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The Very Best Survival Movies

Updated January 6, 2021 19.0k votes 3.1k voters 298.8k 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 Away1
    824
    167

    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
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  • Saving Private Ryan2
    359
    98

    Saving Private Ryan

    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

    Released1998

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film directed by Steven Spielberg. Set...  more
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  • Apollo 133
    324
    83

    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released1995

    Directed byRon Howard

    Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars...  more
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  • I Am Legend4
    332
    107

    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
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  • The Road5
    232
    67

    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
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  • Alive6
    309
    125

    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
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  • The Edge7
    250
    80

    The Edge

    Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1997

    Directed byLee Tamahori

    The Edge is a 1997 American survival drama film directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Anthony...  more
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  • Lone Survivor8
    197
    62

    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
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  • Aliens9
    186
    58

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James...  more
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  • The Day After Tomorrow10
    237
    75

    The Day After Tomorrow

    Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal

    Released2004

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed,...  more
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  • 127 Hours11
    386
    196

    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
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  • Into the Wild12
    280
    124

    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
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  • Deliverance13
    160
    57

    Deliverance

    Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight

    Released1972

    Directed byJohn Boorman

    Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman,...  more
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  • The Perfect Storm14
    216
    102

    The Perfect Storm

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2000

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang...  more
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  • The Grey15
    369
    190

    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
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  • The Revenant16
    230
    52

    The Revenant

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2015

    Directed byAlejandro González Iñárritu

    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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  • Papillon17
    127
    49

    Papillon

    Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen

    Released1973

    Directed byFranklin J. Schaffner

    Papillon is a 1973 prison film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, based on the best-selling...  more
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  • 28 Days Later18
    139
    44

    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
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  • The Book of Eli19
    299
    175

    The Book of Eli

    Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis

    Released2010

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

    The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by...  more
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  • First Blood20
    206
    132

    First Blood

    Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy

    Released1982

    Directed byTed Kotcheff

    First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted...  more
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  • The WAY BACK21
    144
    64

    The WAY BACK

    Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell

    Released2010

    Directed byP. Weir

    The Way Back is a 2010 epic drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and...  more
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  • Life of Pi22
    251
    136

    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
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  • Titanic23
    172
    72

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A...  more
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  • Mad Max 224
    149
    88

    Mad Max 2

    Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence

    Released1981

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The...  more
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  • Jeremiah Johnson25
    103
    44

    Jeremiah Johnson

    Robert Redford, Tanya Tucker

    Released1972

    Directed bySydney Pollack

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