Best Movies About Survival

Updated
Best Movies About Survival

So many directors have reported on Best Movies About Survival. We gathered 25 of the top ones.

The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Roman Polanski, starring Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox
Rated R

The Pianist is a 2002 biographical war drama directed by Roman Polanski and based on the autobiography of the same name by Polish composer and Holocaust survivor Władysław Szpilman. The film tells the story of Szpilman's struggle to survive the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. The story follows Szpilman as he is separated from his family, struggles to make a living, and ultimately finds refuge in the ruins of the city. Ultimately, he is saved by a German officer who discovers his hidden talent as a pianist. The film stars Adrien Brody in the lead role and features a powerful score composed by Academy Award-winner Wojciech Kilar. It won the Palme d'Or award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
Rated R

12 Years a Slave (2013) is a historical drama directed by Steve McQueen that tells the story of a free African-American man, Solomon Northup, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the mid-1800s. After enduring years of cruelty and abuse, Solomon eventually finds freedom and dignity again. The film was praised for its realistic portrayal of the brutality of slavery, and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon, Michael Fassbender as the cruel plantation owner Edwin Epps, and Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey, a fellow slave with whom Epps is infatuated. Other cast members include Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and Paul Giamatti. The story is based on Northup's 1853 memoir of the same name.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden
Rated R

Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical adventure drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Sean Penn. It is an adaptation of Jon Krakauer's 1996 non-fiction book of the same name, based on the travels of Christopher McCandless across North America and his life spent in the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s. The film tells the story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a recent college graduate who abandons his possessions, gives his entire savings account to charity, and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. The film documents McCandless' journey, his struggles and his ultimate death in Alaska in August 1992. At its core, the film highlights the importance of living life to its fullest and embracing the beauty of the wilderness.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From George Miller, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz
Rated R

Mad Max: Fury Road is an action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller set in a desert wasteland where the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules over a community of survivors with an iron fist. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is recruited by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to help her escape from Joe and his warlords. Together with an unlikely group of allies, they battle their way across the desert on a madcap mission to find the fabled "Green Place". Along the way, they must evade Joe's forces and battle dangerous obstacles as they make their way to freedom. The movie is a thrilling non-stop thrill ride that perfectly captures the spirit of the original Mad Max franchise.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer
Rated R

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 World War II drama directed by Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield as the conscientious objector and Medal of Honor recipient, Desmond Doss. The film follows Doss, a devout Seventh-day Adventist who refuses to carry or use a weapon due to his religious beliefs. Despite this, he enlists in the US Army and is assigned to the brutal Battle of Okinawa in the Pacific Theater. After surviving physical and mental challenges due to his refusal to pick up a gun, Doss leads his platoon to victory against overwhelming odds. Through his courage, Doss earns the respect of his fellow soldiers and is ultimately given the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Room (2015)

Room
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Lenny Abrahamson, starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson
Rated R

Room is a 2015 drama directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue, based on her 2010 novel of the same name. It stars Brie Larson as Ma, a young woman who has been abducted and held captive in a small room with her five-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Trapped in the room since Jack's birth, Ma has created a world for him filled with love and imagination, shielding him from the horrors of their captivity. However, when Ma realizes that their only chance of escape lies in risking both their lives, she must decide whether to stay and protect Jack or take the risk and set them both free. Room is an emotionally powerful, thought-provoking film that explores the enduring bond between a mother and her child and the strength of the human spirit.

The Martian (2015)

The Martian
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara
Rated PG-13

The Martian is a science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and released in 2015. It tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who is accidentally left behind on Mars after a powerful storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet. Alone on the hostile landscape of Mars, Watney must find a way to survive and contact Earth for help. With a limited supply of food and shelter, Watney uses his ingenuity and scientific knowledge to stay alive. He grows his own food, repairs his damaged habitat, and bravely faces whatever the Red Planet throws at him. Back on Earth, NASA scientists and engineers work tirelessly to bring Watney home. With the world watching, the remarkable mission to save an astronaut stranded on Mars becomes an incredible human story of resilience and courage.

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alejandro G. Iñárritu, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson
Rated R

The Revenant is a 2015 American survival thriller directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and based on the novel of the same name by Michael Punke. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who is mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. After surviving his injuries, Glass goes on a relentless quest to take revenge on those who betrayed him. Along the way, he must battle the elements, hostile Native Americans, and the forces of nature. With stunning visuals, intense action, and a powerful story of survival and revenge, The Revenant is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of the 21st century.

