6 Survival Movies with Really Important Lessons

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Life is not a movie, but there are claims that it imitates art. Here are a few SHTF and survival-themed films (including some takeaways) for preppers looking for a bit of educational entertainment during (much deserved) breaks.

We are continually discussing and suggesting prepping and survival books. Besides direct experience and/or training, they are probably the best source of knowledge and information indeed. Movies, too, can be entertaining yet educational and inspiring at the same time.

Who doesn’t like a good flick?

Some may say that films are fantasy, too detached from reality to be taken seriously, and too superficial to be useful, even more so when it comes to something so dramatic and practical as survival. But many times, we have an “Aha!” moment or come up with a solution to a problem while playing a game, jogging, or doing something completely detached from the issue. That’s how our brains work.

While it may be true that mainstream studios and producers (a.k.a. Hollywood) tend to lean toward fantasy, they also have an unequaled capacity to put out amazingly realistic content. Some of it can fill gaps in our imagination, inspire and boost our creativity. So I guess it depends on which movies we chose and how we look at them. An open mind can draw lessons from almost anywhere.

Movies are the modern version of ancient storytelling

Every civilization has a way of registering its history and passing ahead its myths, fears, and achievements; of telling its stories, glorifying its heroes, and vilifying its enemies (real and imaginary). Cinema, also called “the seventh art,” is a valid form of expressing this tradition.

I don’t mean this to be just about learning and being practical. Sometimes we need a distraction, to take a break from the hardships of life and routine. Preppers are normal people, after all.

As a disclaimer, I consider myself as far from the intellectual cinema snob as one can be. I like simple things and do appreciate a good commercial blockbuster as much as anyone else. But more than fancy CGI or big-name acting, I tend to favor coherent plots, a strong script, character arc development, intelligent dialogs, and above all, gripping stories. In other words, just good ol’ quality entertainment that won’t patronize me or treat me like a ticket-paying, brain-dead movie-goer.

I would like you to enjoy watching these films AND take something from them

I aimed for titles that embody survivalism in one or more ways. At the same time, movies that fulfill those criteria and balance entertainment and education. Finally, I added a few personal takeaways from each one. You’ll draw yours, I’m sure. 

I also made an honest effort to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. These films have been out for a few years already. Some are acclaimed box-office hits, thus widely reviewed and discussed in MSM and other outlets. Either way, my sincere apologies in advance if I let something slip.

So, without further ado, here are my top 6 choices.

THE ROAD (2009)

If The Road is not the most realistic, grim, and haunting depiction of a cataclysmic SHTF, I don’t know which one deserves this (dubious) honor. Maybe you do – and I’d be curious to hear about it. 

Even though we could conceive something different in our imagination, it’d pretty hard to come up with a scenario worse than the one portrayed in this (still) incredible movie that tells the story of a father and his son trying to live through a literal hell-on-earth SHTF.

It is unquestionably, an all-about-survival film. It is also the darkest, gloomiest, most depressing one I’ve seen. Based on the acclaimed (and even darker) book by Cormack McCarthy, The Road presents quite graphically and unyieldingly most, if not every, nightmares entertained by preppers and Survivalist. I mean, ever.

The movie depicts absolute and irreversible devastation of the land and complete extinction of all natural and artificial resources. (For which no apparent cause nor even much clue is given.) It also portrays the grotesque in human beings: widespread cannibalism, suicide, diseases, fights, and disputes. 

We’re spared the horrors that led to this point. But there is a constant and tense showcase of fear, desperation, and hopelessness. Which begs a fundamental question, presented as flashbacks of the man’s wife and her irreconcilable dilemma: why would anyone want to survive in a dying world, with so much suffering and absolutely no sign of hope? 

