17 Best Survival Movies That You Should Watching Update 07/2024

Best Survival Movies

When we’re in survival mode, our instincts and inherent urge to survive kick in. Many times it’s a case of man vs. the wild, nature, or another human being. Regardless of the outcome of the feat, this reality works as a superb theatrical idea because it serves as an inspiration.

Films about survival can be either fictitious or based on actual events. Fear, despair, rage, love, and joy are all explored in these films, and that’s why they’re so memorable to audiences. They offer a glimpse of the most fundamental human virtues: courage, knowledge, and steadfastness.

These tales are based on first-person testimonies from numerous survivors or from a lone survivor. Survival movies, on the other hand, offer a fascinating and at times painful look at a person’s tenacity. In the following list, you will find 22 of the best survival films for men.

1. The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant (2015)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Hugh Glass is based on real events, as he is thrust into the center of an arduous battle to stay alive in icy conditions and with life-threatening injuries.

While on a trip, a bear attacked him from head to foot and left him in an almost fatal condition; a shattered leg, sliced skin, punctured and broken bones, and open sores. Glass is forced to make his way to safety on his belly. Two members of his expedition abandon him and one murders his son directly in front of him.

Anger and vengeance drive the frontiersman to venture over cold terrain in search of those responsible for the death of his son (Forrest Goodluck). Despite the severe physical torment his gravely damaged body is undergoing, Glass confronts the extreme weather and unknown threats in unexplored territory.

Maggots feast on the dead tissues of the father’s near-fatal injuries, allowing him to survive an infection brought on by his wounds. Both the French and the Native Americans fire on him, and he takes it all in stride.

With the help of nature, he battles hunger and hypothermia (he sleeps inside the hollowed carcass of a horse for warmth). Glass has a burning yearning for justice that drives him through the long, cold winter.

2. Into The Wild (2007)

Christopher McCandless (Emil Hirsch), a brilliant student and athlete, decides on a whim to walk across North America and live in the Alaskan wilderness after graduating from college. For the sake of others, he gives up all of his assets and cash to charitable causes As he travels, he encounters people who help him understand the purpose of his existence.

The film is based on Jon Krakauer’s biography of the same name. As depicted in the book, McCandless’s early ’90s adventures in Alaska’s wilderness are detailed.

As the character discovers and accepts the importance of family and friends in the search for happiness, Into the Wild is a survival film. When McCandless is alone on an abandoned bus, he discovers the sad truth that he will spend eternity in the same place.

3. In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

This adventure-drama film is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s non-fiction book of the same name, which deals with the aftermath of the 1820 drowning of the New England whaling ship Essex. It chronicles the horrific story of those who survived the disaster.

After a huge whale attacked and capsized their ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the crew men are fighting for their lives. The crew abandons the sinking Essex and heads back to shore in the surviving whaling boats with a meager supply of food and water.

Despite the crew’s best efforts, the whale refuses to let them go until it ultimately decides to give up. In the face of hunger, storms, despair, and panic, the men remain adrift in the ocean for days at a time.

Hopelessness sets in and the crew begins to question their morality as food and water are in short supply on board. Doing the unimaginable is their only option for survival.

Thomas Nickerson, the last surviving survivor, tells the story in his own words. It is 1850 and he tells Herman Melville about the horrors in an interview (whose novel Moby-Dick is largely inspired by the tragedy).

4. 127 Hours (2010)

Aron Ralston, a real-life canyoneer and sports fanatic, wrote the memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place. This is the story of how a boulder trapped him in an isolated canyon in Utah and how he escaped.

Ralston (James Franco) walks through a slot in Blue John Canyon while hiking in Canyonlands National Park in April 2003. He falls and knocks a boulder against the wall, which locks his right hand and wrist.

As a result, Ralston’s journey to survival has begun. In an effort to liberate his hand, he chisels away at rocks. When things get tough, he records videos of himself in order to keep him calm. In order to conserve water, he reuses it (you know what I mean). Ralston eventually frees himself, but only after a tough five days of struggle.

It is expected that someone who has spent 127 hours in a cave would not have the strength to climb out of the canyon on his own. A strong desire to live keeps Ralson climbing back up the mountain.

You may be asking how he got out of this predicament. The only thing I can say about his methods is that they were brutal and agonizing.

5. The Martian (2015)

The Martian (2015)

This sci-fi adventure picture is based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, which depicts the story of survival on a distant world. Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut on a mission to Mars, finds himself alone on the red planet after his colleagues mistakenly believe he has killed in a terrible storm.

