Here is a quick compilation of the movies on climate change and the environment. Most of these movies do not give out words like global warming or climate change, but things are expressed in subtleties.
There are quite a few animated movies made on this subject, the below list of 6 highly acclaimed and famous movies of which 3 are animated.
Top Movies on Climate Change
When normal humans stop thinking, that’s where James Cameroon starts to weave his story. From the director of Titanic, Terminator, and Alien, this movie was conceived about 15 years before its actual release in 2009. Avatar is the most vivid creation of a fantasy world ever seen in the history of moving pictures and is also considered to be the biggest movie made on environmental protection.
The film is about an indigenous land called Pandora – a wonderful world of flora & fauna, gigantic trees and phosphorescent plants, flying horses, panther dogs, and hammerhead dinosaurs. Living among the forests is a local tribe, the Na’vi – with lean frame body, 10-ft.-tall, blue colored and with yellow eyes, they look humans but they are not.
An American corporation wants to mine an incredibly valuable rock called unobtainium found in Pandora. To capture it, they develop an infiltration plan–merging human and Na’vi DNA into fully functioning avatars. What ensued is a battle between the tribe, who wanted to protect their land versus humans. Avatar has all the ingredients to honor Mother Earth and is considered one of the top movies on environmental protection.
- Release: December 2009
- Budget: $240 million
- Boxoffice Collection: $3bliion
- Available On: Disney/Hotstar
- Accolades: Avatar won 3 Academy Awards for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects, and was nominated for a total of nine.
The movie is based on the true story of a single mother with three kids. Played by Julia Roberts, Erin Brokovich while working in a legal firm, encounters the medical records of a local woman who was treated by California’s Pacific Gas and Electric doctors. In her investigations, she finds many community members with similar illnesses. She discovers a decades-long corporate cover-up of pollution and industrial poisoning of the city water supply. The case helped win the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit.
Julia Roberts earned a $20 million payday for her work on the film, the highest salary paid to a female film star up to that time.
- Release: March 2000
- Budget: $52 million
- Box office: $256.3 million
- Available on: YouTube, Sony Liv
- Accolades: Nominated for 5 Academy Awards and Julia Roberts won Best Actress award
The film is based on the real-life story of a lawyer who took on a large chemical company DuPont after discovering the company was knowingly polluting drinking water with harmful chemicals.
A corporate environmental defense attorney played by Mark Ruffalo goes for a legal battle against DuPont over the release of unregulated chemicals into the drinking water.
- Release: November 2019
- Box office: $23.1 million
- Available on: Sony Liv
The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century.
Set in 1937, this is a story of Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, a private detective is hired by Faye Dunaway to investigate her husband’s extra-marital affair. In his investigations, he unintentionally discovers a major conspiracy involving a political coverup connected to the water department. The plan is to manipulate the water supply and force a referendum to build a reservoir that will control one person.
- Release: June 1974
- Budget: $6 million
- Box office: $29 million
- Available On: YouTube
- Accolades: Nominated for 11 Academy Awards and winning Best Screenplay
Top Animated Films
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
FernGully is an animated musical fantasy story of a Crysta who teaches a young man about the evils of destroying the environment.
Set in an Australian rainforest inhabited by singing lizards, insects, and fairies including Crysta. One day she meets a young boy named Zak and then accidentally shrinks human Zak to the size of a fairy.
On the other side, the humans accidentally unleashed an evil spirit Hexxus, who tried to destroy the rainforest until a fairy master was able to trap him in a tree. After getting released again, the evil spirit sets out to take his revenge on his fairy enemies.
Crysta and Zak together, rally the fairies and the animals of the rainforest to protect their home from the Hexxus. Though Hexxus is defeated and FernGully is once again out of danger, his spirit, though imprisoned, is still alive. Zak must be returned to the humans’ world to alert others who might greedily destroy the place he’s grown to love.
- Release: 1992
- Budget: $24 million
- Box office: $32 million
- Available on: YouTube
- Accolades: The film was shown at the United Nations General Assembly on Earth Day in 1992.
It is difficult to imagine that robots can be so cute. Wall-E is set in the 29th century, where the earth is not inhabited by humanity rather it is a garbage-strewn wasteland. It is filled with plastic, trash, and garbage.
Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class i.e. Wall-E is the only operational robot on earth, whose main purpose is to keep collecting piles of trash.
He (yes the Robot is male) discovers a new purpose in life when he meets EVE, another robot that is sent from the human world to scan the earth for plant life. Romance is kindled between the two robots and that led Wall-E to follow EVE into Axiom, a ship in the outer space that all the humans have inhabited.
After knowing that there is a thing called a Plant, the ship’s human captain gets interested to go back to Earth, while the robots don’t want that and take the ship’s control to prevent it. What ensued is a struggle between the captain, supported by EVA and Wall-E against the unrelenting villain robots.
- Release: June 2008
- Budget: $180 million
- Box office: $533 million
- Available on: Disney/Hotstar and YouTube
- Accolades: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature with five nominations
This movie comes from Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s acclaimed animation directors. Known for taking the viewers into a different and fantastic world in most of his movies, this is a story is about the journey of Ashitaka—a young man cursed by a demon he killed while protecting his village.
Ashitaka is touched by the demon on his right arm and that gives him the power to perform supernatural feats when he is surrounded by hate. This leads him to be banished from his village and now he has to go into an open world and find a cure for himself. He meets Princess Mononoke, a girl who lives in forests and is raised by wolves.
It’s a time of conflict, where spirits of the forests and wolf gods are threatened by human inhabitants of Iron Town who consume forest resources. Ashitaka is human but finds his loyalties torn between nature and humanity.
This movie came in 1997 in Japan and it was revolutionary for hand-drawn animation. While the movie might be preachy at times, but it conveys a powerful message that humans and nature have to live in harmony for both of them to thrive.
- Release: July 1997
- Budget: $23 million
- Box office: $160 million
- Available on: Netflix