There’s never a wrong time to watch travel films – and Netflix Canada knows how to please the masses as it has been releasing one amazing movie after the next.
Laugh your head off at comedies that take you around the world, shed a tear while watching a drama that takes place in third world countries, and learn something new as you listen to the brilliant narration during one of Netflix Canada’s nature documentaries.
There are so many great travel-based movies to choose from – but these 15 movies are worth watching over others. Keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
1. Wine Country
When you think of Wine Country, it only makes sense that your brain goes right to California’s Napa Valley and you’d be absolutely right – but you probably didn’t know that this film also stars some fan-favorite comedians.
Inspired by the actual vacations taken by Saturday Night Live icons and close friends, you won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing when Amy Poehler, Emily Spivey, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, Ana Gasteyer, and Rachel Dratch hit the screen together.
Not to mention surprise appearances from other comedians like the well-loved Tina Fey, who acts as an over-the-top vacation rental homeowner to guarantee you’ll enjoy the film from start to finish.
Granted, this isn’t your typical documentary-style way of exploring a new place – but this entertaining comedy can teach you everything you need to know about Napa if you watch closely.
Aside from the breathtaking rolling vineyards and exciting wine shuttle bus tour, you’ll also experience other parts of the state as the four friends take separate journeys to their main destination.
The group explores many different vineyards throughout their trip and gives viewers a taste of what a weekend in Napa Valley would really look like, so get ready to crack open a bottle of wine as you watch and daydream about your future trip.
2. The Fundamentals of Caring
Although not a documentary-style film, The Fundamentals of Caring offers up just enough travel-related content perfectly blended with a whole lot of emotion.
The basis of this film revolves around the lengths a caregiver goes to ensure that his patient’s last days are some of the best he’ll ever have.
You may be surprised to hear that the caregiver is played by Paul Rudd, who is notoriously known for his comedic acts but does a wonderful job of pulling on your heartstrings throughout the entire film.
The character he plays has suffered a tremendous loss and looks to ease that pain by becoming a caregiver for young adults who suffer from incurable diseases.
Right off the bat, Rudd is faced with a troubled teenager named Trevor who couldn’t care less about his existence – but it doesn’t take long for their relationship to grow into something much more father-son-like.
Attached to his new patient, Rudd agrees to take Trevor on a road trip to find the world’s “deepest pit” and the fun begins.
You’ll travel with them across the United States as they make stops in small towns along the way and make new friends who accompany them on their journey.
It’s not an informative film by all means, but it’s definitely a film that’ll have you checking the gas mileage on your car to see what it would cost to have an adventure like this of your own.
3. National Parks Adventures
There’s no other film quite like National Park Adventures, and it’s safe to say that this documentary will have you trying to figure out a way to visit every beautiful national park in the United States.
The film is a masterpiece when it comes to portraying some of the world’s natural wonders – and the lengths that the filmmakers went to to get some of these breathtaking clips should be talked about for ages.
You’ll be guided through these parks with the help of mountaineer Conrad Anker, photographer Max Lowe, and climber Rachel Pohl for an exciting adventure.
To be fair, the trio doesn’t touch on all of the 407 national park service sites spread across the country, but the 40 sites that they do visit provide an out-of-this-world perspective that you probably won’t find anywhere else. The trio of climbers goes to extreme lengths for the best shots and tackle terrain that could put the average person in a deadly situation.
Regardless, you’ll be left speechless as the film takes you along gushing white water rapids, spectacular panoramic vistas, towering snow-capped mountains, and so much more.
You’ll see some of the most popular national parks, like Yellowstone, in a new light – and explore some lesser-known parks, like the beauty to be found at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan.
Not to mention the close encounters you will get to admire of the diverse wildlife population that lives within the depths of said parks, like bears, elk, and more.
This is a film that’ll leave you amazed from start to finish – and you’ll learn a thing or two along the way
Another fan-favorite when it comes to fictional road trip fils is easily Kodachrome, as it takes you across the country with the help of some world-renowned celebrities that you can’t help but adore.
Before you say you aren’t interested in another road trip about the strengthening of family bonds through adventure and incurable cancer, you should probably know that the acting of Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis are what really make the film great.
