My favorite survival movies for a night in

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I love the outdoors almost as much as I love survival, and it crosses over to every aspect of my life. I’ve chosen to live in a location where I’m (almost) completely off the grid, and I’m working hard at building a homestead that’s not only sustainable for me and my family, but will help to keep us safe no matter what. To me, that’s important, and one of the biggest goals in my life.

But you can’t be all go, all the time.

There’s times when you’ve got a broken-down piece of equipment and you’re waiting for parts, or the weather has just decided that it’s not going to cooperate and you can’t get out on your land. Or maybe you’re just tired after a day at work and want to watch television.

I get it. I do it myself. There’s nothing better than cooking up a big batch of popcorn and getting settled into the sofa with my wife and kids, and relaxing after a week of work. I just find that I can’t do normal television. Reality shows feel like a waste of time, and while I love a bit of football, it’s not something I’ve ever been able to fully get into.

But what I do like, is a good survival flick.

Perhaps it’s being able to break down everything the hero is doing wrong, or to see what other people believe the end of the world is going to look like. And that’s not even the best part. Hollywood is pushing out more and more of these types of shows. The Mist is the latest series tapping into the turmoil that comes when people are holed up without proper preparation, and today I’m going to cover my favorite movies, and the lessons they hold for a survivalist.

Into the Wild (2007)

Following the true story of Christopher McCandles, you see firsthand at just how brutal the outdoors really is. After graduating college and heading into the wilderness with no experience, and just a couple of survival books, it’s inevitable that things go wrong. Unable to hunt or successfully “live off the land,” McCandles eventually succumbs to the wild. I like it because I think this is a wake-up call to many of the survivalists who think they can simply bug-out into the bush and live happily ever after. ‘Into the Wild’ shows them exactly what will happen if they’re not truly ready.


Lesson: Never go into the wild unprepared. You need gear, experience, and a support system if you want to survive. You need to work hard for every meal, every sip of water, so use your time now to start gaining the skills and know-how to successfully live off the land. Books aren’t enough.

San Andreas (2015)

Following the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, this movie highlights how people are going to do whatever it takes to protect their family when a disaster strikes. There will be looting, and the people you’ve always relied on to look out for you, like police officers, aren’t going to be there anymore. I also think it highlights the importance of being ready to take swift action when there’s an emergency, if everything starts exploding around you, run for cover. Please.

Lesson. You can’t rely on the governments or law enforcement agencies to look out for your best interests once the SHTF. People will always put their own needs first, so you need to ensure you’ve got a means to both protect yourself, and always keep your head on a swivel. You never know when a crisis like this will strike, and those who are complacent will die.

Cast Away (2000)

Following the story of an airplane survivor washed onto a deserted island, ‘Cast Away’ gives a harrowing look at both the skills required and the loneliness you’d expect as a lone survivor. What I like most is the struggle that the hero goes through to secure even the most basic survival assets, like fire, and as you follow the character arc you see how much of a difference this makes once he knows what he’s doing.

Lesson. Effective survival comes down to experience. If you want to give yourself the best chance at surviving whatever comes, you need practice. So learn basic survival techniques now, before you’re forced to rely on them. Do you know how to start a fire without matches? How about constructing a fish trap or a spear? These are basic techniques, but without having ever tried these before, you’re going to struggle if you ever need to use them.

The Grey (2012)

Following a group of oil-rig workers after a plane crash in Alaska, this film taps into the emotions of fear and dread when you’re being pursued. In this case it’s a pack of wolves who will stop at nothing to tear the group apart. What I like most about this movie is the brutal determination of the hero to survive at all odds, a trait I believe more of my fellow patriots need.

Lesson. Whilst I believe in a higher power, there’s little that prayer can do for you in a real situation. Remember that everything has a time and a place, and if you’re unprepared when danger is at your doorstep, it’s going to be difficult to survive. Ultimately, your survival is up to you. Your determination to survive is what will keep you fighting on, again and again.

These four movies are my favorites when I’m looking for a guilty night in, and in between the special effects and manifest drama that Hollywood has to use to get their ticket sales up, contain real lessons for my fellow patriots. So do yourself a favor. When you’re wanting a little down time, make it productive, and watch one of these survival movies. You may learn something useful too.


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