4 Survival Movies to Watch to Understand the Importance of Prepping and Survival

Let’s face it, we’re all suckers for real good survival movies. There’s just something so gripping about them that gets the heart pumping and racing.

But most Hollywood survival movies can’t hold a candle to what modern prepping is. Rational thinking? Realistic situations? You’re better off with a documentary, bud.

Still, we’re doing this! Here are 4 survival movies you should get your hands on to know more about prepping and survival:

Top Survival Movies to Watch

After hours of watching, numerous bottles of beer, and buckets of popcorn, we’ve finally come up with a decent list of 4 great survival movies you should watch at least once in your life. We’ve chosen films we enjoyed and, at the same time, films that made us realize a few things about prepping and survival.

Possible spoilers ahead, but we’ll try to keep things vague. Here’s our complete list:

127 Hours

First on our list of must-watch survival movies is 127 Hours.

If you haven’t seen this film, then you need to get with the program. Based on a true story about full-fledged outdoorsman Aron Ralston, 127 Hours has James Franco’s character go out for a solo day hike in the canyons of Utah. While hiking, he gets into a terrible accident that traps him against a boulder. The film then revolves around his fight for survival.

The way it’s also been filmed puts you in the zone with the tight shots, giving off that claustrophobic vibe.

What can you learn from this film? A few things, actually, as the movie makes you think about how to stay alive when you’re literally caught between a rock and a hard place.

Here’s what we’ve come up with:

  1. Make sure someone you trust always knows where you’re going. Don’t be cocky. It’s not the time for that. Mother Nature is still a force to be reckoned with, even if you’re an expert outdoorsman. It’s always best to have someone know where you are just in case. You don’t have to tell everyone where you’re headed but inform someone you trust about a few details. You can ask that person to start worrying if you don’t reply or send a message within a certain amount of time. You might also give them a heads-up about the route you’ll be taking and when to expect you back. It’s good to have all your bases covered.
  2. The buddy system still works best when exploring the great outdoors. Going on a solo trip to enjoy nature is a dream, but for your safety, go with a friend and employ a buddy system. Most people who get lost during travels are usually those who go out to explore on their own. Just watch 127 Hours, and you’ll know what we mean.
  3. Always have an extra ration of food and water in case something goes wrong. Not because you’ll get into an accident and you’ll need it, but because anything can happen. Heavy rains can leave you stranded in one spot, and extra food and water will come in handy in a situation like that.
  4. Don’t underestimate your surroundings. Even if you’re an expert, you still have to be careful when you’re out and about exploring nature. In the film, Aron Ralston wasn’t expecting it to rain in the desert, let alone witness flooding in a canyon. But it did, and he got into a dangerous situation because of that. Preparing for any and every situation and not taking the environment for granted is critical. It’s something you need to think about when going out.
  5. You will have to make difficult decisions. If you’ve seen this survival movie, then you know all about the difficult decision the main character had to make. In reality, it can happen to you, the choice of making a hard decision and really acting on it. You have to be prepared for that, mentally and emotionally, if it means you get a better chance at survival.


Ah. Castaway. There are only good things to say about this film that’s well-loved by preppers and non-preppers alike.

First released in the year 2000, Castaway features lovable actor Tom Hanks playing the role of Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee whose plane crashes and leaves him stranded in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like those other desert island movies out there, right? Still, Castaway’s Chuck Noland relies heavily on real-life survival skills to make it through the harrowing ordeal.

What did this survival movie teach us exactly? Here’s a full list of realizations:

  1. Finding water is key. Noland’s usage of leaves and coconut shells to collect rainwater proves that knowing how to find drinkable water in the wild or purifying water is essential.
  2. Fire will make ANYONE happy in the wild. In the film, Noland creates a tinder nest to start a fire, and when he manages to light it, that happy scream of “fire” made us realize just how much we take warmth and light for granted. LEARN THE ART OF FIREMAKING, PEOPLE.
  3. Make use of the materials around you. From a raft made from a washed-up porta potty to a volleyball-turned-companion named Wilson, one thing that helped Noland survive on that island was his creativity. His will to repurpose debris and garbage into useful things proved that everyone has a little bit of a prepper in them.
  4. Hunting and fishing skills will always be useful. Noland wasn’t about to bust out a cheeseburger anytime soon on that island. So how did he feed himself? He went fishing, of course. Spearfishing, to be exact. And it took quite a while for him to figure it out and become an expert. Hunting and fishing skills are beneficial when in the wild.


