People love watching movies about survival, and often than not, we prefer various genres of film depending on our taste. But one thing that unites people the most is survival movies.
Everyone loves survival movies. Whether it is set on a deserted island or you have been stranded in an isolated place, you get the thrill of watching every scene. Or you might be enjoying the comfort of watching a movie about a plane crash survivor or a war prisoner while munching a warm bowl of popcorn and an ice-cold beverage.
And why do people get excited watching these survival films? Since you can’t always pitch a tent, hike, or rub two sticks to create a fire, you can always watch other people perform extreme survival roles and learn something out of watching a movie.
In this list, we have included survival films that have captured people’s interest and attention, and also films where one of the strongest elements is survival. We have also included film adaptations of true-to-life survival stories and documentaries.
Released in 2012, The Grey is a story of survival as it portrays humanity fighting against nature through a couple of people working on an oil pipeline in Alaska. In this film, Liam Neeson takes the character of a man who just lost wife because of an illness and got a job in the oil pipeline while killing a pack of wolves that surround the camp. Following the sequence that starts as Neeson realizes that he can see his breath inside the cabin, the plane where the workers are crashes. Each person struggles with the cold weather and the lack of resources. And the men were in a complicated situation as wolves are now hunting them. In order to escape, they need to outwit the wolves and cling to their lives despite the harsh and cold temperatures. A movie filled with suspense, The Grey hides a deeper and more philosophical meaning that also gives you the time to contemplate, as Neeson also recalls his memories with his wife.
Life of Pi
Another movie that caught people’s attention in 2012 was the Life of Pi, which was based on a best-selling book by Yann Martel. In the book, it captures the story of a boy who faces impossible odds and conquers them with his unwavering philosophy.
In the movie, Director Ang Lee presents the story bringing the heart and soul of the character as Pi ends up in the middle of the sea with the company of a hungry tiger. Seemingly a “children’s movie,” the Life of Pi never failed to highlight the actual danger Pi may be facing with a tiger beside him, especially after he devoured a hyena. This is not a typical movie that talks about a boy having a friendly tiger, and both of them having a nautical adventure together. And in the middle of the sea, Pi gets involved in a battle with the elements forcing him to be alert and to look for ways to survive, such as fishing for food, as he tries to satisfy the tiger he is sharing the boat with.
The Perfect Storm
The movie is based on a true story of fishermen who caught by the 1991 storm and had gone missing. The story depicts how the struggles the fishermen face amid a very turbulent journey to survive, and how they clung to their lives as gigantic waves lead them to the dangerous parts of the waters.
This is one of the movies that will make you realize that even if you are an expert in a specific hobby, accidents might still happen in a way that will bring you to a lot of trouble. Based on a real-life story of a backpacker, Aron Ralston, as he was severely pinned while traversing a dusty canyon. It is a story of a man who was trapped in the middle of nowhere and has tried to remove himself from the complicated situation that he was in. It is not only a story of how he got out from being pinned by a boulder, but it was a film of how a man can go beyond what is expected of him just to survive. And in our goal of wanting to be free from the circumstance that we are in, we drive ourselves to the extremes, as Aron (played by James Franco) freed his arm by cutting it using a dull pocket knife.
127 Hours is an extraordinary film that leads people to contemplate with their lives emotionally and physically as to what extent can they do to survive in this world.
Released in 2006, Rescue Dawn was set during the Vietnam War, where it talks about a real-life story of a German-American pilot named Dieter Dengler and how he survived as a prisoner in the war. The movie portrayed the life of prisoners-of-war as they went through starvation, extreme torture, and fear that the guards will kill them anytime soon. And as they found their way to escape, nothing but chaos and a dangerous jungle welcomed them.
When you watch Captain Phillips, one of the questions that will resonate in your head is: What would you do?
This film is inspired by the events that have taken place during the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking. In the hijacking, a captain of a cargo ship was taken into hostage in the Indian Ocean by pirates from the coast of Somalia. Captain Phillips also highlights the emerging security issues of pirates with the trade vessels that go inside their region.