As always, Charlize Theron delivers an intense performance, personifying this conflict internally and externally. The way she finally deals with the matter carries a powerful symbology and dramatic charge. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as a loving and caring yet imperfect father, a tough man with a tormented soul in a world where “everyone is either dead or dying.” We can feel his pain and misery. Throughout the movie, his character arc is the perfect survivalist script, going through every phase that any common, decent man would if dealing with such a situation. 

In the end, as hopeless and depressing as it may sound, it’s still a beautiful story about fatherly love and the survive-at-all-cost nature of humanity. It provides lots of themes for reflection too: the importance of holding on to sound principles even in SHTF; how fortunate we are for being in this situation we find ourselves in today; how valuable yet fragile our existence is; and how impotent we are in the face of the powers of nature.

Main takeaways of The Road

There are lots of prepping and survivalism techniques and concepts delivered throughout: scavenging, camouflaging, food and water acquisition, treating and rationing, the whole playbook. At one point, they even come across a subterranean cache in a farm, which ends up providing perhaps the lightest moments in the entire movie. The reason why the father keeps a gun with only two bullets is heart-wrenching (as one can imagine), but it can be a thing. Trust no one, stay off the road, and kill-or-get-killed are also lessons from The Road for the darker hours of a truly dark SHTF.

ALIVE! (1993) 

I’ve mentioned Alive! in a previous post here, so I’ll keep this brief. The movie is based on the book. The film fills any eventual blanks in our imagination with graphic scenes and visuals, and compelling drama.

According to the survivors themselves, it is also a faithful depiction of the Uruguayan rugby team’s real situations and their families who got stranded in the Andes after a plane crash in October of 1972. Acting is spot-on, and a very young and talented Ethan Hawk takes the front as the level-headed Nando. The movie is even more powerful because it’s a real story, and we know it to be so. We can put ourselves in the characters’ places and share their dilemmas and desperation, imagine their drama, feel their pain.

Main takeaways of Alive

Mostly, the absolute and definitive importance of mentality and mindset in survival. You will do whatever it takes to live another day, even the unimaginable, and this can make all the difference in the outcome of a disaster or SHTF situation. 


As the title makes clear, this is the quintessential lone wolf survivalist story: a young, resourceful, and well-prepared man living alone in a shack right in the middle of a secluded, beautiful forest after a SHTF event kills a large percentage of Earth’s population (a, uh, virus maybe?). One day an elderly woman and her young daughter show up, and the Survivalist faces some dilemmas, new situations, and developments that end up breaking the delicate balance of his lifestyle. 

The Survivalist is a low-budget independent production filled with textbook wildlife prepping and survival techniques and concepts. The guy does it all: gardening, foraging, hunting, trapping. And the movie takes the time to show some of that in more detail. There is some nudity and sex, so be forewarned.

Situations we know to happen during real-life SHTF are seen in the movie. In this case, bartering is a sexual agreement between the main character and the two women. This agreement ends up being the connecting thread and the catalyst to a lot of the film’s action. There is also a lot of suspense and turnarounds, dark secrets and revelations, and surprises. 

Main takeaways of The Survivalist

During a SHTF, we may not search for trouble, but trouble will come for us. We see how hard it can be to survive alone, in a perfect place, even if you’re young, healthy, smart, and prepared, with abundant resources around you. Tough decisions need to be made many times, and often we succumb to our most basic instincts even during SHTF. 


The Book Of Eli isn’t just a superstar list. It’s a superb post-apocalyptic commercial flick with saddening yet impressive filmography of endless devastated landscapes. It is a well made, solidly acted movie with some fast action through and through.

The background couldn’t be more typical: in a post-nuclear, apocalyptic SHTF world, a warlord (Gary Oldman, great as usual) and his gang of sociopaths rule over a small town and control the resources by the power of numbers and use of violence and oppression. It seems to work, though, because it’s the only place where cannibalism isn’t common or even accepted, and there’s some semblance of civilization and order. 

