hannah, journey to Iceland to find Max, who has been missing for years. On their way, they fall into a giant cave, which doesn’t lead to a surreal waterfall but Earth’s core.

They find there is a hidden world below marred with dangerous creatures and challenges that can end their life in an instant. Prehistoric beasts, big chunks of rocks plummeting, and super-hot lava are a few of the many troubles they face in the cave while looking for a way to return to the world above. 


Lost Horizon (1937) 

In this film, a handful of plane crash survivors, including a diplomat, Robert Conway, find the valley of Shangri-La nestled in the Himalayas. Ruled by the ancient High Lama, Shangri-La promises everlasting life and peace.

Even though they’re not fully onboard with the idea, Conway and other survivors accept to be part of Shangri-Law. Conway falls in love with Sondra, one of the townspeople, but faces conflict about whether he should leave or stay. 

Lost Horizon is a film that paints a picture of a perfect world where people are already so content they’re no longer in the pursuit of happiness. 


Stargate (1994)

The year is 1928 when an archaeologist who goes by Dr. Daniel Jackson finds “Stargate” in Egypt. Fast forward a few years, the same man is recruited by the military years to crack the images and hieroglyphics found. Daniel is not alone; he’s also joined by Jack O’Neil. Once they figure it out, they journey to a desert world that is ruled by the alien, who’s pretending to be an Egyptian god.

Now, Daniel and others take up arms against the tyrannical alien using the technology of the modern world. Stargate, when it was released, set a benchmark for the sci-fi genre, spurring many films.


The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)

Many might call him a cheap copy of Indiana Jones, but Flynn Carsen is still a likable archaeologist. In this film, Flynn is a nerdy librarian who doesn’t guard old books but ancient artifacts that can wreak havoc if fallen into the wrong hands.

When the Spear of Destiny is stolen, Flynn joins hands with  Judson, Charlene, and Nicole on a mission to find it. They find the spear, but not before confronting all sorts of dangers, criminals, and whatnot! The film is a success, and like the one above, it also spawned a TV series, sequels, and many spin-offs that are still fresh.


King Kong (2005)

When the world was dealing with the punches of the Great Depression (thanks to the stock market crash), a filmmaker named Carl Denham gathered a motley crew to sail to the mysterious Skull Island. Joining him are his actress Ann Darrow and writer Jack Driscoll.

Carl plans to make a worthy documentary take a back seat when Ann is kidnapped by the dangerous and cannibalistic natives who plan to sacrifice Ann to a deity, who’s actually a giant gorilla called Kong. The film’s climax, where Kong fights military airplanes, is both heartbreaking and way ahead of its time.  


The City of Ember (2008)

The film takes place in a not-so-great world where humanity has no choice but to dwell in the underground city of Ember to protect themselves from the disaster that’s laid waste to the surface world.

Teenagers Lina and Doon stumble on clues, and chasing them means an escape from Ember’s decay. But the path isn’t easy as soon they face trouble with the law, resources, and so on! Lost Horizon is one of those timeless films that never gets old.


The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

While not explicitly about a journey to a faraway or uncertain land, this film definitely deserves a spot on the list. The year is the 1920s when two Americans, Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, are scouring Mexico’s rugged mountains for gold.

However, before they can feel the shiny glow on their face, they deal with bandits, nature, and the most obvious, betrayal and greed.

The ending of Lost Horizon is hands down one of the best scenes ever put on screen, and spoiling it will totally ruin the fun of the whole movie. You’ve gotta experience it for yourself!


The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

If we’re talking about expedition films, we can’t forget about Sinbad as this sailor journeyed through more lost cities and unknown lands than any of us can dream of. In this iteration, Sinbad and his motley crew get their hands on a golden tablet, which can be a way to unlock the secret of the Fountain of Destiny.

To find it, Sindbad has to find three fragments, battle beasts with one eye and a dozen arms, and not to mention the endless and unforgiving sea. John Phillip Law stars as Sinbad, joined by Caroline Munro as Margiana and Douglas Wilmer as the Vizier, in this swashbuckling quest for untold riches and power.


The Lost City of Z (2016)

The Lost City of Z is an obsessive search for a lost city that has also existed in stories and pages. At the center of it is the unrelenting search of British explorer Percy Fawcett as he grows consumed by his dream to uncover the legendary city of “Z” hidden deep within the Amazon.

Doubting the reality of the city, Fawcett sets out on many missions, forsaking his family each time and alienating himself from society and the rest of the world. Percy’s last voyage ended in a mystery.

It left everyone scratching their heads, wondering if the legendary city he was searching for was real or if Sinbad was just chasing after something that didn’t actually exist.


So, these were our top 10 picks for movies about expeditions to unknown worlds. Did your favourite make the cut? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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