10 Best Survival Movie Lessons

Here is a list of nine movies and one TV show that, in my humble opinion, are a good portrayal of The_Road_survival_prepper_moviewhat life could be like in the future in a  TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know it) situation.  From time to time the motion picture industry produces movies and TV shows which convey a good representation of “worst case scenarios” that mankind could face in a post-apocalyptic world.  Hopefully we will never know these hardships but these movies give us thoughts on how to prepare.

I have not included any of the reality-based shows – such as “Man vs. Wild; The Colony, Dual Survival; or Man, Woman, Wild” – on this list.  These are all good shows in their own right – offering many great survival lessons, techniques and tips.  However, they don’t have the budgets and resources to create futuristic TEOTWAWKI environments or provide a deeper look at the darker side of the human condition.

As a disclaimer up front, there are several films that involve aliens and zombies – which I will admit are probably not very likely scenarios leading to the end of the world.  However, it is not the cause of the apocalypse that is important; but how people act and react to what is happening to them in the situations they encounter.  This is what provides the “food for thought” and lets you think about what or how you might do it differently.

Each film or show contains the title, year of release, run time, audience rating code, lead actors, a synopsis of the plot, and some key highlights to look for when watching.  They are not ranked in any particular order.  And yes, a good many have zombies!  So smile and enjoy.

1.  The Road (2009) 111 min, R

Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall

A good film adaptation from the novel by Cormac McCarthy.

Plot: A global trigger event leaves the world burned, cold, covered in ash and lacking of any edible plants or animal life.  A man and Survival Movie The Roadhis young son travel carefully on back roads from a northern state, through the Appalachian mountains, in an attempt to flee the coming winter and head to the southern coast.  They work to survive by any means possible.  The film portrays a darker side of man-kind, which resorts to cannibalism to survive. (Available on Amazon – Click Here)


* Take care when traveling roads and contact with other people.

* How to haul your survival supplies over long distances.

* Starvation is a long, slow process.

* “Keeping the fire,” and are you one of the “good guys?”

2.  The Book of Eli (2010) 118 min, R

Stars: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman

Plot: A post-apocalyptic tale of a “lone wolf” on a personal quest to get a rare book to the west coast.  Washington walks across an The Best Survival MovieAmerica depleted of resources, but still full of groups of dangerous and desperate people. (Available on Amazon – Click Here)


* Benefits of carrying both firearms and low-tech weapons.

* How to barter for what you need.

* You have to be prepared to kill bad people or they will kill you.

* Your faith can sustain you and help guide your actions.

3.  The Day After Tomorrow (2004) 124 min, PG-13

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum

Plot: The world experiences climatic change resulting in a new ice-age and a paleo-climatologist (Quaid) must travel from The Best Survival MovieWashington, D.C., across a frozen east coast, to rescue his son and friends holding out in a New York City library against sub- freezing temperatures. (Available on Amazon – Click Here)


* Survival against the cold takes planning and good gear.

* Big urban cities make escape very difficult.

* You have to consider and plan for bad weather conditions.

* Listen to Dad, sometimes he knows what he’s talking about!

4.  The War of the Worlds (2005) 116 min, PG-13

Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins

Plot: The Earth is invaded by returning aliens looking to harvest humans. The invasion starts with electro-magnetic (EMP) attacks to The Best Survival Moviedisrupt all electronic devices and knock out electrical power and communications.  Cruise, a dock worker, with his two kids bug out of urban Newark, New Jersey, and try to reach their in-law’s home in urban Boston.  With no plan or supplies, Cruise has to improvise along the way. (Available at Amazon – Click Here)


* Importance of having basic bug-out gear and supplies on hand.

* Crowds are dangerous and can get you killed.

* Stock up on food and water at first opportunity; get a backpack.

* Don’t lose your weapon – you may need it for the crazy guy.

5.  Zombieland (2009) 88 min, R

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson

Plot: After a zombie apocalypse occurs, a surviving college student (Eisenberg) tries to get home to his family in Ohio.  To increase The Best Survival Moviehis survival chances, he creates a set of rules.  During his travels he be-friends a tough guy on a hunt to find some Twinkies, and a pair of con-artist sisters heading to a California amusement park for one last good time.  (Available @ Amazon – Click Here)


* It’s good to have a set of basic survival rules – you’ll live longer.

* People will trick you, take your stuff, and leave you stranded.