The main character portrays another recurrent and mythic fixture of survivalism: the independent, extremely skilled, highly prepared and trained, probably-ex-military loner with unwavering faith and confidence and unbreakable resolution—sort of a Mad Max with serious training and religious mission. Mila Kunis becomes his female sidekick after trying to break out from the warlord’s tyranny.

Denzel Washington’s mysterious character is perhaps a bit overpowered, never so much as flinching even in the face of great danger or when dealing with numerous deadly threats. He never misses a shot (gun or arrow) and can swiftly defeat entire hordes of dangerous thugs. His power seems to derive from his faith, as does his mental and physical toughness. We’re taken along his adventures through a devastated land in search of some eluded safe heaven. A place he’s been told by a voice to exist somewhere in the west, and to where he must take the last of King James’s bible. (Said to be the cause of the final conflict and the only thing capable to heal humankind and the world.

Main takeaways of The Book of Eli

When SHTF, stay off the roads. Stay away from people, and trust no one. The Book Of Eli highlights the importance of having faith in a world without much else to live for. It shows the importance of being healthy, skillful, and resourceful for survival, which we know to be the case in serious SHTF situations. Finally, “leave it alone, this doesn’t concern you” may be a rule to follow if you want to stay alive when SHTF.

CAST AWAY (2000)

Guy gets stranded alone on a virgin island in the middle of the Pacific after his airplane crashes. He has to learn everything from making a fire to cracking coconuts open, fishing with spears, and even removing a rotting tooth.  Cast Away is a modern version of the classic survival tale, stemming from a long tradition of 18th and 19th centuries tales of sailors, shipwrecks, and pirates.

Cast Away is a superb film, and as everyone probably knows, Tom Hanks delivered an Oscar-worthy, jaw-dropping performance. He carries the film almost entirely on his back, and just like Denzel Washington in The Book Of Eli, he makes it all look credible and fun.

Main takeaways of Cast Away

First, there is the importance of covering the basics, such as improvising shelter and fire. It may be possible to learn skills and develop survival knowledge from ground zero without tools or special resources. But having prior basic knowledge can accelerate that learning curve, in most instances, perhaps being the difference between making it or not. Also: always have an EDC 9 with some painkillers on you, especially if you’re traveling. Finally, sometimes we must break out from complacency to survive in the long run. Oh, and always take good care of your teeth.


I’d rank The Martian as a high-tech, space version of Cast AwayWith a few differencesboth movies paint a very realistic portrait of how it is to live alone in a far-away place with limited, dwindling resources. Surviving is indeed a marathon. 

Matt Damon plays a scientist on a mission to Mars that suffers an accident and is marooned on the red planet. He survives the explosion but is deemed dead by his colleagues as their spaceship takes off back to Earth. 

It’s the “perfect individual SHTF scenario” script. The guy in trouble is a prepper and has a stash of supplies by profession. He is a scientist and gets fresh food cultivated. An SHTF inside his SHTF happens and cuts supplies short (very common). He has to ration the remaining food, find a way to communicate with others, and keep a plan advancing—all the while fighting to maintain his sanity amidst disaster.

Beginning the flick as a healthy, strong astronaut, he’s shown as a bony, skinny survivor waiting for rescue by the end of the movie. In about a year and a half, he transformed due to resources becoming scarce. The only threat missing is also the most significant one in any SHTF on Earth: other human beings. In this case, humanity is either working to bring him back or rooting for him. He had so many different threats and challenges to deal with that made the whole situation crazy-dangerous, so we’ll let that pass. 

Main takeaways of The Martian

The Martian is about a personal SHTF, but that happens: an accident leads to a crisis. The acceptance, the assessment of the situation, the compiling of resources. The application of skills to deal with multiple challenges. The creativity to improvise. The adaptability. The will to survive. Those are all great takeaways. 


Except for The Road and The Survivalist, these are typical Hollywood, feel-good blockbuster movies. So the endings were happy ones, in various degrees. It’s not always the case in real life, where the script is written for us. There are so many other things that can and do go wrong, so many factors playing a hand. 

