Nuevo Culture

Is ‘Society of the Snow’ Flight 571 Based on a True Story?

J.A. Bayona’s Society of the Snow (La Sociedad de la Nieve) is a harrowing survival thriller film and adaptation of Pablo Vierci’s book of the same name. In it, a plane carrying a team of Uruguayan rugby players crashes in the Andes mountains. But is it based on a true story?

The answer is a straightforward yes. Society of the Snow chronicles the Uruguayan 1972 Andes flight disaster, which saw Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash in the Andres Mountains on October 13, 1972. The plane was carrying 45 passengers and crew, including 19 members of the Old Christians Club rugby union team, alongside their families, supporters, and friends.

The accident would later be known as the Miracle of the Andes when 16 survivors were found 72 days later. Two of them – Roberto Canessa and Fernando Parrado – climbed a 15,260 ft mountain peak and hiked for 10 days and approximately 38 miles without gear to seek help. 

Society of the Snow is not the first movie about the Flight 571 disaster. The 1993 film Alive chronicled the rugby team’s survival. It was based on the 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. Unlike Society of the Snow, that film was fully in English and it did not focus on all the survivors and was a dramatization of the events. 

Society of the Snow (La Sociedad de la Nieve) is fully in Spanish and the cast is composed of mostly unknown Uruguay and Argentinian actors. Also, the book that it’s based on is told from the perspective of the sixteen survivors.

Of the 16 original survivors of the crash, 14 are still alive today.

Society of the Snow is set to be released in select theaters on December 22, 2024 and on Netflix on January 4th, 2024.