In February of 2006, Planet Earth aired as a BBC TV series which later won 4 prime time Emmys along with 9 other wins and 12 nominations. This feature film records the extraordinary and astounding beauty of planet earth from jungles and deserts to oceans and mountains. Animal and plant life are captivated in never before seen footage that will inspire wonderment and appreciation for viewers this Earth Day.March of the Penguins was a film released in July of 2005 and is a documentary about both the beauty and the hardships of the life of the Arctic penguins. The film portrays their amazing resiliency and bravery against harsh conditions and their devotion to their young.
Wall-E, released in June of 2008 by Pixar Animation is a film about a garbage collecting robot that inspires the human race to re-cultivate the Earth long after the world has been abandoned and left a wasteland. The voice of Wall-E is played by Ben Burtt and the voice of Eve is the voice of Elissa Knight. A great Earth Day movie for both kids and adults alike.
Winged Migration is an Earth Day film to get excited over with this extraordinary documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, a series shot over three years and on all seven continents. Released in 2001 and directed by Jacques Perrin, this film was nominated for an Oscar as well as received many other wins and awards and rightly so.
Into the Wild is a movie adaptation by Sean Penn that was based on the biography of Christopher McCandless, a young and talented boy who abandoned his life after graduation to hitchhike and live in the Alaskan Wilderness. It is a movie for more mature audiences with breathtaking scenery and the spirit of Christopher’s heart for the Alaskan wilderness. Despite McCandless unfortunate death, this is one of the best earth day films done with an artful and poetic eye.
Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts, released in March 2000 is based on the true story of a single mother who won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a California power company for dumping illegal toxic waste that contaminated many nearby residents. This Earth Day movie will inspire a person that anyone can make a difference in the world to protect the environment who puts their mind to it.
Nominated for an Oscar, Whale Rider is another recommended film this Earth Day, a movie that portrays beautifully the magical connection between the Maori people and with their land, animals, myths and legends of their honored past. A film that was released in 2002 staring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rawiri Paratene that is about a small New Zealand coastal village and the Maori claim that their people descended from Paikea, or the Whale Rider, a thousand years ago.
The New World came out in 2005, the well-known tale of Pocahontas in a new light staring Colin Farrel as Captain Smith, Christian Bale, and introducing Q’orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas. The natural beauty of the Native Americans is revealed in this gorgeously shot film from the land to the people themselves. The footage of the marshes and rivers are remarkable as well as the spirit life between the Native Americans and the land.
Grizzly Man, although a heartbreaking documentary (for adult viewing only) is well worth taking in this Earth Day if you have not already seen it. It was released in 2005 about the dangerous boundaries that do exist between man and nature when bear activist Timothy Treadwell is killed after undertaking living among grizzlies in Alaska for thirteen consecutive summers.
Coming in at number 10, I’d like to suggest On the Wings of the Monarch, a documentary hosted by Libby Graham about the life and travels of the Monarch butterfly with an in depth look at over 40 million monarchs as they migrate within their life cycle into Mexico.