Earth Day is this week, and with so much hurting our planet due to global warming, this is the perfect time to recognize the environmental movement and the climate crisis. Environmental activists like Greta Thunberg have devoted their lives to preserving our natural world and natural resources and have spread the word about environmental justice. To celebrate the day, I have a list of some of the best movies, documentary features, and true stories to watch with the whole family. Check out this list of some of the best and amazing Earth Day movies to watch during your next family movie night.
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Best Earth Day Movies 2023
An Inconvenient Truth
Plot: Academy Award Oscar-winning best documentary feature about the environment featuring the unlikeliest of movie stars. Former presidential candidate Al Gore holds this film together as, in front of an audience and with few aids beyond photo slides, he explains how humans have messed up the planet. Gore issues an urgent warning on what must be done, and done quickly, to save the earth.
Star Cast: Billy West, Charles Berling, Erich Rauker, Lutz Piedel
Don’t Look Up
Plot: Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
Star Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill
Plot: In the 14th century, the harmony that humans, animals and gods have enjoyed begins to crumble. The protagonist, young Ashitaka – infected by an animal attack, seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami. In his travels, he sees humans ravaging the earth, bringing down the wrath of wolf god Moro and his human companion Princess Mononoke. Hiskattempts to broker peace between her and the humans brings only conflict.
Star Cast: John DiMaggio, Claire Danes, Jack Fletcher, Minnie Driver
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Plot: Klaatu, an extraterrestrial visitor to planet Earth, becomes the herald of upheaval on a global scale. As the world’s governments and scientists race to understand what is happening and how to stop it, Dr. Helen Benson and her stepson come to understand the chilling ramifications behind Klaatu’s statement that he is a “friend to the Earth.”
Star Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, Kathy Bates
Disney Nature’s Polar Bear
Plot: Disneynature’s “Polar Bear” tells the true story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today.
Star Cast: Catherine Keener
Plot: Erin Brockovich is a woman in a tight spot. Following a car accident in which Erin is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry to hire her at his law firm. Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed in real estate files. She convinces Ed to allow her to investigate, where she discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community which is causing devastating illnesses among its residents.
Star Cast: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney
Plot: A documentary series on the wildlife found on Earth. Each episode covers a different habitat: deserts, mountains, deep oceans, shallow seas, forests, caves, polar regions, fresh water, plains and jungles. Narrated by David Attenborough.
Star Cast: Sigourney Weaver, David Attenborough, Nikolay Drozdov
Plot: Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an epic journey ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
Star Cast: Zackery Rago, Trevor Mendelow, Mark Eakin
The Year Earth Changed
Plot: Never-before-seen footage shows how our living in lockdown opened the door for nature to bounce back and thrive. Across the seas, skies, and lands, Earth found its rhythm when we came to a stop.
Star Cast: David Attenborough, Russell MacLaughlin
Secret’s of Whales
Plot: Filmed across 24 locations over three years, this saga ventures into the world of whales to reveal life and love from their perspective and explores the cultures of orcas, belugas, narwhals, sperm whales, and humpback whales.
Star Cast: Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron, Brian Skerry
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
Plot: On the eve of Earth Day, a precocious seven-year-old learns about the wonders of the planet from his parents-and a mysterious exhibit at the aptly named Museum of Everything. Based on the best-selling children’s book by Oliver Jeffers.
Star Cast: Meryl Streep, Jacob Tremblay, Chris O’Dowd, Ruth Negga
Plot: Main character WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE, a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.
Star Cast: Elissa Knight, Ben Burtt, Andrew Stanton, Elissa Knight, John Ratzenberger
Plot: A robot that lives on a post-apocalyptic earth which was built to protect the life of his dying creator’s beloved dog, it learns about love, friendship, and the meaning of human life.
Star Cast: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones
Netflix’s Our Universe
Plot: This documentary on our universe and the inexorable relationship the cosmos has on everything on Earth is brilliantly explained by the great Morgan Freeman. While learning how the universe was created, we see how the chemical composition of the cosmos affects every living thing on Earth, and how it all makes sense. Nature lovers will delight.
Star Cast: Morgan Freeman
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Plot: This animated movie centers on twelve-year-old Ted lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town of Thneedville. Ted would very much like to win the heart of Audrey, the girl of his dreams, but to do this, he must find that which she most desires: Truffula trees. To get it, Ted delves into the story of the Lorax, once the gruff guardian of the forest, and the Once-ler, who let greed overtake his respect for nature.
Star Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms
Plot: On Earth 20,000 years ago, everything was covered in ice. A group of friends, Manny, a mammoth, Diego, a saber tooth tiger, and Sid, a sloth encounter an Eskimo human baby. They must try to return the baby back to his tribe before a group of saber tooth tigers find him and eat him.
Star Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Jack Black
Before The Flood
Plot: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change and possible solutions.
Star Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Awa, Elon Musk, Jason Box
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Plot: In his 93 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of the planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. But during his lifetime, Attenborough has also seen first-hand the monumental scale of humanity’s impact on nature.
Star Cast: David Attenborough, Max Hughes
Plot: It tells the story of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin who, along with a regal blue tang named Dory, searches for his missing son Nemo. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and comes to terms with Nemo taking care of himself. Pre-production of the film began in early 1997.
Star Cast: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Andrew Staton