There are countless movies about weather where the wind, water, or ice are the enemy, but the movies about weather on this list are a bit different. From an ice storm and the chilly families it changes forever to a twister that takes us to a magical place, the movies about weather here might have you looking at the effects of climate change a little bit differently than your typical weather disaster flicks:
Key Largo – This Bogie and Bacall classic is one of the best movies about weather you’ll ever see starring a hurricane, as the tropical storm here leads to a Key Largo hotel being taken over by a bunch of gangsters looking for a temporary shelter. Unfortunately for them, Humphrey Bogart’s character just happened to choose the calm before the storm to stop by and visit an old war buddy’s grieving father and widow. Stranded together and held hostage by the group of gangsters (as well as the hurricane), will he overcome his indifference to the events taking place around him and save the day as the storm moves away? It’s one of the most powerful movies about weather you’ll ever see, starring one of weather’s most powerful formations.
The Ice Storm – This is one of the most moving movies about weather, as chilly families (including kids played by Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci, and Tobey Maguire) are torn asunder during an ice storm. From unsupervised children growing up without much guidance to adults trying to make their lives more exciting through key parties, the destruction that takes place during the ice storm goes beyond a few broken branches and slippery roads (although it’s nice to see things unfreeze just a bit at the end). It’s not one of those disaster movies about weather where the ice’s refusal to play nice leads to loads of death and destruction, but the freeze’s effect in the film is pretty far-reaching.
The Wizard of Oz – Sure the twisters in ‘Twister’ are grand, but those tornadoes won’t whisk you away to a magical land. When it comes to movies about weather, the funnel cloud in this family classic has one of the most important bit parts. After all, without it audiences would have never been introduced to the talking tin men, scarecrows, lions, witches, and wizards of the wonderful world of Oz.
Body Heat – While the body heat in this movie is high, it’s the sweltering temperatures that will make you value your air conditioner. It’s definitely one of the sexiest movies starring weather, as Kathleen Turner uses an unusually hot summer to make an unsuspecting (and somewhat sleazy) lawyer melt. So would he have gotten himself into the mess he does if the heat hadn’t been messing with his head? It’s hard to tell, but it does make for one thrilling neo-noir flick that will surely make you sweat.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939 version) – In one of my favorite movies where weather plays a role, it lends itself to the supernatural feel of this spooky film (especially in stark black and white). The fog that covers the moors around the Baskerville estate makes the tale of a hellhound roaming the grounds even more frightening (and the massive amounts of fog definitely make the place look less than inviting). The thick cover also makes for the perfect place for evil to lurk (and people to get lost). So when it comes to haunting tales involving the weather, you won’t find movies better than this classic.
The Good Earth – This is one of the movies where the lack of weather is what causes problems, as the sky’s refusal to provide rain and the following drought drastically changes a prospering Chinese farming family’s life. This leads to a life of crime, but the real crime here is that white actors and actresses were used to portray the Chinese family (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Rashomon – In one of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s many amazing movies, the weather plays a very important role. After all, without the rain, the many different versions of what happened during a tragic occurrence on a trail in the woods would not have been told. Two men taking shelter from the rain tell their story to another while they wait the storm out, speaking of how they were both called to testify in court after being witnesses to a murder. It’s a fascinating film with a focus on self-interest, but the ending when the rain recedes might restore your hope in humanity.
The Wind – Here’s one of the oldest movies about the weather, as the wind and all the sand that comes with it plays a big role in this 1928 classic. Silent star Lillian Gish is a woman who ends up surrounded by suitors when she arrives in desolate (and very windy) West Texas. Here she has to contend not only with the wind, but with cyclones, sand storms, loneliness, and men. It seems a little silly that a woman can be driven mad by a little wind, but you’ll never see this weather wonder play a bigger role in a film.
So whether you’re experiencing weather that’s hot, cold, wet, or windy, these movies about the weather might make you start pondering about what profound effect it will have on your own life.