Entertainment

The Very Best Survival Movies

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!
Photo:
list ordered by
  • Cast Away
    1
    Obsessively punctual FedEx executive Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is en route to an assignment in Malaysia when his plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean during a storm. The sole survivor of the flight, ...more
  • Apollo 13
    2
    This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) find everything going according ...more
  • The Edge
    3
    The plane carrying wealthy Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) crashes down in the Alaskan wilderness. Together with the two other passengers, photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin) and assistant ...more
  • Alive
    4
    Stranded after a plane crash in the Andes mountains, individual members of Uruguay's rugby team respond differently. Group leader Nando (Ethan Hawke) tries to keep everyone's spirits up; medical ...more
  • Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other ...more
  • The Road
    6
    America is a grim, gray shadow of itself after a catastrophe. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) wander through this post-apocalyptic world, trying to keep the dream of ...more
  • Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching ...more
  • In 2005 Afghanistan, Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matthew "Axe" Axelson (Ben Foster) deploy on a mission of surveillance ...more
  • After climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is largely ignored by U.N. officials when presenting his environmental concerns, his research proves true when an enormous "superstorm" develops, setting ...more
  • Aliens
    10
    After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl ...more
  • Alien
    11
    In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The ...more
  • Papillon
    12
    Convicted murderer Henri Charriere (Steve McQueen), known as "Papillon" for his butterfly chest tattoo, is transported to French Guiana to serve his sentence in a work camp. Determined to escape, ...more
  • Four city-dwelling friends (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) decide to get away from their jobs, wives and kids for a week of canoeing in rural Georgia. When the men arrive, they are ...more
  • Predator
    14
    Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes ...more
  • A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research lab. When London bike courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma a month ...more
  • Defiance
    16
    In 1941, Nazi soldiers are slaughtering Eastern European Jews by the thousands. Three brothers, Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Asael (Jamie Bell), manage to escape and take refuge in ...more
  • A Navy pilot (Owen Wilson) is shot down over enemy territory, and struggles to survive the relentless pursuit of a ruthless secret police enforcer, a deadly tracker, and countless hostile troops. ...more
  • 127 Hours
    18
    While exploring a remote canyon in Utah, mountaineer and adventurer Aron Ralston (James Franco) becomes trapped when a boulder falls on his arm. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life and ...more
  • Denounced by his wife as a possible spy in 1939, Janusz (Jim Sturgess) finds himself in a remote Siberian labor camp. Faced with brutal conditions inside and out, Janusz is determined to escape. A ...more
  • 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)
  • Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working day, pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the capricious forces of nature. ...more
  • Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn't ...more
  • A Mexican-American War veteran, Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford), heads to the mountains to live in isolation. Woefully unequipped for the task at hand, Johnson is fortunate to come across a ...more
  • In this adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945," Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), a Polish Jewish radio station ...more
  • En route from New York City to Greece on New Year's Eve, majestic passenger ship the S.S. Poseidon is overtaken by a tidal wave. With the captain (Leslie Nielsen) dead, surviving passengers, ...more