Some History, Nature and Science Films

Grouped per theme: History Nature and Science
More details on the films can be found here. Fiction films are listed here

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

Pole Year Title Comments


N 1912 The Truth About the Pole Frederick Cook produced and starred in this self promotional docudrama, in which he claims to have discovered the North Pole, 16 min, online here
S 1913 Roald Amundsen paa Sydpolen Roald Amundsen at the South Pole, 1:15 minutes
S 1918 South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
N 1922 Nanook of the North
S 1929 With Byrd at the South Pole
N 1930 Mot ukjent land (Norwegian documentary)
S 1932 90 Degrees South: With Scott to the Antarctic
S 1948 The Secret Land documentary of the US Navy `Operation High Jump' expedition led by Admiral Byrd, narrated by 3 well known actors, first non-war-related film to win a Documentary Oscar Trailer
S 1949 Scott of the Antarctic British melodramatic dramatization
S 1954 Roald Amundsen Norwegian documentary
S 1982 Shackleton UK TV movie, unavailable
N 1983 Cook & Peary: The Race to the Pole TV movie, unavailable
S 1989 Conquest of the South Pole TV, unavailable, incl Alan Cumming, unemployed Edinburgh youths embark on a recreation of Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole.
S 1990 Trans Antarctica! video copied from TV
N 1990 Nanook Revisted Canadian, revisits site of Flaherty's filming
S 1994 Last Place on Earth Masterpiece Theater, 7.5 hrs, based on Huntford's version
S 1995 Height of Courage: The Norman Vaughan Story National Georgraphic TV: At age 89, Vaughan becomes the first to climb this 10,300 ft mtn, named after him by Admiral Byrd 60 years earlier. (He'd hoped to climb it again at 100, but died a few days after the birthday).
S 1998 Richard Byrd- Alone in Antarctica VHS
N 1998 Matthew Henson VHS
N 1998 Glory and Honor VHS, TNT TV Movie about Henson and Peary
S 1999 American Experience: Alone on the Ice on Byrd (VHS)
S 1999 Great Adventurers: Ernest Shackleton
S 1999 Great Adventurers: Robert Falcon Scott
S 1999 Frosset Hjerte (Frozen Heart: A Film About Roald Amundsen) Norwegian and Czech, Canadian/English version 2000, VHS, post-South Pole race, Amundsen pines after married women, loses money, tries to retain fame
N/S 2000 Race for the Poles VHS; S Pole race includes interviews with Huntford, Preston, and Spufford
S 2000 Poles Apart: American Women's Expedition documentary, VHS
S 2000 The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition PBS NOVA, narrated by Liam Nielson
S 2001 Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure IMAX, with Kevin Spacey
N 2001 IMAX Great North with Nanook's grandson
S 2002 Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time A&E mini series, with Kenneth Branagh
S 2002 Antarctica: A Frozen History History Channel
S 2003 Secrets of the Dead: Tragedy at the Pole Solomon's version of race to South Pole
S 2004 Ice Bound TV Movie of Jerri Nielson
N 2005 Modern Marvels: Subzero History Channel
N 2005 Minik - New York ist kalter als der Nordpol German documentary
N 2006 Arctic Passage NOVA
N 2006 The Ice King in BBC Voyages of Discovery series, on Fridtjof Nansen
N/S 2006 Blizzard: Race to the Pole 6 part UK BBC2 TV series, race to South Pole duplicated in Greenland using 1911 gear, supplies and strategies. The `Scott' team loses `Survivor Greenland'
N 2006 The Prize of the Pole documentary, about Minik and polar Inuit Robert Peary II (great-grandchild of RP)
N 2006 The Journals of Knud Rasmussen Canada/Denmark, based on the journals of 1920s Danish ethnographer Knud Rasmussen, Shaman vs arrival of Christianity
N 2007 Nunatak, for Live Earth 7/7/07 YouTube
N/S 2007 Quest For Adventure Reissued film set
S With Byrd at the South Pole
N First Flight over the North Pole Byrd
N The Amundsen Polar Flight to North Pole
N 2008 Minik, the Lost Eskimo US, PBS: American Experience series, apparently a shorter adaption of the 2005 German film mentioned above
S 2008 Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica Australia, historical footage and `dramatic reconstructions'
S 2008 Antarctica, 1939 - 1941 National Archives footage of Byrd's Antarctic expedition
S 2009 On Thin Ice BBC TV show, 5 hrs. A double Olympic gold medalist, a TV presenter, and a doctor form teams and race to the South Pole. There's also a book.
N 2009 Top Gear: Polar Special BBC TV show. Monster truck with 2 `middle aged drunk Brits' and dogsled team race to the magnetic North Pole. Very funny. Supposedly first to `drive' to North Pole but they cheat! (another truck pulls them out when stuck)
S, N 2011 Great Expeditions: Search for the Greatest Polar Explorer National Geographic TV, on Amundsen
S 2011 Secrets of Scott's Hut BBC Two; Ben Fogle joins an expedition across Antarctica to find Captain Scott's Hut. With Ranulph Fiennes; Scott's diaries are read by (who else) Kenneth Branagh.


