Entertainment
145 voters

The Best Action & Adventure Movies Set in the Desert

Updated March 3, 2020 623 votes 145 voters 9.8k views24 items

The hot sun. The drifting sand. The shimmering mirages. There's something inherently cinematic about the desert, and it continues to be a go-to location for action-packed movies. The best action and adventure desert movies feature life or death situations at every turn. This is a list of the top desert action movies including everything from The Mummy to Dune to The Jewel of the Nile.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies set in the desert? Maybe your number-one pick will be Mad Max: Fury Road. Following in the footsteps of previous films from the franchise, Fury Road takes place in a dystopian wasteland void of compassion and, crucially, water. Tremors is another good action movie set in the desert. The Way Back finds an international group of refugees crossing vast deserts and freezing mountains to escape a Soviet gulag during World War II. Other good projects featured here include Beyond the Reach and Three Kings.

Which desert adventure film is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and add any great features that are missing.

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  • Mad Max: Fury Road1
    43
    13

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron

    Released2015

    Directed byGeorge Miller

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  • Stargate2
    27
    8

    Stargate

    Kurt Russell, James Spader

    Released1994

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    Stargate is a 1994 French-American adventure science fiction film released through...  more

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  • Tremors3
    25
    11

    Tremors

    Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire

    Released1990

    Directed byRon Underwood

    Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent...  more

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  • Mad Max 24
    23
    8

    Mad Max 2

    Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence

    Released1981

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The...  more

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  • The Mummy5
    34
    22

    The Mummy

    Rachel Weisz, Brendan Fraser

    Released1999

    Directed byStephen Sommers

    The Mummy is a 1999 American fantasy adventure film written and directed by Stephen Sommers...  more

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  • The Flight of the Phoenix6
    19
    9

    The Flight of the Phoenix

    James Stewart, Richard Attenborough

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Aldrich

    The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and...  more

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  • The Mummy Returns7
    20
    11

    The Mummy Returns

    Dwayne Johnson, Rachel Weisz

    Released2001

    Directed byStephen Sommers

    The Mummy Returns, is a 2001 American fantasy adventure film written and directed by Stephen...  more

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  • Dune8
    20
    11

    Dune

    Sting, Patrick Stewart

    Released1984

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    Dune is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the...  more

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  • The Jewel of the Nile9
    16
    7

    The Jewel of the Nile

    Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

    Released1985

    Directed byLewis Teague, David Teague

    The Jewel of the Nile is a 1985 action-adventure romantic comedy and a sequel to the 1984 film...  more

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  • Sahara10
    21
    14

    Sahara

    Penélope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2005

    Directed byBreck Eisner

    Sahara, an American/Spanish 2005 action–comedy adventure film directed by Breck Eisner, is...  more

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  • Sahara11
    15
    11

    Sahara

    Jim Belushi, Michael Massee

    Released1995

    Directed byBrian Trenchard-Smith

    Sahara is a 1995 American/Australian made-for-television action drama war film shot in...  more
  • Rabbit-Proof Fence12
    12
    8

    Rabbit-Proof Fence

    Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke

    Released2002

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film directed by Phillip Noyce based on the book...  more
  • Sahara13
    1
    4

    Sahara

    Brooke Shields, John Mills

    Released1984

    Directed byAndrew V. McLaglen

    Sahara is a 1983 British-American adventure drama film directed by Andrew McLaglen and...  more
  • Jarhead14
    11
    9

    Jarhead

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx

    Released2005

    Directed bySam Mendes

    Jarhead is a 2005 biographical drama film based on U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford's 2003 memoir...  more

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  • Three Kings15
    13
    11

    Three Kings

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg

    Released1999

    Directed byDavid O. Russell

    Three Kings is a 1999 satirical comedy film written and directed by David O. Russell from a...  more

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  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time16
    12
    11

    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

    Gemma Arterton, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2010

    Directed byMike Newell

    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 2010 American adventure action fantasy film written...  more

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  • Flight of the Phoenix17
    10
    8

    Flight of the Phoenix

    Hugh Laurie, Jared Padalecki

    Released2004

    Directed byJohn Moore

    Flight of the Phoenix is a 2004 survival drama film and a remake of a 1965 film of the same...  more
  • Tank Girl18
    10
    11

    Tank Girl

    Naomi Watts, Ice-T

    Released1995

    Directed byRachel Talalay

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  • The Way Back19
    7
    10

    The Way Back

    Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan

    Released2010

    Directed byPeter Weir

    The Way Back is a 2010 epic drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and...  more

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  • Holes20
    8
    11

    Holes

    Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2003

    Directed byAndrew Davis

    Holes is a 2003 American comedy-drama adventure film based on the 1998 novel of the same title...  more

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  • Inferno21
    7
    13

    Inferno

    Alida Valli, Veronica Lazăr

    Released1980

    Directed byDario Argento

    Inferno is a 1980 Italian supernatural horror film, written and directed by Dario Argento. The...  more

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  • The Scorpion King22
    7
    12

    The Scorpion King

    Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Hu

    Released2002

    Directed byChuck Russell

    The Scorpion King is a 2002 American action film directed by Chuck Russell, starring Dwayne...  more

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  • Beyond the Reach23
    6
    13

    Beyond the Reach

    Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine
  • Desert Saints24
    0
    10

    Desert Saints

    Kiefer Sutherland, Rachel Ticotin

    Released2002

    Desert Saints is a 2002 crime thriller film starring Kiefer Sutherland as a hitman named...  more