‘Society of the Snow’ is a Spanish Netflix film that tells the true story of the Uruguayan 1972 Andes flight disaster, based on a book of the same name by one of the incident’s survivors, Pablo Vierci. A chartered Uruguayan Air Force Flight carrying a rugby team to Chile crashes on a glacier deep in the Andes. The plane is torn to pieces, killing nearly half the passengers on impact. The survivors soon discover they might not be much better off. With extreme winds and snow bearing down on them, they try to use the shell of the aircraft for cover.
Once their surrounding geography is scoped, it dawns on them that they will not be visible from above, even if a rescue mission flies over them. Running out of food and barely having the means to keep themselves warm, they must use whatever they have at their disposal to contact the outside world and survive. The critically acclaimed 2023 film by director J.A. Bayona is an ode to the grit and monumental strength of the human spirit to survive, something that can be witnessed in a few other movies like it.
10. The Mountain Between Us (2017)
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, ‘The Mountain Between Us,’ is a survival film that sees a chartered plane crash, leaving two strangers stranded on a remote snow-covered mountain. The film follows Alex (Kate Winslet), a photojournalist, and Ben (Idris Elba), a neurosurgeon, as they confront the harsh elements and perilous circumstances in an attempt to survive. As their pilot did not follow the designated flight path, they can’t hope for any rescue attempts to find them.
With diminishing supplies and facing the unforgiving wilderness, they opt to embark on a treacherous journey to find help. As they navigate the desolate landscape and battle against the elements, an unexpected bond forms between them. The film shares a similar starting point in its survival story with ‘Society of the Snow,’ but instead of a team, has two strangers learning to trust and rely on each other to survive.
9. Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
‘Flight of the Phoenix,’ helmed by director John Moore, is a gripping survival drama that follows a group of plane crash survivors stranded in the Gobi Desert. After their cargo plane falls apart in a sandstorm over the unforgiving Mongolian lands, they face an arduous battle for survival. As hope dwindles, an eccentric aircraft designer among the survivors proposes an ambitious plan to rebuild a new plane from the wreckage.
Putting another timer on their project, are local raiders watching them from afar, waiting for them to grow weak. The group must overcome internal conflicts of clashing personalities and work together, utilizing their individual skills and expertise to construct a new aircraft against the odds. Like ‘Society of the Snow,’ the movie delves into themes of teamwork, resilience, and the human spirit’s determination to conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges.
8. The Wave (2015)
Geologist Kristian Eikjord discovers alarming patterns hinting at an imminent catastrophic landslide, threatening to trigger an enormous tsunami. With skepticism surrounding his findings, he strives to alert the locals about the impending danger. Racing against time to evacuate, he and his family watch in horror as an 80-meter-tall tidal wave roars over their town, crushing everything in its path.
The true struggle begins after the calamity has washed away everything in sight, creating a desolate landscape for their survival. The Norwegian film by Roar Uthaug will resonate with those who enjoyed ‘Society of the Snow’ for showcasing the vulnerability of humanity in the face of nature’s forces, and at the same time, our powerful survival instincts fighting against it.
7. In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
The 2015 movie centers upon the ship Essex and its crew as they are attacked by a massive sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean. The ship is on a whaling expedition, when it encounters the mammoth creature, leading to a perilous battle that leaves the Essex in ruins and the crew stranded at sea. Struggling against harsh elements, starvation, and despair, the crew faces immense challenges as they try to survive the merciless ocean, and the vengeful whale.
‘In the Heart of the Sea,’ directed by Ron Howard, is a gripping maritime tale based on the true events that inspired Herman Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick’. Both ‘Society of the Snow,’ and ‘In the Heart of the Sea‘ showcase the unforgiving brutality of their respective domains, leaving their characters pushed to the limits, and resorting to extreme measures to survive.
6. Everest (2015)
With director Baltasar Kormákur at the helm, ’Everest’ chronicles the fateful expedition to the World’s highest peak in 1996. Based on real events, it follows two mountaineering groups striving to reach the summit, when they are assailed by one of the fiercest blizzards faced by man. Similar to ‘Society of the Snow,’ the film finds its inspiration in true events while navigating a tale of resilience, camaraderie, and sacrifice. Both films feature some of the coldest climatic conditions survived by human beings through sheer determination and awe-inspiring willpower.
