10 Survival Movies List

Have you watched any survival movies lately? While films from Hollywood are often filled with garbage, I thought that I would list 10 survival movies for your interest.

I’m not saying that these are not hyped up or unrealistic in any way, however there may be some lessons learned for SHTF survival, possibly including what NOT to do!

I have watched all of these survival movies at one time or another (and lots more). The following list came to mind, all of them unique in their own way.

If you’re looking for some movie entertainment, you might watch any of these given the survival genre.

The Road

1. The Road (2009)

Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron

A post-apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father and his young son as they journey across a barren America that was destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm.

“The Road” DVD
(view on amzn)

The Book of ELI

2. The Book of Eli (2010)

Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman

Striding through a bleak and barren world Eli is headed west. But on the way, he passes devastation and squalor, and occasionally he must mete out some devastation of his own with a sharp blade. When he arrives in what passes for a town in this dust-and-ash future, the power-hungry owner of the town’s bar covets his one important possession.

“The Book Of Eli” DVD
(view on amzn)

The Edge

3. The Edge (1997)

Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin

A plane crash pits an intellectual billionaire against a self-satisfied fashion photographer in a brutal struggle for survival.

“The Edge” DVD
(amzn)

The Day After

4. The Day After (1983)

Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams

The countdown has begun! Against the real-life backdrop of the U.S. deployment of WMDs in Europe during the escalating Cold War, this “dramatically involving [and] agonizingly graphic film” (The Hollywood Reporter) about nuclear holocaust detonated a direct hit into the heartland of America.

“The Day After” DVD
(amzn)

Alive

5. Alive (1993)

John Malkovich, Sam Behrens

A team of tough rugby players survive a plane crash deep in the desolate, snow-covered Andes. Stranded there, they must overcome incredible odds to stay alive.

“Alive” DVD
(view on amzn)

Cast Away

6. Cast Away (2003)

Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt

A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island.

“Cast Away” DVD
(view on amzn)

I Am Legend

7. I Am Legend (2007)

Will Smith, Charlie Tahan

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

“I Am Legend” DVD
(amzn)

28 Days Later

8. 28 Days Later (2002)

Ray Panthaki, Lisa I’Anson

A virus is accidentally released from a British research facility. Those infected with the virus develop uncontrollable fits of killing rage. Twenty-eight days later, humanity is on the verge of extinction and a small group of survivors in London battle other survivors while avoiding the deadly virus.

“28 Days Later” DVD
(amzn)

All Is Lost

9. All Is Lost (2013)

Robert Redford

Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm.

“All Is Lost” DVD
(view on amzn)

Lone Survivor

10. Lone Survivor

Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch

Four Navy SEALs are on a covert mission to neutralize a high-level al-Qaeda operative. The four men must make an impossible moral decision in the mountains of Afghanistan that leads them into an enemy ambush. As they confront unthinkable odds, the SEALs must find reserves of strength and resilience to fight to the finish.

“Lone Survivor” DVD
(view on amzn)

More Survival Movies From Your Comments:

Jericho (TV series)
Jeremiah Johnson
Red Dawn (the original)
Contagion
Doctor Zhivago
Omega Man
Fear The Walking Dead (TV series)
The Revenant
The Walking Dead (TV series)
The Way Back
Alone In The Wilderness
Beyond The Reach
Carriers
Defiance
Enemy At The Gates
Gravity
Hidden: Fear Will Find You
Invasion (series)
Night of the Comet
Panic In Year Zero
Perfect Storm
Right At Your Door
Soylent Green
Testament
The Beast
The Day After Tomorrow
The Divide
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grey
The Impossible
The Martian
The Postman
The Snow Walker
The Stand
The Trigger Effect
A Cry In The Wild
The Wild Geese
It Comes At Night
Preservation
Here Alone
First Winter
The Blackout
Into The Forest
Aftermath
The Wave
Deadfall Trail
Z For Zachariah

What are some of your favorite survival movies?

List them below:

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98 Comments

  1. I prefer Omega Man over I am Legend. Screen adaption of Stephen King’s The Stand. The Night of the Comet was ok.
    Not sure if they count but, The Postman and Children of Men were good.

    1. Yes, Omega Man. Any movie with Charlton Heston in it is good. Or does that show my age?

  2. The movie that inspired me to run off to the mountains to work as a ranger and fire fighter in my younger years:

    Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford made by Sydney Pollock.

