Top 5 Films for Grown-ups
2nd June 2014

Back by popular demand… the next installment to our growing “Top 5” series is here: Featuring our “Top 5 Climate Change* Films – for Grown-ups”. We decided to combine our (moderately) extensive knowledge on all things environmental with suggestions from a twitter and email poll and a range of helpful individuals, and compiled a list of films and documentaries which we feel will give the best knowledge:entertainment ratio.

After all, there’s nothing we enjoy more than coming home from a hard day’s work and relaxing to some good TV about the end of the world as we know it. OK, well, thats not entirely true, but sometimes you want to combine interest and entertainment with thought provoking, inspiring television, that explores the questions and offers the solutions to mankind’s greatest challenge.

These are films worth watching at home, with a small group as part of a course or event, or as preparation or “further reading” as part of a Carbon Literacy course.

Throw in a beer or two. Perfect!

As always, feel free to email or tweet us with your further suggestions to add to the list. We’ll be compiling our ‘Top 5 Climate Change Films – for Kids” shortly… Watch this space. ( or email us with your thoughts now!)

Happy viewing!

Here is is our list:

(* ie. climate change and related themes)

Coming in at First Place: -

Chasing Ice (2012)
An award winning documentary following photographer, James Balong, as he tries to publicise the effects of climate change. The documentary includes scenes from a glacier calving event that took place at Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland, It is the longest such event ever captured on film, lasting 75 minutes.

"If any film can convert the climate-change sceptics, 'Chasing Ice' would be it: here, seeing really is believing." - The Guardian

Director: Jeff Orlowski
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 5 / 5
IMDb rating: 7.7 / 10
2nd: -

The Age of Stupid (2009)
A brilliant drama-documentary / animation hybrid, set in the year 2055, in a world ravaged by catastrophic climate change; London is flooded, Sydney is burning, Las Vegas has been swallowed up by desert, the Amazon rainforest has burnt up, snow has vanished from the Alps and nuclear war has laid waste to India. A simple archivist looks back at old footage from the mid-to-late 2000s to understand why humankind failed to address climate change when we had the chance.

"A frightening jeremiad about the effects of climate change." - New York Times

Director: Franny Armstrong
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 3.5 / 5
IMDb rating: 7 / 10
3rd: -

Vanishing of the Bees (2009)
In the UK, honeybees are dying in their billions. This docu-film takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee. 'Vanishing of the Bees' is an eye-opening account of the shocking truth behind declining bee population.

"... sketches out the way this crisis has entered Hollywood's consciousness, in the form of M Night Shyamalan's sci-fi clunker 'The Happening'." - The Guardian

Director: George Langworthy
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 3/ 5
IMDb rating: 7.2/ 10
4th: -

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
This is where the blockbuster Climate Change documentary film genre really started.
Although a little dated in terms of the numbers, this documentary style film allows Al Gore to take the stage and present the scientific case for global warming in no uncertain terms. Opinions on the film vary depending on who you talk to: whether this is the most important or the most damaging film in the environmental movement.
Either way, it certainly helped polarise the US on the subject.
In any case, this film opened up serious funding for the documentary genre, proving that even a film based on a dry Powerpoint presentation can take $50 million. It is still an excellent and accessible exposition for the lay-person and an excellent starting point to support Carbon Literacy training.

"Powerful, intelligent and surprisingly entertaining, Gore presents a compelling case. You'll believe a film can change the world." - Empire Magazine

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 4.5 / 5
IMDb rating: 6.6 / 10
5th: -

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)
An award-winning and eye-opening documentary on the "killing-off" of the first generation of electric cars in the US during the 1980's. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in trying to limit and slow down the development and adoption of electric car technology.

"A potent hybrid of passion and politics fuel this energetic and highly compelling documentary"- Hollywood Reporter

Director: Chris Paine
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 4.5 / 5
IMDb rating: 7.7 / 10
And, hey, one extra!

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
OK; this one is largely Hollywood nonsense, but this blockbuster depicts real catastrophic climatic effects in a series of extreme weather events (although in an entirely fictionally rapid timescale) that usher in global cooling and lead to a new ice age. 'The ultimate "what-if" epic starring Jake Gyllenhaal begs a number of important questions - What would you do? How far would you go? What would you risk?'

Director: Ronald Emmerich
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 2 / 5
IMDb rating: 6.4 / 10