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An Alfred Hitchcock classic, this survival movie takes place entirely on one single lifeboat. How to Buy Survival Movies on eBay Buying a survival movie title on eBay is simple when you use the keyword search bar.
The most frightening and awe inspiring tales of survival are the ones that really happened. For this list, we’ve decided to deal exclusively on films that are based on actual stories of people fighting to survive nature’s wrath.
Kicking off our list is the tale of a couple whose scuba diving vacation becomes a living nightmare.
Set in the 1960s, this true-to-life high seas adventure story recounts the tale of a ship that sinks during a senior school fieldtrip due to a sudden storm.
In this decidedly mainstream Hollywood picture, George Clooney stars as the captain of a commercial fishing boat that gets caught in an ultra-violent super storm. Set during World War II, this film is an adaptation of a popular non-fiction book that tells the tale of a group of prisoners that flees a Soviet labor camp across thousands of miles of scorching desert. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching children suffer, especially when they’re alone and searching for their parents.
Portraying German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, Christian Bale is captured while flying over Vietnam. This gripping docudrama details the exploits of two young climbers through interviews and re-enactments. Directed by Sean Penn, this film follows the two-year travels of a man named Christopher McCandless as he decides to forsake his privileged life in order to rough the wilderness. When a bulldog, a Golden Retriever and a cat are left at a ranch, they assume their owners have abandoned them and decide to embark on the long trek home. A family of five is stranded on an uncharted island when their ship is hijacked by pirates. Money and crazy never mix, as proven by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), an eccentric billionaire who decides it would be a swell idea to create a theme park populated with real, live dinosaurs. Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is the ideal FedEx employee, priding himself on his anal retentive adherence to strict schedules, but all that goes out the window when his plane crashes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and he washes up on an uninhabited island. Let's just say you go out for a hike one day, when – whoopsie-doodle -- you trip and fall down a crevasse, only to find your arm horribly trapped between a rock and a hard place.
Four friends decide to escape their boring work lives for a weekend of rafting in the remote Georgia wilderness, but they get more than fresh air and a tan when they find themselves lost in the backwoods, hunted by inbred maniacs. Even if you're some tough named "Dutch" -- an elite ex-military op whose handshake could pulverize a "sunnofabitch" -- leading a rescue mission through the jungles of Guatemala is no cake walk.
Alive tells the real-life story of a Uruguayan rugby team on a flight that crashed between Argentina and Chile in 1972. We’ve got Sandra Bullock free-floating in space and Robert Redford adrift in a sinking boat. It’s only just begun and this year’s Oscar race is already looking more like a Darwinian contest of the fittest as every brand of celebrity — from Sly Stallone to Chiwetel Ejiofor — is looking to beat extinction on the big screen.
For hardware-seeking actors and directors, the life-or-death move makes good professional sense: The Academy has a soft spot for grandiose survival epics. We like survival stories because by putting us in proximity to death, we naturally feel more alive — which, in this day and age of gadgets and digital devices — is becoming an almost abstract notion. Flesh and blood get lost in a sea of digits, pulling us farther away from what we truly are: mortal, flawed and yet, for a brief flicker of time, full of life.
No wonder moviemakers are pushing the existential envelope: Without wars, disease or immediate famine, we need a sudsy mug of mortality to put us back in our pathetic little place, a reminder of the simple miracle of being alive. A good survival movie can do just that, but finding the right balance of light and dark, divine comedy and human pathos, isn’t easy.
Alien (1979): Essentially a modern twist on the timeless shipwreck story, Sigourney Weaver stands front and centre as Ripley, who, believe it or not, survives one encounter after another with a hostile alien predator. Old Man and the Sea (1958): He strove for muscular prose, but Ernest Hemingway was always a little limp and dewy when it came to romanticizing death — no matter how many stoic macho heroes he threw in its sallow face. 127 Hours (2010): Before James Franco faced the apocalypse clutching his porn magazines in This Is the End, he played real-life survivor Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s breathless tale of desperation.
The Pianist (2002): When a can of pickles and a loaf of bread start to look like the most delicious meal under the sun, you know you’ve successfully entered an alternate universe — which is the only way to describe Roman Polanski’s world view. Dead Calm (1989): Back in the day when Nicole Kidman had kind eyes and Sam Neill was still considered an A-lister, Phillip Noyce hired them to play a happily married couple on a yacht.
