Best survival movies : merciless nature

by C_H_K_O | created - 25 Jan 2017 | updated - 18 Jul 2017 | Public

This list is in no particular order. It focuses on movies where wilderness is unforgiving and where nature reveals itself as a true enemy.

I excluded sci-fi survival movies (such as zombie apocalypse, survival in space, and so on).

Also, I've added a few documentaries that are really worth watching.

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1. Southern Comfort (1981)

R | 106 min | Action, Thriller

63 Metascore

During a routine exercise, a team of National Guards are threatened by angry and violent locals.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales

Votes: 15,318 | Gross: $5.00M

2. As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me (2001)

TV-G | 158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

At the end of WW2, a German POW doing hard labor in the Soviet Gulag escapes from his Siberian camp to return to Germany but he's pursued by a Soviet NKVD officer.

Director: Hardy Martins | Stars: Bernhard Bettermann, Iris Böhm, Anatoliy Kotenyov, Michael Mendl

Votes: 6,400

3. The Way Back (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 133 min | Adventure, Drama, History

66 Metascore

Siberian gulag escapees travel four thousand miles by foot to freedom in India.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Dragos Bucur

Votes: 105,303 | Gross: $2.70M

4. Alone in the Wilderness (2004 TV Movie)

57 min | Documentary

Documentary tells the story of Dick Proenneke who, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. ... See full summary »

Stars: Dick Proenneke, Bob Swerer Jr., Wendy Ishii, Pamela Guest

Votes: 3,335

5. Nordfor sola (2012)

46 min | Documentary, Adventure, Sport

Inge Wegge (25) and Jørn Ranum (22) spent nine months of cold, Norwegian winter in the isolated and uninhabited bay of a remote, arctic island by the coast of Northern-Norway, facing ... See full summary »

Directors: Jørn Nyseth Ranum, Inge Wegge | Stars: Jørn Nyseth Ranum, Inge Wegge

Votes: 445

6. Naked and Marooned with Ed Stafford (2013– )

Documentary

Ed Stafford attempts to survive alone on a Desert island for 60 days. With no clothes, no knife or anything except his camera, an emergency satellite phone and an emergency medical kit.

Star: Ed Stafford

Votes: 899

7. Walking the Amazon (2011– )

96 min | Documentary

The story of Ed Stafford's 2 1/2 year journey to become the first man to walk the length of the Amazon River.

Stars: Luke Collyer, Gadiel 'Cho' Sanchez Rivera, Ed Stafford

Votes: 240

8. Survivorman (2004– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Documentary, Adventure

No food, no shelter, no fresh water - one man alone in the wild for seven days with only his wits and stamina to sustain him.

Stars: Les Stroud, Todd Standing, Logan Stroud, Sam Omik

Votes: 6,006

9. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo, Del Negro

Votes: 49,123

10. Apocalypto (2006)

R | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

68 Metascore

As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, a young man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Max Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood

Votes: 278,556 | Gross: $50.87M

11. Centurion (2010)

R | 97 min | Action, Drama, History

62 Metascore

A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is devastated in a guerrilla attack.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Andreas Wisniewski

Votes: 75,794 | Gross: $0.12M

12. Deliverance (1972)

R | 109 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

82 Metascore

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Votes: 94,394

13. Essential Killing (2010)

R | 83 min | Thriller, War

An Afghan POW attempts his escape.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski | Stars: Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner, Zach Cohen, Iftach Ophir

Votes: 7,250

14. Everest (2015)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

64 Metascore

The story of New Zealand's Robert "Rob" Edwin Hall, who on May 10, 1996, together with Scott Fischer, teamed up on a joint expedition to ascend Mount Everest.

Director: Baltasar Kormákur | Stars: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright, Martin Henderson

Votes: 188,225 | Gross: $43.48M

15. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

GP | 108 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

75 Metascore

A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by the Crow tribe, and proves to be a match for their warriors in single combat on the early frontier.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton, Josh Albee

Votes: 27,079 | Gross: $47.74M

16. Meru (2015)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Sport

77 Metascore

Three elite climbers struggle to find their way through obsession and loss as they attempt to climb Mount Meru, one of the most coveted prizes in the high stakes game of Himalayan big wall climbing.

Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi | Stars: Conrad Anker, Grace Chin, Jimmy Chin, Amee Hinkley

Votes: 13,781 | Gross: $2.33M

17. K2 (1991)

R | 104 min | Adventure, Drama, Sport

A U.S. climbing team, funded by millionaire Clairborne is determined to conquer K2.

