Survival Tips from Movies, Books and TV

These days, a survivalist who is in search of tips on can find them everywhere. Movies, tv and books have all widened their influence on just about any field of interest that you can think of. With the internet, finding information on how to become a better survivalist has become much easier.

The World Wide Web is also the home of social networks, the latest and newest source for all things survivalism. You can actually get in touch with most popular survivalists in the world through social media, something that wasn’t possible a few decades ago.

Interestingly, other forms of mass media have stood the test of time. Films, television, and books can still be great sources of survival tips. If they are not free, they are affordable. This is indeed the right time for our subculture as preppers and survivalists to bloom because of the vast range of resources available at our disposal.

As a salute to pop culture, we have brought together some tips for any survivalist who is interested in knowledge and lessons that can be gained from the movies, TV shows, books, radio shows as well as the famous survival experts themselves. Enjoy!


The Hunger Games (2012): Be proactive

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Stop waiting around for somebody to make your life better for you, and start making your life better for yourself! If you don’t like your job, spending every afternoon complaining about it while drinking beers won’t help – start working on your own side project after work. Don’t like how you look? Feeling sorry for yourself while eating ice cream on the couch doesn’t work – get off your butt and go for a walk!
We’re not owed or entitled to anything simply for existing – it’s our responsibility to WANT a better life for ourselves and our family, and then its our responsibility to work hard to make it happen. As I’ve learned from my favorite movie, hoping for a better life is a great start, but ACTION is required to actually make it happen. 

Into the Wild (2007): Keep your goal in sight. Don’t give up what you want for what you want right now.

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Even with a destination that would take him down a path fraught with adversity, Chris’s dream was unwavering. His yearning to find truth and solitude in a world where little exists led him directly into immense obstacle after obstacle.
It is so easy for us to find excuses to not follow through on our dreams. There are always a million reasons not to do something. Keep your dreams in sight and if you should fail, try and try again. Do not concede, and do not compromise to take the easier path and settle for a portion of your dream just because it’s the easiest path right now. 


The Book of Eli (2010)

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* 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. 

World War Z (2013): The latest and greatest technology isn’t always the greatest

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The Colorado flash flood of a few weeks ago shows just how true this is. A couple small towns called Jamestown and Estes Park were completely cut off from the world by raging flash flood waters. All communications were down; no cell phone reception, no landlines, no internet — you get the picture. So how did the people in those towns communicate with the outside world? Ham radio. It was hobbyists and old timers that knew how to get onto radio waves and communicate with emergency personnel.

Cast Away (2000): Maintain a positive outlook

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The first thing to remember, if you find yourself alone and in a survival situation, is that a positive and optimistic frame of mind can be the difference between life and death. There are many examples where people with no survival experience have managed to remain alive for extremely long periods before being rescued. Their adaptability, calmness and clear thinking have all been instrumental in helping them get through the ordeal. However, it was that positive mental attitude that meant they battled on where others would have succumbed to despair and given up the routines necessary to sustain life. 


The Grey (2011)

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Pack a Survival Kit in your checked baggage just in case the plane goes down and you find your luggage
Keep a Survival Kit in your VEHICLE
Before you leave your crashed plane or broken down vehicle be sure to strip as many available resources as possible – chair covers or headliners for shelter canopies or bed rolls, fuel and oil for making fire, water?, food?, anything that can be fashioned into a make-shift weapon, electrical wire for cordage, containers, etc…
Take some general FIRST AID classes BEFORE you need them
Leave some kind of note or sign at the crash site that tells potential first responders where you’ve gone
Keep your fire building materials and tools in a WATERPROOF container or bag – Just In Case
Learn how to skin, gut, process and prepare wild game over an open fire. Learn some basic COLD WEATHER sheltering techniques.


I Am Legend (2007)

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Never go into a new place unarmed, and avoid the dark at all costs.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Think before you act

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The beginning of the movie held a powerful scene of the apes hunting in the wild. Caesar tells Blue Eyes not to move but he goes after one of the wild beasts. Chaos ensues as a brown bear attacks Blue Eyes and the other apes have to come to his rescue.
Further in the movie, Blue Eyes quick action over thinking gets many apes, and people, into trouble.
This is a great reminder for us to think before we act. Consider what the consequences could be and who could be affected by the choices we make.


Lord of the Flies (1990):  Smoke signals are effective

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The Expert Says: “There are thousands of rescues around the world with people using signal fires,” says Nester. He has a few tips that might have helped the Lord of the Flies boys get help before their makeshift society devolved into savagery: Keep the fire going at all times, and make it smoky by using green foliage and driftwood, which should be easy to find on the beach. But most of all, “you have to have someone manning it 24/7.”

Real Steel (2011): Believe in yourself

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Hugh Jackman (Charlie Kenton), a former boxer and operator of a fighting robot, lives life out of truck and is a loner. He doesn’t care much about life and makes a living by betting on fighting robots.
His 11 year discarded son Max (Dakota Goyo) has attachment towards what he does and believes in self. He beliefs that his old generation robot Atom can challenge and defeat the unbeatable Zeus in the major boxing league.
‘Whether you win or lose, believing in self builds confidence and comfort’ .


The Hunger Games: Self-sufficiency will ensure your survival

At the end of the day, your survival is contingent upon yourself. You need to realize what it is that you personally need in order to strive and to prosper. What works for one person may not (and most likely will not) work for you. As much as it’s nice and comforting to go through life with a partner, this is never a guarantee. The only guarantee in life is you and the knowledge you’ve gathered over time. Click here to read the whole article.



Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

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To properly lay a beaver trap, it needs to be completely submerged in a body of water.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

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* 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!



