17 Movies Similar to The Martian (Tales of Survival in the Bleakest Circumstances)

I can’t imagine anyone not liking The Martian.  It’s one of those rare movies that is loved by film critics and audience, garnering a 91% for both on Rotten Tomatoes.

I understand that some folks might disagree with The Martian winning so many Oscars, but besides that, it’s a good movie.  Movies like The Martian have wide appeal. It’s a survival movie after all.  Survival movies have cross-demographic appeal.  Heck, they’re great family movies too as long as they aren’t too violent or scary.  Survival movies are one of my favorite genres and so it was a ton of fun putting together this list of movies similar to The Martian.

The Martian is a movie about an astronaut who gets sent to Mars and, due to an accident (I’ll keep it vague to avoid spoilers), winds up being stranded there. He has 20 minutes of oxygen and has to figure out how to survive on the hostile planet. The movie follows him on his journey, as he uses his brains and bravery to keep himself alive.

The Martian was initially a novel written by Andy Weir and adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard .

A former NASA astronaut named Mark Watney played by Matt Damon does almost all the acting in the movie.  He does a great job.  He’s funny but it’s not goofy or really a comedy.  It’s exciting and whether all the science in it is true or not, it’s fascinating.

If you liked the Martian, you might enjoy the following movies.

Now, before you dive into our list, we selected movies similar to The Martian based on two types of movies – space movies and stranded/ survival adventure movies.  The Martian is a survival movie taking place on another planet.  So, while some of our selections might seem out of place, in my opinion the concept and emotional response when watching is the same.

Our list of movies similar to The Martian…

1. JUNGLE (2017)

Jungle

Israeli traveler Yossi Ghinsberg follows the mysterious Austrian geologist whom he meets in La Paz, Bolivia, because he fascinates him with legends of vanished tribes, unexplored areas, and even riches.

On an expedition into the lush Amazonian jungle, Kevin, an American photographer, and Marcus, a Swiss teacher, join a group led by their trail-leading guide, deep into the rainforest, where they immediately set out on their mission. Before long, however, as the vast and hostile jungle severs the novice squad, Yossi will find himself completely cut off from his team and without supplies, and will instead be confronted by far more dangerous enemies, all of whom are persistently on the move.

2. Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar

Scientists throughout the world are working hard to ensure the survival of humanity, but a special group of astronauts must be the first to go through a wormhole for safety’s sake.

Unlike many other movies like The Martian, Christopher Nolan’s space epic has deeper existential thoughts, yet the action scenes and the aforementioned themes are characteristic of the filmmaker’s work.

The film combines heart and intelligence with blockbuster bombast, but it has more than a few action sequences as well, to help engage the brain.

3. PASSENGERS (2016)

Passengers [Blu-ray]

A-list stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star in Morten Tyldum’s Passengers, which tells the story of two stunningly gorgeous humans who have been in suspended animation for more than 90 years, just before their mission to colonize a distant planet.

The ship inevitably comes to the realization that the 5000 other passengers are in danger, which provides an opportunity for something else to occupy their time as they contemplate how they are going to spend the rest of their life without the other individual in their company.

It is far more emotional than most other movies with similar settings, such as The Martian, because it chooses to convey a love story while placing it in a sci-fi context.

4. GRAVITY (2013)

Gravity

One of the most immersive cinematic experiences available is Gravity, which is both vast and claustrophobic.

Sandra Bullock’s medical engineer finds herself racing into the wide unknowns of space with no time to spare, and must rely on her wits and an incredible reserve of courage to locate a route home.

Cuaron’s directing is top-notch, and Bullock brings nuance and pathos to the basic tale, anchoring it with a riveting performance that delivers on the premise’s promise.

5. CAST AWAY (2000)

Cast Away by 20th Century Fox by Robert Zemeckis

Even among survival stories, few are as compelling as Tom Hanks’ career-defining turn in Cast Away. Both protagonists do a good job of carrying the story while facing distinct difficulties.

Even while both movies contain appealing characters, and amazing performances from their major actors, they are vastly different in terms of content. Though the movie “Cast Away” is not set on Mars, it is nonetheless a very compelling narrative of survival.

6. APOLLO 13 (1995)

Apollo 11 / Apollo 13

One of the many great reasons to see The Martian is that it does not have to be completely fictitious or set in the far future, and Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 is one of the most compelling real stories in all of sci-fi film.

A piece of equipment blows out aboard the titular spaceship, and it is obvious that they might not even be able to return to Earth.

The core trio of Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon remains consistent, as are the disagreements among the other members of the team.

7. AD ASTRA (2019)

Ad Astra

When his father disappeared in a deep space mission, Brad goes on a perilous journey to find out what happened.

For as much sci-fi trappings as the plot has, it has one fantastic lunar action sequence, which makes it an undervalued contribution to the genre.

8. OBLIVION (2013)

Oblivion [Blu-ray]

Though there are no humans on Earth anymore, Tom Cruise, the intergalactic repairman, still has two weeks remaining of his assignment before being dispatched to a planet he was previously unaware of.

After discovering that he is not alone, Cruise uncovers a worldwide conspiracy in which his actions hold the fate of the whole human race in his hands.

Even Cruise gets to perform some of his trademark jogging in the film.