No crisis lasts forever. We must look from this perspective to deal with the peaks, plateaus, and valleys of any SHTF until we can reach the other side. And there’s a lot to reflect upon on how SHTF wears us down. Surviving is all about working, yet the importance of keeping spirits high and not give in to desperation is of significant importance. 

The biggest takeaway from this collection of movies is perhaps to look at life in the present: let’s be thankful and enjoy the world as we have it now.

There are many other survival movies worth our time. For more survival movies for your next prepper movie night, check out this list. If you have your favorite ones, be sure to share them in the comments below. 

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

Fabian Ommar

Fabian Ommar

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  • Most are great fiction, just remember they are fiction, not fact.

    The Road is a terribly unrealistic movie. Everybody is in the same scenario as the main characters – unprepared, non preppers.
    Preppers and prepper groups are way more common that the movie suggests.
    Many of which, will be taking in people because they failed to consider how much man power(numbers) are necessary to make it work. Plowing, wood cutting, building things and security will take a lot more hands than most groups are planning for. Plus most people are far more kind that the movie credits them to be.

    The Book of Eli is a great fiction. The biggest problem is there would not be and fuel to run those vehicles and the same goes for ammo, you would not be wasting it, shooting up a house. But it makes a good movie. The collecting and printing of books is admirable, but quite unrealistic as printing ink has a shelf life and it is not easy to make. Modern book binding of a printed book is a bit of an artform also, not one likely to be available to them.

    I would put “The Postman” on the list. Not that it is a lot more realistic, but in that it develops a different scenario than most.
    It is closer on how it portrays human kindness and a willingness of people to band together to get things done. What many people and films forget, is that people and society will still function post SHTF. People will still seek normality,
    It also does a good job on portraying a variety of Post SHTF settlements.

    There are lots Other SHTF movies out there the Mad max movies, Waterworld and a lot more.
    Each has certain concepts that might or might not ever occur in real life. But don’t bet your life on any of them.

      • “not when food is running out”

        @gman and @Mic it doesn´t have to go that far for people to show their true colors. Kindness is a luxury, not the rule even during normal times. Just look how people are acting in this pandemic/crisis. I always do my best to be kind and lots of people do too, and I believe it´s the right thing to do. Still, I don´t want to sound pessimistic but in my experience it´s not wise to expect kindness in survival situations, quite the opposite in fact.

        • “Kindness is a luxury”

          in a grid-down crisis it’s a necessity – individuals, families, even small villiages can’t by themselves do everything that will need to be done. pulling in new blood and other skillsets will be vital.

          • I´ll tell you a story to illustrate why I say kindness is a luxury. You can draw your own conclusions, maybe your experience is different than mine so it´s OK.

            Late last yr we had a grid-down SHTF here when an entire state went full-blackout due to a failure in a main power transformer. It took almost a month to restore power in all 16 cities and smaller communities.

            The first two or three days everyone was “kind”. Friends, relatives and neighbors helped each other. Then food and fuel and everything became scarce. Then prices went to the moon. Not too kind anymore. Stuff rotted, goods disappeared.

            This state is right next to Amazon forest (i.e. equatorial line, super hot and damp during summer) so everybody became stressed out and extremely uncomfortable. How kind can one be with mosquitos bitting and kids crying all night. No one could even charge their phones and talk to each other, get or send news, work or study.

            In less than a week everyone was fighting for stuff, and for nothing too. Protests, riots, looting, crime soared. People got killed for little. Kindness didn´t put food on the table, but a gun could. And that´s with the rest of the country and the world normal (more or less) and sending support during this crisis.

            A full, worldwide SHTF is a total unknown. We can only speculate. But people live in a smaller world, their world. And most aren´t prepared to live without comfort and convenience, even less outside of the grid. Some are, but as a sport, in a different context (normal world).