S 1991 Antarctica - An Adventure of a Different Nature Australia, IMAX
N 1998 Cousteau - Voyage to the Edge of the World - An Arctic Adventure VHS
N 2000 Silo Alangotok: Inuit Observations on Climate Change Canada
N 2001 The Polar Bears of Churchill PBS
N 2001 Ice Worlds: Polar People New Zealand
Life at the Edge
Secrets of the Crystal Ball global climate change
N 2003 Polar Bear Battlefields BBC/Discovery Channel, Polar Bears vs walrus, seals
N 2003 Nature: A Mystery in Alaska, plus Sled Dogs PBS-WNET
S 2003 Nature: Antarctica, The End of the Earth, plus Under Antarctic Ice PBS-WNET
S 2003 NOVA: Mountain of Ice Jon Krakauer climbs Vinson Massif in Antarctica
N 2004 Oil on Ice documentary about oil drilling in Northern Alaska
S 2005 March of the Penguins Oscar winner!
N 2005 Arctic Mission: The Great Adventure Canada
People of the Ice
Washed Away
Climate on the Edge
Lords of the Arctic
N 2006 60 Minutes: Global Warming
N 2006 An Inconvenient Truth Oscar winner!
N 2006 The Great Warming Canadian, includes interview with Sheila Watt-Cloutier
N 2006 The White Planet Canada/France, exploration of Arctic wildlife, North Pole melt
N 2006 Untamed Antarctic: The World of Luc Jacquet
S 2007 Farce of the Penguins real footage with rude commentary- a silly parody of March...
N/S 2007 Planet Earth BBC, episode `Ice Worlds'
S 2007 60 Minutes: The Age of Warming Antarctica (Apr 1)
N 2007 Arctic Tale Documentary, polar bears, walrus and arctic melting...
N 2007 National Geographic: Masters of the Arctic Ice Polar bears
S 2007 Return to Penguin City Wild Kingdom documentary
S 2007 Ice People Anne Aghion's documentary filmed in the Dry Valleys and McMurdo
S 2007 Encounters at the End of the World Werner Herzog's documentary about McMurdo Station
S 2008 BLAST Documentary about cosmologists working in Antarctica
S 2008 The Last Continent Canada/France, scientists, sailors and filmmakers live on a schooner in the Antarctic to study the impact of global warming. Director Jean Lemire previously made `White Planet' about the Arctic.
S 2008- Whale Wars Animal Planet (TV) reality series about the Sea Shepherd vs Japanese whaling ships in Antarctic waters. On DVD. info here
S 2009 Terra Antarctica Jon Bowermaster kayaks the Antarctic peninsula
S 2009 Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warming Past present and future of scientific exploration including latest discoveries on climate change
S 2010 Challenging Antarctica New Zealand, reissue of 1990s docs: Hell On Ice, Ice Pilots, Whales
S 2010 Discovering Antarctica New Zealand, reissue of 1990s docs: Icebound: 100 years of Antarctic Discovery, Solid Water Liquid Rock, South Georgia - Legacy of Lust
S 2011Nova: Secrets Beneath the Ice clues to Earth's future underneath Antarctic ice