Saving Private Leo: Every Movie I Saw When I Saw 'The Revenant'

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Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption. Kimberley French/20th Century Fox

With 12 Academy Award nominations to its name, including best picture, best director (Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) and best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), The Revenant is poised to be the big winner at Sunday night's Oscars. If you are battling a severe case of FOMO because you have not seen the wilderness-survival-vengeance epic, relax: You probably have seen it.

While a plethora of stories have circulated about how difficult it was to shoot The Revenant, this may be the first to discuss how difficult it is to watch the best picture favorite without being reminded of other films (a few of them best picture Oscar winners). This is not necessarily a criticism, since one of Iñárritu's fellow nominees in the best director category, George Miller, released an updated version of the film he directed 36 years earlier. That film, Mad Max: Fury Road, is also up for best picture—and both pics feature Thomas Hardy, so it all gets a tad confusing.

Below are a dozen films that may come to mind as you endure the harrowing and hibernal two-hour-39-minute odyssey that is The Revenant. Warning: Spoilers abound!

Saving Private Ryan: The opening ambush on the fur-trapping party by the Arikawa, who are seeking a chief's kidnapped daughter, is as chaotic and ambitious as the D-Day invasion scene from Spielberg's 1998 epic. It's a pure adrenaline rush, masterfully staged, with the principal difference being that in this instance the Yanks flee by water as opposed to attacking from it.

Grizzly Man: Timothy Treadwell do not fare as well as Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) in his encounter with a grizzly in Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary. Treadwell, who survived 12 summers living among bears in the Alaskan wilderness, has his scalp torn off in a bear attack inside his tent. How much better would Iñárritu's film have been if Herzog had narrated the attack on Leo and warned the audience "You must never listen to this"?

The Edge: DiCaprio is not the first alumnus of The Departed to engage in hand-to-claw combat. In this 1997 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, both men do battle with an ornery grizz. They, too, survive the encounter.

Platoon: In every one of his Revenant scenes, Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald appears to be channeling Tom Berenger's portrayal of Sergeant Barnes from this 1986 best picture winner. They even look uncannily similar. Just as Barnes betrays his comrade, Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), Fitzgerald abandons Glass in the wilderness to die and then lies to his superiors that he is dead (in both movies, the deceit is uncovered). It is a mild surprise that in no scene does Fitzgerald ever boast, "I am reality."

The Beach: In this 2000 film that stars DiCaprio, a character is gravely injured in an encounter with a shark, isolated from the group and, while still clinging to life, euthanized by the main character, Richard (DiCaprio), by means of pinching his nose and holding a hand over his mouth. Sound familiar?

Blair Witch Project: In this 1999 film, a party finds itself lost in the woods. The map is of little use. The director points the camera skyward to the treetops to illustrate man's insignificance in relation to nature.

The River Wild: Do you remember Tom Hartman (David Strathairn) slinking along the shoreline to evade the escaped convicts played by Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly in this 1994, Class 5 rapids thriller? Whereas the Arikawa launch arrows at Glass as he floats downstream toward treacherous falls, Bacon and Reilly fire bullets. Neither find their target.

Gladiator: A heroic protagonist whose mate is slain by soldiers who are at least ostensibly on his side? A home burnt to the ground in a savage attack? A murdered child? Our protagonist clinging to life while experiencing visions of his deceased mate inhabiting a sun-splashed utopian dreamscape and imploring him not to surrender to the death's embrace? All that is missing from the 2000 best picture winner is Leo turning to the Arikawa after exacting vengeance on Fitzgerald and asking, "Are you not entertained?"

Titanic: Is that really.… Did we just see.… Did Iñárritu really treat us to a glimpse, albeit a brief one, of Leo clinging to a piece of driftwood in icy waters? You bet your Heart of the Ocean necklace he did. We are left to wonder if that headboard in the Atlantic Ocean may well have supported the combined weights of Jack and Rose.

The Empire Strikes Back: When your choice is between hypothermia and eviscerating your trusty steed and using its corpse as a sleeping bag, unsheath your knife and don't whine about the room service. When Glass (Leo) does this after miraculously surviving an over-the-cliff header, it may revive memories of the second Stars Wars film, released in 1979. Han Solo uses a lightsaber to slice open the belly of a dead Tauntaun and stuff Luke Skywalker inside of it like—forgive us—a Hoth pocket.

Jeremiah Johnson: There's more in common here than a blond Hollywood pretty boy still in search of his first Oscar playing the lead. This 1972 Western was based on the life of a fur trapper married to a member of the Crow tribe who would also be slaughtered. Here, too, we find a scene of our protagonist fishing by hand.

Every Clint Eastwood Western Ever Made: A loner (Pale Rider) whose wife and son have been murdered by Americans (The Outlaw Josey Wales) sets out on an all-or-nothing quest for vengeance (Unforgiven).

Once again, all this is not a criticism. Even a Wookiee knows that the highest-grossing film of the year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is a paint-by-numbers replica of the original. But with so many scenes evoking memories of similar moments from past films, perhaps we should also be referring to this best picture favorite as The Redolent.

Saving Private Leo: Every Movie I Saw When I Saw 'The Revenant' | Culture