            Real life SHTF is something else because way before people see the benefits of being “kind” for survival (I´d call cooperative but it´s semantics), they panic, they go hungry, mad, desperate and they go very un-kind toward each other.

            Sure, there is a point that there must be some type of order. But from what I´ve seen (and lived), this point comes way after total crazyness.

            • “Kindness didn´t put food on the table, but a gun could”

              I’m hip. in reference to the discussion below regarding hunting, did people wind up hunting rats and such? was there much competition for this, did it last long, etc?

              • That happens but in extreme situations. What I’m trying to convey here is, this is a process. It unfold in phases. There’s hunger, there’s starvation, then there’s death, and then there’s the extremes.

                No one will turn to cannibalism in a week or a month. It must be something really extreme. Same with animals: takes a while and a lot for people eat pets or animals or insects. Some would rather die of starvation before even killing or eating animals or insects.

                During my “street survival” training being among the homeless in the city I’ve seen people eat pigeons but not rats, dogs or cats. The grid is still up and things are normal here for now. Fishing or hunting in the city are crime and there would be consequences to that.

                If people see a solution to an SHTF in the near term, they’ll remain more or less civil. There’s violence and all but they’ll extinguish other resources before going feral. They’ll steal and loot (that’s what I mean by guns in our local SHTF). How much that process lasts depend a lot on the SHTF.

                If the grid is up but there’s a prolonged crisis or it gets bad as Weimar, Venezuela, then people will do all those things. Because they have no option. Recently in Argentina people were unearthing discarded, rotting meat, to eat and barter. Imagine that.

                In rural areas, people will track farms and kill animals and steal crops, those things. Heck, it already happens here and other places in normal times. But that’s localized as it’s still crime and law and order.

                But if SHTF seriously… we’’ll see everything.

                • Fabian about canabalism 1 week maybe not one month for sure….

                  Think of it this way there is 4 days of food in in any city once reucking stops. Day 5 they eat all.the pets day 6 all the zoo and other animals. Day 7 they go hungry….

                  What do you think will happen by day 14? Yeah only meat is on two feet.

                  Think in a city like LA its endless city from Tijuana to Bakersfield…. alot of nothing for that many people.

                  Do you think they would even bother trying to feed that many in an upcoming food shortage or would you spend the resources to fortify the passes to farm land and let the others survive how they can.

                  Stalin I personally killed is a tragedy
                  1 million is a statistic.

                  You wont be able to eat the rats as they will be all over the dead bodies and there will be alot of diseases when water and sewage fail and people in cities do you think in a 30 storey apt the guy in penthouse will walk down dig a trench or fo to the public latrine or will he throw it off the top and f#$k you to those below?

                  How about washing water where I that drought corridor will they get water if not pumped? Sea water? Yeah you canr swim in it is so full of medical waste.

                  And you would try rats and insects living off the dead bodies to fill your belly or eat a human?

                  As for movies war documentary probably better for actual take aways since they did happen and that’s how people survived.

                  Rape of nanking

                  The stories about ww2 fighting on iwo jima it’s as hard core as it gets.

                  We hope not to have this happen again but it looks like those times are upon us again.

                • @Namelus

                  Absolutely right. In a full-on SHTF I agree that´s what would happen, no law, no order, each one fending for themselves and desperate without hope of a solution.

                  And yes, just the collapse of sanitation and water supply in big cities in such a scenario (coupled with famine and decaying of health) would mean the explosion of diseases of all sorts.

                  That´s what happened during some plagues and wars in history.

                  As for the times being upon us again… It´s become almost a meme today but many don´t know that the end of the Roman empire happened against a very similar (some would argue it´s identical) background. Even the climate change with global warming and all, enemies internal and external, everything. It´s crazy to read about that. So yes, it does happen.

        • We got jumped by a COVID SJW in a store the other day.

