We're a couple weeks away from the release of the visual effects spectacle, Everest. Following the 1996 story surrounding a group of climbers forced to battle extreme weather conditions during their conquest of Mount Everest, early reviews for the film have been highly favorable. Therefore, I'm devoting September's Movie List of the Month to the greatest survival films (check out August's list). While survival films have been more of a contemporary genre in mainstream film, my list surprisingly traces back to the 1970s. Just as a disclaimer, my list avoids content centered around zombies, vampires and anything post-apocalyptic. These selections are man verse nature, I hope you enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Cast Away (2000), Into the Wild (2007) and The Way Back (2010)
#5. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
As a huge fan of a cruise-line vacation, the everlasting effect of The Poseidon Adventure haunted many of my days on rough seas. Gene Hackman stars in this classic survival tale of an ocean liner that capsizes and puts its passengers on a desperate quest to escape before the ship fully sinks. Action-packed and boasting some impressive special effects considering its release date, The Poseidon Adventure is definitely a worthy inclusion on the list.
#4. All Is Lost (2013)
I'll keep thing on the open waters as I move on to the nearly-silent but impactful drama, All Is Lost. Leading star Robert Redford was irritatingly snubbed of an Oscar nomination as a lone sailor who encounters unimaginable troubles after his vessel strikes a lost shipping container floating aimlessly in the sea. Short on dialogue but heavy on intensity, Redford gives an unforgettable performance in a film that sticks with you long after the credits roll.
#3. Alive (1993)
When I think about the phrase, "survival film", my brain immediately defaults to an iconic entry from my youth, Alive. Based on the true story of a Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snowy Andes Mountains following an unforeseen plane, Alive examine that harrowing struggles of surviving in these elements. When things get really desperate for these athletes, they must turn to cannibalism to stay alive and those images and ideas will forever haunt me.
#2. 127 Hours (2010)
Danny Boyle is such an amazing filmmaker and one of his greatest efforts is the brutally honest and true tale, 127 Hours. James Franco gives an Oscar nominated performance as outdoor enthusiast, Aron Ralston, who unfortunately finds himself trapped by an immovable boulder in a Utah canyon. As the hours turn to days and Ralston struggles to come to terms with his situation, he must go to extreme measures to ensure he lives to see another day. What a film!
#1. The Impossible (2012)
It doesn't get much better than J.A. Bayona's four-star breathtaking true story, The Impossible. Centered on the crippling events of the 2004 Tsunami that struck Thailand, Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star as the parents of a family forced to overcome the impossible odds of surviving and reconnecting after this unforeseen storm claims nearly a quarter of a million casualties. The Impossible is a non-stop thrill ride full of tension and suspense that transcends almost anything you've seen before. This is a complete must-see, so do yourself a favor and seek it out!