5 Survival Movies You Need to See Before The 33

by | November 12, 2015 | Comments

On August 5 2010, a mine collapsed in the town of San José, Chile, prompting a seemingly impossible rescue mission that unfolded over the course of three months. This week’s The 33 dramatizes the event as a testimony to the human struggle against the elements, and in that spirit, our Spanish-language partners over at Tomatazos have offered up a brief list of similar stories to get you into the “rescue mood” before you purchase a ticket.

Apollo 13 (1995) 95%


Even though it drifts away stylistically from the following entries, this space epic heads our list because it also shares some of their fundamental characteristics. Even when everything seems perfectly planned out, including daily chores, one small failure (a technical one in the Apollo’s case) is all it takes to make things go sour in a hurry, prompting all those involved to face risky situations in order to regain control. Kind of makes you believe “13 is an unlucky number,” dosen’t it?

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127 Hours (2010) 93%


This tale feels like something lifted straight out of a Eugène Ionesco play (the whole “eating yourself to survive” business), and it’s doubly shocking because it was, of course, based on a real story. It’s claustrophobic, anguishing, and crude; no wonder it got James Franco an Academy Award nomination.

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Into the Wild (2007) 82%


Almost every character in this list is a victim of circumstance; that is to say, they obviously did not choose to be burned in space or trapped between a literal rock and a hard place. But not Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch,) the daunting protagonist of this film, who chose to leave his whole life behind and be “one” with nature. Nature, cranky as she’s wont to be, took care of the rest.

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The Impossible (2012) 81%


This J.A. Bayona flick hits closer to home when you realize that the suburbanite family onscreen could be yours; not that suburbanites are inherently threatening, but because of the prospect that you could be chilling at your favorite overseas resort, and then bam! The sea’s now all over you. And your child. And Naomi Watts. Now that’s a spooky image.

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Alive (1993) 64%


We just could not leave this classic survival film off the list, especially since it’s become a definitive reference on the matter. It’s the movie that made audiences think twice the next time they took a flight. It’s a safe bet to say that whenever people think of this story, they feel a knot in their stomach; and it all began with a simple plane trip above the Andes…

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You can find the original article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

  • Nicola Cuti

    Good picks, but you left off one of my favorite survival pic, “The Flight of the Phoenix” with James Stuart and Hardy Kruger.

    • All the picks here are non-fiction, like “The 33.”

    • The Nic Cuti? E-Man, etc.?

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