There are few things Hollywood loves more than a good survival scene. Humanity's clash against nature has led to some of the most memorable movie moments—and biggest box-office grosses—of all time. (Think Predator or Cast Away.) But that doesn’t mean that Hollywood always offers good survival advice; in fact, it’s generally the opposite. Trying to follow the example of Sylvester Stallone or Alec Baldwin could get you killed.
Would fire scare a snake away? Could two untrained men kill a 1,800-pound bear? Could a Port-A-Potty be turned into a sail? To fact-check these questions, and seven more of Hollywood’s most dubious claims, I reached out to Tony Nester, a survival expert who has instructed actors like Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex) on a wide range of bushcraft techniques, to get the lowdown on what would work and what wouldn't.
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Hide From the Cold Inside an Animal Carcass
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): Scare Off Snakes With Fire
- Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985): Cauterize a Wound
- Predator (1987): Camouflage Yourself in Mud
- Lord of the Flies (1990): Light a Signal Fire
- The Edge (1997): Kill a Bear
- Cast Away (2000): Assemble a Port-A-Potty Raft
- True Grit (2010): Suck Out Snake Venom
- The Grey (2012): Take on a Wolf Pack
- The Hunger Games (2012): Care for a Stab Wound