5. Arctic (2018)
‘Arctic,’ by director Joe Penna, is an enthrallingly pure survival experience centered on Overgård (Mads Mikkelsen), a man stranded in the Arctic after a plane crash. Using the somewhat intact body of his plane as a shelter, Overgård opts to wait for rescue. Initially struggling, he soon creates a routine of fishing, hunting, and building a large SOS signal by digging through the snow.
When a helicopter crashes nearby, leaving a young woman critically injured, Overgård faces a difficult decision: remain in the relative safety of his camp or risk the perilous journey to seek help. Minimalist in dialogue yet rich in emotional depth, ‘Arctic’ offers a similarly gripping tale to ‘Society of the Snow.’ One of survival in the harsh cold tundra, with inhuman determination, and an unyielding will to endure.
4. Eight Below (2006)
Directed by Frank Marshall, ‘Eight Below’ is a heartwarming tale of friendship and survival set in the Antarctic. A team of sled dogs is used to traverse the treacherous terrain around an expeditionary station. Their caretaker, Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker), treats them like family and knows each one for their individual personality. Facing a fierce snowstorm, Jerry is forced to evacuate by air but promises to come back for the sled team. As the winter intensifies, the dogs’ remarkable resilience and their unwavering loyalty become the core of the narrative, showcasing their incredible will to endure.
The movie powerfully captures the deep bond between man and his best friends, taking a special place in the hearts of dog lovers, and those who were gripped by the camaraderie displayed in ‘Society of the Snow.’ In addition to sharing a similar icy backdrop, both films highlight the enduring power of teamwork and the unbreakable spirits created with it, which can outlast the harshest conditions to survive.
3. The Way Back (2010)
With acclaimed director Peter Weir at the helm, ‘The Way Back’ chronicles the epic true story of a group of prisoners’ daring escape from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia. The film follows Janusz, a Polish soldier imprisoned during World War II, who leads a small band of men on a treacherous journey through the Siberian wilderness. Enduring harsh climates, hunger, and hostile terrains, the group traverses thousands of miles, facing numerous challenges and setbacks as they strive for freedom away from the Soviet Union’s reach.
The narrative will resonate with fans of ‘Society of the Snow’ as it explores the characters’ struggles, their resilience, and the unyielding human spirit against overwhelming odds. The film not only portrays their physical journey but also explores their emotional and psychological endurance in the face of desperation and hopelessness. Much like the events of the 1972 Andes flight disaster, ‘The Way Back’ is a testament to the strength of the human will and the undying pursuit of freedom in the most unforgiving circumstances.
2. The Edge (1997)
Directed by Lee Tamahori, the survival thriller centered on Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins), a billionaire, and Robert Green (Alec Baldwin), a fashion photographer, stranded in the Alaskan wilderness following a plane crash. As they strive to navigate their way out of the harsh terrain, they face not only the natural elements but also a hungry bear stalking them. Their struggle for survival intensifies as tensions escalate between Charles, and Robert, as the billionaire had seen him flirting with his wife.
Faced with the imminent danger of the bear and the unforgiving environment, the men must put aside their differences and work together to outsmart the cunning predator and find their way back to civilization. Fans of ‘Society of the Snow,’ will find a similar story of desperate survival and human resilience in ‘The Edge,’ along with a look at internal conflicts while up against nature’s raw power.
1. The Grey (2011)
Helmed by Joe Carnahan, ‘The Grey’ follows Ottway (Liam Neeson), a skilled marksman working in the Alaskan oil fields, shooting wolves to protect its workers. While the team is traveling, their plane crashes, leaving Ottway and seven oil workers stranded in the icy wilderness. Battling both the merciless cold and a pack of relentless wolves, knowing no help will find them on time, Ottway begins to lead them to the tree line a considerable distance away.
As tensions rise and the relentless pursuit of the wolves takes its toll on the group, Ottway’s leadership and survival instincts are put to the ultimate test. The movie starts off similar to ‘Society of the Snow,’ with a plane crash and a struggle against the elements, with both stories digging deeper into themes of resilience, camaraderie, and the primal struggle between man and nature. If you were moved by the fight for survival against overwhelming odds in ‘Society of the Snow,’ ‘The Grey’ becomes a must-watch.