Unbroken (2014): Greed hurts others

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While stranded on the lifeboat, Zamperini creates rules for how much the survivors will eat or drink. The rations were minimal but they would help them survive.

One morning they wake up to find that Mac had eaten all of the chocolate that was left.

This hurt Zamperini and Phil. They were counting on the chocolate to last longer than it did.
Mac’s greed caused them untold pain.
The allure of fame and money can easily cause us to do things that we wouldn’t normally do. That’s why we’ve got to be aware of what’s in our hearts and keep the greed monster at bay.

The Road (2009): Hold on to your humanity

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In Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” a father and his son travel across a gnarly landscape; survivors become cannibalistic, most are suicidal, dead people are everywhere. It’s a bleak story. But one measure of hope pops up throughout—the father, no matter what, takes care of his child. He puts others before himself. The takeaway is that humanity can exist, even in the most desolate of situations.

127 Hours (2010)

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Boyle says that filming 127 Hours taught him plenty about survival—and being prepared. “I remember the rescue services saying that your main chance of being found is to stay in the same place and light a fire at night, because they fly at night,” he says. “Don’t start wandering around. Take matches and a torch. And water, obviously. You can last 60 days without food, but you can only last about two days without water. And then the brain just starts to come apart.”

“This is a story about all of us, really,” he says. “We’re all capable of it. We probably won’t have to do it, but we will face our own boulders, if you like. And we will need other people to get through.”

Zombieland (2009)

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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.


The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006): Humor is always important and no matter what, panic doesn’t help.

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Will Smith’s (Chris Gardner’s) Interview:Interviewer: What would you say if a guy walked in for an interview without a shirt on…and I hired him? What would you say?
Will Smith’s Answer: He must have had on some really nice pants.



Dawn of the Dead (1978/2004): Always come prepared with an escape route

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If there’s a crisis, your luxury-packed bomb shelter may keep you safe and happy for awhile, but eventually you’ll have to leave. And when you do, you’ll want to make sure you have a clear route to safety.


Predator (1987): Mud for camouflage and protection from bugs

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“I’ve done that myself,” says Nester—though as the predator, not the prey. “When I was younger, we used to cover ourselves with mud and lay on the trail and try to sneak up on deer.” As an added bonus, mud can repel bugs if you apply it thickly enough. Though Predator is obviously fiction, Dutch’s various improvised techniques and makeshift weapons are consistent with his background as a Green Beret; using improvisation to overcome an unknown situation “is certainly something those guys know how to do.”

Lone Survivor (2013): People are not what they seem

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So often we believe we know our enemy. We may think because groups of people have been labeled bad or wrong that every member of the group is alike. We forget that beyond the political agenda of nations, we are all just human beings-people with wives, children, siblings, and friends. Something inherently good exists within every one of us. It is our conditioned thoughts of separation and judgment that keep us from living our own version of “Pashunwali.” When we accept and embrace our shared humanity and allow ourselves to shine forth, the boundaries of survival fall away and love is found in the unlikeliest of places.


Hatchet: Small Mistakes Are Magnified in the Wilderness

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Small mistakes could turn into disasters, funny little mistakes could snowball so that while you were still smiling at the humor you could find yourself looking at death. In the city if he made a mistake usually there was a way to rectify it, make it all right. 


California: Have items to trade

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In Edan Lepucki’s book “California,” black market trading was run by a lone dealer named August—he traveled freely out of the forest where the two main characters, Frieda and Cal live, to the gated “communities,” where wealthier folks live. Frieda trades her bra for a Vicodin early in the book—the bras, August tells her are “made of fabric and wire, both valuable. And those little metal clasps, those annoying things? 



Zach Gilford from The Purge: Anarchy

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What are your unique set of skills, other than maybe hiding really well.

ZG: [laughs] I’m a really good hider. I’ve always been an outdoors guy. I used to lead camping trips, so I’m very comfortable without comforts. I feel like I’m good at puzzles. I think I’m very logical, and I’m also calm under pressure. I don’t get frazzled, so I think I’d be like, “This is the best plan.” As opposed to like, “What are we going to do?!”



The Walking Dead

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Michael Rooker (Merle): “You do what you got to do, simple as that. You’re in a situation and it’s life and death. It happens all the time, people surviving these crazy situations. You do what you got to do to survive.”

Lost: Use available resources

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The people on the island could not have continued to survive without taking advantage of the resources made available to them. Sawyer constructed glasses out of lost pairs found in the wreckage, and Sun found plants with medicinal uses. Everything from the fresh water stream to the Black Rock dynamite has contributed to the survivors’ existence. Making use of these resources provided survivors with a healthier, safer life.


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Defense – When the lights go out, communication goes down, food is running out, and the end of the world happens – violence in Jericho and surrounding areas takes hold. There is a saying something like “Whoever has the most gold rules”. I think it should really be “Whoever has the most guns will take the gold”…..well, you get my point. Firearms play an integral role in defending yourself, family, and supplies – as well as potentially adding to the food stores. Stock up on firearms and as much ammunition as you can(and learn how to use them).


Man vs Wild

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Always make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you’re planning to come back. If something goes wrong, they will know to alert the appropriate authorities.

I Shouldn’t be Alive: STOP

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Wiggins teaches the acronym “STOP”: sit, think, observe, plan.
Keep calm and ask yourself, “Do you know where you are?” “If you don’t know where you are or how to get out, obviously you’re going to stay put,” he said. “Staying put, in most situations, is really going to be key, unless the weather clears up or you have a good idea where to get out.”
You could be moving away from rescuers and wasting precious calories if you don’t know where you’re going.

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