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What Are Your Favorite Survival Genre Movies?

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The best survival movies list. Originally polled and posted during 2015 on Modern Survival Blog when hundreds of you suggested your favorite survival movies and/or survival-related TV shows.

I’m re-publishing in order to get your current input about one thing:

What are your favorite survival genre films?

(not TV shows this time)

Choosing the single best survival movie is certainly a subjective and individual choice.

These films might include plots of a post-apocalyptic, Armageddon or doomsday event. Maybe wilderness survival or a natural or man-made disaster. Or maybe a war plot. Perhaps a documentary. Maybe a recounting of an actual ‘survival’ event, etc..

There are lots of movies which one might consider to be within a survival genre.

Lets find out what your favorite survival movies are (your ‘best’ list)…

(comment below)

From the original 2016 poll (which included television shows), here’s that list – in order of popularity:

Best Survival Movies and TV Shows

(and TV shows)

#1

Jericho (TV, Seasons 1-2, 2006-08)
 

#2

The Road (2009)
 

#3

The Walking Dead (TV, 2010+) Season 1 2 3 4 5
 

#4

Red Dawn (1984)
The Book Of Eli (2010)
 

#5

The Day After (1983)
The Edge (1997)
 

#6

Survivors (BBC TV, Seasons 1-2, 2008-10)
 

#7

Alaska The Last Frontier (TV, 2011+)
Alive (1993)
American Blackout (2013)
Cast Away (2000)
Dual Survival (TV, 2010+)
I Am Legend (2007)
Panic In Year Zero (1962)
Revolution (TV, 2012+)
Survivorman (TV, 2004+)
 

#8

28 Days Later (2002)
All Is Lost (2013)
Contagion (2011)
Ultimate Survival Alaska (TV, 2013+)
Lone Survivor (2013)
Mountain Men (TV, 2012+) Season 1 2 3
On The Beach (1959)
Survivor (TV, 2000+)
The Stand (1994)
World War Z (2013)
Yukon Men (TV, 2012+)
 

#9

2012 (2009)
10,000 BC (TV, 2008+)
28 Weeks Later (2007)
30 Days Of Night (2007)
A Boy And His Dog (1975)
After The Dark (2013)
Deliverance (1972)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Dude You’re Screwed (TV, 2013+)
Escape From LA (1996)
First Blood (1982)
Fortress (1985)
Gilligan’s Island (TV, 1964)
Goodbye World (2013)
How I Live Now (2013)
Idiocracy (2006)
Little House On The Prairie (TV, 1974)
Logans Run (1977)
Lord Of The Flies (1963)
Lost (TV, 2004+) Season 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mad Max (1979)
My Side Of The Mountain (1969)
Night Of The Comet (1984)
No Blade Of Grass (1970)
Out Of The Ashes (TV, 2003+)
Remnants (2013)
Shackleton (2002)
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
The Colony (TV, 2013+)
The Day (2011)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The Diary Of Anne Frank (1959)
The Divide (2011)
The Grey (2011)
The Mountain Men (1980)
The Omega Man (1971)
The Pianist (2002)
The Purge Anarchy (2014)
They Live (1988)
Threads (BBC, 1984)
Tomorrow When The War Began (2010)
Man vs. Wild – Ultimate Survival (TV, 2006+) Season 1 2 3 4 5 6
Vikings (TV, 2013+) Season 1 2 3
Z Nation (2014)
The Postman (1997)