* Don’t scare people if you don’t want to get shot.

* It is good to remember “Rule 32” when you can.

6.  Dawn of the Dead (2004) 101 min, R

Stars: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Mekhi Phifer

Plot: A group of survivors takes refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse.  More survivors arrive and they learn that ifThe Best Survival Movie they want to stay alive, they need to stick together against the undead.  For being unprepared and without a plan, they learn to make do with what they find in the mall and food court. (Available @ Amazon – Click Here)


* Malls can be a good refuge if you can secure the doors.

* You need to determine who you can and cannot trust.

* Have a break-out plan and a destination.

* Every group will have a**holes you’ll have to deal with.

7.  I Am Legend (2007) 101 min, PG-13

Stars: Will Smith, Alice Braga and Charlie Tahan

Plot: It is several years after a new anti-cancer vaccine mutates into a killer plague which transforms the infected into monsters and The Best Survival Moviekills most of humanity.  Smith is a lone military research doctor struggling to survive in New York City while working valiantly to find a cure for humanity.  (Available at Amazon – Click Here)


* A dog can be a good survival companion.

* If your defenses are good, you don’t need to sleep in a hard tub.

* Plan to be home or off the road before dark.

* Be careful when scavenging and entering buildings.

8.  28 Days Later (2002) 113 min, R

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston and Alex Palmer

Plot: A bicycle messenger injured in an accident awakens from a coma in a London hospital four weeks after a mysterious, incurable The Best Survival Movievirus spreads throughout England.  Wearing only a gown, he first struggles to find help and learn what happened.  He links up with a handful of survivors, who then flee the city to find sanctuary in country side.  (Available @ Amazon – Click Here)


* Light and noise discipline is a must at night.

* Buckets on the roof help to collect rain water.

* Short cuts may be worst than taking the long way around.

* Be wary of government troops.

9.  The Walking Dead (2010) TV Series – Season 1, MatureThe Best Survival Movie

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal and Laurie Holden

Plot: Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes (Lincoln) awakens from a coma in an abandoned hospital in rural Georgia to discover a real TEOTWAWKI nightmare situation (a very similar start to the movie “28 Days Later”).  He embarks to find his wife and son; then ends up helping to lead a group of survivors in a world overrun by the walking dead. While zombies are a minor problem, it’s the problem of dealing with the living that presents challenges.  (Available @ Amazon – Click Here)


* People will fight over resources.

* Be prepared to defend your campsite.

* There is strength in numbers and provides for a division of labor.

* You can supplement your food stores with local fish and game.

10.  The Postman (1997) 177 min, RThe Best Survival Movie

Stars: Kevin Costner, Will Patton and Olivia Williams

Plot: In the year 2013, America is all but destroyed after a war that decimates most of the population and the government.  People struggle to survive against starvation and rogue groups of armed men.  Costner, a drifter, is forced to join a rogue militia, but escapes at his first chance.  He finds an old postal jeep with a postal uniform and mailbag, and starts conning people with old letters that the government has reorganized and order is being reestablished.  (Available @ Amazon – Click Here)


* People who band together have a better chance at survival.

* Teach basic survival skills early, others may need them.

* It is hard to argue with the people who have the guns.

* Americans know “freedom is never free” – it’s earned the hard way.

Photos By:



Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

106 thoughts on “10 Best Survival Movie Lessons”

  1. Good article! I'm looking forward to seeing some of these I haven't seen before and rewatching some others.

    Zombieland in particular is my favorite because it shows that even in the worst of times, things can be pretty funny. Also, humor might be one thing we need the most at the worst of times.

    • Just had that incident here last night, drunk kid mistook his girlfriends neighbors house for hers and was trying to wake her up by knocking on the window, guy in the house shot 5 rounds through the window thinking the kid was breaking in, kids gonna live but will have 2 bullets left in him. No warning, just fired. Don't forget when planning for self defense, if you get too worked up and on edge you may over react in a situation and do something you don't want to do, like shoot your own kids while their getting a midnight snack, seen that happen waaay too often. Control your trigger finger.

