Hollywood never fails to surprise us with the wide range of different genres. One such genre is the Hollywood survival Films, where a character or a group is pitted against nature with limited resources to survive. Throughout the film, the only challenge is to stay alive against all the odds.
Whether it is getting stranded in a dark forest or a lone survivor of a plane crash in Alaska, these movies offer a spectacular experience filled with excitement, spine-chilling moments, emotional attachment, and most importantly a lot of experience in survival skills. 😊
Best Hollywood Survival Movies
To share the experience of watching these films and help you learn some survival skills, I have compiled a list of some of the best Hollywood survival films you must watch at least once in your lifetime.
Anna Castillo and Tamar Novas feature in Albert Pintó’s 2023 survival thriller Nowhere.
Although it is a Spanish film, we have to mention this film in our list of best Survival Movies of all Time. The main characters of the film are Mia and Nico, who decide to leave Spain because of a crisis that has resulted in a lack of essentials and a despotic government.
Mia ultimately escapes aboard a cargo ship, and her cargo is carried onto the ship, but a storm forces the containers to drop into the water. Uncertain of when or if assistance will arrive, Mia and her newborn baby, Noa, find themselves stuck in the ocean.
Cast Away (2000)
Tom Hanks has given some memorable films playing a variety of different characters in films like Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Cloud Atlas, Sully, and many others. However, the portrayal of Chuck Noland in Cast Away stands out from the rest as he single-handedly pulls the entire movie through. Stranded in an uncharted and uninhabited island, he uses the FedEx package items that wash up on the shore from a plane crash to survive on the island. Hanks’ performance in the film earned him a nomination for Best Actor in Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards.
The Martian (2015)
While most of the films listed here feature survival stories on Earth, the 2015 Sci-fi film The Martian tells the story of an Astronaut and his lone struggle on Mars after he is left behind by his crew. The Martian features Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut who spends 560 Sols (Martian Solar Day) and survives on the alien planet before he reunites with the crew. The film is based on the 2011 novel, The Martian. His portrayal of the titular character in the film won Damon a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
The Revenant (2015)
Based on the 2002 novel of the same name penned by Michael Punke, The Revenant is a 2015 epic Revisionist Western film featuring Leonardo Di Caprio in the lead. Leo’s portrayal of Hugh Glass in the film ends his Academy Awards draught after 5 nominations and some memorable performances. The film features the survival story of Hugh Glass who is left behind to die by his team after encountering severe injuries from a grizzly bear attack.
127 Hours (2010)
Based on the real-life incident of an avid mountaineer Aron Ralston, 127 Hours is a biographical survival film that takes us through Ralston’s 127 Hours struggle and survival. The film features James Franco as Aron Ralston who is introduced as an adrenaline junkie. When he goes hiking at Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, he loses his grip in one of the climbs through the canyon walls and falls only to knock a boulder that traps his hand and wrist against the wall. The rest of the film follows his struggle survival journey.
I Am Legend (2007)
Directed by Francis Lawrence, I am Legend is set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan. When a genetically engineered cure for cancer turns lethal taking the lives of 90% of the world’s population, it also turns 9% into vampiric, zombie-like cannibalistic mutants named Darkseekers. U.S. Army virologist LTC Robert Neville is among the 1% who is immune to the virus. Portrayed by Will Smith, he lives an isolated life surviving the Darkseekers while experimenting to find a cure for the virus.
Also Read: Best Zombie Survival Movies of all Time
Alive is a biographical survival drama film that tells the traumatic survival story of the Uruguay rugby team and flight crew members after the plane carrying them crashes into the Andes mountains in October 1972. Based on the book titled Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, this 1993 film is directed by Frank Marshall and features an ensemble cast of Ethan Hawke, Josh Hamilton, Vincent Spano, Bruce Ramsay, and many others. Nando Parrado, who is played by Ethan Hawke in the film, serves as the technical advisor for the film.
Into the Wild (2007)
Into the Wild tells the survival story of Christopher McCandless who lives an isolated life and adopts a life full of struggle, adventure, and survival. Directed by Sean Penn, the film is based on Jon Krakauer’s book of the same name. The film features Emile Hirsch as McCandless. Since its release, the film is adored by adventure travelers as an inspiration to explore nature and the wilderness.
Also Read: Best Hollywood films about Travelling
Life of Pi (2012)
Directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi is a 2012 epic fantasy adventure film. Based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a young Pi Patel and his survival after ship wreckage in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. The film earned accolades from critics worldwide for its cinematic brilliance, storytelling, and visual mastery. The film primarily stars Indian actors such as Irrfan Khan and Suraj Sharma portraying old and younger versions of Pi Patel respectively alongside Tabu, Adil Hussain as their parents.
Open Water (2003)
Loosely based on the real-life incident of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, Open Water narrates the horrifying story of a couple who are left behind by the crew of their boat when they go scuba diving. The horror begins when they find themselves stranded in shark-infested open waters. Directed by Chris Kentis, the film features Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis who play the stranded couple. This film is one of the Best films on Shark Attacks.
Rescue Dawn (2006)
Rescue Dawn is a war drama film narrating the real-life capture and escape of a German American pilot Dieter Dengler. Directed by Werner Herzog, the film features Christian Bale as the lead, while Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Pat Healy, and Toby Huss play supporting characters. The film is based on the adapted screenplay drafted from a 1997 documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Despite earning praises from the critics, the film did not do well at the box office.
Captain Phillips (2013)
Based on the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, Captain Phillips is a biographical thriller featuring Tom Hanks in the titular character. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film narrates the survival story of Captain Richard Phillips, a merchant mariner taken hostage by Somali pirates who board his container vessel MV Maersk Alabama. The main highlight of the film is the struggle of Captain Phillips amidst the torture and beating from the pirate group.
Also Read: Best Tom Hanks Movies of all Time
The Grey (2011)
The Grey is a 2011 survival film based on the short story “Ghost Walker” by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers. Featuring Liam Neeson in the lead, the film tells the story of a group of oilmen stuck in Alaska following a plane crash. If the harsh climate, lack of food and supplies were not enough to torture, the group now must protect themselves from the Canadian Grey Wolves to survive.
Eight Below (2006)
While all the above films tell the stories of the survival of humans, the next film on our list narrates the survival journey of Eight sled dogs. Eight Below is a 2006 survival drama based on the 1983 Japanese film Antarctica. Directed by Frank Marshall, the film follows the struggle and survival quest of eight sled dogs which are left behind because of an approaching storm. The rest of the film follows the journey of these dogs as they bond together and help each other survive the harsh climate and hunger.
Over to you!
While most of these movies take you through the struggles and tortures experienced by the characters fighting for their survival, they also teach an important life lesson to never give up and fight till the end.