Adventure films are a genre of film whose plots feature elements of travel. They typically involve protagonists who must leave their home or place of comfort and go to far away lands to fulfill a goal. Settings play an important role in adventure films, sometimes as big as the characters themselves.
Subgenres of adventure films include swashbuckler films, survival films, and pirate films. Main plot elements include quests for lost continents and exotic setting; struggles and situations that confront the main characters, the creation of empires, characters embarking on treasure and heroic journeys, travels, explorations, quests and searches for the unknown usually also having to overcome an adversary. Adventure films are often set in a period background and may include adapted stories of historical or fictional adventure heroes within the historical context. Kings, battles, rebellion, or piracy are commonly seen. Adventure films may also be combined with other movie genres such as action, animation, comedy, drama, fantasy, science fiction, family, horror, or war.
Adventure film popularity peaked in the 1930s and 1940s, when films such as Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro were regularly made with major stars, notably Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power, who were closely associated with the genre. Saturday morning serials used many of the same thematic elements as high-budget adventure films.
In the early days of adventure films, the characters were mainly male. These heroes were courageous, often fighting suppression and facing tyrants. Recent adventure films have featured heroines, such as Lara Croft, as protagonists.