          Our crime: Walking against the one way arrow on the floor.
          In our defense, the end of the isles to go the other way was block in one direction by a store worker and her cart of clothing. The other way was a group of people with their carts, talking/socializing.
          He did not say a word to them about social distancing.

          Interestingly enough, aside from Afghanistan, American suburbia I have found to be the most hostile place. I got lots of dirty looks for walking my dog.
          Rural America is more friendly. People wave to each other as they drive by. I even know my UPS drivers name.

          • “Rural America is more friendly”

            it’s not that they’re more friendly, it’s that they have time. in the country you pass say a dozen people a day, so you wave. in the city you’ll pass quite literally hundreds of people an hour – you don’t wave.

            • One winter, my wife’s then front wheel drive car got stuck in the drive.
              There I am, struggling and failing to get the car out.
              A truck pulls in, young guy gets out and says he saw me trying to get the car out, turned around and is there to help out.
              2 minutes later, wife’s car is out and she can go on her way.
              I never met the guy before. He was just driving by (55mph 2-lane county road), stopped, turned around to help.

              • “turned around to help”

                you’ll see that in the city too, just with certain other factors. 1) concern about the situation being a set up for a robbery, 2) no room in traffic to turn around, 3) being late for work with no flexibility in arrival time, 4) too well dressed to push-and-pull on the street, etc. and people who are stuck by the side of the road often will aggressively turn down offers of “help” because they have no idea who is “helping”. different world, different rules.

        • @Fabian Ommar, dear countryman.


          When someone says: “”Besides, most people are much nicer than the movie credits them” “, just remember the truck drivers’ strike in Brazil in 2018, when fuel disappeared and along with it several basic items, causing riots and fights over a gallon of gas at gas stations. Others paying 50 reais for 5 liters of gasoline. There are several videos on the internet showing savagery at the gas stations.

          At the beginning of the pandemic, people traded punches for a bottle of alcohol gel.

          In my city there have been several floods in the local river. When the water level of the river touches the streets for looters to start acting. They are like rats coming out of the sewer, just waiting for the right moment.

          Another example of “kindness”: especially in capitals, on weekdays, after 5 pm it is practically impossible to get on a bus or subway without being pushed by more than 200 people.

          In Black Friday promotions, I believe that most of the merchandise in stores is damaged, as hordes of people invade stores like Americanas, Hypermarkets, etc, breaking everything ahead to get a smartphone at a discount.

          These are examples to show how fragile our society is. Just a new fact and people show who they are. Believing that people tend to be kind and help others is to deny reality.

          Does this case you report refer to the energy crisis in the state of Amapá? Is it already normalized or are there still some specific problems?


    • How about the movie No Blade Of Grass (1970)? As seems ever to be the case, the book was better than the movie (portraying the virus that destroyed all the grass and grass-based crops as an escaped bio-weapon rather than as the environment having a mind and will of its own and deciding to strike back at its polluters), but the movie does do a pretty good job of portraying society’s breakdown and some of how people are likely to act in the absence of law and order. Lessons learned: beware of roadblocks, and do everything you can to keep your party from splitting.

  • I don’t see how any of these would provide a break from present day craziness. If anything they would heighten the anxiety and stress many are already feeling.

    That said, I have enjoyed Cast Away, The Book of Eli, and The Road on multiple occasions. Alive was good and certainly realistic as the event did happen. The Martian was a yawner, not real practical for situations on earth, and not worth my time. I have not seen The Survivalist.

  • I read the book “The Road” and it was pretty depressing to say the least. I don’t think that kind of mindset is helpful. Not saying that nothing like that would happen but it is pretty dark to focus wholly on.

    “The Book of Eli” is pretty good. I would have to say that the message here is realistic. The starkness of the landscape is depressing. (might be what we get if we all don’t start being much better stewards of the earth) That there are a few good people left is encouraging. Lot of darkness but pretty much what I expect in a serious SHTF situation. The message here is solid imo.