    Favorite line: “Now boy, You know how to skin griz?”

    1. Yes that was one of my favorites and still is. The Wild Geese was another great movie too.

    2. CaliRefugee – I don’t watch movies much. Jeremiah Johnson is the only one that I’ve seen that has been mentioned yet. My favorite line was when “Bear Claw” gets a grizzly to chase him into the cabin, bails out through a window leaving Jeremiah to deal with the bear, and laughs “skin that one Pilgrim, and I’ll go get you another one!”

      CD in Oklahoma

    3. CaliRefugee, that’s one of my all time favorite movies!
      Thanks for your reply about the rifle!I bet that fella appreciateD the rifle you got him.
      Man o man, took me days to look through all the posts since then. Missed yours the first time I went through. So many are posting now…:)
      Movies sure are not real life most of the time.
      They are entertaining and can get the creative juices flowing.
      I prefer books myself. The Stand,The Road and The Long Walk are better than the movies.
      I liked The Day After Tomorrow movie. I showed it to my Grandkids. They like that the main characters are kids thrown into a life or death survival scenario. ..

  3. An older classic that gives good insight into what can happen to a society when the socialists/communists take over – Doctor Zhivago
    How much has that country really recovered since the Russian Revolution? – I’m no expert but I hear the standard of living for many is not good.

    1. hermit us,

      I haven’t watched Dr Zhivago in years… I need to make some time to do that again.

      1. Yep, eye opening when Dr. comes home and several people have moved into his house free and clear. Can’t make them move either!

        1. Ladies
          So the wise half brother, the police man, tells them to get out of the city – very good advice.

  4. The Revenant! A brilliant,gripping survival thriller with Leo di Caprio. Very exciting and realistic i find!

    1. Intense beautifully filmed movie should get the Oscar for more grunts than a skin flick!!! LOL

    2. To bad it’s a poor remake of the 1971 movie, Man In the Wilderness, staring Richard Harris. If you’ve never seen it, it’s well worth your time.

  5. I would love to watch all of those, and more but my significant other wont, i love her but she prefers lala land when it comes to entertainment,,,
    Only light and fluffy stuff

    1. Nailbanger
      The movie recommended by CaliRefugee is about good dining, a cuddly bear, neighbors that want to get to know you better, detente, sewing skills, house building, … what is not fluffy about that :) :)

      1. Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson
        Perhaps she should not read the true story LOL!

      2. I figure ill get to live it soon enough
        Had coast guard helo flying lately, sorta odd, NOAA drone flys over every other day, i think they do stuff with UH. Early morning had fighters high, 2 from the sound, that also odd but with DJT coming to Oahu and staying in Waikiki tomorrow night not surprising

  6. Movies are just that, movies and not real life. All plans turn to sh@t when the first round is fired. Murphy, fubar and many of their brothers will always show up at the end of the world. Pray hard, train hard, stack deep and wide. The movies show killing as easy, trust me it is not. I still see faces in the dark of night when I should be sleeping.

      1. I wish no one to go where I have been. I was very young and followed orders without question to the letter. My prayer is that the blood of Yeshua will cover the sins of this old Marine.

    1. First off thank you for your service.
      I have often said when people talk of shooting the folks that come to beg,steal ect after TSHTF that they must really have no idea what it is to actually kill someone. it is something you live with for the rest of your life. sorry you have to go through that but some of us do understand.

  7. More of a documentary than movie but I really enjoyed, “Happy People a year in the Taiga”.
    These people make surviving in the wilderness look easy. The things they do with just an axe is amazing.
    For fiction I enjoyed Panic in the year zero and No Blade of Grass.

    1. I could be wrong, but at the end, did Jeremiah not hold his hand up to the chief as an indication of peace and respect between them. I should see it again.

  8. I like all of those listed but my favorite is Jericho. How the people survived a take Nuclear bombs in America. I wish they would make a movie of One Second After.

    1. Been There, agree with a screen adaptation of “One Second After”, but believe a “Lonseome Dove” made for TV min-series format would be best. Maybe such an outlet would scare some sense into the populace.

      1. Dennis,
        I’m afraid the Sheeple, remain steadfast in their oblivion and mediocrity, nothing short of their “cards”not working is going to cause them any real thought.

    2. Been There,
      I was hooked on Jerico TV series and sad when it ended. It sort of left you hanging!

      1. Broadwing
        My person insight for Jericho. The reason it was not renew the masses were starting to look at the world outside their little boxes(phones), an asking questions. Last thing the .gov and task masters wanted was a populace waking up, discovering not all was as portrayed per the evening news on the tv.