      • Trouble is that in some states like mine you can get into trouble firing warning shots, but verbal warnings should do if the idiot(s) listen. If they don't well…

  2. Zombieland also had some other good hints for survival.

    Rule #1 Cardio: Survival on foot is gonna take some personal stamina.
    Rule #2 Double Tap: If you have to shoot, make it count.
    Rule#3 Beware of bathrooms: Take this to mean, "Realize when you are vulnerable".
    Rule#7 Travel lite: Get your gear down to essentials.
    Rule #8 Get a kickass partner: Have some people with you whom you can trust.
    Rule #22: When in doubt, know your way out: Have an escape plan.
    and rule # 32: Enjoy the little things: . . . or else you will go crazy.

    • Great post! Love the comments guys! Enjoy what you can… Appreciate what you have.
      Rule #1 is exactly right. If you ever have to E&E (escape and evade) your heart rate will get elevated a bit.

    • Double tap is one of the stupidest ideas and will get you laughed at when you say it seriously. It's a waste of ammo, which isn't free or easy to come by.

      • Well its not stupid seeing as how you should shoot someone as many times as it takes till they go down. Its called a non standing response and unless the world ended where you live ammo is still pretty easy to come by here where I live.

      • I've learned from Louis L'Amour westerns and the movies made from them, when in a gun fight if the bad guy is still standing and armed keep shooting until he or she falls and can't hold his or her gun anymore!

      • It also stands to reason that this rule is in place for dealing with zombies. In most media, zombies can only be killed by destroying the brain or severing the head from the body. Double Tap is to ensure you don’t get your ankles bit when you turn your back to a downed enemy and to 100% ensure a good effect on target. Otherwise, good luck running when your calves are ripped out.

        But yeah, Double Tapping is kind of unnecessary when the target is a normal, non-zombified undead human.

  3. What about "Jeremiah Johnson" (even though I can't stand R. Redford), "Red Dawn," and "A Cry In the Wild?" That last one, based on Gary Paulsen's "Hatchet," should be required viewing for all children, especially the children of preppers.

    • Hey Doc! I watched Jeremiah Johnson as a young boy. (I do like R. Redford though) It was a fantastic movie and I will occasionally watch it again from time to time. It gives one an appreciation for the little things and what one can do if one sets their mind to it. Of course training (Will Greer) doesn't hurt either. Thanks for the reminder!!!

      • William, you're welcome. You are so right about training. Some of my best was at the hands of a Marine Corps staff sergeant who really knew his stuff. Granted, we had some good gear and were divided into ten-man teams who worked together for a common goal (always a good idea). But I remember most having spent a few relatively comfortable days in a "field expedient" shelter during the dead of winter in Wisconsin. What a great experience. As to the movies, my wife suggested "Never Cry Wolf" based on a Farley Mowatt book of the same title. Of course, the young man in that movie made it through on dumb luck more than on training. Probably not the best thing to depend on when thrown to the wolves. By the way, does anyone know the proper wine to serve with field mice?

  4. I have not seen "The Road". These other films, apart from demonstrating the disolution of society in extream crisis, generally show good ways to get yourself killed. The people in most of these stories are fit, martial arts experts, law enforcement types who have access to a script. Most of us are middle aged, nearsighted, overweight people who have no or limited experience with violence.
    The absolute best end of the world movie is "Panic in the Year Zero" starring Ray Miland and Paul Anka. If you have not seen it do so. The others are all posers.

    • The people in those stories survived because they were in a good shape, had advantages like being in law enforcement, or were simply smarter than others. Your average suburban soccer mom or “middle aged, nearsighed, overweight” person with “no or limited experience with violence” is probably not going to make it very long without a great deal of luck.

      I haven’t seen “Panic in the Year Zero,” can you tell us a little more about it?

    • "Most of us are middle aged, nearsighted, overweight people who have no or limited experience with violence".

      If you really believe a SHTF scenario is in our near future, why not spend a few hours a week on a tread mill and in some training?

      There is no reason, in this day in age, why anyone should be in want of training or know how. What ever you might be comfortable with as a matter of personal beliefs. Gun training, hand to hand, or if your not violent by nature…just some primitive living skills training?

      At least a treadmill and a Weight Watchers membership?!?!?

      I'll be honest with ya. I will be DISSAPOINTED if any of my fellow preppers are out lasted by the corner office executive douche-bag who planned for nothing, but is in shape simply because he made it out to the racquet ball court daily.

      • Your best training is getting off the couch or out of the chair and take time during each day to just take a long walk. The walk should be between thirty minutes and an hour. Some of mine last forty-five minutes, but I'm walking nearly three miles in a circuit to and from my front door.

