From grizzly bears to great white sharks, from moon landings to skiing Everest: A look at the 10 adventure documentaries that broke new ground.
Touching the Void (2003)
If you can't summit a mountain yourself, this is the next best thing. In 1985, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, two British 20-somethings, scaled Siula Grande, in the Peruvian Andes. Roped together, the two ultimately made it to the top. But trouble hit on the descent, when Simpson broke his leg (his shinbone snapped up into his kneecap). With Simpson hanging over a precipice, and chances of rescue becoming increasingly remote, Yates freed himself by cutting the rope – and dropping Simpson into a crevasse. The film centers on how Simpson managed to survive. Purists balked at director Kevin Macdonald's method; he intersperses interviews with Yates and Simpson (who wrote a book about his near-death adventure) with dramatic re-creations in which actors play the two men. But Macdonald, shooting on location and using veteran climbers as doubles, weaves a tense atmosphere that propels you into the story.