9. ALL IS LOST (2013)

All Is Lost [DVD + Digital]

Robert Redford took on the riskier part of all, far surpassing any other performer in the genre in a stripped-down tale of a man alone at sea. In their battle for survival, time is the most deadly opponent for them.
This highly dramatic and heart-pounding movie, All Is Lost, has practically little language, but its thrills make up for the lack of words.

10. MOON (2009)

Moon [Blu-ray]

Duncan Jones’ Moon has a conceptual core with one of the bigger movies similar to The Martian, and while it is a much smaller scale, it is just as powerful.

When Sam Rockwell’s three-year odyssey on the moon ends, his mental state begins to deteriorate.

However, the boundary between reality and fiction is unclear at the beginning of the story, which might lead to increasingly severe headaches and hallucinations as the story progresses.

11. THE LAST DAYS ON MARS (2013)

The last Days on Mars

The uniqueness of Ruari Robinson’s thriller, The Martian, is the fact that it doesn’t avoid going down the horror road like previous films.

Once they came into contact with the microscopic creature, three astronauts found themselves up against a new type of biological warfare that created a murderous zombie among the sick.

An entertaining B-movie hokum that effectively moves the zombie genre to outer space, Liev Schreiber presents a somber tone of world-weary cynicism as the protagonist character in a low-budget science fiction film.

12. 127 HOURS (2010)

127 Hours

127 Hours is comparable to The Martian, as both storylines follow a man trapped in a constrained space while he waits to be rescued. Aron Ralston is the protagonist of 127 Hours, in which he must amputate his own limb after becoming trapped in a remote location by himself.

Some of the same appeal in The Martian may be found in this picture as well. If you’re looking for anything closer to the true tale, 127 Hours is not to be missed.

13. RED PLANET (2000)

Red Planet - 2000 - Original 27x40 Movie Poster - Val Kilmer - Collectible

A team of astronauts goes to Mars to attempt and restart an abandoned terraforming experiment in the sci-fi adventure story Red Planet, a work of fiction about a possible future of our planet.

Once they realize Mars was abandoned because of a compelling reason, they face a struggle for survival from very restless inhabitants.

In contrast to the typical Red Planet film, The Martian doesn’t focus on the overarching message; it’s an action thriller with amazing VFX and excellent performances from an amazing cast of actors.

14. AFTER EARTH (2013)

(24x36) After Earth (2013) Movie Poster (SPECIAL THICK POSTER) Original Size 24x36 Inch - Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman

Will Smith and his son, Miles, will appear in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed sci-fi adventure that emphasizes on the importance of family.

The famous soldier and his son come in contact with hostile and hazardous flora and fauna when they crash land on an unfamiliar planet, which enables them to realize that they are the first people to land on Earth in many years.

At a $130 million budget, After Earth is dominated by emotion rather than action, making it one of the rare cases of big-budget science fiction that centers on people rather than spectacle.

15. SOLARIS (2002)

Solaris - Limited Mediabook (+ DVD) (+ Original Kinoplakat) [Blu-ray] [2002]

When the isolated space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris experiences a weird anomaly that causes the frightened crew members to experience unrealistically ideal guests, Grieving psychologist Chris Kelvin is dispatched to the station to determine the nature of the disturbance. Once he arrives, he comes face-to-face with an incomprehensible force that holds the secret to humanity’s most intimate hopes and most frightful fears.

16. ARCTIC (2018)

Arctic [DVD] [2018]

The narrative focuses on a man stuck in the Arctic following an aircraft disaster.

Even though The Martian had a high concept perspective, the difference with Arctic is that instead of cramming the exposition down the audience’s throats, the movie lets the viewer draw their own conclusions. Mikkelsen’s hand as the narrator in the movie is leaving the bulk of the safe hands available for the epic conflict he is describing.

17. MIDNIGHT SKY (2020)

When the scientist receives word of a strange worldwide calamity, he is all alone in a distant Arctic research outpost. By the same token, he also encounters a mysterious female in the Arctic, who prevents the crew of the spaceship “Aether” from returning to Earth.

FAQ About The Martian

Let’s wrap up this list of movies like The Martian with a few questions and answers.

Is the Martian a real story?

No, it’s not based on a true story. The Martian is a science fiction novel by British author Andy Weir. The story follows an astronaut, and botanist Mark Watney, who gets stranded on Mars and has to improvise a way to survive until help arrives.

Who is the cast in The Martian movie?

The cast includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Kate Mara.  It was directed by Ridley Scott.

Where was The Martian filmed?

The Martian was filmed in Budapest, Hungary and Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Is The Martian a comedy?

It has funny parts but despite it winning “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” Oscar, it’s not a comedy IMO.  It’s hard to pigeon hole this movie in one genre.  It’s funny, but not a comedy. It’s science fiction but steeped in reality (to a degree).  It’s adventure as well… let’s call it a funny sci fi adventure movie.

What Oscars did The Martian Win?

This movie cleaned up at the 2016 Oscars winning Best Visual Effects, Best Actor (Matt Damon), Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.  It also won some Golden Globes.

What’s my favorite movie similar to The Martian?

All Is Lost is my favorite. While not set in space, it’s set in an equally desolate environment… the middle of the ocean.  It’s an incredible movie.  Is it better than The Martian?  I’d have to give the nod to The Martian over All is Lost.  I was more entertained by The Martian.

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