Castaway is one of my favorite genres. In fact, survival movies are popular among all movies lovers. After all, who doesn’t want to accompany the man left alone on an island, in a desert, in the middle of a jungle, in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of nowhere, or even on a different planet like in the movie The Martian.
Though we can’t give a helping hand to the castaway, we can enjoy his spirit of fighting back against what life has thrown at him. This is a unique genre of movies that is not at all about supernatural phenomena. It is about the human spirit and how it is tested in the most extreme conditions possible.
So, are you ready for an adventure of your life with our castaways? We have compiled a list of the top 10 Best castaway and survival movies ever made. And, if you loved watching Tom Hanks’ 2000 movie CASTAWAY (same name as our genre) you are sure to appreciate the movies on this list as well. So, let’s start the countdown.
10. All is Lost | 2013 | 6.9 IMDB
A movie with a single actor, where only what the audience can see can be heard. The movie is shot in one take in a succession of scenes.
Robert Redford in the leading role plays a sailor stranded in the Indian Ocean. The movie is directed by J.C Chandor and features the music of Alex Ebert, who also composed the music for the movie Margin Call.
9. Six Days, Seven Nights | 1998 | 5.8 IMDB
The first time I saw this film, I was only 4. I do not remember it, but I definitely remember the feeling I had when I saw it again in the middle of my teens.
An adventurous movie about a man and a woman stranded on a deserted island, this movie is a must-watch for all the fans of the romantics. It is a beautiful love story, a story of survival, and a story of people finding each other.
Harrison Ford is great as a man, and Anne Heche is great as a woman. It is no surprise that the movie grossed more than $100 million worldwide.
8. Swiss Family Robinson | 1960 | 7.2 IMDB
Swiss Family Robinson is a great adventure and a good family movie with an all-star cast. It’s one of those films you should not miss.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Johann David Wyss. It follows the adventures of the Robinson family who, after a shipwreck, are marooned on a tropical island. They build a new society with the help of a few of their fellow shipwreck survivors.
The film stars the all-star cast: John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran. It won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects and is directed by Ken Annakin.
7. Locke | 2013 | 7.1 IMDB
Tom Hardy plays a man who is driving his car on a highway. The only other actor in this movie is Ruth Wilson, the British actor who played Jane Eyre. This is the best Tom Hardy movie to watch with your girlfriend.
The movie follows a day in the life of a man who’s on his way home. The movie is a completely dialogue-driven drama, and Hardy is the star of the movie. The movie is directed by Steven Knight, who also directed the movie Eastern Promises.
6. Rescue Dawn | 2006 | 7.3 IMDB
Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn is a little different than other castaway movies, as it takes place on the Cambodian border during the Vietnam War.
Christian Bale stars as Dieter Dengler, a German-born American flyer who is shot down over Laos and captured by soldiers. Dengler is eventually rescued by a group of sympathetic villagers, who help him recover and make a plan to escape.
5. Captian Phillips | 2013 | 7.8 IMDB
Another adventure masterpiece of Tom Hanks after his 2000 debut movie Cast Away. This time, though, he is not alone.
The movie is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates. Hanks plays the titular character, Captain Richard Phillips, who must deal with the pirates who take him hostage in a lifeboat.
Barkhad Abdi plays one of the hijackers and the film is directed by Paul Greengrass, who also directed the Bourne franchise. The movie premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and received critical acclaim.
4. Swiss Army Man | 2016 | 7 IMDB
This film is about a man stranded on an island who befriends a dead body. No, really. Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man who has been stranded on a desert island for over a year. His only companion is a decomposing corpse (Paul Dano).
Both actors give compelling, emotional performances. The movie deals with themes of loneliness, isolation, and the human experience in a way that is both funny and creepy.
3. The Grey | 2011 | 6.8 IMDB
Liam Neeson is a badass in this survival thriller. As a group of oil rig workers, led by Neeson, are stranded in the Alaskan wilderness after their plane crashes, things take a turn for the worse as they’re hunted by a pack of wolves.
The movie is a mix of Neeson’s usual action-packed badassery and a heart-pounding thriller, as his character is not only forced to fend off wolves but also the psychological effects of being stranded in the wilderness.
2. The Martian | 2015 | 8 IMDB
As we said earlier, the castaway doesn’t necessarily need to be on some isolated island. This time our castaway is on a whole new planet, the vicious red planet millions of miles away from home.
The Martian is a great survival movie. In the 2015 blockbuster, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is on a mission to Mars when a dust storm forces the crew to abandon him.
Watney is stranded and presumed dead, but he is able to survive long enough to be discovered by a crew on a rescue mission. The Martian is a great movie featuring an outstanding performance by Damon, who is also a producer on the film.
1. Life of Pi | 2012 | 7.9 IMDB
Directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi is a wonderful tale of survival against the odds. The movie follows Pi Patel, a boy who is the sole survivor of a shipwreck.
Patel is stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. He must learn to survive with a Bengal tiger as his only companion. A fantastic story that will keep you thinking as you watch and leave you with a haunting feeling.
Life of Pi is a gorgeous, visually stunning fantasy that leaves the audience in a state of awe and wonder. The movie is a visual feast and an emotional story about life, death, and spirituality.