Deliverance (1972): Plinky plink … goes that sinking feeling in John Boorman’s generation-defining classic about a group of macho male friends who decide to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip down a river that’s about to die. Life of Pi (2012): There’s no doubt this Ang Lee adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestseller is a survival story. Papillon (1973): Every survival story is a prison movie of one sort or another, but this Dalton Trumbo script (based on Henri Charriere’s bestseller) takes place in an actual prison. Some of the best survival movies ever made do so using only one main character in the one setting and keep viewers on the edge of their seat to the very end.


Not having told anyone of where or when he was going, Ralston realizes he, himself, must figure how to get out of the canyon alive.
An emotional and harrowing story, it details how a number of those on board survived in the mountains for more than two months, at times resorting to extreme measures.
The movie follows his journey over four long years and offers some very realistic visual cinematography. After one climber falls and shatters his leg, both climbers must make their way down to base camp. Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, it garnered critical acclaim and received nine Academy Award nominations.
It is a wonderful movie full of adventure and discovery and captivating for younger audiences. With only the clothes on their backs and a pistol to defend themselves, the two fight off attackers and search for food to survive their journey.
Once you find the title you want, choose the right format and region code and take note of whether it is a new or used item.
Based on true stories, these films showcase the desperate struggle to stay alive against impossible odds and the wrath of mother nature herself. Along the way, we share in their anxiety, troubles and drive for survival, and are continually compelled by the strength of the human spirit, and the terrifying sandstorm!
Centered on the story of a trio of mixed-race aboriginal sisters, we watch as they escape a native settlement in 1931, and then embark on a nine-week pilgrimage home. He has no food, no shelter, no trendy Canada Goose parka to keep him warm -- and he's also being stalked by wolves who think he's Puppy Chow.
They encounter rapids, angry bears, mountain lions, and a heartbreaking separation, but that doesn't stop them from coming together to rescue a little girl lost in the woods.
But it turns out dinosaurs cloned from millennia-old DNA are just as angry and hungry as the original ones, and they soon start treating park employees and visitors like walking Happy Meals. Chuck makes like Robinson Crusoe and becomes adept at building fires, constructing shelter and collecting food (along with Oscar nominations). There are the harsh natural elements to contend with, the threat of guerilla forces lurking in the bush, and a high chance of contracting a nasty case of the runs.
The plane, which was carrying 45 people, went down in the Andes Mountains, leaving the survivors to face harsh threats including sub-zero temperatures, a lack of medical supplies, avalanches and scarce food.
Spencer Tracy was nominated for best actor in Old Man and the Sea; Hanks earned a nod for his Wilson-obsessed Cast Away and Adrien Brody walked off with the bald statuette for his indelible portrayal of a Jewish pianist desperately eluding Nazis. You have to get the right character in just the right life-threatening situation for the mortal magic to work.
Now considered a classic, this Ridley Scott science-fiction thriller found the perfect balance between strength and vulnerability, heart and mind, as we watched Ripley use her intelligence and courage to overcome the dark force of grim annihilation. In Old Man and the Sea, Spencer Tracy pulls off what is essentially a single-hander as he plays an old Cuban fisherman who hauls in the biggest catch of his life, but gets pulled into open water during the chase — and is forced to watch his prize fish eaten by scavengers when he has no means of getting home. Though the self-amputation scene garnered a lot of ink during its release, the real tug of this survival epic lies in its unspoken appreciation of life itself.
A survivor of the Holocaust himself, Polanski brings unparalleled depth and context to this true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman — a concert pianist who survived the Warsaw ghettos by hiding, starving and befriending good people.
They make their big mistake by offering help to a stranded sailor (Billy Zane) who soon takes over their vessel and holds them hostage. The Cahulawassee River is being flooded for a dam project, and it’s taking an entire way of hillbilly life with it.
You may also remember a single shot of Sandra Bullock floating around in a space capsule in a fetal position.
Following the dependable shipwreck design, we get on a life boat with a young boy, a tiger and a host of other animals. Steve McQueen plays Papillon, a man sentenced to a remote island prison where men are never released. The top 10 survival movies include more recent award-winning titles as well as those dating back as far as 1944. A documentary-type survival movie, it utilizes interviews and reenactments to portray this harrowing experience. When Pi makes it out alive after a disaster at sea, he has to survive months on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. From storms at sea, to plane crashes and getting trapped, the challenges are absolutely daunting and nail biting. A former river guide, Gail's a lady who knows the land like the contents of her Academy Awards' cabinet.
