An Outdoor-Action Director Picks Five Great Outdoor-Action Films

TV Lists

After years writing screenplays and working in the editing booth with Peter Berg, Michael Mann, and other greats, Richmond Riedel took the plunge into feature filmmaking this year with Target Practice, a harrowing outdoor action film that comes out on DVD this week. Riedel chose his five favorite outdoor action flicks for Paste:

1. Deliverance
It’s the granddaddy of all outdoor thrillers. Great action, great environment, and Burt Reynolds is the epitome of off-kilter cool in that movie.

2. Southern Comfort
It’s flawed because all the characters are so bone-headed in the movie, and it gets a little old how stupid they all act. But there’s classic cinematography, the environment there in that swamp is great, and the music by Ry Cooder is just amazing.

3. The Sorcerer
Amazing, and mostly overlooked. Unbelievable, unrelenting tension and suspense. There’s no dialogue in large portions of it, just the silence of the jungle ratcheting up the suspense. I learned a lot of filmmaking from that movie, especially letting the silence build up the tension.

4. K2
I’m cheating a little bit, because this isn’t man vs. man in the wilderness, it’s more man vs. nature. But it’s such a great movie. And no one saw it—Vertical Limit turned out to be the climbing movie everyone watched (and by the way, that plot was a ripoff from The Sorcerer!). But K2 is a great piece of work. It has amazing cinematography; you feel like you’re right up on the mountain with that guy.

5. The Edge
Great performances from Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Baldwin is such an underrated actor and those two really do a great job building up the tension between them. That conflict is a little delayed; when it finally comes you wish it had come a little sooner. But the performances themselves are so outstanding that it’s worth it.

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