Based on the book by Caroline Alexander, George Butler's documentary The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition assembles a story of the polar expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, a family man who perhaps was more of an adventurer than he was a scientist. His attempt to cross the South Pole from sea to sea became famous not for its scientific discovery -- the South Pole had already been discovered -- but for the above-human stoicism of the crew and Shackleton's incredible leadership abilities.

When Shackleton placed an ad in the paper to recruit 27 men for his crew, he straightforwardly listed what was to be expected from the voyage: bitter cold, constant danger, and no guarantee of return. 5,000 men, from all possible backgrounds and upbringings, responded, hungry for adventure and glory -- an example of how people can be so fatally attracted to the unknown. The preparations were completed by the start of World War I, when Winston Churchill, ambivalent about the use of another trip to the Antarctica, nevertheless declined Shackleton's offer to donate his ship Endurance to the Admiralty, sending the crew on their way.

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