        Another thing about taking those walks, you can use them to recon your neighbor hood to see where the best ways out are. This is especially true if after a storm you find your car is now nothing more than so much scrap metal and broken plastic.

        • Id try for at least 10 miles with a pack(70lbs+) on, even if you don’t plan on bugging out. The best thing we as humans have going for us is our endurance, we can walk, jog or run extremely long distances (okay, we can doesn’t mean we will), and you might have to bug out from say Denver to Texas or arizona on foot to meet with others. Besides, ladies love a fit man 😉

          • "Besides, ladies love a fit man 😉 " Noah that is because in a survival of the species situation the ladies think a "fit man" will protect them and their children better than a scrawny one.

    • The Road is a VERY depressing movie – anyone with any brains at all will NEVER want to be in survival situation after watching this film!

    • I haven't seen the Postman or 28 days later but I have seen the rest. Not a single martial arts expert. one law enforcement officer (The Walking Dead) and on Army Biologist (I am Legend). I understand you are making a point that the characters in the movies are exceptional physical specimens, but that is why there is a movie about them. What the hell kind of movies is going to show Joe public get killed in the initial event or starving to death over a few months? That is hollywood and the tittle of the article implies all that.
      You really aught to see "The Road." It is the most realistic movie on the list. The main character has no exceptional skills, just an all-consuming desire to protect his son by any means necessary. I've read the book as well and I can honestly say that it is a rare example of a movie doing the book justice.

    • In The Day After Tomorrow all the people in the library survived because they stuck together, divided labor, thought outside the box, etc..and, they were high schools kids, librarians, geeky middle aged men, homeless dude and his dog, etc….
      My point is there is no excuse for complaining woe is me. I have more medical conditions at 33 then most will ever have, have gone through 26 major operations, and take lots of meds…you know what? I still prep and plan to survive because I know my strengths and know what I need in survival partners to complement what I have going for me. Plan now and learn everything you can. A dumbass with a gun may do alright til the ammo runs out…but the guy who knows how to survive and has the will to live is who I want on my side!

  5. Mad Max (whole trilogy)

    1:gasoline is precious

    2:guns beat bows

    3:like I Am Legend, dogs make good companions

    4:bug-out and survival vehicles

    5:use old football pads for body armor (haha)

    • Trouble with guns in a Mad Max like scenario eventually you run out of cartridges and or componants. Arrows are reusable if you can recover them after the battle or after hunting. The reason you'll run out of cartridges is that the industrial base that made them is gone in the long-term version of the Mad Max scenario. You are now back to cottage industry and the local blacksmith if you're lucky enough to find one.

    • and omega man is actually a remake of the original " I am legend" book by Richard Matheson, which i suggest as good reading material

    • And before The Omega Man was "The Last Man on Earth" starring Vincent Price. Based on the same book and superior to I Am Legend, IMO.

    • Got the DVD for the series. Saw the alternate ending for if it had been extended. Not bad. There were some good things there. A few that were of a "really???" but in general not too bad. I liked it.

  6. Your all wet , and failed to mention the best movie ever on the subject of post – SHTF get yourself a copy of , A boy and his Dog, Don Johnson, Vic ,and his trusty companion [dog] Blood . there is no equal even has a little sex thrown in.

  7. I was once taught that the most basic form of security is two guys back to back covering each other. Most film characters fail this most basic principle: Find a buddy, stay together at all times, cover each other always, and always be aware of your environment.

    • Vietnam LRRPS & SPEC4 operators used (& still do) the "feet to feet – wagon wheel" DP,[defensive positioning]…(btw — you sleep during the day). Also, ALWAYS seek out REALLY grungy, entanglement & shrub surrounded location where no one would WANT to bed down…

      A 5 man "TEAM" can create a 360% security DP, with two sleeping, in a 3 to 4 hr. rotation, ALL, with ALL their feet touching. Then the first to spot the enemy can easily raise the others, & still maintain "sound discipline"

      The "6 Silent Men" Series, by 6 101st Airborn LRPPS is a FINE Primer, as is Col. David "HACK" Hackworth & "S.L.A.M." Marshall's "Vietnam Primer". "Rogue Warrior II RED CELL" by SEAL 6 Founder & 1st Leader, Cdr. Richard "Dick" Marcinko, has quite good training counsel, As does, Mike C. Hodgins' "Reluctant Warrior" — VERY good combat leader counsel. And, (last, but by NO MEANS least), Dennis Foley's "SPECIAL MEN" – A 'LRP'S Recollections" is superb in counsel on "stealth" and "wise combat methodologies".