    3. We’re a few episodes into Jericho right now, it’s ok but there’s a few things that bug me about it (besides all the drama stuff lol). I think we’re about 7 episodes in and there’s been no talk about water, even after the EMP hit. One scene shows them washing clothes in the sink-where did the water come from? Maybe if you have city water it will keep coming long after power is out, but then won’t it be bad? Maybe they boiled it off scene LOL. Considering it’s a rural town though you’d think most of the residents would have wells…..And then the other thing that’s bugging me is how nice everyone is being to each other. I highly doubt that’s going to be the case in the SHTF situation that’s happening in the show. Pretty sure the whole town would be razed and farmers would be in deep trouble as their livestock/fields become targets.

      I actually put a library hold on One Second After earlier today. It’s been mentioned several times here so I figure it’s time I read it :)

      1. Szvee
        I am not sure where the water issue pops on the series but it does come up. Just wait and see…..i am not telling you anything else. 🤐

        1. Svzee and AC,
          I just picked up the Jericho complete series on DVD (based on your recommendation AC) and I haven’t started watching yet. Dh isn’t really into this kind of show, so I’ll have to squeeze some viewing in here 7 there. And thanks for the no spoilers! :)

          1. We just watched it a week ago. I found it a bit to soapy for my taste at times. Also there are to many unbelievable parts for a real disaster. How people will act in the situation is realistic enough to believe. It is entertaining though and it ends ok.

          2. So Cal Gal-I think I may try to do a marathon this weekend and watch the rest of it. It is pretty entertaining, with good acting, and from it I’ve made a few mental ‘notes’ My dh has watched it with me up to now, but I don’t think he’s going to watch anymore of the episodes because he said it stresses him out. With everything going on right now, especially with NK, it does kind of get to you.

          3. So Cal Gal
            Watch it then we will have a discussion about Jericho. What one sees in the story, and what one obtains as knowledge as they go through the beginning trials, up till the end of the series.

            Set back-grab a bag of pop corn–lock the door so no one disturbs you. Watch

  9. I know this is about movies but a list of true inspirational books about individuals who survived great odds for me are:
    Wally Johnson the last ivory hunter and Stuka pilot. . Hans-Ulrich Rudel
    Fascinating real life stories.

  10. Panic in Year Zero (1962 TV movie) Remarkably well done and shows how
    human beings will act when SHTF – not gritty like The Road but way ahead
    of its time. Ray Milland. and…….. Frankie Avalon….who would have thunk it?

    Watched it several times on You Tube after I became interested in preparedness
    but just checked You Tube now and all you can get are trailers but not the movie.

    Same thing happened to ” Conspiracy” the TV movie about top German generals
    planning holocaust at lakeside mansion. Every single actor was grade A+ in-
    cluding Kenneth Branach, Stanley Tucci, and Colin Firth among others. Have to
    pay $2.99 to watch it now.

  11. Here’s a list of some survival-type movies we own (not previously mentioned):

    Hidden: Fear Will Find You
    The Snow Walker
    Invasion (a series)
    Contagion
    The Trigger Effect
    Defiance

    And I have to mention The Walking Dead series :-) (and there is a separate but interrelated series called Fear The Walking Dead into the 4th year).

    1. Glad to see someone mentioned Contagion. That movie is spooky realistic as much as a movie can be. Also glad you mentioned The walking dead and Fear the walking dead. To me it’s the most realistic. Not about the whole zombies theme. But the survival of a major collapse/epidemic. To me the zombies are just a obstacle. Basically the hordes that will come out of the cities. It’s not the dead(zombies) you have to fear but the living.

      Adapt and Overcome

      1. 11HE9
        I liked that movie, showing how one small catalyst can spread within hours. Reminded me of the movie Outbreak, which is a good movie. Not sure if it would be classified as a prepper movie.

    2. Modern Throwback
      I had totally forgotten about the movie “The Trigger Effect”, it was an assignment for a college course I was taking. It was for a sociology or beginning law class that had taken, a few years back–quite few years back..rolwl.

      Those who have not seen the movie it would be worth watching.

