Survival film

The survival film is a film genre in which one or more characters make an effort at physical survival. It often overlaps with other film genres. It is a subgenre of the adventure film, along with swashbuckler films, war films, and safari films.[1] Survival films are darker than most other adventure films, which usually focus their storyline on a single character, usually the protagonist. The films tend to be “located primarily in a contemporary context” and so film audiences are familiar with the setting, and the characters’ activities are less romanticized.[2]

In a 1988 book, Thomas Sobchack compared the survival film to romance: “They both emphasize the heroic triumph over obstacles which threaten social order and the reaffirmation of predominant social values such as fair play and respect for merit and cooperation.”[2] The author said survival films “identify and isolate a microcosm of society,” such as the surviving group from the plane crash in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) or those on the overturned ocean liner in The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Sobchack explained, “Most of the time in a survival film is spent depicting the process whereby the group, cut off from the securities and certainties of the ordinary support networks of civilized life, forms itself into a functioning, effective unit.” The group often varies in types of characters, sometimes to the point of caricature. While women have historically been stereotyped in such films, they “often play a decisive role in the success or failure of the group.”[3]


  • 1 List of films
  • 2 See also
  • 3 References
  • 4 Bibliography

List of films[edit]

See also[edit]

  • List of apocalyptic films
  • List of disaster films


  • ^ Sobchack 1988, p. 12
  • ^ a b Sobchack 1988, p. 14
  • ^ a b c Sobchack 1988, p. 15
  • ^ Long, Tom (November 13, 2015). “Review: ‘The 33,’ true story of struggle for survival“. The Detroit News. Retrieved January 14, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:9px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-image:url(“//”);background-image:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”);background-repeat:no-repeat;background-size:12px;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j Staff (January 23, 2012). “The 10 Best Survival Movies”. Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015.
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lascala, Marisa (April 20, 2020). “The 20 Best Survival Movies to Show You What Grit Truly Is”. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  • ^ Laskin, Nicholas (November 18, 2014). “Watch: Trailer For WWII Survival Film ‘Against The Sun’ Starring Garret Dillahunt, Tom Felton, Jake Abel”. The Playlist. Indiewire. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ a b c d Ferguson, Lee (November 12, 2010). “127 Hours and five other great survival movies”. CBC News. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  • ^ “Berlinale: 1984 Programme”. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  • ^ “Mel Gibson’s Maya”. Archaeology. 60 (1). January–February 2007.
  • ^ a b c d e f Staff (October 17, 2013). “20 Survival Films That Will Take You Into The Abyss”. The Playlist. Indiewire. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ Barraclough, Leo (May 22, 2017). “Mads Mikkelsen on Surviving the Polar Wilderness in ‘Arctic'”. Variety. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  • ^ a b c d e f g h Fristoe, Roger (December 22, 2017). “Survival Movies: Fridays in January”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  • ^ a b c McGrath, Charles (November 1, 2013). “Tales of Danger for You to Survive”. The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ Ford, Coreena (22 March 2009). “Neil’s back into battle”. Sunday Sun. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Robinson, Alex; Farabee, Kelsey (November 22, 2010). “The Best Survival Movies Ever”. Outdoor Life. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  • ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 3, 2015). “Fall Movie Guide: Making ‘Everest’ was a tall order for filmmakers”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ Voeller, Carey R. (2009). “‘A man is a fool who prefers poor California beef to human flesh’: (Re)Definitions of Masculinity in Nineteenth-Century US Donner Party Literature”. Western American Literature. 44 (3): 219.
  • ^ Stuart Kemp (25 August 2009). “‘Eagle of the Ninth’ adds cast”. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  • ^ French, Philip (April 23, 2006). “Eight Below”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  • ^ Vanhala, Helena (2011). “International Terrorism and the Commercial Hollywood Film Industry”. The Depiction of Terrorists in Blockbuster Hollywood Films, 1980-2001: An Analytical Study. McFarland. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7864-3662-0.
  • ^ Adams, Sam (September 2, 2015). “First Reviews of ‘Everest’: Stunning Spectacle, So-So Drama”. Criticwire. Indiewire. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ a b Guzman, Rafer (January 27, 2012). “Survivor films: Which live, which die – and why?”. The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  • ^ Topel, Fred (November 6, 2012). “AFI 2012 Review: The Impossible”. CraveOnline Media, LLC. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  • ^ Chang, Justin (December 2, 2015). “Film Review: ‘In the Heart of the Sea'”. Variety. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  • ^ a b c Mertes, Micah (November 1, 2013). “The 10 best survival movies”. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ Jones, Morgan. “Utah Nutty Putty Cave accident to be depicted in new film, ‘The Last Descent'”. Desert News. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  • ^ Holden, Ed (December 19, 2012). “Life of Pi review”. MSN Movies. MSN. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Yacowar, Maurice (2003). “The Bug in the Rug”. In Grant, Barry Keith (ed.). Film Genre Reader III. University of Texas Press. pp. 281–282. ISBN 978-0-292-70185-4.
  • ^ Siegel, Tatiana (5 May 2008). “Sony lands ‘Moon’ rights”. Variety. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  • ^ Roddy, Michael (February 5, 2015). “Arctic survival film, from female perspective, kicks off Berlin fest”. Reuters. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  • ^ Brosnan, Pierce. “Robinson Crusoe”. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  • ^ Leskosky, Richard J. (February 2, 2014). “A new film genre: Solitary survival“. The News-Gazette. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  • ^ Burr, Ty (February 4, 2011). “Sanctum”. The Boston Globe.
  • ^ “Golden Globe Awards”. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  • ^ Shapiro, Jerome F. (2001). Atomic Bomb Cinema: The Apocalyptic Imagination on Film. Routledge. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-415-93660-6.
  • ^ Harkness, Alistair (1 May 2010). “Film Review: Valhalla Rising”. The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  • Bibliography[edit]

    • Sobchack, Thomas (1988). “The Adventure Film”. In Gehring, Wes D (ed.). Handbook of American Film Genres. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-24715-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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