There have been a number of movies featuring the furry, four-legged creature from gruesome thrillers to adventurous animations like Winnie the Pooh. Sometimes the best bear movies are filmed through the lens of a wildlife photographer.
Whether they are portrayed as lovable characters that evoke nostalgia or powerful beasts that can strike fear into the hearts of viewers, bears have always held an important space in cinema. They also hold the best role when it comes to the food chain.
Bears are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. Not only do they come in many different shapes and sizes, but they are also highly intelligent animals with complex behaviors.
Based on a true story where a 500-pound black bear ingested cocaine, Cocaine Bear is a comedy/horror Citizen Kane bear movie starring Keri Russell. The movie just recently launched in theaters in honor of Cocaine Bear.
It also pays homage to the best director in the film industry, Steven Spielberg with a unique framework for the movie.
Best Bear Movies
To help you find the best bear movies out there, we’ve rounded up some of the top picks that are both entertaining and inspiring.
Whether you’re looking for a heartwarming family movie, a thrilling action-packed adventure, or a suspenseful horror flick, these are some of the best bear movies you can watch.
1. The Revenant (2015)
This Oscar-winning movie stars the best actor, Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, an explorer who embarks on an expedition in uncharted wilderness. When he is attacked by a bear, Hugh must fight for survival against the elements and the animal’s fierce ferocity.
Filmed in British Columbia, The Revenant is a chilling reminder that no one should attempt to go up against a bear.
2. Grizzly Man (2005)
This American documentary by Werner Herzog follows the life of Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist who traveled to Alaska to live with wild grizzlies for 13 years.
Through Treadwell’s fascinating footage and interviews with those close to him, the film paints an intimate portrait of a man’s connection with nature.
Grizzly Man is not only a journey to live among wild animals but documents the death of Timothy and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard who were killed in 2003 in a bear attack. Some people even wonder when watching the film if one of the real-life bears was the culprit behind their deaths.
3. The Bear (1988)
This French-Canadian adventure follows a young bear cub and an adult grizzly as they make their way through the wilderness in search of food and safety. All the while, human hunters are one step behind them.
Through breathtaking cinematography and a delightful score, this movie captures the beauty and majestic power of nature. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, The Bear is adapted from “The Grizzly King,” written by James Curwood.
4. The Edge (1997)
One of the best bear movies starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin is The Edge. In this tense thriller, Hopkins plays Charles Morse, a wealthy businessman who is stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with his wife and another man after their plane crashes.
As they attempt to survive in the rough terrain following the plane crash, they must also contend with a relentless Kodiak bear. With a riveting plot and a star cast, The Edge is a film worth watching.
5. Brother Bear (2003)
This Disney animation follows the story of Kenai, a young Native American who is magically transformed into a bear as punishment for his actions.
As he embarks on a journey to reclaim his human form, he meets other bear characters and learns life lessons about family, friendship, and acceptance.
With its stunning animation accompanied by an uplifting soundtrack, Brother Bear is sure to bring out the kid in you.
6. The Jungle Book (1967)
The Jungle Book is a classic Disney movie that has captivated generations of viewers. Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, the story follows Mowgli, an orphaned young boy who was raised in the jungles of India by wolves.
Along his journey, he meets memorable characters such as Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther who help him learn lessons about friendship, courage, and respect for nature.
With its beautiful animation and catchy songs like “The Bare Necessities”, The Jungle Book still stands out as one of Disney’s greatest works even with a live adaptation starring Neel Sethi and Bill Murray.
7. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Kung Fu Panda is a beloved animated classic from DreamWorks Animation featuring a lovable bear.
Starring Seth Rogen as Mantis and Jack Black as the clumsy panda Po, this action-packed movie follows his journey to becoming a kung fu master. The dragon warrior must also come to terms with his past.
On his journey, he meets an array of characters such as Shifu the red panda, and Tigress the fierce tiger who help him hone his martial arts skills and discover inner strength.
With its beautiful animation and lighthearted humor, Kung Fu Panda is sure to bring out your inner child.
8. The Great Outdoors (1988)
The Great Outdoors is a classic comedy film starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. The movie follows Chet and the rest of the Ripley family as they go on vacation to a lake resort in Wisconsin.
However, their plan for peaceful family bonding goes awry as they encounter various wild animals such as bears and beavers that make for some hilarious yet unfortunate situations.
With its witty dialogue and slapstick humor, The Great Outdoors is sure to bring out your sense of adventure.
9. Paddington 2 (2017)
Paddington 2 is a delightful sequel to the beloved Paddington Bear franchise. Starring Ben Whishaw as the brown bear, the movie follows his journey as he searches for the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday by picking up odd jobs.
Along the way, he meets an array of lovable human characters who help him learn lessons about friendship, courage, and respect for nature.
10. Bears (2014)
A family documentary with spectacular cinematography, Bears by Disneynature is an intimate journey that follows a family of brown bears living in the mountains of Alaska.
This film is one of the best nature documentaries by Disney with several nominations including the International Film Music Critics Award.
Despite the harsh situations that a mother and her cubs run into on their journey, there is a level of goofiness and plenty of entertaining scenes that makes these creatures even more likable.
11. Backcountry (2014)
One of the best movies on this list with a horror element, Backcountry is a chilling movie directed by Adam MacDonald that follows an urban couple who find themselves on the territory of a predatory black bear.
Starring Jeff Roop, Missy Peregrym, and Nicholas Campbell, this movie with 92% rotten tomatoes featuring a killer bear won’t stop until every real threat is eliminated.
12. Artic (2018)
An adventurous film centered around a man surviving the Artic, this beautiful and realistic film showcases the authentic feelings and thoughts of the main character as he finds himself stranded after a plane crash.
