island survival movie

The 5 Best Survival Movies You Need to Watch Now

Got survival on the brain? Check out the 5 best survival movies you need to watch now to get you inspired and ready to take on any survival challenge!

The following 5 films aren’t just entertainment, they’re downright inspirational! Some of the films are based on true stories, like the couple who got left behind by their boat on a scuba diving trip. Others profile groups facing impossible odds on high altitude mountain peaks together.

Regardless of what kind of survival scenario the characters find themselves in, these films are bound to inspire us all to brush up on our survival skills. Do you know your list of edible plants? Or how to start a fire in damp or icy conditions? Grab a friend and some popcorn and get your survival engines going!

And don’t forget to be at least somewhat grateful you’re surviving in the comfort of your own home right now, instead of shark-infested oceans or sticky, malaria stricken tropical islands. It could be a lot worse – just look at what Tom Hanks has to endure in the first film on the list – Castaway!

best survival movies

Castaway

The first epic film on the list of the 5 best survival movies you need to watch now is Castaway was a box office hit in 2000, raking in over $424 million worldwide. Movie-goers flocked to theaters, dying to see how A-list American actor Tom Hanks survives on a deserted Fijian island. If you haven’t seen it yet, drop everything now and grab a box of tissues- you’ll for sure need them for the scene where a volleyball floats off into the horizon.

Tom Hanks plays a workaholic FedEx manager who takes a last-minute Christmas Eve flight to help packages make it to Malaysia. Along the way, a violent storm brings down his plane, and he ends up stranded on a totally deserted island for like, 5 years!

The audience watches as he fumbles his way through learning how to catch fish, finding fresh water, and keeping some degree of sanity as he adjusts to life in survival mode. Can you imagine how much lower the learning curve would have been if he had taken a survival course prior to his crash landing?

Best Survival Movies Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

The second film on this curated list of the 5 best survival movies you need to watch now is The Blue Lagoon. This classic tale of survival has been re-made twice since it’s original release in 1980 and is based on a British novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole written in 1908.

The plot involves two young children who become stranded alone on an island in the middle of the south Pacific ocean. Good fortune strands them alongside the ship’s grumpy, but good-hearted cook, who cares for them. He teaches them how to tie knots, build shelter, make fires, weather storms and catch fish. These formerly prim-and-proper private school children eventually go from Chopin-playing aristocratic darlings, to fully-functioning tropical island jungle people. 

It gets a little awkward for a while, as they become teenagers, eventually develop a romantic relationship, and have a baby together (but they didn’t have Tinder back on the island). Best to leave the room if you’re watching this part with your parents.

Overall, the movie is a great reminder of the importance in teaching yourself, as well as your children survival skills! Certain survival training courses are perfect for families to learn life-saving techniques and have a fun bonding experience simultaneously!

Everest Movie survival

Everest

This 2015 film is a Hollywood recreation of a true story depicting a group of amateur climbers attempting to summit Mount Everest. In real life, the team was led by New Zealander Rob Hall, founder of the commercial climbing company called Adventure Consultants .

Some members of the team were already experienced climbers, like Yasuko Namba, a Japanese woman who had already submitted 6 of the 7 most famous summits in the world. Yet experience proved worthless when the mountain became too unpredictable for even the most experienced and organized climbers; even Namba perished in the deadly storm that hit the group.

While some didn’t make it, others had to fight to survive in harsh conditions. At 8.848 kilometers, Everest’s peak temperatures are at best, a frigid high of -19 ° C. There is constant threat of frostbite, snow-blindness and being crushed by an avalanche. 

If you have your sights set on surviving something like this, your best bet on making it is preparing for worst-case scenarios ahead of time!

Best survival movies

The Way Back

Next up on the list of the 5 best survival movies you need to watch now is called The Way Back. This is the true story of seven prisoners who escape from a Siberian labour camp in 1940. But Siberia is a remote region, and the journey to freedom requires the escapees to travel 6,000 kilometres over the Siberian Taiga, the vast plains of Mongolia, and over the burning sands of the Gobi Desert, BY FOOT. Oh, and they also have to trek over the summits of the Himalayan mountains in Nepal.

Released in 2010, starring big-names actors such as Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Ed Harris, this is an epic depiction of the depth of human will to survive. The drive is so strong, these seven endure freezing temperatures, bloody feet and mosquito armies along their path. They don’t all survive, and emotional battles are just as great as the physical challenges they encounter along the way.

It certainly would have been easier to just stay at the labor camp, especially without knowing how to survive in all the different conditions they encounter. W hile it’s unlikely you’ll be stuck in a camp like this anytime soon, might as well learn some survival skills just in case!

Best survival movies

Open Water

This 2003 film may be low-budget, but it’s actually based on the true story of a couple who went scuba diving in Australia and got left behind by their boat. For two days, they were stranded in the middle of the ocean, no land or water vessels in sight. At least they had each other, right?

Things seem reasonably hopeful for a while. But pretty soon, problems start to arise. First they get stung by jellyfish. Then they spend a few hours unproductively fighting, and later get swarmed by sharks. Eventually, they tire themselves out and fall asleep, only to wake up to fatal shark-bite wounds.

I won’t give away the ending, but If you’re a scuba diver, it’s a definite reminder to always prepare for the worst. Keep an eye on your boat for instance, and prepare yourself for survival in even the most unlikely scenarios!

There are plenty of survival training courses options to choose from. You can take survival training course locally, or learn how to stay alive in places like the deserts of Morocco, the mountains of Kilimanjaro, and even the scandinavian wilderness of Norway. For more information about survival training, check out this Ultimate Guide!

“Alive”

Alive is last but not least on our list of the 5 best survival movies you need to watch now. This 1993 American survival film based on Piers Paul Read’s 1974 book  Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. The book and film both depict the tragic plane crash carrying the Uruguayan rugby team aboard Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972.

Filmed in the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia, the movie was narrated by John Malkovich and features a cast which includes Ethan Hawke. The movie begins with the boisterous rugby players and their relatives looking forward to an upcoming match in Chile.

Suddenly, the plane experiences turbulence and abruptly crashes into the mountainside. Seven passengers are immediately ejected from the plane and die. Antonio, the team captain, survives along with two medical students, and a few other injured people.

Now the remaining few must survive in the snowy Andes mountains, injured, cold and uncertain if help will ever come. At least they have wine and chocolate leftover! After making desperate choices, the injured group must figure out how to save themselves in this true story about life and death.