Lion (2016)

Lion
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Garth Davis, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar
Rated PG-13

Lion is a 2016 drama film directed by Garth Davis and written by Luke Davies. The film stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, and Sunny Pawar. Lion tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, a five-year-old Indian boy who gets separated from his family and ends up thousands of miles away in Calcutta. With the help of an Australian couple, Saroo is adopted and raised in Tasmania. 25 years later, Saroo decides to use Google Earth to try and find his long-lost family and hometown. The film follows Saroo's journey as he searches for his family and identity, and explores themes of family, identity, home, and belonging. It also highlights the power of technology and how it can be used to help reunite families in ways that were not possible before. Lion won numerous awards, including two BAFTA Awards, two AACTA Awards, and an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Touching the Void (2003)

Touching the Void
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Kevin Macdonald, starring Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron
Rated R

Touching the Void is a 2003 British adventure documentary film directed by Kevin Macdonald. It tells the true story of two mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who attempted to climb the remote Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. After summiting the mountain, they encountered a series of disasters that threatened to take their lives. As Yates attempted to lower Simpson down a steep crevasse, Simpson was swept away and injured. Yates, believing Simpson to be dead, cut the rope and attempted to begin his own descent. In a miraculous effort, Simpson crawled out of the crevasse and, with a broken leg, began his three-day journey back to base camp. The film is based on Simpson's book of the same name, and uses a combination of reenactments, interviews, and archival footage to tell their harrowing story.

Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Ang Lee, starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu
Rated PG

Life of Pi is an epic adventure story about a young man named Pi who, after a shipwreck, is forced to survive in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Along his journey, Pi struggles to understand the forces of nature, faith, and his own identity. As he navigates the high seas, Pi discovers that the most powerful elements of life come from within. With stunning visuals, breathtaking action sequences, and a spiritual journey of self-discovery, Life of Pi is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alfonso Cuarón, starring Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine
Rated R

Children of Men follows the story of a dystopian future in 2027, where two decades of human infertility has left the world on the brink of collapse. Theo Faron, a former activist and bureaucrat living in England, is coerced by his ex-wife Julian Taylor into helping transport a miraculously pregnant woman to safety. In a world where all hope for the survival of the human race has been lost, Theo and Julian face overwhelming danger as they race against time to deliver the miracle of hope to a new generation. Along the way, the two characters are forced to confront their own inner demons and ultimately discover the power of love in the face of despair.

Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Lari White
Rated PG-13

"Cast Away" is a 2000 drama-adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. It tells the story of Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee whose plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean and strands him on a deserted island. The film follows Chuck’s journey of survival and eventual return to civilization. After surviving the crash, he spends four years on the island, learning to survive and ultimately, to become a better person. He discovers the power of friendship and the importance of faith and hope in the face of adversity. He eventually builds a makeshift raft and navigates his way back to civilization, where he reunites with his loved ones. The film is a powerful story of resilience and determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

Apocalypto (2006)

Apocalypto
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Mel Gibson, starring Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Max Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood
Rated R

Apocalypto is a 2006 action-adventure film written and directed by Mel Gibson. Set in the Yucatán Peninsula during the decline of the Maya civilization, the film tells the story of a young man named Jaguar Paw and his desperate attempt to save his family from the invading forces of a rival tribe. The film follows Jaguar Paw as he is captured and brought to their leader for sacrifice and his subsequent escape attempt. Along the way, he must battle a series of obstacles in order to reunite with his family. The film also explores themes of civilization and its effects on the environment, as well as the consequences of unchecked power and aggression.

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Christopher Nolan, starring Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Rated PG-13

Dunkirk is a 2017 war film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. It stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, and Kenneth Branagh. The film tells the story of the evacuation of British, French, and Belgian troops from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France during World War II, from May 26 to June 4, 1940. During the evacuation, the soldiers must battle an incessant German aerial bombardment, as well as treacherous conditions, in order to make it off the beach alive. The film intercuts between three perspectives: a group of young British soldiers trying to survive on land, a British Naval Commander trying to mount a desperate rescue mission, and a group of civilian sailors attempting the same. With the combination of intense action and nail-biting suspense, Dunkirk is a powerful and emotionally charged look at one of the greatest military operations in history.

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Paul Greengrass, starring Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener
Rated PG-13

Captain Phillips is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks. The film tells the true story of Richard Phillips, a cargo ship captain who is taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009. The pirates, led by Abduwali Muse, board the Maersk Alabama and take control of the ship. Captain Phillips goes to extreme lengths to protect his crew, while the pirates are determined to hold him hostage in exchange for a ransom. A Navy SEAL team is dispatched to rescue Captain Phillips and the crew, leading to a tense and chaotic confrontation. In the end, Captain Phillips is rescued and the pirates are subdued. The film offers an action-packed and suspenseful look into the harrowing ordeal of the Maersk Alabama crew and the courage of their captain.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The Motorcycle Diaries
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Walter Salles, starring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán
Rated R

The Motorcycle Diaries is a 2004 biopic of the journey and written memoir of 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara. The film follows the young Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado as they travel across South America on a motorcycle, exploring the people and cultures of the countries they visit. Along the way, the pair experience a series of adventures, come face-to-face with injustice, and ultimately discover a newfound understanding of their purpose in life. The Motorcycle Diaries is an inspiring and emotional journey that ultimately serves as an origin story of the revolutionary leader Che Guevara.