Best Survival Genre Movies & TV List

Jericho
The Road
The Walking Dead
Red Dawn
The Book Of Eli
The Day After
The Edge
Survivors
Alaska The Last Frontier
Alive
American Blackout
Cast Away
Dual Survival
I Am Legend
Panic In Year Zero
Revolution
Survivorman
28 Days Later
All Is Lost
Contagion
Ultimate Survival Alaska
Lone Survivor
Mountain Men
On The Beach
Survivor
The Stand
World War Z
Yukon Men
2012
10,000 BC
28 Weeks Later
30 Days Of Night
A Boy And His Dog
After The Dark
The Day of the Triffids
Deliverance
Doctor Zhivago
Dude You’re Screwed
Escape From LA
First Blood
Fortress
Gilligan’s Island
Goodbye World
How I Live Now
Idiocracy
Little House On The Prairie
Logans Run
Lord Of The Flies
Lost
Mad Max
My Side Of The Mountain
Night Of The Comet
No Blade Of Grass
Out Of The Ashes
Remnants
Shackleton
The Andromeda Strain
The Colony
The Day
The Day After Tomorrow
The Diary Of Anne Frank
The Divide
The Grey
The Mountain Men
The Omega Man
The Pianist
The Purge Anarchy
They Live
Threads
Tomorrow When The War Began
Man vs. Wild – Ultimate Survival
Vikings
Z Nation
The Postman

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56 Comments

  1. I’m surprised you don’t have The Last Man on Earth (1964) which starred Vincent Price. The one Omega Man and I Am Legend are remakes of.

    1. There is also another one I forgot about called The World, The Flesh and The Devil (1959) with Inger Stevens. It was kind of different for the time.

      I guess the one that I liked the best was the Omega Man with Charlton Heston. Heston was a good in a lot of what he did, like Planet of the Apes, and The Naked Jungle although I’m not sure you classify the last two as survival movies or not.

  2. When I first started prepping 15 years ago we did watch many on the list. I guess Red Dawn had the most effect on us and pushed us that way. Our favorite, although not a movie, of course is The Bible. I know, no Zombies, invading hoards, or angry Aliens from outer space, just a huge war of good vs. evil.

    Some new ones which might make your list Ken are ” Battle for L.A.”, “Olympus has fallen” and the follow up “London has Fallen”.

  3. –         Wilderness survival – The Edge (1997 – Really? That old?)
    Idiocracy, too possible! Have to agree on The Last Man On Earth, and also like Castaway. Gilligan’s Island for how it it won’t be. LOLOL

    –         Papa S.

  4. Red Dawn, The Postman and The Stand for me. I used your list to start a list of streaming ideas for now and DVD library choices for winter viewing.

    1. Those would be my three, I did like Jericho at first but i felt it went off track after awhile. The Road was great but too dark for me t enjoy watching again.

  5. Long time reader first post. Been thinking about politics, gangs, blm, riots, social decline, and economy.

    My dad 72 living and some guys no longer with us made me who I am today.

    Huge fan of Charles Bronson from what I could read of his personal life: No BS, quiet, calm, loaner, tough, and internal thinker.

    During these times I can watch Death Wish 1-3, or Hard Times, and feel a calming and that I can survive whatever the BLM, MSM, or politics can throw my way.

    Towering inferno,
    Duel 1971,
    Original Dirty Harry,
    Magnum Force.

    Some of these movies are not direct survival movies but they give you tools on how to deal with people in stressful situations.

  6. Another addition to your list is the documentary Alone in the Wilderness about Richard Proenneke building a cabin and living a subsistence lifestyle for decades in Alaska.

  7. My favorites are – the day after tomorrow, Alaska, the last frontier,revolution, I am legend & of course little house on the prairie! Also , the Walton’s which was supposed to be during the depression years!! Good lists!!

  8. I hope it still counts if I read the book, instead of seeing the movie…
    Tie for me between The Stand, and Alas Babylon. After that it would be The Postman, followed by the Book of Eli. I’ll confess I haven’t seen most of the movies on that list. Good reference list for when I have some time….

  9. Gone With The Wind.

    If you look past the Rhett/Scarlett characters – their world really was the end of their world as they knew it. And it never returned.

    Kinda like what’s happening/will happen to us.

  10. Swan song – It’s a book they were suppose to make into a movie or a series. I think The Road was a much more realistic view of how things could go given time and lack of resources.

