The Best Survival Movies (You May Not Know Of) – Subject To Change In 2024

Christian bale in rescue dawn survival film (2006)

My partner and I both have entirely different tastes in movies. She likes the horror genre. And I like comedies. So to try and find a compromise, we discussed various kinds of survival films and came up with working through the best recent movies about survival that we have watched. I thought I would share the movies we liked the best.

The Best Survival Films That I Streamed in 2024

Just a word of warning though, my following opinions on the Best Survival Movies on Netflix I’ve watched in 2019 may include Spoilers so if you intend to watch some of these survival films then…Well, you have been warned.

The Grey (2011).

The Grey (2011)
Plane crashes, a survival story and a lone man fights off alaskan wilderness. This feature film is one of the best survival flicks based on true events.

The Grey is an epic journey of survival that features John Ottway (played by Liam Neeson), a marksman for an oil exploration company whose task is to shoot wolves.

He and several other oil workers are in a plane crash and find themselves stranded in the wilderness. They realize that they have crashed in an area populated by wolves that are hunting them.

The story follows the exploits of the group as they try to make their way to safety.

I enjoyed this film and appreciated the switch where the hunter (John Ottway) becomes the hunted. As with the other movies, I will not say how it ends to spoil it for you.

Link to IMDB Listing—6.8/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—79%

Walkabout (1971).

Walkabout (1971)

The movie is built around a 1959 novel, written by James Vance Marshall. The story begins with a father and two children, a young woman and a young son, who are driving a long way into the outback.

They are supposed to be going for a picnic, but the father goes nuts and destroys the car and then shoots at the children, who have to run and hide.

The father then shoots himself in the head. The story follows the adventures of the two children as they seek safety.

The movie has some unexpected twists and turns and ends in what, to me, was a bizarre way. I will maybe watch it again and see what I am missing.

Link to IMDB Listing—7.6/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—84%

The Naked Prey (1966).

The Naked Prey (1966)

This wilderness survival movie set in the colonial era tells the story of a group of three hunters led by a guide (played by Cornel Wilde). The group is out shooting elephant when one of the party insults a local tribe.

They are captured by the tribe and put to death in a variety of unpleasant ways, leaving the guide to last. He is set up as the prey in a hunt but manages to escape his immediate fate.

The story continues as they search for him and chase him as he flees towards safety.

Initially, the movie film adaptation was to be set in the Old West in America but to save money; they changed the location to Africa. I think that was a good movie as the setting added a great deal to the film.

Link to IMDB Listing—7.3/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—86%

127 Hours (2010).

127 Hours (2010)

This survivalist movie was co-written, produced, and directed by Danny Boyle. It tells the story of Aron Ralston, who gets wedged between boulders in a pretty remote spot in Utah. This true story tells of Ralston’s ordeal and his attempts to escape.

The title refers to the non-stop action between Ralston waking up on the day of the accident and when the trial ended.

I particularly like this movie because it challenges the viewer to consider what they would do in similar circumstances. Would the viewer have the courage to do what was needed to escape? A great story.

Link to IMDB Listing—7.6/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—93%

Buried (2010).

Buried (2010)

Set in 2006, Paul Conroy, who is an American contractor working in Iraq, wakes up inside a coffin. He slowly puts together the sequence of events that occurred to put him in this position.

He had been left a mobile phone, and he contacts the state department asking for their help in paying the ransom. And thus begins a sequence of attempts to rescue him from this terrifying ordeal.

At one stage, there are explosions above, and the wooden coffin is damaged, allowing sand to run slowly into the coffin, making it a race against time.

This film portrays a widespread fear that people have about being buried alive. It is something that all viewers can identify with, and this makes it particularly chilling, or at least that’s how I found it.

Link to IMDB Listing—7/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—86%

The Edge (1997).

The Edge (1997)

This film has quite a complex plot and works on several levels. The survival part of the movie features a giant Kodiak bear, which is hunting a small group of men after a plane crash. There is a lot of history and interplay about past events within the group.

These conflicting feelings complicate the actions of the men as they try to escape. The search helicopter misses them, and the men know they face a long walk out of the danger zone as the bear stalks them.

A lot of action in this film balances the psychological drama unfolding between the men. This movie was probably my least favorite of the movie we watched, but it surprisingly was one that my partner enjoyed.

Link to IMDB Listing—6.9/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—63%Rescue Dawn (2006).

Christian bale in rescue dawn survival film (2006)

This is a true story about an escape from a prison camp where an American pilot is sent after he is shot down over Laos. This is a film that the critics loved by failed miserably at the box office.

I have to say that I liked it a lot. The film was shot in Thailand in 2005. According to other prisoners at the camp, the film lacked historical accuracy, and there was even a website put up to try and tell the real story. All very messy, I think.

I liked the jungle locations filmed in Thailand, which were very well integrated into the account.

The one thing that everyone agrees is that the real Dieter Dengler acted very heroically. Even those that had arguments about historical accuracy still account for his intense action. It is a fascinating story of human triumph over adversity.

Link to IMDB Listing—7.3/10 

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—90%

Robinson Crusoe (1997).

Robinson Crusoe (1997)

Based on Daniel Defoe’s classic story of Robinson Crusoe. This film spends time putting some flesh on the main character (played by Pierce Brosnan), explaining what led him to the island.

Reviews were pretty good, and the filmmakers took a few liberties with the Daniel Defoe original, which made it more interesting for me.

Pierce Brosnan was brilliant in the film and brought an old classic to life. The characters were much more believable than in previous versions I have watched.

This was the final movie we watched, and it was not a disappointment. I have to admit it was fun to take a more structured look at the films we watch. I will perhaps do it again sometime.

Link to IMDB Listing—5.9/10

Link to Rotten Tomatoes Listing—40%

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Honorable mentions

These films as blasphemous as it sounds I have only recently watched and are deserving of an honorable mention. Cast away with Tom Hanks, filmed on a deserted island, uninhabited island in the pacific ocean and portrays lonliness and a struggle of survival. This film there were no other enemies like hunters or wild animals. Just man versus mother nature. His unexpected connection with a volleyball is iconic.

Jeremiah Johnson staring Robert Redford, this film was true quality and I stumbled across the film as it was consistently place in many well known survivalists top ten best movies. It depicts a young man and lone survivor out in the western plains behind enemy lines with a bounty on him from natives. A truly beautiful film.

I Am Legend starring Will Smith, set in a post apocalyptic wasteland, this post apocalyptic tale follows a lone man and his dog. Smith is missing his family and father son relationship as he is quite possibly the only person left on earth while being surrounded by zombie like creatures. Truly a great film and an academy award nominating performance in my opinion.