Some Polar Fiction Films

More details on individual films can be found here. My non-fiction film list is here

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are those of  LK   and do not reflect the views of Barnard College


N 1912 Conquest of the Pole France; George Melies online
S 1929 The Lost Zeppelin early talkie about trip to South Pole
N 1930 Arctic Antics Disney Cartoon
S 1931 Dirigble directed by Frank Capra, with a pre-King Kong Fay Wray, loosely based on the crash of the Italia
N 1933 S.O.S. Iceberg Germany/USA; with Leni Rieffenstahl
N 1935 She Underground kingdom in Russian arctic ruled by ruthless ice queen
S 1937 La Femme du bout du monde France; ship seeking radium ore on lost Antarctic Island finds an inn run by woman and her insane husband
N 1941 Mutiny in the Arctic US; with stock footage from SOS Iceberg
N 1942 The Arctic Giant Superman Cartoon
N 1944 Return of the Ape Man Bela Lugosi; mad scientists revive the frozen body of a prehistoric caveman found in the Arctic
N 1951 Thing from Another World Aliens at North Pole
N 1951 Tales of Tomorrow: Blunder TV; advanced nuclear reactor in Arctic
N 1953 The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms nukes in Arctic thaw out carnivorous dinosaur, which heads south and destroys Manhattan
N 1953 Back to God's Country Rock Hudson defends himself against two villains in Alaskan wilderness
N 1953 Islands in the Sky John Wayne crash lands in Labrador
S 1954 Hell Below Zero Murder on a whaling ship in Antarctica
N 1955 Science Fiction Theater TV, S1 ep 22: Trouble befalls an Air Force flight crew and their passengers en route to the Arctic.
S 1957 Land Unknown prehistoric world in deep Antarctic crater
N 1957 Deadly Mantis Arctic iceberg breaks up and releases giant praying mantis
N 1958 Terror in the Midnight Sun Sweden; Monsters/aliens in Lapland
N 1958 The Blob it gets dumped in the Arctic at the end
N 1959 The Atomic Submarine Ships mysteriously disappear on the Arctic Sea; a specially-equipped submarine is sent to investigate
N 1961 Reptilicus Denmark; frozen prehistoric creature found in tundra of Lapland
N/S 1962 The Day the Earth Caught Fire Americans test a nuclear weapon at the Earth's South Pole just as Soviets explode a device at the North Pole
S 1962 Yosei Gorasu Japan; Powerful jet engines installed across Antarctica, to push Earth out of the way of a giant killer planet. Original version had a giant walrus attack the Antarctic base.
S 1964 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV series; some episodes have Antarctic sea monsters, Antarctic tropical oases, etc
S 1964 Quick Before it Melts Reporter and photographer and Russian in Antarctica, `light romantic comedy' (awful)
S 1966 The Navy vs the Night Monsters Mamie van Doren, unusual trees in Antarctica which turn into killer acid-secreting monsters
N 1966 Gammera the Invincible Nuclear blast unleashes giant fire-breathing flying turtle from hibernation below the arctic ice. Many sequels.
S 1966 Dr Who: The 10th Planet BBC TV, ep. 29 (1st Dr); Cybermen arrive at the South Pole. 4th episode `missing'.
N 1968 Ice Station Zebra Rock Hudson, Oscar nominated North Pole cold war tale
N 1969 The Red Tent Italy/USSR; about 1928 airship expedition to Arctic, Sean Connery as R Amundsen
S 1971 Mr Forbush and the Penguins US title `Cry of the Penguins', starring John Hurt and Hayley Mills
S 1973 Scott of the Antarctic Monty Python vol 21 YouTube
N 1974 The Final Program Scientists head for abandoned underground Nazi fortress in the Arctic to run a program designed to create perfect, self-replicating human beings
N 1974 The White Dawn in 1896, 3 whalers are stranded in Arctic and teach their bad habits to the Inuit
N 1974 The Island at the Top of the World Disney, secret Viking tribe in Arctic
N 1974 Night Stalker: Primal Scream TV, arctic drillers find murderous ape-man
N 1975 Distant Early Warning TV movie; Aliens at Arctic research station
S 1976 Dr Who: The Seeds of Doom BBC TV, ep. 85 (4th Dr); alien pods found in Antarctica turn humans into giant carnivorous plants. Digitally remastered DVD set released in 2010.
