8 harrowing survival films that test the human spirit

From the wilds in 'The Revenant' to the deep waters of 'Sanctum,' these films offer a breathtaking glimpse at humanity and nature.

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The Martian The Martian (Photo: The Martian)

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'The Martian'

Despite its otherworldly setting, "The Martian" is very much a human survival tale.

Starring American actor Matt Damon as an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars, the 2015 drama received wide praise for its thrilling story and realistic problem-solving. Even legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin called it "superior in reality and appeal" to both "Star Wars" and "Star Trek."

In writing "The Martian," author Andy Weir told From The Grapevine that he created Damon's botanist character and then researched how he could survive in a such a hostile environment. "Any mission plan has to deal with failures," he said. "What if this happens? What if that happens? So I made an unfortunate protagonist and subjected him to all of them."

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