From Schindler’s List to Airlift: 5 Rescue Movies to Add to Your Watchlist

As Akshay Kumar’s ‘Mission Raniganj’ releases in theatres, we’ve compiled a list of rescue movies for you
From Schindler’s List to Airlift: 5 Rescue Movies to Add to Your Watchlist
From Schindler’s List to Airlift: 5 Rescue Movies to Add to Your Watchlist

Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra, last seen together in the patriotic saga Kesari (2019), reunite for another cinematic mission of grit and gallantry in Mission Raniganj. This time, it is the story of the tragic collapse of the Raniganj coal mines, where things took a turn for the worse when a series of blasts, intended to fracture coal walls, inadvertently caused a rupture in the underground structure, leading to a flooding crisis. On 13th November, 1989, Jaswant Singh Gill, chief mining engineer, shouldered the daring rescue mission that unfolded in the depths of a 110-feet deep coal mine. Akshay Kumar (who else?) essays the role of Gill in the film. 

Before we watch Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue this weekend, here are our favourite rescue mission movies that portray the act of stepping in when all else fails. 

1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Steven Spielberg’s film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than a thousand Jewish lives during the holocaust. Adapted from Thomas Keneally's historical novel, Schindler's Ark, it brings to life Schindler's acts of heroism against the grim backdrop of Kraków, Poland, during World War II. Liam Neeson delivers a tour de force performance as Schindler, who is initially portrayed as a shrewd businessman capitalising on the chaos of war. However, as the narrative unfolds, Schindler's moral awakening in the face of Nazi atrocities becomes the focal point, marking a profound metamorphosis.

Schindler strategically uses his affluence and connections to secure employment for Jewish workers in his factories, and manages to save 1,100 lives. This isn't your high-octane thriller; rather, acts of heroism unfold with a deliberate, strategic cadence.

Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler’s List (1993)

2. Apollo 13 (1995)

The journey kicks off with the selection of a stellar crew — Commander Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise (Bill Paxton). Their mission is to land on the moon, but just days into the mission, an oxygen tank aboard the spacecraft explodes, causing a critical failure that jeopardises the lives of the astronauts. The crew decides that "failure is not an option," and thus begins a high-stakes mission.

What follows are the frantic efforts of the crew and the engineers at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston to come up with a plan to bring the crew safely back to Earth. The ingenious decision to repurpose the Lunar Module (Aquarius) as a makeshift lifeboat becomes the linchpin. Apollo 13 is not just a thrilling rescue movie; it is a testament to the power of human spirit and the remarkable capabilities of the scientific community.

3. The Impossible (2012)

In 2004, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history struck Southeast Asia.The Impossible is set against this backdrop. Directed by J.A. Bayona, the film follows the Belón family, Maria (played by Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor), and their three sons, as they embark on a dream vacation to Thailand. However, in one fateful moment, the tsunami strikes their hotel, tearing them apart and leaving them fighting against all odds to reunite and survive. Naomi Watts delivers a powerhouse performance as a mother clinging to hope amidst the wreckage. Ewan McGregor also shines as Henry, showcasing the determination and resilience necessary to face such unimaginable circumstances.

This isn't a narrative of a larger-than-life hero swooping in to save the day; rather, it's a testament to the combined efforts of ordinary individuals, bound by humanity, who become heroes in the crucible of disaster. 

Argo (2012)
Argo (2012)

4. Argo (2012)

Directed by Ben Affleck, Argo immerses us in the tumultuous time of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. We understand the plight of American diplomats stranded in Tehran post the U.S. embassy's seizure by Iranian militants. The film derives its name from the covert operation's code, a ruse involving the creation of a fake movie production to serve as a convincing cover story.

At the core of this high-stakes tale is Tony Mendez, portrayed by Affleck — a CIA operative with a knack for unconventional strategies. Mendez orchestrates the audacious plan to hoodwink Iranian authorities by posing as a film crew, ingeniously paving the way for the American diplomats to secure safe passage out of the country. 

5. Airlift (2016)

Directed by Raja Menon, Airlift takes us back to one of the biggest civilian evacuations in history during the Gulf War.

Akshay Kumar is front and centre of this rescue mission as Ranjit Katyal, a successful Indian businessman based in Kuwait. Ranjit enjoys a lavish lifestyle until the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990. Chaos ensues as the entire country falls into turmoil, leaving thousands of Indians stranded and helpless. Ranjit is initially driven by self-interest and the urge to save his own family, but soon, he becomes the saviour of not only his loved ones but also the 170,000 Indian nationals trapped in the war-torn country.

Like Mission Raniganj, Airlift, too, sheds light on a significant historical event that may not be widely known.

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