If Watney is to survive, he must learn to adapt to his surroundings and use his circumstances to his advantage. To supplement his scant diet, the resourceful scientist quickly finds himself sowing seeds of vegetable life in the hostile planet’s barren soil. To go back to Earth, he utilizes all of his intelligence and knowledge to develop a way to send a signal.

In comparison to previous survival flicks, The Martian doesn’t have many twists and surprises to keep you guessing. As a result, the story is somewhat predictable.

The survivor’s ability to make light of his circumstance is what makes this movie so beautiful. The audience is invested in his desire to return to Earth because he continues to be amusing, fascinating, and appealing.

6. The Way Back (2010)

It is based partially on Sawomir Rawicz’s 1956 memoir, The Long Walk, which relates the life of a former POW. During World War II, he makes his way out of a Soviet Gulag and into freedom.

It’s a 4,000-mile trek on foot from the Gulag camp to Janusz Wieszczek (Jim Sturgess), a Polish army officer, and seven other captives that the film tells. Irena (Saoirse Ronan), a Polish orphan on her own adventure, meets them along the way.

The Way Back tells the narrative of a group of people who are forced to adapt to their surroundings in order to survive. An grueling and hard voyage takes viewers through Siberia’s brutal cold as well as Mongolia’s arid desert.

Their will to live in the face of a terrible environment is demonstrated in the film. They have to deal with subzero temperatures, dehydration, hunger, thirst, sandstorms, sunstroke, and blisters just to name a few of the challenges they face. It’s not easy to trust each other when you have doubts and suspicions about each other.

7. Lone Survivor (2013)

Since it depicts a soldier’s struggle to remain alive in hostile territory, Lone Survivor appeals to those who enjoy war films. Based on true events, the film tells the story of a SEAL team dispatched to war-torn Afghanistan, and is told from the perspective of a survivor.

Three members of the U.S. Special Forces team are on a mission to murder a high-ranking Taliban member: Mark Wahlberg’s Marcus Luttrell, Emili Hirsch’s Danny Dietz, and Taylor Kitsch’s Michael Murphy. When the squad finally made it to Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush region, they were ambushed.

Only Luttrell is able to escape with his life. In the face of overwhelming odds, he and the rest of the crew fought valiantly for their lives.

The film Lone Survivor portrays the realism of combat and the will of individuals to endure even in the face of insurmountable odds. An honest and terrible representation of war’s ramifications, as well as an emotional story about valor and heroism, is conveyed in this film.

8. Rescue Dawn (2006)

Rescue Dawn (2006)

It’s impossible for a man to survive in the forest, let alone one who has no prior knowledge of the area. To ensure his own survival in the Laotian jungle in 1966, German-American US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) will need to learn the ways of the jungle.

Man and nature are pitted against one other in this survival tale. It is based on the true account of Dengler’s imprisonment by the Vietcong during World War II. In one of the world’s most dangerous wildernesses, he has to combat both hot and freezing weather in order to survive.

Action and suspense take viewers on an amazing trip, but the hero’s flaws are not shown as they are in other survival films. He depicts Dengler as a man who feels no dread or despair, but rather a strong sense of self-restraint and an unshakable desire to live.

9. The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)

This is the most accurate representation of real-world survival there is. Having kids while being broke, homeless, and jobless is a reality that many people don’t consider until they’ve experienced it themselves.

In the film, a father’s love for his son and commitment to give him the finest care possible are depicted in an emotional and triumphant manner. It’s based on the true experience of Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, who was homeless while working at a well-known American stock brokerage firm.

To be a good parent for his son, he does this (Jaden Smith). Although they were forced to move from one shelter to another every day, Gardner never lost hope and remained optimistic. The movie is a great source of inspiration for dealing with difficult situations in one’s own life.

10. Everest (2015)

There are few better survival films than those based on actual events, and Everest is no exception. One party of climbers faces extreme cold while trying to stay alive on Mount Everest in this film, which was inspired by what happened on that mountain in 1996.

When two New Zealanders attempt to scale Mount Everest, the plot revolves around their efforts to stay alive while attempting to reach the summit. The gang faces an epic battle against nature as they make their final journey to the summit, which is met by a storm.

Frostbite and the consequences of frigid temperatures put them through their paces in a furious snow. A catastrophic conclusion ensues from their attempts to descend.

Commercial Everest trips, no matter how well-trained the guides are, can be dangerous because of the unpredictable nature of the weather.

