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“Survival” can be as broad or as varied as you make it. A natural disaster, the aftermath of a human conflict, a war, the daily struggle for food, a stranded/drowned/marooned traveler or explorer – all of these can be “survival”. Technically, every movie about war is also a movie about survival. Any movie about abuse, loss, grief, poverty – it can also be a survival movie, even if “survival” doesn’t have a definition.
Films That Are True Stories
It is clear in a word genre, and we probably missed a movie or two or twenty-seven that could be on this list; instead, we chose what we thought were some of the best of the subgenres. These genres: adventure survival, disaster survival, survival horror, post-apocalyptic survival and real-life survival.
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They come in the form of documentaries, entertainment features, summer blockbusters and art house cinema. (Short films will probably fill every other list.)
We try to choose a film where “survival” is more narrowly defined. These are films where the main character’s life – not just their path or mental integrity – is at stake. Motivational concerns are basic, basic: will they live? We have chosen films where this tension exists as a surprise, where the main character faces an unconscious threat and either alone or with a small group of companions. Storming the coast with an army under fire while posing a threat to human life is not “survival” as we define it. Accepting a mission that sends only two soldiers into the unknown, but this game can become “survival”.
We’re still in favor of more modern movies, if only for easier access to streaming, and because we know we’re going to piss off some movie purists anyway – so why not make our own rules?
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These are the 21 best survival movies – or at least 21 survival movies that we really like and think you should check out.
Also launched the near-fatal Peruvian mountain climb performed by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. The film combines interviews from both mountaineers with real footage of other mountaineers attempting the same feat. It is a hunt for the human spirit and one of the truest stories of survival ever told on camera.
Follows Spanish travelers María Belón and Enrique Álvarez, who are on vacation with their two children in Thailand during the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Sometimes real life seems less true than the best fiction. .
True Stories (1986)
Is our first example of what you might call a “survival adventure” – where the stakes are high and where character attacks become even more predictable.
Pits its protagonist against all possible existential threats at the border. Animal. Snow storm. Other men. Also very satisfying.
Then there is “survival fear”. Although there is a lot to choose from in the genre where torture porn and serial killers are now classics, we think
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Is one of the best modern examples of the genre. It’s a simple concept executed to perfection and one of the best cinematic experiences in the last several years.
Although we hesitate to put something like Utøya on this list, because “best” films usually refer to films that are entertaining, we still feel that it is the strongest of its very tragic genre. Filmed in continuous motion and from the narrative perspective of the victims of the Utøya summer camp massacre, Utøya is a kind of film that simply expands on its humanity. It is the most terrifying and disturbing movie on this list.
The film is a biographical drama that retells Aron Ralston’s 2003 climbing accident, where he finds himself trapped under a rock.
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A man wakes up to find himself buried in a box with only a lighter and some random bag items. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s
The first war movie on this list doesn’t focus on soldiers, but on civilians. Based on a short story by Akiyuki Nosaka,
Follows a brother and sister who flee a house fire that kills their mother. It’s just one of the saddest movies you’ll ever see. But it’s worth watching. A clock is probably all you can control.
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Is not full of jokes – in fact it breaks it up even harder than many “survival films” – the film is still a knee-jerk. There is no genre beyond fart jokes.
Is perhaps the most prototypical survival film in survival film history. Man. An island. A mission. It also features one of the most back-to-reality moments in the film. We will never look at a buffet the same way again.
Represents a simple concept well executed. While making repairs to their spacecraft, two astronauts are hurtled into space by an asteroid. Every beat in this movie is intelligently directed – all for maximum survival thrills.
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, about a boy and a tiger tied to a boat. Part fantasy, part adventure epic, it’s one of the most unique movies on this list and one that won’t leave you in awe and in tears. Well, maybe a little sobbing.
Found astronaut (and botanist!) Mark Watney trapped on Mars and later tried to escape. Tonally similar to the film
Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, who dropped everything, often literally, to travel to Alaska and survive on his own, Into the Wild has become its own genre, at the same time a mocking description for the unexpected , sometimes a cautionary tale. But the film is not just straight-up heartbreak; beyond the ultimate disaster, and remains a source of inspiration.
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, a film that would be called “survival” if only Alex Honnold had not knowingly and willingly put himself in danger) tells about the rescue of a Thai soccer team that finds itself trapped in a network of holes after floods . The film is equally interesting.
Is only a war film in the background. The cinematography, however, is pure inspiration: two soldiers travel across No Man’s Land to deliver a timely message before souls are lost. While their job is to deliver a note, the real mission is to survive.
See a father and son trying to survive during a devastating event. He wasn’t much happier after that.
Reel Deep Films
, that world is bright and alive and full of people playing light-gun guitars in front of fast cars.
And helped revive the zombie genre in modern horror. Survival here is more than one’s life; it is a reason, a human being.
The outbreak of war sends a man into hiding and fearing for his life as the opposition seizes political power. He hides in a hole under his house as his wife keeps his survival a secret above. One of the most unique movies on this list and worth a watch for anyone with a Netflix account.
Horror Films Based On True Stories
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The Finest Hours: A Fantastic Old School Film That Does The True Story Justice
It is a subhead that means something and at the same time absolutely nothing. The word appears on the screen during the trailers and sometimes before the first shots of the film: “based on a true story.” Are there legal guidelines for the brand? Do developers have guidelines, rules to follow in order to beat demand on ads? Nix. Not that we can see.
Back in 2007, the LA Times ran a bit of a code of ethics, which included general principles of deviating from the facts only if it would improve the story, but even those guidelines allowed pretty much anything, and the article Note the power of targeting. deception that when the filmmakers completely avoided the “ideal trap” and delved into white history.
What makes these movies so difficult is that many of them are “based on a true story.” Are we talking about films that make this claim, or films that don’t need to make this claim because it’s obvious, or films that both don’t make this claim and yet somehow find themselves in the realm of fiction- truth?
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Biopics – films about historical figures – it is clear that they are all based on true stories, since their main characters lived and ate and chose at some point. However, including these films would make our list almost endless, because Hollywood loves a good biopic and because there are many of them. (Side note: Hollywood loves anything that smacks of plausibility and has been churning out true stories at a seemingly increasing rate over the past few decades).
Our solution: no biopics. In addition, we entered more modern with our list. We’ll still be a little funny. We’re going with the narrow category of “based on a true story.” That is: films where the producers go further than simply handling a book or something. These are
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