The premise of the movie revolves around a father and son duo who attempt to fix their relationship as Harris struggles with cancer and Sudeikis fights to keep his movie business alive.
You’ll laugh and cry as the two travel across the country to Kansas, where Sudeikis will find his last hope for bringing his business back to life, but not without making interesting stops in different states along the way.
Based on true events that occurred during the Iran Hostage Crisis in the early 1980s, Argo is a thrilling film that informs its viewers of the political side of such events while also portraying some of the beautiful landscapes throughout the country.
The film is based on the actual testimonials of infamous CIA agent, Tony Mendez -and while there are many comedic moments, the premise of the movie remains a serious one.
You will be on the edge of your seat from the very first scene as the Iranian army takes over an American base, capturing as many prisoners as possible in the process.
Tony is one of the seven who manages to escape and ends up hiding out in Canada before coming up with a plan to save his fellow Americans and bring justice to Iran.
With the help of some talented friends, Tony creates a game plan like no other – which involves bringing the group back to Iran where they pose as movie producers for a film titled Argo. The group sticks to their roles and is consistent with the development of the film as they secretly gain inside information on how to take down the army and save the American people.
You’ll get to see vast deserts and towns filled with poverty that give insight into what Iran was really like during this time period as you root for Tony to save the day.
Not to mention that Tony is played by no other than the world-famous celebrity Ben Affleck.
6. Only The Brave
Based entirely on true events, Only The Brave is a powerful film that gives its audience insight into the struggles that firefighters must face during extreme wildfires like the tragic Yarnell Fire in Arizona.
Much of the film takes place in Prescott, where firefighters train to become certified “hotshots” and prepare for one of the most dangerous wildfires they will ever encounter (even though they just don’t know it yet).
You’ll learn about the personal struggles of each of these firefighters throughout their certification period – and this character development makes you feel something for each and every one.
From here, things get pretty intense as the team heads to the Granite Mountains where they face their first extreme wildfire and put themselves in a very dangerous situation to save some of the earth’s beauty.
Part of what makes this film so important is its continued relevance, as wildfires have taken over parts of California and Arizona in recent years, destroying anything in its path.
Only The Brave shows its audience what “hotshot” firefighters do each and every day to preserve our environment and give us the ability to travel to such beautiful places once more.
Don’t forget to grab your tissue box because you’ll be sure to shed at least a couple of tears as you watch this incredibly moving film that happens to be based on a true story.
The film takes you through the life of a boy named Saroo who got lost at a very young age – and was ultimately torn away from his family in the process.
The first section of the film will explore different parts of India as you get to see the boy’s hometown and the further regions that he mistakenly travels to in a cargo train.
He ends up in a part of India where he can’t speak the language – and spends his time there as a homeless boy living under bridges and stealing food to survive.
Eventually, he is saved from this terrible life and brought to America where he is adopted by two lovely adults, and his life is changed entirely for the better.
As he grows up, however, he can’t help but wonder where his original family is – and how he can get to them.
Time goes on, and he grows up to be a fine young man who falls in love with an American woman – but one bite of an Indian snack has him spiraling back to the crazed desire to find his true home.
Travel with Saroo as he ventures across India, to the United States, and back again to rediscover his roots and reconnect with a family he never thought he would see again.
8. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Based on the autobiography of Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a spectacular representation of the beautiful culture of the African people and of how this child prodigy came to be.
While he is easily the main focus of the film, the producers do a wonderful job dedicating time to the geology of the area as well – so you can see its natural beauty paired with the devastating poverty of the people.
When a serious drought occurs that jeopardizes his family’s livelihood, the boy immediately starts looking for solutions in his school library – and he comes across a book that changes his life forever.
The film touches on some of the unfortunate events that occur in this African village and doesn’t try to censor the tragedies that took place – so the audience can paint a clear picture of what is at stake.
You won’t be able to help but root for the boy as he works day and night to come up with a solution even when members of his family believe he’ll never have what it takes.
Overall, this film is a beautiful portrayal of some of Africa’s most unique landscapes while also teaching its audience about the struggles faced in areas cursed by poverty.
10. Born in Gaza
Born in Gaza is a shocking documentary that was created immediately after the uproar caused by the death of four young children who were struck down while playing a game of soccer on the beach.