Grizzly Man (2005)

Grizzly Man
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Werner Herzog, starring Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter
Rated R

Grizzly Man, directed by Werner Herzog, follows the life and death of Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist and wildlife enthusiast who, for 13 consecutive summers, lived among the wild grizzly bears of Alaska's Katmai National Park. Through Treadwell's own video footage and the interviews of his family, friends and park rangers, Herzog paints a portrait of a man with a deep connection to nature, but who was ultimately unable to accept the boundaries of his own mortality. Ultimately, Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were killed by one of the bears they had become so enamoured with. Herzog uses his trademark style of humanizing the natural world to explore the very real dangers of Treadwell's lifestyle. At the same time, he serves as an advocate for Treadwell's passion for understanding and protecting the wild, and the film is ultimately a touching tribute to the power of nature and the human spirit.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Nuri Bilge Ceylan, starring Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan
Rated Not Rated

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a Turkish drama film, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, which follows a group of people on a long, late-night quest to find a dead body. The group consists of a doctor, a prosecutor, a police commissioner, and two policemen, who are accompanied by a suspect, Kenan, who is accused of murdering the body. The journey is fraught with conversations about Kenan's guilt, the morality of law enforcement and the meaning of life. Along the way, the men come to terms with the events of the night, and with their own inner demons. As the night progresses and the search for the body continues, the men come to realize the true meaning of justice and how it can be found in the most unexpected of places. Ultimately, Kenan's fate is decided, and the men are left to reflect on their own lives and the meaning of life.

Gravity (2013)

Gravity
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Alfonso Cuarón, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen
Rated PG-13

Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It follows the story of medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) who are on a space mission when they are struck by a shower of debris which destroys their space shuttle and leaves them adrift in space. The two must work together in order to survive and find a way back to Earth. As they battle the unforgiving environment of space, they must rely on each other to stay alive. The film is a thrilling journey with stunning visuals, as it follows the two characters’ struggle against the perils of space.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Rated R

Get Out is a 2017 horror/thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele. It follows the story of an African-American young man named Chris, who visits his white girlfriend's family estate to meet her parents, Dean and Missy. Chris quickly discovers that the family has a strange and sinister agenda for him, as they attempt to use hypnosis and rituals to take over his body and gain access to his memories. As his situation becomes increasingly dire, Chris must find a way to save himself and the other victims trapped within the family's grasp. In the end, the truth is uncovered and justice is served. Get Out is a tense and wickedly funny film that offers a powerful commentary on race relations in the United States.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov, starring Werner Herzog, Gennady Soloviev, Anatoly Blumei, Gennady Tiganov
Rated Not Rated

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a documentary film by directors Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov. It follows the lives of people living in the remote Siberian village of Bakhtia, located deep in the heart of the vast Taiga forest. The film follows the daily lives of a small group of hunters and fishermen as they brave harsh weather and hard work to survive in the hostile environment. The film portrays a unique way of life, with the inhabitants relying on traditional methods of hunting, trapping, and fishing to sustain themselves. The film also illustrates the bond between the inhabitants and their environment, as they depend on each other to survive. The film is a tribute to the resilience and determination of those living in the Siberian wilderness.

127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Danny Boyle, starring James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara, Sean Bott
Rated R

127 Hours is a 2010 biographical film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Simon Beaufoy. The film stars James Franco as Aron Ralston, a canyoneer who becomes trapped by a boulder in an isolated slot canyon in Blue John Canyon, southeastern Utah, in April 2003. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life and survives the ordeal by forcing himself to cut off his own arm. The film portrays Ralston's struggle to survive the accident, and his journey to self-discovery after his rescue. It is based on Ralston's memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place (2004). The film also stars Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara and Clémence Poésy. 127 Hours received critical acclaim and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Franco. It grossed over $60 million worldwide.

Only the Brave (2017)

Only the Brave
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Joseph Kosinski, starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly
Rated PG-13

Only the Brave is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski, and based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group of firefighters who fought an out-of-control wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona in 2013. The film stars Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly and Andie MacDowell. The story follows the Granite Mountain Hotshots, led by their leader Eric Marsh (Brolin) and his second-in-command, Brendan McDonough (Teller). They battle the Yarnell Hill Fire, the deadliest wildfire in Arizona history, and the events leading up to it. Through the struggles of the group, the film examines themes of brotherhood, sacrifice, and courage in the face of danger.

The Cave of the Yellow Dog (2005)

The Cave of the Yellow Dog
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Byambasuren Davaa, starring Batchuluun Urjindorj, Buyandulam Daramdadi, Nansal Batchuluun, Nansalmaa Batchuluun
Rated G

The Cave of the Yellow Dog is a 2005 Mongolian drama film directed and written by Byambasuren Davaa. The film tells the story of Nansal, a young girl from a nomadic Mongolian family, and her beloved dog, Yellow. After she finds a stray puppy and brings him home, her father insists that she find the owner and return him, but Nansal is determined to keep her beloved pet. Throughout the film, Nansal and Yellow must overcome the struggles of living in a nomadic environment, as well as the challenge of finding a way to remain together. Along the way, Nansal also learns a valuable lesson about the importance of family and responsibility.

 



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