S 1976 Seventy-Two Degrees Below Zero USSR TV film; Midwinter trek between Vostok and Mirny stations
S 1977 Cosmos: War of the Planets Italy, UFO appears above Antarctic Sea
N 1977 Nanook Taxi Inuit comedian hires on to drive a taxi
S 1977 The People That Time Forgot Antarctic expedition finds primitive warriors and prehistoric creatures
N 1978 Superman young Superman finds his crystal palace at the North Pole
N 1979 Bear Island accidents and murders in a group of people on a barren Arctic island
S 1980 Virus (Fukkatsu no hi) Japan/USA; Antarctic residents only survivors of biological apocalypse (why not the Inuit?). Depressing!
S 1981 The Intruder Within TV, oil riggers in Antarctica find murderous prehistoric creature
N 1982 World War III TV movie, Rock Hudson, Soviets try to take control of Alaskan pipeline
S 1982 The Thing Aliens at remote Antarctic base. Classic!
N 1982 Flight of the Eagle Swedish, with Max von Sydow. Engineer S. A. Andrée sets out to become the first man on the north pole in 1897
S 1983 Antarctica Japan: "Nankyoku Monogatari"; dogs left at Antarctic base
N 1984 Iceman Prehistoric man found in Arctic Glacier
S 1984 Brass Monkeys Australian TV series; female doctor joins Australian Antarctic base (13 ep.)
N 1987 Count Duckula British, adventures of cartoon vegetarian vampire duck, some episodes in Arctic (1.6, 2.9)
N 1993 Captive in the Land Sam Waterson and Russian survive plane crash in Arctic
N 1993 Salmonberries k.d. lang as an androgynous Eskimo ?
S 1993 The Forbidden Quest Netherlands; trip to Antarctica, with some 1910 footage
N 1993 Ordeal in the Arctic TV movie; plane crash
N 1993 Map of the Human Heart Australia; Inuit to WWII Dresden and back to North, excellent Arctic weepie
N 1993 X-Files: Ice TV; X-files does `The Thing'. (season 1, ep 8). Stick with the movies
N 1994 Iron Will Disney Arctic
N 1995 Zero Kelvin Norway; European aspiring writer and psycho trappers in Greenland
S 1995 Super Atragon Japan, anime; UN team sent to investigate microwaves being generated at the South Pole
S 1995 Neon Genesis Evangelion Japan, anime; TV series 95-96, 2 movies, 11 vols of Manga. Antarctica hit with mysterious explosion in 2000, 15 yrs later its ice has evaporated, sea levels rose 60m, half of humanity died, etc
N 1997 Insomnia Norway/Sweden, filmed in Nyksund and Tromso, Norway
N 1997 Smilla's Sense of Snow Denmark/Germany/Sweden; mysterious death of Inuit boy. Arctic, meteorites, etc!
S 1998 Stargate TV series, various episodes about Antarctic Stargate, aliens, etc. Eg Solitudes (S1), Frozen (S6), Lost City (S7)
S 1998 X Files movie incl. Aliens in Antarctica
N 1998 Heart of Light Greenland/Denmark; `The first feature film shot totally in Greenland'
S 1999 Sometimes They Come Back for More TV movie; terror at CIA outpost in Antarctica
N 1999 Survivor TV movie, Canada; oil rig crew finds ancient murderous monster
N 2001 Trinity UK; in a remote arctic research station, government agents discover mysterious genetic scientist
S 2001 Boa 100 foot snake terrorizes the staff and prisoners at the world's highest-security prison, in Antarctica. Princeton paleo-biologist to the rescue.