  8. Part of "The road" was filmed about 2 miles from my house, gives a creepy close vibe and the thought that I may be using those local resources just the same.

    Another good TV series even though you have to fight around the two main actors "Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner" is called Jeremiah http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0290966/
    The movie is long enough to give a good depiction of what living after a society breakdown may be like and short of the dead parents problem could show a very real scenario.

    Check your six.

  9. The thing that bugged me about 'The Road' was the size of their fires. Having a 'Beach Blanket Bingo' sized bonfire is the wrong thing to do if you're trying to maintain a low profile.
    Other than that, the movie was well done… and depressing.

    • From reading Louis L'Amour's westers and earlier period historcial fiction I've learned that the best survival fire is not much bigger than a hat.

  10. I absouletly agree that the road is very depressing. I thouhgt that the first time I watched it and have found myself flipping thru the channels and coming up on it twice and still watching it. Really makes you think of the suicide angle of things if it would really get as bad as The Road..

  11. Despite the walking dead and aliens the list is a pretty good one. I really liked THE ROAD. The one lesson that they did not learn in it though was to stay in a safe hidden shelter with food and real beds for as long as possible to recover your strength and health before heading back out inot the wilds.

    One favorite of mine which is only slightly off topoc is ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. For what it’s worth the living conditions in the city could be as bad or worse than what could happen in a SHTF scenario. There will be a total change from rule of law to a strongest leads (bullies) weakest. Electricity, cars, and rule of enforcable law is the only thing keeping most people from clubbing their neighbors over head for the last can of SPAM.

    Thanks for reading my ramblings


  12. You are arguably going to want armor in a post-apocalyptic setting. One way to get it would be to make yourself some sort of leather or heavy canvas tunic like garment to cover your chest and abdomen. This becomes the "base" of the armor. Then you go find yourself some vehicle tires (preferably steel belted radials or perhaps aramid fiber variants) and a pair of bolt cutters or some such thing. Cut the tires such that the steel/fiber belt is still pretty much intact with some of the sidewall left along one side of the tire. Sew the tires to the tunic using the remnant of the sidewall as the attachment (with the remnant on top) such that the belts overlap, starting near the bottom of the tunic and working your way to the top. The bottoms of the belts will be left loose so you will have some flexibility. You will have some vulnerability to a thrusting attack coming from beneath you, but such attacks are unlikely. This armor should provide you reasonable protection against standard cutting and thrusting attacks as well as some ballistic protection against small caliber weapons. Should be relatively quick and easy to make for the level of protection it provides.

    • a source of low tech armor is a Rennaissance Fair. other sources are catalogs like Museum Replicas Limited. They have functional chainmail, Roman segmented armor, German Maximillian Gothic Plate, leather vests, quilted-padded gambesons, and brigandine vests. These armors would be good against edged and blunt weapons, but against guns well you'd be better off looking online for a bare minimum of Type IIIA with trauma plates.

  13. I thought the list was pretty good , I watched the road twice , I couldn’t believe though , that a person would be stupid enough to go on the road with one revolver and no long arm , anyway when you find a underground bomb shelter why abandon it ? Few of these characters had a true bug out bag . The road was depressing though , humor you would need for sure.

    • If you read the book, they find the shelter shortly after escaping from a band of cannibals and they abandon it so the cannibals don't find them since they're nearby. As for the revolver issue, the man wasn't prepared in the first place for what happened and that's all he had. You're spot on though, you would want a long gun for sure if you're prepping.

  14. the list is good; the high points taken from them equally as good; "The Road" was indeed depressing but considering the setting, it would be difficult – if not ludicrous – to present a "sunshine and roses" scenario; i watched most of the movie but read the book over 2 evenings, totally immersed; kids are resilient as well as pliable – be very cautious what you teach yours while they're young as they're our future

    • actually, recent studies and polls show that at least Americans, 51% are preparing and are there now since the Village idiot took office for fear if he gets re-elected, we will lose our country. That in itself has fueled more preppers like us and can you believe more than half are either prepared or working on it… all because of 1 idiot…errr man. (politics aside, that is amazing that can happen from one person amongst millions.)

