Last night while surfing around the Internet, I came across this trailer for a movie called The Grey that is coming out next year. A small plane goes down in the Alaskan wilderness and the survivors’ attempts at reaching safety are hampered by a pack of wolves. Liam Neeson, going toe to toe with a wolf, with broken liquor bottles strapped to his fists? Sign me up!
Seeing the trailer made me think of other wilderness survival movies I’ve seen in the past.
The Edge (1997) stars Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Hopkins is a billionaire and Baldwin is something of his right hand man. They are in a small plane, traveling to a remote North American wilderness location for a photo shoot. The plane runs into a flock of birds and crashes into a lake. As Baldwin and Hopkins attempt to be rescued, they are stalked by an enormous Kodiak bear. The scenery in this movie is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
Survival Quest (1989) stars one of my favorite actors, Lance Henriksen. He plays Hank, a quasi-mountain man type of guy who runs a school something like Outward Bound on Sierra Madre Mountain in California. His students are from various backgrounds, from a fragile divorcee to a convict (it isn’t explained exactly how or why he’s part of the class). All have one thing in common — they know next to nothing about surviving in the wild. Their class is interrupted by the antics of a band of soldier wannabes, led by a tyrannical “survivalist” named Jake. Where Hank’s approach is more of a “live with” nature, Jake is teaching how to conquer it. After one of the soldiers goes all whack job, his group starts hunting Hank’s class.
Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1994) takes place on the coast of British Columbia. A teenager named Angus adopts a yellow lab retriever, naming him Yellow. It isn’t long after Yellow has become part of the family when he and Angus end up stranded in the wilderness. Angus has been taught rudimentary survival skills by his father and he is helped by Yellow, who is strikingly intelligent. They rely upon each other until help arrives. Fair warning — you’re gonna probably shed a tear or two toward the end of this movie.
Those are three of my favorite wilderness survival movies from the last thirty years or so. I’m sure I’m missing a ton more though. What movies like this have you enjoyed?