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15 Movies like The Martian About Surviving the Unknown

Movies like The Martian

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

Honorable Mentions

Here is a list of movies like The Martian that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:

  1.  Adrift (2018)
  2. All is Lost (2013)
  3. Solaris (2002)
  4. Midnight Sky (2020)
  5. 127 Hours (2010)

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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