You’ve probably seen a survival-themed movie or TV show where the protagonist dramatically fights a grizzly bear or pack of wolves while lightning streaks across the sky and tense music swells. Although that might make for an entertaining scene, it’s anything but realistic. In contrast to these fictional portrayals, “Survivorman” Les Stroud explained: “Real survival is really boring. You hardly do anything… It’s not wham-bam thank you ma’am, full of packed action.” He recently sat down with GQ for a new episode of the popular YouTube series, The Breakdown, and analyzed a series of clips from famous silver-screen survival scenes.

Stroud’s favorite movie, Jeremiah Johnson, offers a more realistic portrayal of wilderness survival.

Specifically, Les Stroud discusses his reactions to scenes from Into the Wild, The Edge, The Office, 127 Hours, Life of Pi, Open Water, Alive, and his personal favorite film of all time, Jeremiah Johnson. These include a variety of environments and scenarios, some much more realistic than others. Stroud points out aspects of these survival scenes that strike him as true-to-life, and often compares them to his experiences while filming his own reality series, Survivorman.

Check out the full 26-minute episode of The Breakdown below:

“We think we can just go up there and be Jeremiah Johnson, but you have to train, you have to learn these skills.” This interview does a great job of reinforcing the fact that survival usually isn’t easy, glamorous, or even dramatic. And although we can certainly enjoy movies for their entertainment value, very few offer a truly accurate portrayal of survival.


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