    1. LOVED THAT BOOK! Great call! It would have to be a couple of movies made from that book to do it justice!

  11. I’ve seen a fair number of the movies on the list. I got the most out of Red Dawn (the original), The Stand (the book’s better than the movie I thought) and The Day After.

    I like these types of movies to have enough believability, enough threads of plausibility to keep me thinking about them long after the movie is over.

    Recently re-watched Soylent Green, and although it did not make my list of fav’s, I’ve thought about it every time I’m in the meat section of a market that is filling its empty meat displays with”Plant-based protein” packaged/processed items. I can’t help it – I think “Soylent Green” every time I see all that fake meat.

  12. I want to add George Orwell’s 1984. It fits mostly what the left us doing to us…erasing history, no free speech, no right to happiness, no capitalism and conform or disappear. There is a parallel with this in many ways today.

    1. So very true. I tried to find Animal Farm to stream but couldn’t. 1984 was so very appropriate.

  13. I’m more of a reader than a watcher. So Alas Babylon, Emergence, The Island Keeper, My Side of the Mountain. For movies it would have to be I Am Legend, and The Day After Tomorrow. Also Independence Day.

  14. Hi all ,, how about a laff or two ,,,the movie THE SURVIVORS. With Robin Williams

  15. Haha
    ‘The Reliant’
    I didn’t see that one listed, but it was a fairly new release.
    Someone here had suggested it, awhile back and the other half bought it for me.
    My brother, son, his then girlfriend, and us all watched it together one night.

    The ‘Planet of the Apes’ old and newer movie version.

  16. What timing Ken. I have been struggling with finding new things to watch as it gets colder. I knew of a few of these but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the titles. Thank you MamaLark. I couldn’t remember the title “Alone in the Wilderness”. I have watched it three times and have been wanting to watch it again.
    By the way Ken, love the new site and features.

  17. I believe we are headed to the place depicted in the Postman. So, pick your group for survival. Beware of the dictator that promises food and entertainment.

    1. Movies do not always portray the books accurately, so I have found that audio books are better for me.

  18. These aren’t in my top 10 list or anything, just some recent stuff I’ve watched since the last list came out. I think most of them fit the survival category one way or another. 

    On Netflix:
    Extraction
    Adrift 
    Kon-Tiki
    The Decline
    The Old Guard
    The Reliant
    #Alive (note: not the plane crash movie)
    Black Summer
    The Silence
    The Highwaymen 
    Triple Frontier
    The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
    Bird Box
    Calibre 
    Extinction
    How It Ends
    Singularity
    The Society
    I Am Mother
    Walking Out

    On Amazon Prime:
    Night Into Day
    The Surface
    Coyote: The Mike Plant Story
    After The Dark
    E.M.P. 333 Days
    What Keeps You Alive 
    Solo (note: not the Star Wars movie)
    Zoo 
    Diverge

  19. I also like Where Have All the People Gone. It’s available to watch on YouTube. The Reliant is on Netflix right now. Been trying to watch it but so far hasn’t held my attention.

  20. How could one leave out “The Omega Man”…???
    The Stand would be second on my list….

  21. No Escape is one that was set in a South East Asia setting but it shows you how fast it can go down hill in a big city and how hard to get out with your family.

  22. -If you don’t mind reading subtitles, netfl*x has a film called Train to Busan (I think) that is actually pretty good for a real pandemic situation, unlike our current Pandemic light. Of course, a couple of our Chinese speakers might be able to understand that dialect!

    -Papa S.

    1. Train To Busan is a great zombie movie! They went back to the roots of the zombie genre reminiscent of Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead. Not like current zombie flicks and TV shows that deal in comedy and drama, they take a serious attempt at suspense and horror, with a few comic relief moments.

