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After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.



(screenplay), (book)
418 ( 37)
Top Rated Movies #166 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 99 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carine McCandless / Additional Narrator
Rainey (as Brian Dierker)
Jan Burres
Wayne Westerberg
Jim Gallien ...
Jim Gallien
James O'Neill ...
Graduation Reader (as James J. O'Neill)
Malinda McCollum ...
Paul Knauls ...
Building Manager
Craig Mutsch ...
Wayne's Crew #1


Based on a true story. After graduating from Emory University, Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire savings account to charity, and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters who shape his life. Written by Lisa Kelley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Go with your heart See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

19 October 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hacia rutas salvajes  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$212,440 (USA) (21 September 2007)


$18,352,454 (USA) (21 March 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Sean Penn asked Eddie Vedder to do the soundtrack, he agreed on the spot, before he knew anything about the film. See more »


During one of the scenes where Christopher is living near the Salton Sea and training, a portion of a bounce-board reflector can clearly be seen in the reflection of one of the windows of Hal Holbrook's vehicle, as Hal watches him from below. See more »


[first lines]
Christopher McCandless: Mom! Mom! Help me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening title is shown as part of Chris's journal's writings. See more »


Referenced in University of Andy: Keys to Surviving the Wilderness (2010) See more »


Written by Jerry Hannan
Performed by Eddie Vedder & Jerry Hannan
Courtesy of Monkeywrench, Inc./J Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Beautiful Film, Even Better Than The Book
21 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For a movie to be even better than a good book is no small feat. Yet, that's how I felt after watching this film. It really impressed me. One of the reasons is the fantastic cinematography. Man, this is a beautifully filmed and, at 142 minutes, there are a lot of great scenes to admire.

Sean Penn directed and Eddie Gautier was the Director Of Photography. I can't stand Penn as a person but fair-is-fair and I think he's great as a director, having seen his work in "The Pledge" and "The Crossing Guard." The main actor, Emile Hirsch, who plays "Chris McCandless" (a.k.a. "Alexander Supertramp" reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio with his looks, build and voice inflection. He is very credible as the young guy who wants nothing to do with materialistic society and dreams of living in the wilds of Alaska. The problem was that he was unprepared and underestimated what he was up against.

Two people who fascinated me the most in here were two extremes, age-wise - Hal Holbrook and Kristen Stewart. It was really great to see the veteran Holbrook ("Ron France") again. He was about 82 when he made this film and hadn't acted in a film in a few years. He was terrific, too. He had some of the most memorable scenes in the story. Meanwhile, teenager Stewart was captivating as "Tracy Tatro," who had a crush on "Alex." This young woman is on her way to stardom.

Brian Dierker and Catherine Keener also were really, really interesting as the aging hippie couple, "Rainey" and "Jan." I kept thinking, I know this guy when listening to Dierker's voice, finally guessing it was Jeff Bridges underneath all the beard....but it Dierker, a guy who rarely acts in films.

Knowing the book, the only part of the film that caught be off-guard was the young Swedish couple. I don't remember them in the book but I'll never forget this in this film!! One could debate the pros and cons of Chris McCandless for hours, so no sense going into that here. I thought the film was pretty kind to him. You read more in the book about how he hurt a lot of people with his silence. Either way, it's a a fascinating story and a beautiful film.

90 of 125 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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