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The Very Best Survival Movies 

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Originally by
Updated March 16, 2020 21.1k votes 3k voters 295.9k views 165 items

List Rules Movies must feature the struggle to survive in some way.

A list of the best survival movies. All of the best survival films have been included, but if you feel we somehow missed one, feel free to add it to the list yourself. Survival films, above all else, are about one thing: staying alive.

What are the top survival movies? Whether it be monsters, an apocalypse, or the Earth itself, survival films are all about trying to outlast whatever it is that's trying to kill you. Perseverance is key, so as one can guess, many of these films could even be described as "inspirational" (some in their own perverse way). Enjoy!
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Pallknowing1 added James Badge Dale, Balthazar Getty, Bob Peck

Released: 1990

Directed by: Harry Hook

Lord of the Flies is a 1990 American survival film adapted from the classic novel Lord of the Flies written by William Golding. It is the second film adaptation of the book, after Lord of the ...more
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willyboymcoy added Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Released: 2014

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a 2014 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Francis Lawrence. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence); having twice survived the ...more
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realsurvival1970 added Matt Damon

Released: 2015

Directed by: R. Scott

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more
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Kevin Costner, Jack Black, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1995

Directed by: Kevin Costner, Kevin Reynolds

Waterworld is a 1995 American post-apocalyptic science fiction action film directed by Kevin Reynolds and co-written by Peter Rader and David Twohy. It was based on Rader's original 1986 ...more
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Robert Redford, Tanya Tucker, Will Geer

Released: 1972

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 western film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford as the title character and Will Geer as "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp. The film has been said to ...more
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Charley Feldman added Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more
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BushWanker added Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Released: 2013

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts, and sees them stranded in ...more
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Charley Feldman added Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1972

Directed by: Irwin Allen, Ronald Neame

The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features ...more
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James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, and based on the 1964 novel The Flight of the Phoenix by Elleston Trevor. ...more
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StephenLee-Burman added Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Geraldine Chaplin

Released: 2012

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona

The Impossible is a 2012 drama film directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and written by Sergio G. Sánchez. It is based on the experience of María Belón and her family. The cast ...more
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Very Best Survival Movies
Ferry73 added Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

Released: 2002

Directed by: Danny Boyle

28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, ...more
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realsurvival1970 added Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Gabriel Macht

Released: 2001

Directed by: John Moore

Behind Enemy Lines is a 2001 action film directed by John Moore in his directorial debut, and starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. The film tells the story of Lieutenant Chris Burnett, an ...more
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Ferry73 added Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Released: 1979

Directed by: George Miller

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by ...more
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Charley Feldman added Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Keith David

Released: 2000

Directed by: David Twohy

Pitch Black is a 2000 science fiction horror film co-written and directed by David Twohy. The film stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Keith David. Dangerous man Richard B. ...more
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Charley Feldman added Nicholas Aaron, Brendan Mackey, Ollie Ryall

Released: 2003

Directed by: Kevin Macdonald

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 ...more
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Tropical Panther added Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum

Released: 2005

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

War of the Worlds is a 2005 American epic science fiction disaster film and a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh ...more
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Charley Feldman added Saul Stein, Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis

Released: 2003

Directed by: Chris Kentis

Open Water is a 2003 drama psychological horror film loosely based on the true story of an American couple, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who in 1998 went out with a scuba diving group, Outer Edge ...more
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Robert Redford

Released: 2013

Directed by: J. C. Chandor

All Is Lost is a 2013 survival drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor. The film stars Robert Redford as a man lost at sea. Redford is the only cast member, and the film has very few ...more
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Bootsdad added Kevin Costner, Tom Petty, Mary Stuart Masterson

Released: 1997

Directed by: Kevin Costner

The Postman is a 1997 American epic post-apocalyptic adventure film. It is directed by, produced by, and stars Kevin Costner, with the screenplay written by Eric Roth and Brian Helgeland, based ...more
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Charley Feldman added Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies

Released: 2006

Directed by: Werner Herzog

Rescue Dawn is a 2006 American drama film directed by Werner Herzog, based on an adapted screenplay written from his 1997 documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly. The film stars Christian ...more
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Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1994

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Speed is a 1994 American action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. A ...more
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Ferry73 added Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Gerard Butler

Released: 2002

Directed by: Rob Bowman

Reign of Fire is a 2002 post-apocalyptic action fantasy film directed by Rob Bowman and starring Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler. It takes place in the year 2020 in ...more
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wiabux added Michael Bublé, James Cromwell, Barry Pepper

Released: 2003

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith

The Snow Walker is a 2003 Canadian adventure film written and directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Barry Pepper. Based on the short story Walk Well, My Brother by Farley Mowat, the film ...more
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wiabux added Dan O'Herlihy, Jaime Fernández, José Chávez

Released: 1954

Directed by: Luis Buñuel

Robinson Crusoe is a 1954 Mexican film by director Luis Buñuel, based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Both English and Spanish versions were produced. Lead actor Dan ...more
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wiabux added Brooke Shields, William Daniels, Leo McKern

Released: 1980

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 American romantic adventure film directed by Randal Kleiser. The screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart was based on the novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. ...more