N 2001 No Such Thing Foul-mouthed, fire-breathing misanthropic monster from Iceland brought to New York. Starts slow but the monster is great!
N 2002 The Fast Runner Canada; Inuit epic (Atanarjuat, first film ever released totally in the Inuktitut language)
S 2002 Dead Ringers: Weakest Explorer UK, parody of The Weakest Link with Scott et al. Series 1 ep 4 YouTube
N 2002 The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Bear Denmark/France; animated, fabulous
S 2002 The Ice Crawlers monsters at Antarctic oil drilling facility
N 2002 Relic Hunter: Under the Ice ancient Indian mummy found at Arctic base
S 2002 Yukikaze Japan, anime. Aliens invaded Earth through dimensional portal over Antarctica
N 2003 The Snow Walker Canada; white pilot and Inuit woman survive plane crash
S 2003 Alien Hunter Aliens at South Pole
N 2003 Star Trek Enterprise TV, ep 49, arctic research team on Earth discovers debris from an alien vessel
N 2003 Deep Shock giant killer eels spawning under North Pole
S 2003 Angels in America HBO TV film version of Tony Kushner play, one character dreams of Antarctica, (frozen hearts) etc
S 2004 Stargate Atlantis TV series spinoff, secret base, abandoned by the original builders of the Stargates, is found buried in Antarctica
S 2004 Debiruman (Devilman) Japan, accidental release of a demonic species from Antarctica, whose numbers spread via an infection
N 2004 Deep Evil TV, alien microbe in Siberia and Alaska
S 2004 Uncle Scooby and Antarctica TV, (on Vol 10, Monstrous Tales); gang flies to the South Pole to look for amphibious menace
N 2004 Frankenstein with a Polar ending...
S 2004 Retrograde Dolph Lundgren time travels back 200 years to the Nathaniel Palmer icebreaker in Antarctica, to prevent meteoritic off-world bacteria from killing off humanity
N 2004 True North artist Isaac Julien; short film inspired by Matt Henson story
S 2005 Antarctic Journal Korea: "Namgeuk-ilgi"; filmed in New Zealand
S 2005 9 Songs British glaciologist in Antarctica recalls rock concerts & explicit sex with his girlfriend. R Ebert `as an idea the film is facinating, but as an experience it grows tedious, the concerts lack closeups, the sex lacks content, and Antarctica could use a few penguins'.
S 2005 Madagascar brief funny scene when the penguins reach Antarctica
S 2005 Alien vs Predator in Antarctica. As bad as it sounds
S 2005 The Wild Blue Yonder Alien planet visuals include footage of divers under Antarctic ice cap
S 2006 Eight Below Disney version of 'Nankyoku Monogatari'
S 2006 Happy Feet Dancing Penguins, humans are the `aliens'
N 2006 Dr Who: Terror of the Arctic PODCAST, 8 part audio drama. The Doctor and Christine find themselves with the crews of the lost 1847-1848 Franklin Arctic Expedition. And aliens, of course.
S 2006 Time Warp Trio: Break an Egg kids TV show, 3 boys time-warp to RF Scott's expedition
N 2007 30 Days of Night Vampires (speaking Klingon?) terrorize Barrow, Alaska. All those long nights and NO ONE ever watched BUFFY???
N 2007 The Last Winter director Larry Fessenden; Arctic thriller; "The Thing meets An Inconvenient Truth"
N 2007 The Golden Compass Arctic
S 2008 At the Mountains of Madness MP3: Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, website , also on CD
S 2008 Antarctica Israeli, group of young gay friends in Israel, one wants to to go Antarctica to free her frozen heart, etc. & aliens. (no actual Antarctica)
S 2008 Frozen episode of the TV series House, the team remotely treats an injured psychiatrist (Mora Sorvino) at the South Pole.
