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  • Production
  • 15
  • Documentary
  • 2003
  • 106 mins

Touching The Void

Touching The Void


Stunning docudrama about a 1985 mountaineering expedition that went horribly wrong, told in the words of the survivors.


When Joe Simpson fell off the 6344 metre high Andean mountain Siula Grande during an informal expedition with his friend Simon Yates, he shattered his leg, the bone splitting over his kneecap. They had only just started the descent and, with no rescue team, Simon began to lower Joe down the treacherous slopes until he accidentally sent him over a crevasse. There was no way back, and after desperately hanging on in the freezing cold for over an hour, Simon did the only thing he could - he cut the rope. Joe fell 50 metres into a cave of ice but miraculously survived, and his amazing mix of courage and blind stubbornness saw him inch his way back down the mountain over three agonising days. Based on Simpson's book of the same name, written after the climbing community practically excommunicated Yates for his actions, Touching The Void uses Yates and Simpson's talking heads, intercut with footage of actors re-creating the story. The film was directed by Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King Of Scotland), written by David Darlow, and produced by John Smithson (Deep Water, 127 Hours).

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Brendan Mackey, Joe Simpson, Nicholas Aaron, Simon Yates
  • Director: Kevin Macdonald
  • Writer: Joe Simpson
  • Producer: John Smithson
  • Photographer: Mike Eley

In a nutshell

Touching The Void premiered at TIFF in September 2003 and was released in the UK on December 12th 2003. It won a BAFTA for Best British Film, and awards for Best British Documentary and Best Technical Achievement at the BIFAs. It is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray now.

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  • Film4 Touching The Void

    John Smithson

    on the difficulties of producing Touching the Void

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