The best survival movies of all time

In the excellent romantic disaster thriller The Mountain Between Us, Kate Winslet and Idris Elba play plane crash survivors stranded in the wilderness.

Here, we present our six favourite survival films and reveal how this latest contender measures up…

Stories of survival can be some of the most inspiring to watch. As the film Touching the Void  says, “The closer you are to death. The more you realise you are alive. The closer you are to death, the harder you cling to life.” Have a look to our guide that exposes the lengths humans will go to remain among the living.

1. ALIVE (1993)

The mother of all survival movies, Alive sees a rugby team from Uruguay becoming stranded in the Andes, following one of the most pulse-pounding plane crashes ever committed to celluloid.

Based on a harrowing true story, the film handles some incredibly difficult topics sensitively and leaves you questioning just how far you’d go to survive. 


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

Unlike in Alive, there’s just enough food to go around for Kate and Idris not to have to ponder the unthinkable. The plane crash they survive, though, is every bit as traumatic. It’ll have you gripping your cinema seat for dear life. 

2. GRAVITY (2013)

Sandra Bullock’s medical engineer and George Clooney’s veteran astronaut must work together to survive when they find themselves cast adrift in space. With sensational turns from the big-name leads, this gripping film is fully deserving of the seven Oscars that came its way.


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

Like Gravity, The Mountain Between Us is largely a two-hander. Also like Gravity, the A-list leads have wonderful chemistry.

Kate’s Alex is a photojournalist desperate to get home for her wedding, while Idris’s Ben is a surgeon who’s urgently needed in the emergency room. But when they charter a small plane together during a terrible storm, fate plays its hand.

3. I AM LEGEND (2007)

Will Smith is superb in this gripping action horror, which takes place in the aftermath of a man-made apocalypse. With only his beloved German Shepherd Sam for company, Smith fights to stay alive long enough to find a cure for a virus that has killed 94% of humanity and turned almost everyone else into hungry mutants.


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

While The Mountain Between Us doesn’t have any predatory mutant-vampires (thank goodness), it does have an exceptionally cute dog, who, as with I Am Legend’s Sam, you’ll find yourself becoming extremely attached too.


4. THE ROAD (2009)

Another post-apocalyptic movie, The Road is based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by American author Cormac McCarthy.

It sees Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee playing a father and son who, following an extinction event, head towards the sea to find food. But the path ahead is fraught with peril… and cannibals! 


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

Similar to The Road, The Mountain Between Us is based on a much-loved book by a New York Times bestselling author, in this case Charles Martin. Martin has written 12 novels in total, all of which come highly recommended.


5. 127 HOURS  (2010)

One of the tensest films you’ll ever watch (seriously, you’ll be sweating buckets), this incredible true story sees James Franco’s Aron becoming trapped under a boulder while canyoneering. With no one around to help him, he resorts to eye-watering measures to survive. 


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

Over the course of the 127 hours he’s trapped in the canyon, the once cocky Aron begins to reflect on life, those he loves, and where he’s been going wrong.

As days turn into weeks for stranded Alex and Ben, they too find themselves doing just that, ultimately finding solace in one another.


This BAFTA-winning docudrama recreates the astonishing true story of British mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates.

While attempting to climb the previously unconquered West Face of the Siula Grande in Peru, Joe badly breaks his leg. Simon attempts to lower his friend down the mountain by rope, but things go terribly wrong, and Joe is left stranded in the wilderness… alone.

Trust us when we say that you’ll never think of Boney M’s ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ in the same way again! 


How 'The Mountain Between Us' compares:

In an incredible display of human resilience, the left-for-dead Joe manages to drag himself across the unforgiving terrain to safety. Alex and Ben must find a way to do the same. Yes, the stakes aren’t quite as high as The Mountain Between Us is a fictional story, but you’ll still be biting your nails with the tension of it all. 

Discover The Mountain Between Us

ODEON says...

Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realise help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and discovering strength they never knew possible. 

The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Hany Abu-Assad and stars Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba.

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