Hollywood Survival

A look at ten of the silver screen's oddest, most entertaining, and occasionally even accurate techniques for living through disaster

Fire!     Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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.

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