Good Movies to Watch That Illustrate Survival Skills and Resourcefulness

J5 Tactical Flashlight

Good Movies to Watch That Illustrate Survival Skills and Resourcefulness


There’s no shortage of good survival movies out there.  Having a movie night that features some of them can help to foster conversations and help us all to think about how we would respond during a survival situation.  Let’s take a look at some good movies that reinforce the importance of being resourceful, innovative and focused during trying times.

Cast Away

I personally think that Cast Away is the benchmark in terms of an ordinary guy being forced to cope with a SHTF situation that he never expected to face.  One of the things that this movie highlights is the importance of learning as you go, and never giving up.  It is clear that the character did have some basic survival skills, such as when he made fire for the first time, but he also had to solve problems through trial and error and make use of the limited amount of resources that came his way.

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is a movie that addresses how teamwork, ingenuity and good leadership can help to turn a catastrophe into a chance for survival.  It also shows that many crises develop that we’ve never planned for, never practiced or never considered possible.  Finally, this movie illustrates the importance of working together and trusting people who have skill sets that we lack to get the job done.  Often times, we see a survival situation as a something that we must manage on our own, when in reality we may need to work with others in order to get out alive.

The Martian

This movie is a good example of how someone keeps his cool, doesn’t give up, and ultimately uses his skills in order to create solutions to problems that come one by one.  It shows how we must be willing to adapt, improvise and persevere.  Most importantly, it also shows how important it is to be patient and take the long-view in terms of the possibility that getting through the situation may take a long time. 

The Day After

This movie was groundbreaking and terrifying like none other during a time when the world was preparing to face a nuclear holocaust at any moment.  It shows how people wait until the last minute to stock up, how ridiculous a lot of preparedness guidelines produced by the government really are, and how we can all face a game-changing incident in the blink of an eye.  What it doesn’t address is how society copes and rebuilds after a SHTF situation, but this illustrates how important it is to have a plan in place to cope with the aftermath.

The Book of Eli

This post-apocalyptic film shows how life can devolve in the long-term aftermath of a catastrophic disaster.  It also shows how desperate people will become in order be able to eat, drink and barely survive.  It shows how simple, everyday objects can be worth their weight in gold.  Finally, it really highlights the evil side of human nature and how many people will do anything to wield power and influence, and how good guys may need to take drastic actions in order to protect themselves and those they love.


This movie presents a pretty realistic assessment of how people would react if a biological threat strikes their community.  While it’s doubtful that such an outbreak would be contained to one town, since we are such a mobile society and it takes officials a long time to identify a problem, it does raise some important points.  People will be isolated, quarantined and under the threat of destruction by officials who panic or see such an option is the best course of action to take.  Civil liberties?  Gone.  Military taking control?  Absolutely.  These are things that can and will happen if we ever face such a crisis in the future, and this film helps to drive that point home while also helping us to think about how we would react to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

There are literally hundreds of other movies out there that touch on survival, ranging from the ridiculous and implausible to being very realistic.  The great thing about movies is that they place us in the situation at hand and allow us to think about how characters deal with crises, the consequences of mistakes and the ineptitude of governments to help.  Consider making a habit of having a survival movie night every now and then, and use it as an opportunity to grow on your own path toward being prepared and self-sufficient.