  12. The original “Red Dawn” with Patrick Swayze has been one of my favorites even before I began prepping.

  13. A fight for survival, starvation (and worse in real life). …
    “Enemy at the gates”

  14. Weather is lousy here so it is a great time to watch a good movie or read a good book.

    Southernman is correct in that truth is stranger than fiction and movies are made for entertainment. Remember that movies are not instructional manuals on how to do things. Other than that, enjoy the movie. I have some relatives that do martial arts fight scenes in movies over the years.

    If you want to read or watch a scary story, I submit the following names of outlaws for folks on this site to do an internet search on Google:

    Claude Dallas: poacher and murderer of 2 Idaho Game Wardens circa 1980’s.

    “Mad Trapper of Rat River”. The story of the biggest manhunt in the Northwest Territories by the RCMP circa 1932.

    In both cases: shots were fired. Good guys did not always prevail, The episode did not end within a two hour movie. gunfights usually ended with both parties being wounded if not killed. Manhunts after somebody determined not to “die in prison” are scary things as you load up your backpack and chamber a round in your rifle. ( you will not be home for dinner that night. )

    1. Calirefugee,,,, Claude Dallas ,,,,you were never told all the real facts ,,,LE out of control. Just like ruby Ridge. first shots by FBI /BATF ,gov out of control ,and good men die ,, on both sides and what about Waco? First shots by FBI , just because your LE dose not mean you have to eat the horse #hit unless your a mushroom,,,would be glad to tell you more but not here ,,,some time over tea

      1. oldhomesteader
        If I recall, was it not the BATF that started most of the shooting in several incidents. It seemed like they were trying to prove something and become a three letter agency.

    2. The book “Mad Trapper of Rat River”., that man was one Skookum person. I started the book and couldn’t lay it down. Also, the book “Lucifer’s Hammer” as books go should bee on the top 10 list.

      1. That book was made into a movie in 1981, staring Charles Bronson, it’s called Death Hunt. It’s based in part on the true story about the hunt for Albert Johnson in the Yukon Territory.

  15. Albert Johnson: outlaw was the name of the Mad Trapper of Rat River.

    My memory was failing me again. Scary story but better than the bogus movie made about the event.

    1. I also am an avid reader and pretty much always prefer the book over “the movie”.
      Mad Trapper is great!

  16. Omega Man. Favorite fiction. If you want to watch something that is about real survival. Check out Alone in the Wilderness. Story about Dick Proenneke. Also watch the documentary about Ruby Ridge. Story of the Randy Weaver family and the .gov.

    1. We lived in the Spokae area during Ruby Ridge and the misinformation the Gov put out about Randy Weaver and family was sickening. They were doing their best to turn the surrounding people against the family, didn’t happen. We all knew the truth and those who didn’t know soon learned. Randy and family just wanted to be left alone.

      I don’t know as much about The Branch Davdidions(sp) in Texas but figured that Janet Reno’s mouth was moving so she was lying about the whole thing. Was there really child abuse or was it any excuse? No movie about that one is there?

      1. It sounds like you had a real life look at the Ruby Ridge tragedy. Isn’t it amazing how when the PTB,LEO, and .gov spew false facts, skewed opinions and no actual true answers, it is called….misinformation..But If I don’t tell the truth, the whole truth and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH….I am a Liar.

  17. And you all forgot Soylent Green! Great actors. Just what the world might come to, and just like in the movie, people won’t care.

  18. Red Dawn ( the older one) for sure I saw that in high school and that put me in the mind set to prep, I was already a nerd who wanted to be self sufficient ( thanks to little house on the prairie books) ..
    Then the Jericho series.
    Contagion,
    The only ones I can think of that are not on the list. Some on the list I haven’t seen or heard of , will have to add them to my winter movie watching list.

    1. Hi RW,

      I thought of Red Dawn right away, too. I’ve never forgotten the scene where the C.O. of the invading force sends one of his men to the sporting goods store to get the names of all the people on file with gun permits. I know everything is on computer now, but I’ve thought many times about what a target each of us is because we are on a list or in a database.

      1. So Cal Gal & Svzee
        I like both RED DAWNS for different reasons, the first one is based on a country setting where as the other one is a major city. Each RD shows the plus and minus of tne general public just before the troops start dropping on the places that the story will take place.

  19. Since becoming a rabid prepper I look at the movie…

    Gone With The Wind

    a little differently.

    If ever there was a life changing event (SHTF), that was it. Grubbing carrots from the garden did it for me.