  15. Another great show worth mentioning is "Survivors". It was a BBC series that ran for two seasons (you can see both on Netflix) It makes a very strong point for sticking together in groups, There is also an interesting subplot of seemingly good people turning bad.

  16. Based on the comments maybe a good follow-up to this would be a "10 Worst Movie Survival Lessons." It cetainly would bring up good discussion in the "comments" section.

  17. great movie choices ive seen all of them andi enjoyed them.i have used these as a stepping stone to engage my young children to discuss what to do in a survival situation.perhaps this would make a good topic in the future.i would love to get some helpfull tips as to preparing my kids for the future.

  18. As far as TV survival, JERICHO wins hands down. It was short-lived (season and 1/2), but was a great example of what to do or not do.

  19. As like mainded individuals, we are all drawn to and find these filmed productions entertaining, at best. Each have merit and provide thought provoking fantasy in us all. As for myself, I enjoyed every one I've seen. Man/ woman wild, Man vs wild, Dual survival, Jerico, Les Stroud and his antics, Woody in Zombieland, even the book of Eli and the road. I've yet to see anything other than how to build a shelter from a crashed aircraft, build a fire with steel wool and a 9 volt battery, oh and can't forget that backpack we find with duct tape and maybe a flintlock and some black powder! I'd rather watch these hokey programs any day over what networks purvey as prime time crap or televised arena sports. Great article Bama, keep'em coming!

  20. I really enjoyed 'the Road'. What I took from the last scene is preparedness; the book goes into more detail. After the boys father dies, the father of the trailing family asks him where his sleeping bags, amunition, etc. is; he was taken aback at the lack of preparedness of the man and boy. The family was well fed, well clothed and well armed, so much so they had a dog. Preparedness, that is the key.

  21. I think the best thing theese movies teach us is that just because its called the wasteland, doesn't mean you should let it go to waste my freinds!

    • I took your advice and watched Phase 7/Fase 7.
      I guess one must look past production, acting and directing.
      I guess it really shows what total nincompoops most people are.
      Maybe it illustrates how at the end of the movie even a milquetoast like Coco can grow a pair.
      The beginning is sorta funny how they wander around clueless like in the opening scene of Sean of the Dead.
      There's not much else I would say to really recommend it. Maybe it makes you think a little about how much to trust the authorities. But, don't you know better by now?
      I gave it 2 stars on Netflix (I give most movies 3 stars, if that tells you something). For perspective, I also gave A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (which I saw sans 3D) 2 stars. NPH salvaged it from 1 star.

  22. *spoiler alert*

    Finished watching The Road a couple of nights ago.

    I thought it was pretty good, and really depressing.

    My thoughts on a few of the other comments above.

    I agree about the size of the fires. You don't want to give away your location. However, two things to consider. First, there don't seem to be that many survivors, but that's not really an acceptable excuse because the risk of very dangerous others outweighs it. Second, there are random fires burning all over the place. Forest fires, fires burning in barrels in an "urban" setting, etc. So your campfire wouldn't necessarily stand out on its own. Still, caution would be wiser. Dakota fire hole when/where possible, or at least build a backstop to reflect heat and limit the amount of light escaping.

    When you consider the amount of gear they didn't have, recall that they had a shopping cart in the beginning but they had to ditch it when the armed gang came along in their truck. The gang then discovered the cart and raided its contents after unsuccessfully searching for them in the woods. The same might apply to a rifle. They were never shown to have one, but a handgun would be easier to keep on your person should you have to make a flight to safety. I think it's hard to nitpick about their level of preparedness. The boy was born after the apocalyptic event and lived in their home (at least so it seemed) until his current age (between 8 – 10 years old?). That in itself would have required a great deal of preparedness. Would your stash last you that long? If you can't buy more ammo, sooner or later you'll be down to your last two shots. Eventually, the situation became so dire with seemingly no means to replenish that they struck out and headed South. Because the Earth was cooling and it would be warmer, at least, near the equator, I suppose.