The reason this film was developed in such a hurry was that it was meant to be used as a tool to creature justice for Palestine’s children and shed light on the terrible conditions they have been enduring during the war.
You will get to see a side of Palestine that you probably don’t want to see – but need to see to understand the severity of the situation.
The film focuses on the lives of ten children, some as young as five years old, and are used to symbolize the children population as a whole considering the similar struggles they all face.
You will hear and see horror stories about how these children survive day to day in Palestine and the trauma they have endured by watching their loved ones die in front of them.
With that being said, this is not a light-hearted travel film that will urge you to explore new places – but rather an informative piece that teaches you about the ugly side of unfamiliar destinations.
12. Expedition China
Disney has outdone itself once more by switching gears to create Expedition China, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this nature documentary will have you hooked within minutes.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the adorable pandas and majestic snow leopards that frequently cross the screen, but make sure you take time to admire the habit they live in.
China is home to a large variety of diverse landscapes and Expedition China does an amazing job of showing you just that, so be prepared for an overwhelming amount of beautiful scenery.
To make things even better, you’ll get to see the film crew dressed up as pandas in an attempt to lessen any stress while filming – which is a hysterically adorable thing to watch.
In reality, this film is the successor of the original documentary, Born in China, and is similar to it in scenery – but it also offers views from the film crew’s perspective.
Travel up a towering mountain as the higher elevations introduce you to new environments with unique species of wildlife and watch how both the film crew and the things that live there handle all four seasons.
Highlights include the rare Himalayan Blue Bear, known for its believed connection to the yeti, and watching Snubbed-Nosed Monkeys grow from birth.
13. Ghost of the Mountains
Another in the series of Disney’s amazing nature documentaries, Ghost of the Mountains focuses all of its energy on the snow leopards that spend their days at the highest elevations in China – and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of breathtaking scenery.
Part of what makes this film so interesting is being able to watch how the film crew manages to make the ascent up the mountain and all of the struggles that come along with it, including cold temperatures, limited supplies, and thinned oxygen.
You’ll also have to give props to the film crew for their dedication, as they spent nearly two weeks in this tundra of snow before ever spotting a single snow leopard.
Considering the snow leopard’s typical lifestyle of solitude, it’s a difficult task to hunt down a mother and her cubs – but you get to explore the beauties of this snow-covered mountain in the process.
You’ll meet people that have actually found a way to survive in these conditions as yak herders along the way – and the film crew makes it a part of their mission to solve their problem to better preserve the lives of the snow leopards.
Explore some of the coldest parts of China at its highest elevations as you go for a journey with the Disney film crew that you will never forget.
14. Giants of Africa
Following the endeavors of the first African American male to become president of a sports league in America, Giants of Africa tells the heartwarming story of how he spends his life helping the people of the world.
Throughout the film, you’ll follow him as he travels around the world to some of the basketball camps he established to help create a better mindset for people who are struggling.
You will get to visit places like Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya where Masai Ujiri works with a team of skilled basketball players to train others in becoming the best they can be.
It is a moving film, as you’ll learn about the backstories of some of the people who made it into the popular camp and how they traveled to great lengths to even get there.
Aside from their journeys to reach the camp, many of the people suffered from grueling lives cursed by war and poverty which further demonstrates just how important this camp is.
It will warm your heart to see how these people evolve into happier versions of themselves throughout the activities as you also take in the beautiful sights of Africa’s landscape.
15. Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World
Demonstrating some of the endless beauty that is waiting for you in Guatemala, Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World is breathtakingly scenic from beginning to end and takes you to some of the most popular places in the country.
You’ll visit places rich in Mayah history as the film crew provides panoramic views of popular tourist attractions like the natural monument of Semuc Champey, the ruins of Tikal, the river of Rio Dulce, the lake of Lago Atitlan, and so many more.
Some complain that this film doesn’t provide enough information about the hardships the people endured over the centuries. With that being said, it’s important to note that as beautiful as this film may be, it doesn’t fully capture what life is like in Guatemala.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of these vibrant places as they celebrate the life they live today and highlight some of the most amazing natural wonders in the country – while listening to some of the positive attributes that the film discusses.