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The Very Best Survival Movies

Updated January 6, 2021 18.5k votes 3.2k voters 300.0k views168 items

List RulesMovies 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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    Cast Away

    Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt
    Cast Away is a 2000 American adventure drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and...  more

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    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard
    Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars...  more

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    Saving Private Ryan

    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon
    Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film directed by Steven Spielberg. Set...  more

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    Alive

    John Malkovich, Ethan Hawke
    Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based upon Piers Paul Read's 1974...  more

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    The Edge

    Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins
    The Edge is a 1997 American survival drama film directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Anthony...  more
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    I Am Legend

    Will Smith, Emma Thompson
    I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by...  more

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    The Road

    Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall
    The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a...  more

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    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton
    Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James...  more

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    Lone Survivor

    Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana
    Lone Survivor is a 2013 American film written and directed by Peter Berg, and starring Mark...  more

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    The Day After Tomorrow

    Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal
    The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed,...  more

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    127 Hours

    James Franco, Kate Mara
    127 Hours is a 2010 British-American biographical survival drama film directed, co-written and...  more

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    The Perfect Storm

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg
    The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang...  more

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    Into the Wild

    Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn
    Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama survival film written and directed by Sean...  more

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    Deliverance

    Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight
    Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman,...  more

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    Papillon

    Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen
    Papillon is a 1973 prison film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, based on the best-selling...  more

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    The Grey

    Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney
    The Grey is a 2011 American survival thriller co-written, produced and directed by Joe...  more

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    The Revenant

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
    In the 19th century, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a fur trapper, is mauled by a bear while hunting. His companions (Hardy, Poulter, and Gleeson) rob him and leave him to die, but he survives and sets out to get revenge on the men who betrayed him. (Wikipedia)

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    The Book of Eli

    Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis
    The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by...  more

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    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston
    28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The...  more

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    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,...  more

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    The WAY BACK

    Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell
    The Way Back is a 2010 epic drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and...  more

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    Jeremiah Johnson

    Robert Redford, Tanya Tucker
    Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 western film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford...  more

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    First Blood

    Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy
    First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted...  more

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    Apocalypto

    Raoul Trujillo, Gerardo Taracena
    Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson. It was...  more

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    Behind Enemy Lines

    Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman
    Behind Enemy Lines is a 2001 action film directed by John Moore in his directorial debut, and...  more

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