    The entire time they were in the bunker they found I was thinking nothing but "Get the f**k outta there!" I understand your point about staying in a secure place with food and recharging, however, I did not view it as a truly secure place. It was close to the main house which stood out in the open and would attract other people looking for resources. The bunker, other than being in the ground, was not concealed. The first night he dragged a mattress over the hatch in the rain, which would have covered the drag tracks, but any time after that would leave obvious marks in the mud or dry ground as well as all of their footprints going in and out, repeatedly. As far as we could see, the bunker had but one way in… read one way out. If someone, and especially someone hostile, discovered the bunker with you in it, you're as trapped as the people in the basement of the other house. You might be able to sneak away while whomever found you was mesmerized by the amount of food, etc., but that's a huge gamble. After an initial meal, I would have moved some food to another nearby hiding spot, in a stand of trees or something. Then I would have loaded my bags/backpack to be ready to run on a moment's notice. Only then might I have been able to comfortably relax, maybe for a night a two. I think he made the right choice to bail on the location when he did. I just think he should have gotten prepped to do so before the risk became imminent. (I also wonder if the dog they heard barking – they did hear one, right? – was the same dog as the "Veteran/Guy Pearce" had when they came up on the beach? I sorta assume it was. Was that also the same boy he thought he saw outside the house Viggo grew up in?)

    I think that covers the previous comments. Obviously, it struck certain chords with you when you watched it, as it did for me.

  23. A favorite that is a classic , a great man, Charles Bronson. Anything with him tought me street smarts, reality of the groups and gangs that will form in heavily populated areas after an event. That kind of stuff will be one of the first, immediate things that will happen, panic and violence. Gangs of people everywhere all Looters and marauders.

  24. Actually, not a bad list – not nearly as bad a list as many I've seen. Fairly realistic – and, I AM a graduate of the AF aircrew survival school. I've gone out to the woods an tried to do a lot of the "dropped into nowhere and walk your butt out" exercises…so I know how I will respond to this. In my experience, far too many preppers think about this, plan – and never TRY to use this…that is the big thing.

  25. Did anyone else notice that Denzel Washington's character Eli was likely to be blind? I wonder just how realistic it would be in any type of TOEWAWKI scenario for a blind person to do as he did for survival. I mean in that situation I would think the blind and anyone else with a disability would rely more and more on their healthier companions. Solo survival would be very hard I would think.

  26. These are all kind of interesting, but it got me thinking: where do our ideas about prepping really come from? Hopefully *not* from movies — but it is disturbing how often movie myths ooze their way into the collective subconscious.

    For a regional disaster, we could actually look at what people have done in the past, and see what worked and what didn’t. Essentially that’s what government agencies do when they compile advice — and it’s good that they do it, because it’s a lot of work for a small group to try to do that sort of research.

    But for TEOTWAWKI, we’re just guessing. Intelligent guesses, I believe; but still just guesses. The last time TEOTWAWKI happened for real was when the old Imperium collapsed. There’s a few lessons we can learn form that (and it’s fascinating reading too), but technology and culture have just changed to much to assume everything copies over.

    So, mainly guesses, we have no real way to test them all, and some of them may be “contaminated” with popular but false or over-simplified ideas. Hmm, let me give a specific example of that. One of the good ideas from movies was:
    “There is strength in numbers and provides for a division of labor.”
    This is true so far as it goes, but it needs to be taken with a heaping dose of salt, because there is also a terrible risk in concentrating people. Unless your logistics organisation is both really top-notch *and* robust, you can easily overwhelm food and water supply, or have sanitation fail. In many real-world disasters, it is precisely this that turned a small natural disaster into an unrecoverable humanitarian crisis. Put everyone in a tent city to facilitate distribution of aid from the convoys; something happens to stop the convoys; and in no time you have fly-blown corpses strewn across an Apocalyptic scene.

  27. I would add "The Colony" – a Discovery channel reality show where a group of people from different backgrounds worked together to survive a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

  28. I personally loved Waterworld and the Postman. Call me weird!
    But, I was more interested in the tools and methods for adapting than the plot. The Book of Eli is also one of my Favorites. Loved that machete tied to his backpack.
    I also enjoyed Ed Asners movie “Hey, I Alive. About a religioous Pilot and a girl passenger who crash in Alaska and have to find their way out. Again, it’s the “make do” tools for survival that catch my attention.
    You see, at 17 my best friend an I got lost in the San Gorgonio Mountains for 10 days back in 1969. We survived because of my Mossburg 22 and a hunting knife I insisted we take with us.
    My friends parents thought the rifle was not necessary. My Dad, a three war military Vet, told me to take it anyway. You never know, he said! Somewhere on our weekend hike we took a wrong turn. We lived on chipmunks, wild onions and a running stream of water. Not bad for 2 17 year olds.
    I never go anywhere in the woods now without some survuval equipment and supplies.

