Top Earth Day Movies
You can’t save the world by watching movies, but you can get motivated to do some good for Mother Earth by checking out these nature-loving classics.
After mankind has used up all of the Earth’s resources and abandoned it for a new,lazier frontier in space, it is up to Wall-E, a garbage collecting robot, to convince the human race to return and re-cultivate.
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 mins.
Details: Directed by Andrew Stanton and written by Andrew Stanton, Pete Doctor and Jim Reardon, this movie features the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin and, the most interesting voice actor, MacInTalk. Was released in theaters June 23, 2008; on DVD November 18, 2008.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: The stout little space dwellers become so in love with the blue planet, it will make you want to get active and keep the Earth clean just for them.
Loosely based on the Little Mermaid, Ponyo is the story of the daughter of a sea goddess and a powerful alchemist who begins her life as a fish-girl.
When she is found washed ashore by Sosuke, a five-year old boy who lives by the ocean, they form an unbreakable bond that takes them through a spectacular adventure.
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 1 hr. 43 mins.
Details: Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, this movie features the voices of Noah Cyrus, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson and, Tiny Fey. Was released on DVD March 2, 2010.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: This movie reminds adults and children alike that nature and all Earth’s creatures should be valued and respected. It uses a wonderfully imaginative story to explain the balance needed to maintain the natural world.
The true life rags to riches story of unemployed, single mother named Erin Brockovich who happens upon a job at a law firm.
Having a big heart that no stereotypical lawyer would have, Erin discovers a company is illegally dumping toxic waste and contaminating nearby residents leading her firm into a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 2 hrs. 10 mins.
Details: Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Susannah Grant, this movie stars Julia Roberts, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick and Albert Finney. Was released in theaters March 14, 2000; on DVD Aug. 15, 2000.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: Erin teaches us that not having fancy clothes doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in the world. NOTE:This film is rated “R” and not recommended for kids under 18.
Doing time at a marina for vandalism, a young boy befriends an orca whale through the tank’s glass. After uncovering the plot of the marina owner to “dispose” of the orca for poor performance in front of an audience, the youngster decides to take it upon himself to “free Willy.”
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild language
Runtime: 1 hr. 52 mins.
Details: Directed Simon Wincer and written Keith Walker, this movie stars Jason James Richter and Keiko the Orca Whale. Was released in theaters July 16, 1993; on DVD Nov. 7, 2006.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: At the iconic moment when Willy jumps over a triumphant Jessie with his hand in the air, you’ll long to create your own nature-saving memories
The Day After Tomorrow
Global warming has caught up with the Earth in this catastrophic sci-fi thriller. It is up to climatologist Jack Hall to save his son Sam, and the world, from the new Ice Age.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense situations of peril.
Runtime: 2 hrs. 4 mins.
Details: Written and Directed by Roland Emmerich, this movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. Runtime is 124 minutes; released in theaters May 28, 2004; released on DVD Oct. 12, 2004.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: Although a complete world disaster scenario is unlikely for the immediate future, the over-the-top special effects bring to light some of the serious issues and implications associated with global warming that could affect our descendants.
March of the Penguins
This documentary follows the perilous trips made by arctic penguins in the dead of winter from their protected breeding grounds to their feeding grounds tens of miles away.
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 1 hr. 25 mins.
Details: Directed by Luc Jacquet and written by Jordan Roberts, this movie is narrated by Morgan Freedman. Was released in theaters July 22, 2005; on DVDNov. 29, 2005.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: Though they can’t speak, these wonderful penguins seem almost human in their devotion to tradition, their children, and each other. They are also incredibly brave in the face of the harsh conditions that Mother Nature forces upon them, which some feel have been aggravated by global climate change.
When 10-year-old Lucas Nickle attacks an ant colony, he is shrunk down to their size and sees just how hard it is to be an ant.
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor and action
Runtime: 1 hr. 28 mins.
Details: Directed and written by John A. Davis, this movie features the voices of Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. Was released in theaters July 28, 2006; on DVD November 28, 2006.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: Because it helps us to appreciate creatures both big and small while also teaching some valuable lessons about friendship, courage, and “ant”i-bullying.
An Inconvenient Truth
This documentary film follows Al Gore’s campaign to educate the world about the effects of global warming and inspire change.
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 mins.
Details: Directed by Davis Guggenheim, this documentary follows Al Gore and is narrated by the voice of Billy West. Was released in theaters May 24, 2006; on DVD Nov. 21, 2007.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: We are shown compelling scientific data about the possible consequences of global warming—bringing up important questions for you and your family to discuss.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
The fairies of FernGully, a beautiful and enchanted rainforest, are in mortal danger when human loggers come, cut lumber, and release the oil monster Hexxus from his tree imprisonment. When the fairy Christa accidentally shrinks Zak, a human logger, they, along with their friends Batty, Pips, and Beatle Boy, are the only ones who can save the forest.
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 1 hr. 16 mins.
Details: Directed by Bill Kroyer and written by Jim Cox and Diana Young, this features the voices of Robin Williams, Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis. Was released in theaters April 10,1992; on DV Oct. 18, 2005.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: The idea of a hidden fairy world and a bat that raps will make you think twice before not reusing that next brown paper bag.
This beautiful documentary follows the journey of three animal families over one year. We get a rare, intimate glimpse into the lives of polar bears, humpback whales, and elephants as they face adventure, hardship and victory.
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Details: Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, this documentary is narrated by James Earl Jones. Was released on DVD Sept. 1, 2009.
Why It Will Make You Want To Plant A Tree: This shorter, family-friendly version of the epic BBC series Earth offers a breathtaking look into the beauty of the world’s creatures.
After seeing all the picturesque settings and habitats, you’ll want to do everything in your power to keep them untouched and thriving.