I don’t know about where you are, but August heat in the deep south can be pretty brutal. Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about (and in some cases yearning for) cold weather. And since I’ve been behind on Phenomenal 5 lists what better summer topic than cold weather movies? I shouldn’t need to say that the number of worthy movies is large. To narrow it down I’ve focused on films where the cold weather plays a significant part. Also no Christmas movies. Now with so many candidates I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no denying that these five cold weather movies are most certainly phenomenal.
#5 – “Snowpiercer”
In Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian science-fiction thriller “Snowpiercer” cold weather has a rather huge effect. An attempt to end global warming has turned the planet into a uninhabitable frozen wasteland. As a result the remains of humanity are trapped inside a non-stop globe-trotting train. It sounds silly but the themes it wrestles with and the visual style of the auteur behind it make it an easy choice for this list.
#4 – “The Shining”
It’s kinda hard to imagine this list even existing without including Stanley Kubrick’s beloved “The Shining”. The film’s iconic setting needs little introduction – The Overlook Hotel high up in the Colorado Rockies. Off-season caretaker and struggling writer Jack Nicholson burrows in for the winter, but as he spirals towards insanity his wife and son are trapped inside with him by the frigid elements. And to say things get a little chilly for Jack in the final act is an understatement.
#3 – “Alive”
Frank Marshall’s 1993 survival drama “Alive” was based on the true story of a Uraguayan rugby team’s fight to survive following their plane crashing high in the Andes Mountains. Isolated and with no ability to communicate, no food and amid brutally cold conditions, the group was pushed to their limits and the life-or-death decisions they made changed them forever.
#2 – “The Thing”
I adore John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror classic “The Thing” and cold weather definitely has a role to play. Kurt Russell and his team trudge through snow and sub-zero temperatures to uncover answers to a violent encounter at a research base in Antarctica. Parasitic monsters and paranoia take center stage, but the harsh weather is an ever-present threat that makes for the ideal setting.
#1 – “Fargo”
When it comes to the #1 pick how could it be anything other than this Coen Brothers gem. “Fargo” is a movie that encapsulates everything that makes the Coens both unique and extraordinary. This bizarrely delicious crime comedy spans from icy Minneapolis, Minnesota to icier Fargo, North Dakota. And while “Fargo” is all about the characters, the cold weather supplies the perfect backdrop.
Now it’s your turn. How about my choices? See something I missed? Please let me hear your picks in the comments section below.
Oy, good thing I read this now when it’s 90+ degrees instead of 3 months from now LOL. I haven’t seen The Shining (gasp!) or The Thing but so agree w/ the other 3. Does FROZEN count? 😀
Oh I think Frozen would have to count. Definitely a cold weather movie. And you guys up there DEFINITELY know about cold weather right?
My fav on this list is The Thing . Such a real horror/sci-fi classic. But a great list. Now where is the snow and cooler temps, please.
I’m waiting for them man! Love the enthusiasm for The Thing. As I said, I adore that movie. Have you seen the Joel Edgerton remake?
Cool list! “Wind River” and “The Hateful Eight” would also be great additions.
“Cool List”? Pun intended? 😉
Wind River is a great pick and just missed the list. I really like that film. As for The Hateful Eight, my review went against the majority on it. I really struggled with Tarantino’s unyielding allegiance to his style. I felt it damaged that film.
The pun was sort of intended :). I always use “Great” as an adjective for some reason, but “Cool” seemed to fit better with this post.
Too bad you didn’t like “The Hateful Eight”. It’s certainly not Tarantino’s best film, but I really liked the cold atmosphere it created.
I will say this about “Eight”, it had one killer Kurt Russell beard! 😁
Everyone had great facial hair in “The Hateful Eight”, but Kurt is the most definite standout 🙂
Wow, I can’t go wrong with that list of films although Alive might not be the best choice since it will inspire those to engage in cannibalism. What about McCabe & Mrs. Miller? Yes, it’s really fucking hot here at the ATL and the unpredictable weather from hot sunshine to horrible rain has really made things a mess.
Atlanta??? Oh then you know exactly what I mean. Heat PLUS humidity. But cool weather will be here soon….I hope! As for the movies, I actually haven’t seen McCabe! Love that you mentioned it.
SEE IT! It’s one of the best westerns EVER and my favorite film by Robert Altman.
Awesome! Will absolutely bump it high on the must-see list.
Fantastic list, love the inclusion of “The Shining” and “Alive” and only to think that “Alive” was based on a true story – so sad.
Thanks! I’ve always loved “Alive” even though it’s such a tough watch. I’ve been wanting to rewatch it for a while.
I just knew The Thing was going to be #1, but only because I forgot about Fargo. Great choice!
Some others I love:
The Ice Harvest
Let the Right One In
30 Days of Night
Winters Bone was the one I fought with for that #5 spot. I love it so much. Ultimately it came down to the weather having a more immediate impact in Snowpiercer. Wind River was really close as well.
Fun list: I’ll add a few more not yet mentioned by others – not necessarily top 5 material but all worth checking out (during a hot spell!):
The Secret Of Convict Lake (1951), little known but terrific western with Glenn Ford, set in a small town during a blizzard.
Doctor Zhivago (1965), does this count?!
Where Eagles Dare (1968), World War 2 action thriller with Allied commandos (Eastwood and Burton) attacking a Nazi fortress in the Alps.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), one of the best Bonds, mostly set in the Swiss Alps.
Cliffhanger (1993), Stallone doing what Stallone does in the snowy mountains.
The Revenant (2015), trappers surviving in the snowy wilderness.
The Mountain Between Us (2017), Winslet and Elba surviving a plane crash in the snowy mountains.
Some really good mentions there. The Revenant was one I hated to leave off. It fits the list well. And I love the mention of Where Eagles Dare (it has always been one of my father’s favorite movies). Convict Lake is completely new to me but I’m anxious to see it now.
I haven’t seen #2 and #3 but I love your other picks! Being from the upper Midwest, I’m not ready to start thinking about winter yet lol. This heat is fine.
Oh I bet. The winter for you guys takes on a different meaning than down here! You should really check out The Thing. It shows its age but it’s still so good.
Feel like I need to watch these just to cool down. We have been in the grips of a heatwave in London.
Really? What are normal summer highs there?
22 – 25 is normal. We’ve been hitting the low 30s for weeks.
Ahhh…it has been all over the place here. Fall can’t come soon enough.
-THE THING – 4/10
-THE SHINING – 8/10
-FARGO – 10/10
what a cool idea for a post! I haven’t seen Snowpiercer, I’ll have to give it a go.
What about Planes, Trains and Automobiles? I love that 🙂
Oh I love “Planes, Trains”. Talk about an infinitely quotable movie! 😂
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