Many people who saw Contagion way back in 2011 will tell you how this film eerily mirrors what’s going on today with COVID-19.

Don’t expect it to be an action-packed film. It’s far from that. Still, it doesn’t mean that it’s boring. On the contrary, this survival movie will keep you guessing and wondering where things went wrong. It chews on your psychological core, showing viewers how a simple virus or sickness can bring the world to its knees.

Plus, the whole movie has several lessons that we, as survivalists, can learn from. Here’s what we can say about Contagion:

  1. The government won’t have an instant response. It can even take weeks or a month before the government takes the proper measures. In the film, nobody informed the government until the doctors could confirm what was going on. And even then, they spent a whole lot of time still trying to piece together the entire picture. With that in mind, you get a deeper understanding of WHY we need to be self-reliant. Being dependent on the government when disaster strikes is going to be a hard no because they won’t be there for everyone. The government will forget some people, and we don’t want to be a part of the “forgotten” group. Self-reliance is where it’s at, folks. 
  2. Finding a cure will take time. Coming up with a cure is not an overnight thing. A lot of things go into procuring a vaccine—research, endless testing, then distribution. In the movie, while that was happening, more and more people were getting sick. By the time a cure is ready, things might be at their worst.
  3. Crime and chaos can happen. When faced with flight or fight, some people will choose to fight, and when that happens, things can get messy. In Contagion, things were getting so chaotic that a crowd even attacked a supply truck to loot it. As the people got more desperate, the crimes rose. Sure, when things like that happen, the police will be quick to quell the mobs, but if mobs are trashing and looting at the same time, at multiple places, that’s going to be a bit harder to control. This is also the part where we’re going to say that you need to know some form of hand-to-hand combat for self-defense. Either that or arm yourself with a non-lethal self-defense weapon to help you out when things get rough.
  4. Stock up on rations in advance. This is probably the number one prepper advice you’ll learn in any survival movie, but it’s pretty evident why you need to do that in the movie Contagion. The amount of chaos in that film had us not wanting to step out to get food at all. Plus, contracting the virus by stepping out didn’t seem worth it. Now, if you’ve got rations stocked for days, then you’re in the clear. But if your pantry is looking as empty as my bank account, then Houston, we’ve got a problem.

I Am Legend

Last on our list of top survival movies is I Am Legend.

Will Smith, playing the role of Robert Neville, takes us on a post-apocalyptic journey that shows how the world turns out after a cure for cancer kills 90% of the population. 1% survive, and the other 9%? Well, they become angry zombie-ish entities that spend the rest of their lives attacking and feeding on the 1%.

I Am Legend is set 3 years after SHTF, with New York in pure disarray but Robert surviving with his trusty dog, Sam, on his side. Do you want to see what an urban SHTF situation looks like? This is THE survival movie for you.

Here’s what you can learn from it, too:

  1. Early home fortification pays off. Main character Robert Neville’s home is a place to die for. It’s got a secure basement that doubles as a lab and a safe room while large steel plates fortify all the doors and windows. It all pays off and keeps him safe at night when the “zombies” are most active. The movie shows you how vital home fortification is, especially if you plan to hunker down in an urban area. Imagine if Robert hadn’t been THAT prepared. We shudder to think what would have happened.
  2. Don’t overlook mental preparation. Throughout the movie, we noticed the recurring struggle of the character to keep things together. We could see that Robert just wanted any form of human interaction to keep himself sane. You know that scene where he tries to talk to a mannequin? Yeah, barely holding it together there, bud. Most of us won’t be that strong when SHTF, especially if we’re looking at three years of being alone. Emotional and mental preparedness will matter greatly. You should spend some time preparing yourself for situations where you are alone or have suffered severe losses as Robert did.
  3. Nature always wins. After years of neglect, nature will creep in and overtake the roads with shrubbery and greens without any human interference, even in the big city. Most of the time, Robert was walking through weed-covered streets. Why are we bringing this up? Because wild plants are edible! Sure, there are poisonous ones out there, but if you avoid those, there are several you can pick, prep, eat, and enjoy. Pick up the skill of foraging, and it might just come in handy.

Final Thoughts

Movies are a great way to learn things, plus a good movie can be a lot of fun. If you want to get your family and friends into the prepper mindset, these 4 survival movies can be a great start.

Do you have other survival movies you want to recommend? Share them with us!

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