      At the moment though, it’s not on Netflix, but it is on Amazon Prime. Another great movie, by the same director as Train To Busan, is Psychokinesis. That one doesn’t have anything to do with survival though. It’s just a funny take on the superhero genre with Jackie Chan level comedy and cool special effects. That one though, still is on Netflix.

      I could be wrong, but I think they are South Korean films, not Chinese. They’ve been making great horror films for years.

  23. Two more good movies, The way back made in 2010 with Ed Harris and Colin Farrell, and the made for TV movie, Coming out of the Ice with John savage, and Willie Nelson made in 1982

  24. Red Dawn is my personal favorite. The “Mad Max” movies we’re always a good watch.

  25. Atlas Shrugged, it’s a good movie using the slow decline of a nation / world much like our world today, it is full of government and corporate greed and corruption with a hand full of honest people. The ending is kind of a fairytale but the story is spot on of our world today.

  26. I read more than watch movies. I would love to see movies made out of JWR’s Patriots and subsequent books as well as A. American’s Home series.

    Unfortunately…I also agree we seem to be on a path towards what was presented to us in the movie Idiocracy.

  27. Unless I missed it I can’t believe Defiance was not listed..great movie about Jews surviving in the forest hiding out and fighting the Nazis. Great flick!

      1. Besides Defiance, I guess World War Z (for the chaos factor),War of the World (for the behavior of people), The Stand,The Road, Day after Tomorrow (my Grandkids favorite),The Postman.
        It will probably be something more like a mix of idiocracy and Zombieland if 2020 is any indication.
        You should never get between a crazy man and his twinkies…

    1. Agreed, Defiance was an awesome movie. Also, I can’t believe Dawn of the Dead (1978) wasn’t listed.

  28. There is a movie based on the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Have not seen it in a very long time.

  29. Wow. Lotta good ones in these lists. I’d have to say for me Deliverance is the most compelling and the most likely scenario given the current circumstances. Red Dawn is second, although I don’t think China is that stupid but who knows, right? The Book of Eli is plausible given how godless society has become. I don’t particularly like the zombie stuff. The way much of the current population treats the Corona Virus like an end of the world disease is enough to turn any sane person into a zombie.

  30. -When I was out of the Army and back to college, used to watch the BBC Survivors every time I could. But that is a TV show, not the movies Ken asked for. Enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow, How I Live Now, and I think it was called Into the Woods for movies.

  31. As a person that lived in the Sierras off grid for a number of years back in the 1980’s, the movie that inspired me as a child was jeremiah johnson with Robert Redford. and…Yes, I can skin griz. Have done so several times.

    another recent movie about the adventures of mountain man Hugh Glass was The Revenant featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. One of those people that was mauled by a bear and left for dead by his comrades butt he crawled back to the fort and lived to tell the tale. Said to be the inspiration for Man in the Wilderness played by Richard Harris. Was it factual? hard to say as the remainder of his life, Hugh Glass was noted to be a heavy drinker and poor historian.

    As a person that has survived several gunfights and trained in defensive shooting, I have to mention the Magnificent Seven. ( a remake of a Kurasawa classic of Seven Samurai.). You do not choose to be a gunfighter, sometimes the occupation chooses you.

    1. Calirefugee,
      I was going to mention Revenant. Great movie! I think Jericho and The Road is where they need to be, at top of the list. One movie that I always like watching is “Night of The Comet”.

  32. Reading list favorites: Border Trilogy by Cormack McCarthy ( Author of The Road and No Country for Old Men.) World War Z by Max Brooks a lot better than the movie with more information. The Hot Zone by Douglas Preston. Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot ( Small wars and the rise of American Power ). A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson – a middle aged English Professor and travel writer goes on a hike of the Appalachian Trail. a good fun read and the movie was also pretty good too.

    Sorry ken, off topic but I like to read and in some cases, the book is so much better than the movie.

  33. A book made into a two-part radio drama: Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart. Never made into a movie, but you can “watch” the radio show on You Tube.

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