    I agree that basic skills are a must but I think a proper mindset is even more so. Humans can be so resilient and can survive some crazy stuff. One’s state of mind is a huge part of any battle. This has been talked about many times on your site Daisy and always worth repeating. One can’t prepare for absolutely everything but as the Marines say, adapt and overcome!

    The Hunger Games is another possibility. It is a classic rich ruling over the poor. One can almost see that evolving in the world right now with the globalists and their objectives to own it all! In the end of this series it takes a revolution to turn the tide. It also carries the message to trust no one. Donald Sutherland does a great job of playing President Snow. He at one point tells his lackey that hope can be a dangerous thing.
    It lights fires and keeps people fighting and moving onward. He turns out to be 100% correct!

    • “I read the book “The Road” and it was pretty depressing to say the least. I don’t think that kind of mindset is helpful. Not saying that nothing like that would happen but it is pretty dark to focus wholly on.”

      Yeah it´s very very dark. Even more so than the movie as I said. Being honest, the main point I took from it isn´t survival or survival techniques per se, and maybe it´s exactly the opposite. It made me think, as it does to many of the characters, why would someone even put up a fight to survive if things got that bad. That goes with what you said about Hunger Games and having hope BTW.

      Anyway I agree, The Road is the true end-of-the-world story. Though reading or watching it didn´t made me feel exactly good, it reinforced my appraciation for the world as it is and things as they are now.

  • Time of the Wolf is a 2003 French dystopian movie that depicts a well-to-do family, presumably from Paris, that flees to their country home after a vague, undescribed disaster has afflicted France, whose effects are only seen momentarily in the film, e.g. dead cattle everywhere and scarce water supplies. They find that their home is being occupied by another family, which is armed and desperate. It is an obscure film and didn’t have a long run in theaters–I saw it at an art house in San Francisco while on a business trip. I suggest it should be added to this list, as it shows the grim and depressing things that can unexpectedly happen to a family when civilization breaks down, and they left vulnerable to whatever strong men with guns but no morals will do to the helpless, traumatized and ill-prepared.

  • I guess you are talking about commercial/ grocery store foods. Because in Nature there is plenty of food.

    You just need to know what is edible and where to find it. it may not be what you want to eat ,but there is a lot of food out there.
    Like in a SHTF urban environment, there will be lots of feral dogs and cats as well as lots of other wild life, that can be caught and consumed. Rats, Coyotes and Racoons are common “city” wildlife.

    Our fore fathers ate Possum, squirrel, rabbit and other small game that replenishes its numbers quickly.
    Then there is always snakes and other reptiles and birds to eat.
    You can even eat algae from ponds and such. You would be surprised at how many commercially made foods contain it.

    So starvation is for Dummies!

    • @Mic that´s not what we see happening. Starvation is for millions, look at history.

      Indeed, every time that a great famine or depression force the population people will go for any resource at hand. People went to the zoo and butchered the animals to eat them in Venezuela and Argentina recently. Domesticated ones are easy prey and go first, pets and other common city animals (birds, pigeons, cats and rats, etc.) become food.

      But there are just so many zoos, animals and pets in any city. And millions of people who need to eat every day and have no idea what to do. Many animals, especially the smaller and wild ones, aren´t captured that easily, and they wise up pretty fast and move away soon, also in search of their own food and safety.

      These animal and vegetal resources get consumed fast in a city during a crisis. These aren´t renewable source. Everything disappears fast. Less so in rural and production areas, with less people and more resources. But it gets ugly there too, just not as bad.

      • Late 90s, North Korea.
        Millions were starving.
        Reports I read, people had resorted to eating boiled grass and bark.
        The reported noted the lack of the sounds of birds and insects.

    • “Rats, Coyotes and Racoons are common ‘city’ wildlife”

      that’ll last about a week. and if they access the countryside, that out there will last another week.