It just goes to show you that not even a butt full of porcupine quills can't stop you if you have friendship on your side (not to mention the voice talents of Michael J.
It also turns out that dinosaurs can open doors (who knew?), making it harder to escape them.
He ends up stranded for four years with no one to talk but a volleyball emblazoned with his bloody handprint.


He cries for help, he vlogs, he chips at the rock with his pocket-tool, he vlogs some more.
The film taught us that sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to survive, even if that means eating the dude who sat next to you on a flight. So whether it’s death in the form of an alien with an expanding mandible, or a banjo-playing hillbilly, here’s a list of some notable movie showdowns with the Grim Reaper.
Ralston enjoyed being alive — we can feel his exuberance in every moment, even as the light begins to fade, and his chances of survival dim.
Brody conveys the suffering of an entire people with his performance, while Polanski ensures we understand it was all man-made insanity. With more heart-pounding suspense than most thrillers, Dead Calm keeps the life-death struggle in our face, but it also uses the self-sacrificing force of romantic love to give it emotional ballast, and make it a true standout in the genre.
Though it wasn’t really seen as an environmental statement when it was made, James Dickey’s script touches on the dynamic between man and the natural world — as represented by the rising waters, and incestuous offspring. This shot is a direct reference to Stanley Kubrick’s space masterpiece, 2001, in which we watch Dave (Keir Dullea) struggle to survive Hal — the onboard computer that is putting Dave’s survival at risk. The denouement is surreal, but the life-death struggle is always in the frame as our young hero is forced to face his own mortality, as represented by the gorgeous Bengal tiger who sees him as tomorrow’s dinner.
They cross a selection of movie sub-genres, including thriller, adventure, and documentary. Many of the top 10 survival movies feature award-winning directors, A-list actors, and settings that portray the harrowing storyline. She knows all the best fishing spots, all the best hot springs, all the best ways to avoid getting smashed against the rocks. And then, finally, he follows through with the one survival skill you never learned in Brownies: your arm is way easier to cut through than solid red-rock.
Boyle actually makes us weep with appreciation for all the small things that give life meaning, even as we’re watching him face the end. Tom Hanks holds us captive on a deserted island for the duration as he plays a FedEx employee who survives a plane crash and washes up on a tropical shore.
The muscular men (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds) do their best to resist the natural forces, but nature is always there to humble them anew.
It’s drawn as a man-versus-machine story, but Hal is really just an extension of our superego — forcing our astronaut to connect with a more primitive, life-appreciating state of being. With so many survival movies to choose from, it helps to know which have received critical acclaim and became box office hits.
If we've learned anything from outdoor adventure movies, it's that Hollywood stars are extraordinarily hearty.
She even knows the best ways to placate her whiny 10-year-old and city-slicker husband while they're adrift on their outdoor adventure. With a little gumption -- and much Disney whimsy -- the Swiss Family Robinson perseveres, surviving both the elements and (racially stereotyped) pirate invaders. Your guide to what you should never ever, ever do, even if your one goal in life is to tragically perish on the tundra.
Franco scored a 2010 Oscar nomination for his efforts, but lost to a stuttering Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.
Without Gilligan or the Professor, Hanks is left to retrace the evolutionary steps of man solo — from building a simple fire to dentistry with a figure skate.
Schaffner (Patton, Planet of the Apes) makes us starve alongside his central character and savour every cockroach along the way. Whether faced with threat of starvation, lethal predators -- or a lethal "Predator" -- they've got what it takes. Knowledge is what keeps Gail safe in the Idaho wilds -- and yet, she and her family are quick to trust a couple of guys they know nothing about (Kevin Bacon and John C. That they also managed to "imagineer" a new Disneyland attraction in the process is just gravy. Director Robert Zemeckis keeps us on the voyage because Hanks is the perfect Everyman, and watching him fight to stay alive and sane was better than any episode of Survivor because he never lost his moral centre. The only thing that makes life endurable is the fantasy of escape, and the freedom that comes when one overcomes our innate fear of the big finish. Reilly), seemingly fun-loving dudes who befriend her young son – and soon prove more dangerous than any "x-treme" sport. There's another dude in the jungle who's a born survivor, though -- one who's a blood-thirsty extra-terrestrial, a creature who hunts '80s action stars for sport, and sees the world a lot like your Microsoft Kinect does. He is the Predator -- and it'll take more than a few one-liners and Hollywood explosions for Dutch and his crew to make it out of the jungle alive.



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