  29. Has anyone thought that books by authors like Louis L'Amour might provide better tips than some of the more well known movies out there?

  30. IF we ever have a nuclear strike or asteroid…there will be no place to hide..its all over.
    The only chance of surviving is when anarchy hits USA after the economic collapse comes, Then you can survive only if you out of the cities which will go to the dogs….IF you are in the country you may survive. Suburbs, only if you are in a shelter in the ground and can wait a year or two.
    Good luck and god bless us all..'The end comes in January when the economic system collapses
    PS… have about 6-7 friends who have moved to the mountains of Mexico. They are far away from the cities and in an area where there are a lot of gringos…They tell me Jessee Ventura.of Conspiracy Theory on TV and former governor of MN lives in Mexico six months a year…tell you something?.

  31. The "Book of Eli" had a positive message that a strong faith can sustain you through hell. As far as "The Postman " is concerned, unlike most of the other titles, it had a happy ending and was able to withdraw the gun from my mouth. Lol.

  32. If you liked The Road you'll like The Day (2011). and two more less known ones Hell (Bright) (2011) and The Divide (2012). Really good movies with 'real' people facing apocalyptic situations. Really scary stuff.

  33. wheres Jeremiah Johnson the best movie in the history of movies very informational to "you cant cheat the mountain pilgrim, the mountains got its own ways"

  34. Here's my thoughts:

    1) The Road – after a TEOTWAWKI event, things are gonna get dark. you need to psychologically prepare for the unthinkable to maintain sanity. They made a bigger deal in the book about how his family were already rural farmers, so they outlasted most people from the get go and it wasn't until his new child was 5 or 6 years old that they ever ventured out into the world after his wife had already given-up.

    2) Book of Eli – Hold onto your faith. Understanding that you're only a tiny part of God's world will help keep things in perspective.

    3) Day After Tomorrow – if weather is your enemy in the end, go with the flow and G.O.O.D. if at all possible.

    4) War of the Worlds – what to even say about this one? If you have kids like these than your best bet is to go ahead and slip away quietly, they're bound to get you all sorts of dead in a hurry. Basically, never raise kids this way.

    5) Yea, make some rules to live by because some semblance of structure is important in the wild, wild world of survival. Also, don't underestimate time tested firearms. The utility of a good double barrel or, yes, even a Mare's Leg is not to be underestimated!

    • – continued –

      6) "Fortune Favors the Bold" someone has to nab the high ground, why not your people? Also, anyone donning a neck tie during a TEOTWAWKI event, is not to be trusted.

      7) be smart. be prepared. be realistic. be pragmatic. be skilled. be a dog person.

      8) STAY THE F*CK OUT OF UK !
      Also, practice situational awareness – it will keep you alive.

      9) Just so we're clear, 28 Days stole their plot from the original Walking Dead comics. Anyway, the South is a good place to hold-out and has more going for it than most places – great climate, natural resources, lots of like-minded people who are more willing than others to lend a charitable hand + most real Southerners have been anticipating TEOTWAWKI for the last 7 or 8 generations, so you're in good company and we're all well-armed, so that's a 50/50

      10) The Postman – waaay too long of a movie. If I remember correctly, the moral was, "Give people some hope even if it's a d*mn lie. Also, tyranny must never be tolerated and Tom Petty for Mayor!"

      * Honorable Mentions

      11) Mad Max Series – mobility = survivability. also, Australian Healers are THE survival dog.
      12) WaterWorld – band together and build large walls, nomads are more likely to be violent.
      13) 2012 – get airborne, the Earth don't want you no more.

  35. The most important things I've taken away from all these movies are "things to never do." I know the movies are made for entertainment purposes and they need a certain amount of drama but I keep coming back to the same piece of advice I heard from an old timer when I was a kid. "You don't have to outrun the bear, just outrun the guy that's with you."

  36. A good movie to see that really hits on most of the subjects discussed in these comments is, " Panic In The Year Zero". The main star in the movie is actor Ray Milland and he also directed the film. The movie was filmed in B&W and released just before the Cuban missile crises in 1962. The plot is that a family leaves on a camping trip and just as they are reaching the mountains they witness a very bright flash of light and see behind them a mushroom cloud rising where Los Angeles used to be. During their trip to their destination they encounter several SHTF scenarios that they have to deal with. You'll enjoy it.


Leave a Comment