Seven Solid Movies that Take Place in Freezing Weather

As Winter keeps rearing it’s ugly head I keep finding ways to keep warm without blasting the heat too much.   But I tell it’s getting harder and harder.   I don’t want to do it but that thermostat is gonna touch 70 pretty darned soon (I have it at 69 right now, zing!).

And as we get ready for fireplace nights and roasting marshmallows, why not curl up and watch a movie that takes place in the kind of weather we’ll all going to have to protect ourselves from?

Here are seven solid movies that take place in freezing weather….

The Ice Storm

Set during Thanksgiving weekend, 1973, in New Canaan, Connecticut, “The Ice Storm” concerns two archetypal, suburban families who appear to be living an idyllic lifestyle.  Under the surface, however, deep-rooted malcontent is festering.  It’s not that the movie is about cold weather or is really supposed to be in the cold, I just think the cold made for a much more interesting setting.

Mystery Alaska

Fun story of an ice ridden town in Alaska whose only solace is to watch the “Saturday Game,” a pond hockey game played by select members of the community.  Their lives become interesting when they get a visit from the New York Rangers.  Well told story and just a cute movie overall.


This Academy-Award winner is one of the best from the Coen Brothers — a snowbound noir set in the frozen mid-west.  Just the crunch of snow under boots is enough to make you want to sip a cup of cocoa and double up on scarves!  And how about that chase scene?  Ugh.  The cold just bites you!

Doctor Zhivago

This classic epic about the Russian Revolution from Davide Lean is winter on steroids — frozen lakes, fur coats, and a palace encrusted in ice.  This movie also features Obi-Wan Kenobi and one of cinema’s finest mustaches.  You really can’t argue with that.

The Shining

This horror classic based on the best-selling Stephen King novel takes place in the picturesque mountains of Colorado, which would make for an ideal locale for vacationing skiers, but the infamous Overlook Hotel can’t operate during the winter months because the snow-covered roads thwart access to the resort.  And let’s just assume you guys know the rest.


This true story about a Uruguayan rugby team who survived a plane crash in the Andes is a heart-rending account of the human will to survive, including infamous scenes involving cannibalism. But it’s also a movie about freezing to death, which is preferable to being char-broiled.

The Empire Strikes Back

The first third of this beloved sequel takes place on the Ice Planet Hoth.  Downsides: rampaging snow monsters, spy droids, giant woolly kangaroos that “smell bad on the outside.” Upsides: there are no heatwaves on Hoth.

  • Jeremy

    ESB was the first that came to mind. RIP, Irvin Kershner.

  • Sam

    Off topic but isn’t the guy in the middle of the team in the mystery alaska picture the dude that lumen just killed on dexter?
    Other than that, good list.

  • KnowItAll

    Haven’t seen ‘The Ice Storm’, ‘Mystery Alaska’ or ‘Alive’. All others are definitely good movies.

    Also, how about:

    ‘Touching the Void’
    ‘Let the right one in’
    ‘Girl with the dragon tattoo’
    ‘A Christmas Story’
    ‘South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut’

  • Drester

    Steven King’s Misery is the fist movie I thought of. With the author snuggling up with his biggest fan at the fireplace.

    @ KnowItAll: Didn’t the south park movie take place in satan’s hot crib?

  • qwick

    The Thing another classic horror movie

  • ComfortableMadness

    First movie that came to mind is the John Carpenter version of The Thing, featuring an underrated, imo, Kurt Russel. Great movie. Scared the crap out of me as a youngster. Looking forward to the prequel.

  • ComfortableMadness


    Given your namesake it’s quite fitting that you beat me to that.

  • Sam

    I’m from Darien, CT. New Canaan is our twin town, they’re basically the same. The Ice Storm was pretty spot on, except for it being in the 1970s. A lot of rich families in my area have a lot of problems underneath, as evidence by the amount of prescriptions used and the actions of their children (drugs, crimes and the like). Darien/New Canaan are a weird bubble filled with upper-white class people. It’s a strange world there (I moved to Stamford, a lot more mexicans)

  • flaccidplatypus

    @Sam, ya i noticed the exact same thing when i looked at the picture for Mystery, Alaska. I’m a 100% confident its the same guy from the last episode of Dexter. weird synchronicity

  • chelsea

    duh, it’s scott grimes… he has been in way more movies and tv shows than just a random one episode of dexter.

  • Ellie

    The 70s movie Jeremiah Johnson is set in the Rocky Mountains. Robert Redford (playing the title character) almost freezes to death during the winter and he even finds a mountain man frozen to death.