This gripping movie by Joe Penna not only captures the harsh conditions of the Artic Circle but distracts the viewers from their own problems if only for a while.
13. Grizzly (1976)
One of the best bear movies that is reminiscent of the iconic Jaws movie has done equally well at the box office. Grizzly is a nicely packaged nightmare just waiting to be opened.
The park ranger is desperately trying to keep an unrelenting grizzly bear from entering a national forest. But it may be more than what he can handle once the bear tastes human flesh.
Starring Christopher George, Andrew Prine, and Richard Jaekel, this classic bear movie is quite the treat!
14. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
A classic animated movie with its own ride at Disney World, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a lighthearted adventure following Christopher Robin, Pooh, and friends in the Hundred Acre Woods.
A stark contrast to the wild dark comedy and thrillers of hungry bears, this Disney film is a breath of fresh air and is one of the best films.
15. Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)
One of the horror films that make you think twice before encountering a bear. Into the Grizzly Bear follows two estranged brothers who reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild.
But on their two-day hike, they encounter a grizzly maze and a curious grizzly bear wanting a taste of human flesh.
Starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane, and Billy Bob Thornton, this chaotic movie falls short of a good movie.
While the movie is quite frankly a B movie, the CGI bear and the hilarious comedic undertones are what keep people watching.
16. Day of the Animals (1977)
Based on the story by Edward Montoro, Day of the Animals is a violent film that came out around the same time period as Jaws and Willard. Following a hole in the ozone layer, radiation sends animals into a wild frenzy.
While the disaster-style film has a horrific undertone, this movie fits into the hilariously bad 70’s movie category.
17. Grizzly II: Revenge (1983)
A rock concert and an angry bear don’t mix well. Grizzly II stars George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern as they try and escape without becoming the bear’s next meal.
The mother bear is willing to kill off every human at the festival to exact revenge on her cubs. Despite the horrific concept, viewers can’t help but feel sorry for the mama bear who lost her cubs to poaching.
18. The Night of the Grizzly (1966)
Directed by Joseph Pevney, this western is filled with magnificent shots of the natural scenery. The Night of the Grizzly has a memorable opening scene of the Big Bear Lake followed by a lineup of good characters that carry the film.
This bear movie follows a bounty hunter and ex-lawman Jim Cole played by Clint Walker who moves his family down to a ranch in Wyoming.
He faces opposition from a land-greedy neighbor. But his family has way bigger problems to deal with when the main antagonist, a bear named Satan, goes on a killing spree.
Even though the movie came out in 1966, The Night of the Grizzly is one of the favorite movies among older adults.
19. Yogi Bear (2010)
An animated comedy that no one talks about is Yogi Bear, directed by Eric Brevig. This fun movie follows a documentary filmmaker who plans to shoot content at Jellystone Park only to come across Yogi Bear and his best friend, Boo-Boo.
Although the movie didn’t receive the best reviews, this animated movie won the top box office films and feature films.
20. Polar Bear (2022)
Polar Bear is one of the best films that captures the life of these fluffy but fierce animals. As the small bear cub learns to survive when the ice is melting, she soon finds herself on her own.
She takes the knowledge from her mother to hunt for food in an environment affected by climate change.
While the life of a polar bear in the Artic is fascinating, the music choice and the intimate videos of the animals up close create a magical atmosphere that draws in animal lovers.
21. Bear (2010)
Most likely one of the worst bear horror movies to date, Bear follows two young couples that find themselves trapped in a car after encountering a hungry grizzly bear.
As the aggressive bear hones in on them, the group begins to unravel secrets that may tear them apart before the bear can.
If you want a movie that is both entertaining and hilarious amidst an animal attack, Bear may have what you’re looking for.
22. Turning Red (2022)
A young girl has to navigate puberty, school, and the expectations of her mother. However, Meilin discovers that she turns into a red panda when excited, and it’s just as equally shocking when her family reveals that the red panda has been in the family since ancient times.
Starring Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, and Ava Morse, Turning Red is a coming-of-age film with relatable moments from the perspective of a teenager.
23. Robin Hood (1973)
An animated feature film by Disney, Robin Hood is based on the English folktale that follows the adventures of Robin Hood, Little John, and the inhabitants of Nottingham as they go against excessive taxation.
Nominated for an Academy Award, Robin Hood is a nostalgic good time filled with laughter.
24. Ted (2012)
One of the most unconventional bear movies on this list, Ted is a hilarious live-action movie by Seth Macfarlane about foul-mouthed teddy bears or specifically one that comes to life after John Bennett makes a wish.
When John reaches adulthood and confronts relationships, Ted can’t help but interfere.
What might be a movie that insults the audience turns out to be rather sophisticated and doesn’t shy away from reality.
25. The Care Bears Movie (1985)
A movie that would turn out to be based on one of the best plush toys that appeared in 1983, this animated release is a nostalgic journey for many with fantastic fantasy elements and a dreamy backdrop.
The Care Bears encounter bad guys and use their powers to save the day. But they also use their heart and star power to heal people.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the rarest bear is the Nobleheart Horse Care Bears’ cousin? This Care Bear can go for upwards of $800.
Bear Movie Guide
Bears are like wild dogs that could go on a rampage at any moment. Most people would prefer to stay far away from them in an uncontrolled environment as bear attacks are quite literally a death sentence.
However, bear movies don’t always have to portray them as aggressive or chaotic beasts that are only after human flesh.
From heartwarming stories of orphaned cubs trying to survive to animated comedies, bear movies can appeal to just about anyone.
So the next time you have a movie night, check out these bear movies!
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