There are hundreds if not thousands of movies about survival, but only a choice few are based on true events. The survival movies based on true stories can offer harrowing examples of people performing extraordinary feats in the most desperate of circumstances, but those films are few and far between. Survival films often depict what really happened to people whose life is told in a story that could be inspirational or end in disaster.
You may think a survival movie like Tom Hanks' Castaway would wind up on a list like this one, but that film was based on multiple survival accounts of people who survived that sort of situation instead of a single, true event. The strict criteria for this list means you'll find the best survival movies - if and only if they are based on true events! Real stories about people surviving or struggling to overcome obstacles offer an interesting and sometimes difficult viewing of struggle, perseverance, and the will to overcome... but not everyone survives and often, these movies end in ways you may not desire...
The Mercy is a 2017 British biographical drama film directed by James Marsh. Amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) attempts to circumnavigate the globe alone as his family awaits his return. ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis, Ken Stott
Directed by: James Marsh
Jungle is a 2017 Australian biographical survival drama film directed by Greg McLean. An adventurer (Daniel Radcliffe) joins a group during an expedition into the Bolivian jungle, only to find themselves in a dangerous situation. ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Yasmin Kassim, Joel Jackson, + more
Directed by: Greg McLean
Adrift is a 2018 American romance drama film directed by Baltasar Kormákur, based on a true story. When Tami (Shailene Woodley) and Richard (Sam Claflin) are hit by a storm while sailing, she must find the strength to save herself and the only man she has ever loved. ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Touching the Void is a 2003 documentary based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson about Simpson's and Simon Yates' disastrous and near fatal attempt to climb Siula Grande in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. Critically acclaimed, it was listed in the PBS' 100 "Greatest" Documentaries of All Time. The Guardian described it as "the most successful documentary in British cinema history". ...more on Wikipedia
Actors: Nicholas Aaron, Brendan Mackey, Ollie Ryall
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald