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The 35+ Best Drama Movies About Survival

Updated May 18, 2020 2.2k votes 285 voters 10.9k views46 items

Whether facing the apocalypse, zombies, or a vast open ocean, characters in the best survival drama movies all share an undying fight for life. The top survival films push lone characters to the limits as they face unimaginable threats. This is a list of great drama films about survival featuring everything from Life of Pi to The Road to Gladiator.

What films will you find on this list of the best survival dramas? Maybe you would vote the modern classic Life of Pi to the top. This Oscar-winning tale was as much a feast for the eyes as it was a thrilling story of survival. Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, is another good survival movie featuring one man, a lot of water, and an unlikely friend. Based on the real-life experiences of Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor is a gripping tale of war and the brotherhood of soldiers. Other exciting and sad films featured on this top survival movies list include 127 Hours, Gravity, and The Road.

Which survival movie do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

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  • 1
    Cast Away
    99
    17

    Cast Away

    Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt

    Released2000

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Cast Away is a 2000 American adventure drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    The Martian
    58
    22

    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

    The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Alive
    49
    16

    Alive

    John Malkovich, Ethan Hawke

    Released1993

    Directed byFrank Marshall

    Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based upon Piers Paul Read's 1974... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Gladiator
    53
    24

    Gladiator

    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2000

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Life of Pi
    61
    32

    Life of Pi

    Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan

    Released2012

    Directed byAng Lee

    Life of Pi is a 2012 American historical drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the novel of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    I Am Legend
    55
    30

    I Am Legend

    Will Smith, Emma Thompson

    Released2007

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

    I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    127 Hours
    45
    20

    127 Hours

    James Franco, Kate Mara

    Released2010

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    127 Hours is a 2010 British-American biographical survival drama film directed, co-written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Pianist
    37
    14

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Apocalypto
    44
    21

    Apocalypto

    Raoul Trujillo, Gerardo Taracena

    Released2006

    Directed byMel Gibson

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  • 10
    The Road
    41
    18

    The Road

    Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall

    Released2009

    Directed byJohn Hillcoat

    The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    28 Days Later
    40
    18

    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2002

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Alien
    40
    22

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 13
    The Revenant
    49
    33

    The Revenant

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2015

    Directed byAlejandro G. Iñárritu

    The Revenant is a 2015 American semi-biographical epic western film directed by Alejandro G.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    A Quiet Place
    30
    16

    A Quiet Place

    John Krasinski, Emily Blunt

    Released2018

    Directed byJohn Krasinski

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  • 15
    Open Water
    35
    22

    Open Water

    Saul Stein, Blanchard Ryan

    Released2003

    Directed byChris Kentis

    Open Water is a 2003 drama psychological horror film loosely based on the true story of an... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    The Grey
    39
    27

    The Grey

    Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney

    Released2011

    Directed byJoe Carnahan

    The Grey is a 2011 American survival thriller co-written, produced and directed by Joe... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
    24
    10

    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

    Sally Field, Michael J. Fox

    Released1993

    Directed byDuwayne Dunham

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  • 18
    Gravity
    41
    30

    Gravity

    Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

    Released2013

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Into the Wild
    44
    34

    Into the Wild

    Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn

    Released2007

    Directed bySean Penn

    Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama survival film written and directed by Sean... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Hanna
    24
    13

    Hanna

    Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana

    Released2011

    Directed byJoe Wright

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  • 21
    Deliverance
    29
    19

    Deliverance

    Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight

    Released1972

    Directed byJohn Boorman

    Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    The Education of Little Tree
    2
    4

    The Education of Little Tree

    James Cromwell, Graham Greene

    Released1997

    Directed byRichard Friedenberg

    The Education of Little Tree is a 1997 drama film directed by Richard Friedenberg.
  • 23
    Lone Survivor
    29
    20

    Lone Survivor

    Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana

    Released2013

    Directed byPeter Berg

    Lone Survivor is a 2013 American film written and directed by Peter Berg, and starring Mark... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Zombieland
    33
    25

    Zombieland

    Emma Stone, Amber Heard

    Released2009

    Directed byRuben Fleischer

    Zombieland is a 2009 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Children of Men
    31
    23

    Children of Men

    Julianne Moore, Clive Owen

    Released2006

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso... more on Wikipedia