S 2009 Watchmen based on 1986-87 graphic novel; VERY COOL Antarctica CGI (including a Dome)
S 2009 Whiteout Based on graphic novel. Story moved from McMurdo to new South Pole base, female British agent (& possible love interest) changed to male UN agent, & just not a great film. Good `long-eye' by Tom Skerritt.
N 2009 Fool Me Once episode of TV series `Castle'. Con-artist pretending to be a Polar Explorer is murdered.
N 2009 Dead Snow Norwegian; Nazi zombies loose in northern mountain town
S 2009 Chef at the South Pole Japan; `based on a true story', the chef at Dome Fuji Station in Antarctic cooks fancy food for the 8 men there
N 2009 The Fourth Kind Blair Witch Project style 'documentary' about psychologist whose hypnotized patents claim they have been abducted by aliens in Nome, Alaska. Then her daughter vanishes. African writer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi. Not convincing!
N 2009 Dear Lemon Lima 13 year old Yup'ik girl wins scholarship to snooty prep school in Anchorage
N 2010 Frost Giant TV movie on SyFy. Descendant of James Clark Ross finds the sunken HMS Fury and releases a nasty alien trapped inside of it. Bad!
N 2010 South Park TV; eps 'Coon 2: Hindsight,' 'Mysterion Rises,' & 'Coon vs Coon & Friends'. BP accidently drills into another dimension & releases monsters; they drill on the moon to fix it & oops, they release Cthulhu (the nasty alien from Lovecraft)
N 2010 How I Ended This Summer Russian; 2 people at an isolated arctic science station face its impending closure
N 2010 Arctic Blast Australia/Canada. Solar eclipse sends blast of chilled air towards the Earth (!!!) which sets off new Ice Age
S 2011 Ghosts of Antarctica TV; episode of Destination Truth on Sci Fi channel about paranormal activity, online here
N 2011 On the Ice teenage boys and an accident/murder during a seal hunt in Northern Alaska. Won the best First Feature award at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival.
S 2011 Mr Poppers Penguins film adaption of children's book, with Jim Carrey. Businessman fantasizes about exploring Antarctica & receives penguins as a gift.
S 2011 The Thing Prequel to 1982 film. Funny & mean reviews call it an alien copy. Might not have the cultural resonance or the academic analyses of the earlier films. But it did evoke memories of watching the 1982 film at Pole in 1985. & the young female Columbia Univ. paleontologist got to kick a&s. Prequel e-comic here .
S 2011 Happy Feet 2 sequel to the 2006 film, in 3D.
N 2011 Ice UK/NZ mini-series. In 2020, oil drilling on the Greenland Glacier accelerates its melt and Earth heads to an ice age.
N 2012 Alaskaland Nigerian immigrant family in Alaska
S 2012 Nazis at the Center of the Earth Zombie Nazis at the center of the Earth steal body parts from scientists in Antarctica for transplantation. And then bring back Hitler as a giant robot, and then send a swastika-covered UFO-shaped plane to spread flesh-eating bacteria around Earth. Could be the worst Antarctic movie EVER
N 2013 Superman Superman discovers his origins at cave in Arctic
N 2014 Helix Syfy TV series. Scientists at remote arctic base are mysteriously infected and become zombies. Biotech company malfeasance? Military weapons development? Alien station leader? 13 episodes...
S 2014? Cold Skin Film project in development, based on the novel by Albert Sanchez Pinol.
S 201X? Area 52 Film project in development, based on 2001 comic series; misfits at secret miltary base in Antarctica guard alien technologies and are stalked by nasty alien
S 201X? At the Mountains of Madness Film project was in development, directed by Guillermo del Toro, produced by James Cameron, in 3D, with Tom Cruise. Project reported cancelled by Universal in Mar. 2011, but in Jan 2013 del Toro says he'll try again to get it made.