A survival movie is a film genre that focuses on a character or group of characters struggling to survive in a difficult situation such as an accident, a natural disaster, or a dangerous environment. These movies often revolve around the protagonists’ battle to protect themselves and others, while using their resourcefulness and wit to survive their predicaments. Survival movies can bring out a range of emotions in viewers — from suspense and horror to excitement and empathy. Here are 10 noteworthy survival movies that have left an impression on audiences.
1. Cast Away (2000)
Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis team up in this story of a FedEx executive stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific after a plane crash. The movie follows his journey of physical and mental survival as he learns to cope with being alone. The majority of the award-winning film was shot on a lush tropical island, making viewers feel like they were right there with him.
2. Alive (1993)
This drama follows a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashes in the Andes. Stranded in the remote mountains, the survivors resort to desperate measures for survival as they are forced to wait for rescue. The film follows the struggle to survive for 72 days in the unforgiving conditions and how the group’s strong will and camaraderie kept them going in their darkest hours.
3. The Revenant (2015)
The Revenant is an inspiring story of survival set in the Apache wilderness. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a fur trapper who must outwit his rivals and survive the wilderness to return home to his family. He must endure the hostile climate and fierce wild animals to make it back alive.
4. 127 Hours (2010)
127 Hours follows Aron Ralston, a mountaineer played by James Franco, who is trapped in a crevasse in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah. With no help, Ralston lies trapped between two rocks with nothing but his own motivation to save himself. The movie depicts his struggle to survive as he begins to lose all hope.
5. Into The Wild (2007)
This biographical drama follows the real-life adventure of Christopher McCandles, a young man who left the city and a troubled family life to pursue an odyssey in the wilderness of Alaska. The movie chronicles his long and ultimately tragic journey as he struggles to survive the harsh climate and unforgiving landscape of the wilderness.
6. The Shallows (2016)
The Shallows is a thrilling survival story set in Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico. It follows a young surfer, played by Blake Lively, who gets more than she bargained for when she is threatened and injured by a great white shark. With no way to swim to shore, the movie chronicles her struggle to escape the beast and make it back alive.
7. The Grey (2012)
This movie follows a group of oil workers whose plane crashes in remote Alaska. As they survive the cold with the few supplies they can salvage, the workers soon discover they are being hunted by a pack of wild wolves. The movie features a gripping performance by Liam Neeson as one of the survivors and chronicles their fight for survival in a hostile environment.
8. All is Lost (2013)
Robert Redford stars in this drama as a man who is stranded in the Indian Ocean after his yacht is damaged in a collision with a floating container. The movie follows his journey to survive in a vast, seemingly empty ocean with no help in sight.
9. Life of Pi (2012)
A young Indian man is shipwrecked in the South Pacific and struggles to survive with only a Bengal tiger for company. Ang Lee’s acclaimed movie visuals add to the compelling story as Pi embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and faith.
10. Gravity (2013)
Gravity follows a medical engineer and astronaut as they battle to survive in the cold vacuum of space when their mission to repair a satellite goes wrong. The movie showcases jaw-dropping visuals as the two fight to survive in the hostile environment and make it home.