Tales of survival in the bleakest circumstances will forever remain a huge appeal to fans of movies like The Martian. When it was released in 2015, The Martian brought something new to the filmmaking, an introspective take on survival in space with a focuses on the realistic dangers of space missions. For your consideration we have curated a list of Movies like The Martian that are sure to tickle your imagination.
Matt Damon plays the Astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to abort their mission due to a severe storm. While most science fiction classics take a cynical look at humanity’s future and its eventual decline, films like The Martian thankfully offer a more optimistic outlook, focusing on human resilience, and the will to survive in the face of adversity. Whether it is the joy of survival or simply being a nerd for sci-fi related stuff that led you to enjoying The Martian, here are 15 movies like The Martian you will want to watch next.
List of Movies like The Martian
1. Interstellar (2014)
Interstellar is a great place to start for movies like The Martian. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this is a sci-fi film that centers on space exploration, human survival through a main character who is stranded in space and has to use knowledge, skills, resourcefulness and intuition to survive. As a bonus for you, Matt Damon plays a minor role of an astronaut who’s action certainly make a huge impact.
In Interstellar, the Earth is dying due to famine and climate change, and Matthew McConaughey delivers a brilliant performance as former NASA pilot Cooper, who is recruited to seAlong with a team of scientists and his fellow astronaut Brand played by Anne Hathaway, Cooper journeys to the other side of the galaxy to explore three planets that have been identified by NASA as potentially habitable. This film is another quality addition to expert filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s catalog.
2. Prometheus (2012)
For fans of movies like The Martian, Prometheus may offer something different in terms of plot and genre, but there are some similarities between the 2 films which are apparent as they embark on a journey of exploration and survival in extreme conditions. Directed by Ridley Scott, Prometheus is a prequel to the ‘Alien’ franchise. If you are a fan of this film already, read Movies like Prometheus.
The film trails a team of scientists who embark on a journey to a distant planet to discover the origins of human life. Upon arrival, they find out that an alien civilization actually once lived on this planet. This movie will have you discouraging these explorers under your breath from being too curious, as they might stumble upon something sinister and dangerous.
3. Gravity (2013)
Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, this movie is a gripping and intense space survival story that depicts the perilous journey of two astronauts stranded in space. It surely quite similar to movies like The Martian since it also explores the theme of isolation and survival in space. Sandra Bullock is Dr Ryan Stone, who gets stranded alongside her partner, Matt, played by George Clooney while on a routine repair run outside their spaceship.
To make matters worse, they are left with inadequate oxygen. As beautiful as it is desolate, the vastness of space might have proved insurmountable for lesser beings, but together they try their best to survive against all the odds. The stunning visual effects and intense storytelling make Gravity an unforgettable cinematic experience.
4. The Revenant (2015)
The Revenant is an epic adventure drama directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and features Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Domhnall Gleeson. An epic survival tale similar to movies like The Martian, The Revenant is based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper in the 1820s who is left for dead by his own hunting party after being brutally mauled by a bear.
Despite his severe injuries, Glass is fueled by a need to take revenge on the man that killed his son. The Revenant was highly praised for its intense and immersive storytelling, and was the movie to finally win Leonardo DiCaprio his long awaited Oscar, for Best Actor.
5. Arctic (2018)
Films like The Martian, are about the survival of individuals stranded in harsh and unforgiving environments, and Arctic does just that. It follows the story of a man who is stranded in the Arctic, and has to survive, feed himself, and find a way to create a signal for help.
To make things worse, Overgard sights a rescue helicopter, but it crashes, meaning he now has to care for two, with one of them being severely injured. He takes the huge decision to take the trek across the wilderness in search of help. The movie is a tense, emotional, and realistic portrayal of survival in extreme conditions.
6. Ad Astra (2019)
Ad Astra is a space adventure movie that takes place in a time when space travel is as normal as travel by road. Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, is sent to Neptune to investigate some weird surges of energy that have been observed from Earth. There is a personal twist to this journey, as Roy lost his father to a journey such as this.
Roy has to travel through the desolate vastness of space, with these thoughts in mind, facing up to his emotional demons. Ad Astra seems even more desolate than movies like The Martian, but nevertheless is a movie that you have to watch as a fan of the space survival genre.
Also Read: Space Movies like Contact
7. Everest (2015)
Everest is a biographical adventure film that chronicles the true story of a deadly expedition to the world’s highest mountain in 1996. The movie follows the story of two expedition teams, led by Rob Hall, and Scott Fischer, respectively, with hopes of making it to the top of Mt. Everest.
A series of unfortunate events puts the expedition teams in harm’s way, and the leaders have to step up to ensure their survival. Through a gripping plot, and powerful performances, Everest portrays the volatile nature of mother nature, and how anytime we can pay the price for pushing the limits in front of her. This is one of the greatest survival films similar to The Martian for you to watch over the weekend.