Director: Franc Roddam | Stars: Michael Biehn, Matt Craven, Annie Grindlay, Elena Wohl

Votes: 6,233 | Gross: $3.11M

18. Kon-Tiki (2012)

PG-13 | 118 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

62 Metascore

Legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort to prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg | Stars: Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd-Magnus Williamson

Votes: 43,524 | Gross: $1.52M

19. North Face (2008)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

67 Metascore

Based on a true story, North Face is a survival drama film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's ... See full summary »

Director: Philipp Stölzl | Stars: Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek, Simon Schwarz

Votes: 14,137 | Gross: $0.71M

20. Papillon (1973)

R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon

Votes: 116,700 | Gross: $53.27M

21. Sorcerer (1977)

PG | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

68 Metascore

Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou

Votes: 16,122 | Gross: $12.00M

22. The Edge (1997)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

An intellectual billionaire and two lesser men struggle to band together and survive after getting stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a blood-thirsty Kodiak Bear hunting them down.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Elle Macpherson, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 65,450 | Gross: $27.78M

23. The Grey (2011)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

64 Metascore

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director: Joe Carnahan | Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts

Votes: 234,310 | Gross: $51.58M

24. The Perfect Storm (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

59 Metascore

An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane

Votes: 150,874 | Gross: $182.62M

25. The Tracker (2002)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, History, Western

71 Metascore

It's 1922; somewhere in Australia. When a Native Australian man is accused of murdering a white woman, three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are given the mission of ... See full summary »

Director: Rolf de Heer | Stars: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau, Grant Page

Votes: 2,261

26. Zero Kelvin (1995)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

A young writer whose proposal was recently rejected goes to Greenland to spend a year at an outpost for hunting and trapping animals for furs. At the outpost he meets two men who are none too keen to spend the winter with the newcomer.

Director: Hans Petter Moland | Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Gard B. Eidsvold, Bjørn Sundquist, Camilla Martens

Votes: 1,751

27. Into the Wild (2007)

R | 148 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Director: Sean Penn | Stars: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden

Votes: 544,457 | Gross: $18.35M

28. Alive (1993)

R | 120 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

A Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snow swept Andes are forced to use desperate measures to survive after a plane crash.

Director: Frank Marshall | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton, Bruce Ramsay

Votes: 48,400 | Gross: $36.73M

29. The Revenant (2015)

R | 156 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

76 Metascore

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 662,674 | Gross: $183.64M

30. Cast Away (2000)

PG-13 | 143 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

A FedEx executive undergoes a physical and emotional transformation after crash landing on a deserted island.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Lari White

Votes: 494,680 | Gross: $233.63M

31. First Blood (1982)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure

61 Metascore

A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney

Votes: 215,698 | Gross: $47.21M

32. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 32,393 | Gross: $4.59M

33. Man in the Wilderness (1971)

GP | 104 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

Left for dead after a bear attack, a fur-trapper recuperates and pursues his former companions through dangerous Indian territory.

Director: Richard C. Sarafian | Stars: Richard Harris, John Huston, Henry Wilcoxon, Percy Herbert

Votes: 2,586

34. The Emerald Forest (1985)

R | 114 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

After the son of engineer Bill Markham is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer spends the next 10 years searching for him.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Yara Vaneau, William Rodriguez

Votes: 8,922 | Gross: $24.47M

35. Hell in the Pacific (1968)

G | 103 min | Adventure, War

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Lee Marvin, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 7,336

36. The Snow Walker (2003)

PG | 103 min | Adventure, Drama

A pilot and his passenger struggle for survival after crashing in the Arctic tundra.

Director: Charles Martin Smith | Stars: Barry Pepper, Annabella Piugattuk, James Cromwell, Kiersten Warren

Votes: 9,801

37. Pathfinder (1987)

86 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A Warband intent on slaughter terrorizes northern Scandinavian villages in 1000 AD.

Director: Nils Gaup | Stars: Mikkel Gaup, Ingvald Guttorm, Nils Utsi, Henrik H. Buljo

Votes: 4,688

38. How I Ended This Summer (2010)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

74 Metascore

One place. One day. Two men. The place is a polar research station on an island in the Arctic Ocean, inhabited now only by Sergei and Pavel. One day when Sergei is out angling, Pavel picks up a radio message that he daren't communicate.

Director: Aleksey Popogrebskiy | Stars: Grigoriy Dobrygin, Sergey Puskepalis, Igor Chernevich, Artyom Tsukanov

Votes: 6,281 | Gross: $0.01M

39. All Is Lost (2013)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

87 Metascore

After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face.

Director: J.C. Chandor | Star: Robert Redford

Votes: 73,373 | Gross: $6.26M

40. The Naked Prey (1965)

Approved | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

During the 1800s, a safari guide, two elephant hunters and their crew run into trouble with the natives in the South African veld when they refuse to offer gifts to the tribesmen.

Director: Cornel Wilde | Stars: Cornel Wilde, Gert van den Bergh, Ken Gampu, Patrick Mynhardt

Votes: 4,728

41. Arktos: The Internal Journey of Mike Horn (2005)

Documentary

Arktos is the amazing story of Mike Horn who has gone along the Arctic Circle alone for 27 months, 20,000 km, without using any motorized transportation. He has faced ice storms, ... See full summary »

Director: Raphaël Blanc | Star: Mike Horn

Votes: 17



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