10 Best Imax Movies

Friday, February 11 by Rooster Cogburn

Since their inception, movies have always been intended to be experienced on a big screen and so, in that spirit, let us consider the 10 best IMAX movies ever made. IMAX is the largest motion picture format, with images displayed on screens larger than 70 feet.  IMAX. Skilled filmmakers have used the increased resolution of IMAX this format to record exceptional moments in great detail, including the following 10 movies. (Dollar figures are supplied by The Numbers , a free research service that tracks business information on movies.)

  1. "The Dream is Alive" (1985). "The Dream is Alive" takes viewers where they could never go themselves, to space. The movie consists of footage shot by 14 astronauts during their work on three shuttle missions in 1985. Situations shown in the movie include launches and landings and missions such as capturing satellites and space walks. 
  2. "Everest" (1998). "Everest" highlights the resiliency of a team of climbers who summit the world's tallest mountain in the wake of a tragedy that shook the world’s mountaineering community. That tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of several climbers, was chronicled in the best-selling book “Into Thin Air.” 
  3. “To Fly” (1971). Taking a trip on an airplane is a near-universal experience, but watch “To Fly” to see much more about the wonder and joy of flight. This movie, third on the list of the 10 best IMAX movies, takes viewer for rides on hot-air balloons, hang-gliders, rockets and the Blue Angels.
  4. “Space Station” (2002). Continuing to unfold today, the international space station is an encouraging example of international cooperation and is chronicled in “Space Station.” The film shows the first phases of building the space station and the contributions made by U.S. astronauts. 
  5. “Antarctica” (1991). Journey to the bottom of the earth in “Antarctica.” This movie takes audiences on a fascinating tour of the barren and frozen continent both from the air and under the sea. Filmmakers travel along with a group of penguins, swim through a cavern, drill into a tremendous ice block and more.
  6. “The Living Sea” (1995).The earth is made up mostly of water as far as the eye can see, but underneath there is a magical world that viewers experience in “The Living Sea,” one of the best IMAX movies of all time. Viewers will get exposed to many aspects of the fragile environment of our oceans all over the world – from Hawaii to Nova Scotia to the Red Sea.
  7. “Fantasia 2000” (1999). This historic Disney film was the first feature-length movie to be formatted and shown on IMAX screens and offers updated musical pieces in addition to the classic  "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. "Each piece is set to a famed piece of classical music.
  8. “Dolphins” (2000). In this majestic movie, “Dolphins” takes views back beneath the sea for a look at one of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures. Viewers will see the Dolphins in their natural habitats in Argentina and the Bahamas. Featuring the music of Sting, “Dolphins” won an Academy Award.
  9. “T-REX: Back to the Cretaceous” (1998). The daughter of a paleontologist goes searching for the earth’s pre-historic history in “T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous.”
  10.  “To the Limit” (1989). A rock climber. A championship skier. A prima ballerina. In “To the Limit,”one of the best IMAX movies, viewers get a glimpse of the power and majesty of the human body through these three highly conditioned performers. 
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  1. February 11, 2011 8:12 pm

    R Foster Wechsler III

    A few of your dates are wrong. In 1971, there was only one IMAX theater in operation, Cinesphere in Toronto. They started with only one film, North of Superior. To Fly opened in 1976 as the signature film for the National Air and Space Museum.

    Fantasia 2000 actually opened on Jan 1, 2000 and ran for four consecutive months in IMAX before a 35mm release on June 18. The 1999 date you list may be based on the Dec 17, 1999 world premiere at Carnagie Hall with a live orchestra, but this was not an IMAX presentation.

    Fantasia 2000 also was not the first feature length film in the IMAX format, although it was the first feature length Hollywood film. It was preceded by two IMAX distributed films, Rolling Stones to the Max in 1991 and Titanica in 1992. Each clocked in at about 90 minutes and required an intermission so the projectionist could switch platters of film feeding into the projector.

  2. February 11, 2011 8:12 pm


    Really T-REX?! Have you watched the last 30 or so 1570 films?

  3. February 11, 2011 8:12 pm


    This is an awesome rebute of these lists!


  4. February 11, 2011 8:12 pm

    David Douglas

    you guys sure dont know your IMAX films if you think these are the best.

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