11. The Grey (2011)

The Grey (2011)

The film is based on Ian Mackenzie Jeffers’ short tale, Ghost Walker, which tells the narrative of a party of oilmen trapped in Alaska when their plane is damaged by a storm. The soldiers face the threat of wolves and the very cold weather as they try to stay alive.

John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a natural leader among the survivors, and he quickly assumes the role of leader of the gang after displaying exceptional survival skills. Ottway is an accomplished hunter who is well-versed in wolf tactics. On the other hand, the men find themselves surrounded by the carnivorous mammals as they make their way to the woods for safety.

On an alien terrain, the film tells the classic prey vs. predator storyline. The grey wolves are accustomed to their surroundings, making the men vulnerable to their attack.

12. I Am Legend (2007)

A US Army virologist named Robert Neville (Will Smith) and his dog Samantha live in a post-Apocalyptic New York City that has been overrun by the undead. The plot revolves around him and his partner as they try to make the most of the city before it is completely destroyed.

The movie begins with a series of security checks and then moves on to the actual scavenge. We can observe the closeness between the two of them throughout the length of their relationship. Flashbacks allow us to see what has happened in the past.

Throughout the majority of the film, Neville and his dog take center stage. It’s only when they’ve had enough of the living. The two of them must now learn how to survive in the face of an onslaught of zombies.

13. Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away (2000)

This film about survival shows how adaptable humans can be, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s a perfect example of what a great survival film should be.

The plot revolves around systems engineer Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), who survives a plane accident on a deserted island. For years, he lived off the island and learnt to be content with hunting and cooking his own food.

He avoids all face-to-face contact at all costs. Wilson, the volleyball he nicknames Wilson, is his sole friend.

Robinson Crusoe is Noland in this film because of his will to live. In the end, he manages to get back to civilization, much like in the story of Robinson Crusoe.

14. All Is Lost (2013)

Robert Redford is the centerpiece of this engrossing drama about a man’s will to live in the face of extreme odds. In the middle of the Indian Ocean, he’s confronting nature’s fury, and the camera follows him.

Life raft survival is a challenge for Redford’s character as he battles hunger and thirst when stranded at sea. Though the circumstances are dire, he keeps focused on the task at hand: finding a means to live.

He is able to purify seawater with the help of his mariner’s instincts and inventiveness. His rescue is guided by the ocean currents he follows. In spite of the sharks and the relentless sun, he refuses to give up on his mission to live.

Unlike Cast Away, All Is Lost focuses on one man’s determination to survive. All that’s different is that there aren’t any spoken words because the focus is on how to survive at sea.

15. All Is Lost (2013)

All Is Lost (2013)

Featuring an all-star cast led by Robert Redford, this thrilling drama explores the virtues of tenacity, resolve, and guts in the face of extreme odds. In the Indian Ocean, it follows him as he fights against the elements.

Life raft survival is a challenge for Redford’s character as he battles hunger and thirst while stranded in a storm. Despite the horrible circumstances, he keeps focused on the task at hand, which is to come up with new strategies to survive.

He is able to purify seawater with the help of his mariner’s instincts and inventiveness. His rescue is guided by the ocean currents he follows. In spite of the sharks and the relentless sun, he refuses to give up on his mission to live.

Unlike Cast Away, All Is Lost focuses on one man’s determination to survive. All that’s different is that there aren’t any spoken words because the focus is on how to survive at sea.

16. The Road (2009)

The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which most of humanity has been wiped off. In a post-apocalyptic world, a father and son are left to fend for themselves in a war for survival.

Those who lack morality and are willing to do everything for survival are the ones that pose the greatest threat. Cannibals, robbers, and savage gangs pose a threat to the ailing father’s son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who must be protected at all costs. As they make their way into a more comfortable and safe environment, they must contend with hunger and freezing temperatures.

The film is based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. Although cannibalism is a key element in both the novel and film, the film leverages the father-son bond and their struggles to drive the tale forward.

17. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave tells the story of a slave’s struggle for life in the pre-Civil War United States. Film adaption of Solomon Northup’s memoir of the same name.

The film portrays the story of a New York State-born free African-American who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in New Orleans in 1853. No one thinks that Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man, and he is subjected to both physical and emotional abuse.

To keep his identity secret, he works as a cotton farmer. In order to avoid being discovered, he adopts a false identity and pretends to be illiterate.

Northup is a survivor of starvation, malnourishment, and physical torture. Although he faced many hardships, he never lost his sense of self and never lost hope for freedom. A accidental encounter with a Canadian anti-slavery activist (Brad Pitt) has a profound effect on his life.