      • Actually, you are not far off.
        Like any ecosystem, population of any given animal goes in cycles. Mild winter, or ample supply of food, increase in say rabbits. With increased supply, animals that prey on rabbits also increase in population until the rabbit population has decreased to the point predators either have to move else where or starve.
        But in our case, a few million people in a small (relative) urban area all after the same rat . . . does not bode well.
        And how many rats does one have to catch a week to survive?
        Be a great weight loss plan.

    • No kidding! That is an edge of your seat movie!
      Horrible implications that ought to make anyone who’s seen it be very worried about experimental vax’s.

  • Great to see The Survivalist on there, it has some good info on making lamp oil in the special features. I’d say The Road is also one of the tops on my list. Cormac McCarthy’s novel was mesmerizing.

    Other films in the Survival/SHTF realm I recommend are:

    The Divide
    Radio Flash
    The Way Back
    Leave No Trace
    Standoff at Sparrow Creek

  • The best survivalist movie is ‘Showgirls.’ Now before you reject my assertion right away, think about it. She does what it takes to survive the best she can in a world that is stacked against her, avoids the worst side of life as best she can. She has to do things that most people would consider shameful but turns that into a strength. Ego doesn’t dominate her decisions, survival does.

    I’m just saying, you don’t need cannibals to be in a survivalist movie.

    • @will.

      Absolutely agree. No need for nukes, zombies or cannibals to be “survival”, movie or not. Life´s survival even during normal times for everyone, in one way or another.

      In fact, I should have included a great movie based on a real story that´s more aligned with my own personal views of “surviving through SHFT” and a real-life situation many of us may find ourselves in too: Cinderella Man, with Russel Crowe playing James Braddock during the Great Depression of the 1930´s, that´s real SHTF for a lot of people.

      Stay safe.

  • Jeremiah Johnson (a true historical mountain man played by Robert Redford) should be #1 on any list of survival movies.

  • I haven’t gotten through the lists you posted previously.
    Guess I’ll have to extend my days beyond 24 hours and catch up.

  • Jeremiah Johnson (a true historical mountain man played by Robert Redford) should be #1 on any list of survival movies. A titanic struggle for survival living in the rocky mountains fighting the harsh winter elements, grisly bears and various native American Indian tribes who may want your scalp or horse!

    • @Old Scribe dang it’s worth to be on the list indeed… what a monster of a movie, I’ve read Crow Killer and Mountain Man, it’s more of an old-school, frontierland survival style but it’s a killer all the same. Which reminds me of THE REVENANT as another great movie of the same style. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Yeah, I guess when people have reached that point then they’ve already extinguished everything else, even their leather belts. There are many books and documentaries on wars, famines and how things run. It’s said that families in Ukraine and China would exchange their kids between each other so they didn’t have to eat their own during the worse. There’s a reason some populations eat everything, from dogs to scorpions and snakes and bats, even today. Those are not pleasant things to know or hear about, I agree, but are things nonetheless. I guess we prep and develop skills in good part so we don’t have to do any of that, ever.

    • 2 kings 6:25-29

      “25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels[a] of silver, and a quarter of a cab[b] of seed pods[c] for five shekels.[d]

      26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

      27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

      She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

  • The Road was a very dark book, but in some ways probably the most realistic in terms of how depressing a post-apocalyptic world might be.

    A bit of a silly – but fun – nomination would be Reign of Fire. Although it involves dragons – highly unlikely, of course – the ideas of people clustered in small groups protecting themselves from roving threats and the innovative methods of agriculture were interesting.

    • It´s a nice movie I like it too. IMHO it has perhaps an underlying message of a different SHTF, like how people get tothether when there´s a common external enemy. Politics and ruling elites know that, and it´s one of the reasons that when eveything else fails, they take us to war. Otherwise it´s usually more of an implosion SHTF.

  • I like the Documentwry on Amazon about the 1988 Armenian earthquake. It has a happy ending and stories about individuals. You also get the real life feeling of using pick axes to if people out

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