    1. Yes Scarlet gets a bad rap as a B—–. They would have all starved if it had not been for her.
      TOWANDA!!!

  20. While not what many here would consider a survival movie, for the real people and their experiences that the book and the movie were based on, it was the closest to a shtf out of control scenario this country and inhabitants have experienced in modern times. “The Grapes of Wrath”.

    Poor, sharecropping farmers who had probably grown most of their vegetables, milked their own cow, raised their own meat, while trying to produce a cash crop to be able to buy the things they could not produce with their own hands, only to experience the “dust bowl” drought simultaneously with the collapse of the monetary system. No longer able to survive on their mortgaged, non-producing land, and searching for a Shangri-La that didn’t exist. While the movie had overt communist overtones, it did depict real people in a real survival situation.

    1. SHTF comes in many forms. It does not have to be a nuclear war or asteroid . they still lost everything and had to Bug Out. Good call.

  21. Everybody has listed most all I know. The original zombie movie Night of the Living Dead comes to mind.

  22. The Divide (2011)
    Carriers (2009)
    Testament (1983)
    Right at Your Door (2006)
    The Grey (2011)
    The Way Back (2010)
    Survivors (1975-77) British TV series
    A Cry in the Wild (1990)
    It Comes At Night (2017)
    Preservation (2015)
    HERE ALONE (2017)
    First Winter (2012)
    The Blackout (2014)
    Into The Forest (2016)
    Aftermath (2012)
    The Wave (2015)
    Deadfall Trail (2011)
    Z for Zachariah (2015)

  23. I am surprised no one listed Good by World. Basically the world is shut down by mistake though it could be called a cyber crime. The rest is about a group of old friends that gather and try to survive in rural Northern California on a homestead run by a prepper friend. . Not the greatest movie but it does have some eye opening moments

  24. Survivalist movies are a joke. None of the real aspects of actual survival can be put on film, the fear that is felt, the actual pain felt, the isolation of actually being alone, the real fear of impending death, hunger pains and the list goes on. Movies are just entertainment – take it from a Vietnam Nam era POW. Yes, I am still angry and full of hate(put that in a movie)!

    1. Mr. says the same. As for hate, don’t let it eat you up. Can’t change what happened. Mr. was captured and almost gone to Hanoi Hilton. Just in time a search and destroy came upon the camp.
      Please be healthy.

  25. No one mentioned ‘Threads’. (approx. 1983) A post nuke movie about survivors in the UK. More detailed and realistic than many that I’ve seen.

  26. I enjoy most of these movies. That being said, I think there should be two categories. The first would be true survival movies such as Cast Away or The Edge. The other would be the “pick up the pieces” movies. Its a lot easier to survive when everyone dies and the supermarkets are full of canned goods that when your plane crashes in Alaska. :) Just saying.

  27. Of the books and movies mentioned:

    In the category of Pestilence: Contagion was based upon information obtained from people who are at work at both CDC-Atlanta and WHO in Europe. From a healthcare worker who got A’s in Microbiology, Contagion is as close to realism as a movie can get. ( including the autopsy scene.)

    The other movie about Hemmorhagic fever starring Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Kevin Spacey: mostly sensationalist BS in that they found a cure and saved people within a 2 hr movie by finding patient zero and the animal vector all within a week. ( what are the odds? – pretty long.). Reatively happy ending and filmed in Ferndale CA. back in the day. Get the Hot Zone by Douglas Preston for a good read.

  28. We just watched THE CALL. Sort of a Zombie type movie. The end was creepy because you can picture people doing just that. Sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to life and what is going on around them. It was symbolic to me.
    Also you know what happened to the diplomats in Cuba!

  29. One of the films I listed above “First Winter” is about a house full of hippies in an isolated area during a long term power outage. No food and no power in the dead of winter.

    If you watch it be warned, you can almost smell them thru the screen.

  30. OK here’s one you missed. Escape from Sobibor. A TRUE story about the only group escape from a Nazi death camp. Like Defiance meets The Great Escape. Although fictional, I loved Jericho – deep sixed by the network due to pressure from outside forces because it caused people to think and was not PC. (ESPECIALLY THE END)

  31. One that I didn’t see on the list,,,
    Cold Mountain,,,
    And I see a couple on the list that I haven’t seen ??? I will have to check them out soon…

  32. Like these (not mentioned above)
    Where Have All The People Gone (1974)
    Swiss Family Robinson (Disney 1960)
    After Armageddon (2010 History Channel)

    Very favorites are Jericho, The Day After Tomorrow, and Contagion

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