With the exception of the Wicked Witch and those corn running aliens from “Signs,” there just aren’t that many villains out there today that can be defeated by water. Fall back on kindergarten teachings of Smokey the Bear as you drop into the heat of the five best forest fire movies.
Angsty firefighter and pilot, James Merrick, seeks to conquor his survivor’s guilt by continuing to fight fires just in a new location. Therapists might disagree but a sullen pilot has gotta do what a sullen pilot has gotta do. With the fire raging everywhere, the Merrick uses a bomb to wipe out the entire threat and somehow not kill the stranded people caught up inside the inferno, making for a scene that has to go down as one of the best and funniest forest fire movie moments.
The natural environment for retired professional athletes, outside of color commentary and car sales, will always be the land of movies. Howie Long takes his place among his sports contemporaries as a smoke jumper that goes after a gang of criminals to rescue a kidnapped woman as well as to help fight the fire they caused. With two giant fires, a bunch of rampaging murderers and the best over the shoulder chainsaw tossing scene, “Firestorm” takes its place among the best forest fire movies ever made.
“Trial by Fire”
How does something that smacks of “How to write a Lifetime channel movie 101” make for a great forest fire movie? The answer becomes more apparent as the film progresses through Kristin Scott’s life when she leaves the world of normal firefighting for smoke jumping, all the while trying to prove herself to her family that might just blame her for her father’s death. The solution is quite simply that here is a forest fire movie where cheering on the growing fire that Kristin gets tossed into is a valid and rational response to the suffering of the relationship part of the movie, making for a film experience unlike most other fire films. The best scene is easily at the wake where a little girl accuses Kristin of killing her father; so make sure you have the remote close by for easy rewinding capabilities.
“Red Skies of Montana”
A rare gem of a forest fire movie, “Red Skies of Montana” actually takes the fire seriously rather than making it into a super villain or something to be patronized. After a fire has claimed all of the men in Cliff’s unit, the sole survivor Cliff is suffering from amnesia and self-doubt as Ed, the son of one of the dead, pursues him to discover the full truth of what happened. You’d be hard pressed to find a better fight scene than when Cliff and Ed square off in the middle of a fire with fire axes.
Ernest Borgnine and his incredible forehead are up against a massive forest fire that has its insatiable flamey heart set on destroying a town. The scenery is top notch, the characters are simple but ready to go and the villain wasn’t picked last at kickball or suffers from a nut allergy: he’s just a simple jerk. Bearing the distinction of not only being one of the best forest fire movies but also having the greatest car-accident-while-avoiding-a-freaking-bear scene, “Fire” has to make your must see list.