In the movie, negotiators were struggling to get Captain Richards Phillips out of the hands of the Somalian pirates, as they are very persistent and agitated with the current situation around them.
Imagine a perfect scuba diving holiday with your partner, and then the boat that took you to the waters accidentally left you in the middle of the ocean. And then you realize sharks are swimming around you. Yes, it is going to be difficult for you to survive.
And that is what this 2003-released film, Open Water, is all about. It portrays the real-life story of an American couple who went to Australia for their honeymoon and was left in shark-infested waters.
The movie, Everest, is based on the story of eight climbers who died as a blizzard hit them in 1996 while they are descending from the summit of Mount Everest. The film showed the great danger one would face as they climb up the Mount Everest, and that even with their climbing expertise, weather patterns and blizzards may interfere and create a hazardous expedition.
The Way Back
If you are going to make a list of all the great survival films of all time, The Way Back must be included in your list. Set in the time of World War II, it is a film that sparks tension to the viewers, as it narrates the story of Polish prisoners-of-war and their escape from a Soviet Gulag, which means walking around 4,000 miles.
Picture yourself walking in Siberia, where you are greeted with the cold breeze of the place that can freeze you to death. The movie’s story is set in a freezing cold environment that leads to the Mongolian desert. This film narrates the hazards of going into two extreme environments all at once, where adaptation and instinct are necessary for you to survive.
In this 1997 movie, the story follows the story of three men whose plane crashes in an area in Alaska as they are in search of a particular person in the bear-infested country. Unfortunately, a Kodiak bear found their trail and followed them. And at night, the bear attacks to get a snack.
For them to survive, the men looked for ways to outwit the bear and kill him.
Inspired by the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission, this movie takes place in space. What makes it more interesting is the fact that you need to step up your game and improvise your plans when the application of average physics is not enough. When things go wrong, you can actually say you are doomed.
In this film, NASA technical specialists were involved in making sure that everything about the story is followed correctly and accurately.
In a typical survival movie, you would see people trying to cope up with the lack of food and water and the extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions. But in this film, you would see how the characters cling to life as the most crucial need is deprived: oxygen.
This classic film starring Tom Hanks portrays the story of a time-obsessed executive named Chuck Noland that was stranded in a deserted island when his plane crashed in the ocean. Having a little to no survival skills, Noland was forced to learn how to fish, split coconuts, build fires, and utilize the FedEx boxes that were with him.
If you are into dark movies, The Road might be something you would want to consider watching. A story of a journey of a father and son across a post-apocalyptic America, The Road is a movie of survival where the characters are in their search of a hospitable environment where they can live safely and securely.
Touching the Void
If you are looking forward to watching a relaxing documentary, Touching the Void would kill your anticipation as this documentary will make you feel like you are jumping on a cliff. This is not the typical documentary on how people made fires or how they were able to set a trap for fishes. Touching the Void is a narration of the dangerous adventure of Simpson and Yates as they were heading to Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in the year 1985.
Aside from the nerve-wracking journey as told by these two experienced mountaineers, Touching the Void conveys a real experience of surviving amidst severe injuries, thirst, and hunger in an extremely harsh environment. While you fear for the safety of the mountaineers, the documentary also showcases the menacing beauty of the mountain ranges, the struggles of the climbing survivalists, and the dangerous glacial crevices that leave your heart beating erratically.
Against the Sun
Based on the real life story of the US Navy Pilots in the World War II who had been stranded in the middle of the sea after their bomber plunged into the South Pacific. The majority of the scenes had taken place in a small liferaft in the middle of the ocean. Against the Sun shows how the survivors have managed starvation, dehydration, and sharks.
We hope you enjoyed the list of best movies about survival. Whatever movie you choose to watch we know you will enjoy. If you are a survival/prepping enthusiast and want our Ultimate Guide To Prepping Ebook, you can download a free copy here. Thanks!