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Film / Survive!

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"The most shocking episode in the history of human survival!"

Survive!, originally titled Supervivientes de los Andes ("Andes Survivors") is a 1976 Mexican exploitation film directed by René Cardona, Jr. and starring Hugo Stiglitz, Norma Lazareno, and Luz Maria Aguilar.

The film is a sensationalized dramatization of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 disaster, where a twin-engine propeller plane carrying 45 members of a local rugby team crashed on a glacier in the Andes due to a navigational error on the part of the pilot. Trapped in the most inaccessible mountain range in South America, the crash survivors wait to be rescued, but help never comes. A subsequent avalanche further reduces the number of surviving passengers. With food supplies running low and facing the possibility of death by starvation, the few remaining survivors are forced to make a terrible choice and cannibalize their dead comrades.


See Alive for a more serious and historically-based take on the story of the 1972 Andes plane crash.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Bittersweet Ending: The survivors are eventually rescued, but only 16 out of the original 45 passengers make it out alive.
  • Content Warnings: The following warning appears in advertisements and on the poster:
    "Caution: The re-creation of the plane crash and the survival scenes may be too intense for young teenagers."
  • Excited Show Title!: At least for the English version. The original Spanish title does not employ this.
  • Exploitation Film: Whereas Alive focused on the human side of the disaster, Survive! focuses almost entirely on the sensational side, with particular emphasis on the cannibalism.
  • Fight to Survive: It's pretty difficult to survive in such a remote and inhospitable environment without food. Lampshaded by the title.
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  • Foreshadowing: "But how can they survive? There is nothing on the plane for them to eat!"
  • Gorn: Unlike in Alive, cannibalism is featured quite prominently in this film, and no gory detail is spared.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The survivors are forced to choose between cannibalism or starvation. They reluctantly settle on the former option.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The film incorrectly depicts the plane hitting the ground in one piece, when in fact both wings and the tail were knocked off the fuselage before the fuselage itself hit the ground. Oddly enough, one DVD cover does correctly show the aircraft breaking apart in the manner described.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In the hostile environment of the Andes, where very little vegetation grows and almost no animals live, the crash survivors are forced to eat the remains of their fallen comrades.
  • Re-Cut: The English version cuts some of the more redundant bits of dialogue, adds new optical effects, and includes a new score by veteran composer Gerald Fried.
  • Robinsonade: It has the format of one, but takes place in a mountain environment rather than at sea.
  • Skewed Priorities: The heads of the rescue team seem more concerned with what the survivors will eat (clumsily foreshadowing the whole cannibalism aspect) than with whether or not they're even still alive.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: While the film does get the gist of the events, many of the names are changed and a lot of the details are altered, either due to legal issues or lack of care on the part of the filmmakers.