ByRicky Derisz, writer at Creators.co
Staff Writer at MP. "Holy cow, Rick! I didn't know hanging out with you was making me smarter!" Twitter: @RDerisz.
Ricky Derisz

Whales can be fun. Just look at Free Willy. He was a lovely chap. However, mammals of such mammoth size can cause catastrophic damage. In 1820, group of sailors found this out in the harshest way possible. A huge sperm whale split their ship in half, leaving them stranded in, you guessed it - The Heart of the Sea.

The movie depicting events, released on December 11th, shows the surviving crews battle to survive. In extreme circumstances, they go to extreme lengths to stay alive.

The story is based on a true-story novel by Nathaniel Philbrick which inspired Herman Melville's classic 'Moby Dick'. You can see the trailer below:

The cast have put themselves through their paces to achieve the emancipated look such events can have physically. Chris Hemsworth explained recently that he was restricted to 500 calories a day. Other actors, such as Tom Hanks, have lost weight for real to look as authentic as possible.

The human survival instinct is one of the most powerful driving forces of the human race. Fortunately, it's not something most of us ever need to genuinely utilise.

Films that really explore the gritty, unthinkable lengths that humans can go to do produce some of the most edge-of-your-seat, captivating movies ever. Below are 7 films that capture the true essence of survival:

1. 'Castaway' (2000)

Tom Hanks in Castaway (2000)
Tom Hanks in Castaway (2000)

You'll never look at a volleyball in the same way again... Tom Hanks stars in one of the best tales maintaining hope when things look bleak. Such is the level of his mostly solo performance, he managed to hit us in the feels and get us to truly, madly, deeply fall in love with WIIIILLLSSOOOOOOOON.

Also, the visual similarities between Hanks and Hemsworth are striking. The former lost an incredible 55lbs over four months for the role and, presumably, visited the same barber as Hemsworth.

2. 'First Blood' (1982)

Sylvester Stallone is John Rambo, a Vietnam war vet who gets hunted by a brutal Sheriff and his henchmen, who are intent on killing him. Stallone, being the badass he is, picks them off one by one is fine cinematic style.

Such was the success of the original, released in 1982, there were three sequels - Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rambo (2008).

Stallone will reprise the role of Rambo in a new TV series, announced recently, which will focus on his relationship with his son.

3. '127 Hours' (2010)

This film was also based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a jovial explorer who ended up trapped in the Utah Canyonlands National Park for 127 hours. He is faced with a simple choice - stay trapped and die, or attempt to amputate his own arm in an attempt to survive.

What makes this movie even more intense is just how resolute Ralston was. We feel every step of the journey - Danny Boyle does a fantastic job and recreating a fraction of what Ralson would've felt. And THAT scene involving a blunt knife was graphically accurate.

According to Ralston, the film was "so factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama."

4. 'The Road' (2009)

This unflinching 2009 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's pulitzer price winning novel is set in a murky, gloomy world where, even for those who survive, life will be tough.

Viggo Mortensen and young actor Kodi Smit-McPhee share an incredible onscreen chemistry that is absolutely essential to making the story so harrowing.

Without giving too much away for those who haven't seen it, the ending is genuinely one of the most tear-jerking finales to a survival tale I've seen.

5. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)

This year's high octane instalment of the Mad Max franchise is visually and creatively remarkable.

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are experts in staying alive against the odds in an apocalyptic and dehydrated world. The film extremely well received by critics, and could be in for a good award season.

6. 'The Hunger Games' (2012)

This is another movie depicting a post-apocalyptic world. Lets face it - it's the best place to try and survive. Or the worst, depending how you look at it.

A true, gritty and inspiring tale of the fight against a corrupt and dystopian system has captured the imagination of viewers all over the world.

Playing the role of Katniss throughout the four movies made Jennifer Lawrence a household name.

A huge commercial success, The Hunger Games franchise has grossed over $1.3 billion at the box office.

7. Gravity (2013)

The 2013 film was nominated for an incredible 10 Oscar's (joint with American Hustle that year) and won seven.

Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, an engineer on her first space mission with experienced astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). When things go disastrously wrong, Dr. Stone has to give her everything to save her life and attempt to return to earth.

The aesthetics of the film are incredible, especially in 3D, but that shouldn't detract from the plot - the stories depiction of survival is up there with the best.

Source: IMDB, Wikipedia

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