8. Oblivion (2013)
Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic, action-packed science fiction film set in the year 2077, after a war with an alien race has left Earth uninhabitable. Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a technician responsible for maintaining the drones that help to defend the last remaining resources on the planet from scavengers.
As Jack carries out his mission, he discovers a mysterious woman and uncovers a series of secrets that even changes how he views himself. So, if you like to watch action-packed sci-fi movies, Oblivion is a go-to option when talking about movies similar to The Martian. In addition, watching Tom Cruise give one of his best performances is eye-pleasing altogether.
9. Moon (2009)
Moon is a sci-fi mystery film that tells the story of Sam Bell. Sam works alone on the moon, harvesting helium-3 from the moon. It’s close to the end of his sojourn when he begins to experience hallucinations and starts to realize that all may not be as it seems, more so when he suddenly discovers a clone of himself.
Sam is desperate to uncover the truth behind all of the things he has witnessed, before it’s too late to do so. Moon is a must-see for fans of science fiction and thought-provoking movies like The Martian.
10. Cast Away (2000)
Tom Hanks delivers a masterful performance in the lead role as Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who becomes stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. As he struggles to survive in an unfamiliar and unforgiving environment, Chuck must find a way to stay alive and eventually escape the island.
Chuck uses his limited resources to stay sane while he’s alone on the island.Especially, by developing a ‘friendship’ with Wilson, a volleyball that keeps him company throughout his stay on the island. Cast Away is all about the nature of the human spirit, and our capacity to survive just about anything, when it comes down to it, a theme it shares with movies like The Martian.
11. Elysium (2013)
Elysium is a dystopian science fiction action movie sharing multiple themes with movies like The Martian. The movie takes place in 2154, when Earth is unable to be lived in comfortably, due to a combination of pollution and a booming population. Elysium is an artificial planet created by NASA where those who can afford to pay its cost live.
Max is a criminal on the brink of dying, who is enticed to embark on a dangerous mission at Elysium, in order to get a life saving drug. A government official does all he can to stop him from getting access to this drug, as he aims to maintain the societal class imbalance that exists.
12. Apollo 13 (1995)
Apollo 13 is a gripping survival space movie based on the NASA mission of the same name, which aimed to land on the moon in 1970. The movie follows the three astronauts, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, as they head towards the moon, but a catastrophic explosion occurs, causing major damage to the spacecraft.
Similar to movies like The Martian, The astronauts have limited resources, but have to try their best to survive in the face of death. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton give great performances as the astronauts, elevating Apollo 13 into a more than thrilling and inspiring tale of survival and resilience.
13. Passengers (2016)
A-list actor Chris Pratt, who plays Jim, and Jennifer Lawrence who plays Aurora, feature in Morten Tyldum’s Passengers, which tells the story of two of 5,000 passengers who are traveling on the starship Avalon to colonize Homestead II, a planet capable of sustaining human life. The journey is slated to take 120 years, but a malfunction occurs, and opens Jim’s pod 90 years early..
He gets increasingly desperate being all alone on the ship, and wakes Aurora up, a girl who is attracted to. As the two start to fall in love, they must confront the fact that their waking was not an accident, and that there may be something sinister behind it. Similar to movies like The Martian, Passengers shows us a glimpse of an unimaginable feeling of being alone in space.
14. Jungle (2017)
Jungle is a biographical adventure film based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s sojourn in the Amazon rainforest. Similar to films like The Martian, we see the main characters in both films are isolated from society and must rely on their problem solving skills and resourcefulness to stay alive. In The Martian Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, while in Jungle, Yossi Ghinsberg is alone in the Amazon rainforest. Yossi, an Israeli adventurer, travels to Bolivia to explore the Amazon with two friends and a guide.
However, things quickly take a downward turn when the group gets separated, leaving Yossi alone and stranded in the unforgiving jungle. In the face of danger, both from animals and harsh weather, Yossi is able to keep fighting to survive. This is a movie that shows us just like all the other movies on this list, the unrelenting power of the human spirit.
15. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Despite belonging to different ends of the same genre, Edge of Tomorrow shares some similarities to movies like The Martian as it deals with protagonists who refuse to give up and find creative ways to survive and succeed. In Edge of Tomorrow, the world is invaded by alien creatures known as Mimics, and humanity is losing the war.
Tom Cruise plays William ‘Bill’ Cage, an inexperienced soldier, who is forced to fight on the front lines and is quickly killed. He, however, wakes up the previous day and realizes that he is trapped in a time loop. Here he meets Rita Vrataski, a skilled soldier, who also once experienced the time loop phenomenon. Together, they work to find a way to defeat the Mimics and end the time loop.
Also Read: Movies like Edge of Tomorrow
Here is a list of movies like The Martian that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:
- Adrift (2018)
- All is Lost (2013)
- Solaris (2002)
- Midnight Sky (2020)
- 127 Hours (2010)