20 Best Disaster Movies, Apocalyptic Films Of All Time

Want some adrenaline rush with a disaster movie? Well, from rogue asteroids ripping the world apart to ugly viruses bringing the world to the verge of annihilation, here our 20 best disaster films of all time.

Okay, so maybe your significant other isn’t into the idea of watching romance movies. You are more into a movie that ends in an apocalyptic flood or a radioactive meltdown or a giant meteor strike.

And when it comes to disaster movies, it’s not only about an asteroid ripping through the earth. What about a movie that ends with a flaming train barreling down the tracks at a bus full of orphans?

Disaster movies are just waiting for you, the person who loves the thrill of escape, the fear of survival, or the drama of rescue. The point of these movies is getting out alive, so if you’re looking for romance, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for some adrenaline-fueled storytelling, here are some of the best.

And if you want to tam your craze for disaster a little bit, you may want to check these great adventure, survival, and castaway movies instead.

That being said, let’s check our best disaster movies of all time.

1. I Am Legend | 2007 | 7.2 IMDB

A scientist who accidentally uncovers a cure for cancer finds himself a fugitive from the government and a target for greedy pharmaceutical executives. The movie is based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel of the same name.

If you are looking for disaster, and apocalyptic movies, I Am Legend is the best of the genre. It features Will Smith, who is an excellent actor. He is willing to take the extra step, to be the guy that does not look for the easy way out. The movie is not about special effects, or CGI, or the latest technology. This is about human emotion and survival.

2. Melancholia | 2011 | 7.3 IMDB

Melancholia is a 2011 Danish art film written and directed by Lars von Trier. The film is about two sisters, one of whom is preparing to marry, as a rogue planet is about to collide with Earth.

The movie is about acceptance of things as they are and surrendering to the inevitable. It is a movie about getting ready to die and surrendering to whatever comes our way.

3. 28 Days Later | 2002 | 7.7 IMDB

Five months after a virus has decimated the population of Great Britain, a survivor (Cage) moves back to London, hoping to make contact with his estranged wife and son. But when he arrives at his home, he finds it locked down and quarantined behind a military blockade. As the days pass, he realizes that he is not alone.

4. Cloverfield | 2008 | 7.1 IMDB

A group of friends ventures deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.

The movie is a found footage movie and is the brainchild of J.J. Abrams. It was the first film to be released in over a year and had a budget of $25 million. It opened on January 18th, 2008 for $46.1 million dollars, and went on to make $170.8 million worldwide. The film was nominated for two Saturn Awards and won one for Best Horror or Thriller Film.

A sequel came out in 2016 and was called 10 Cloverfield Lane. It is a rip-off of the original and is not worth watching.

5. Knowing | 2009 | 6.5 IMDB

A professor tries to prevent a catastrophic global event by discovering the meaning of a coded message found in an ancient, anonymous text.

The film, which is based on the ancient Mayan 2012 prophecy, was released on March 20, 2009. It was produced by Nicolas Chartier, written by Alex Proyas, and stars Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, Lara Robinson, Rowena King, and Camryn Manheim.

The film received mixed reviews, praising its science-fiction aspects while criticizing its use of religious themes. It grossed $177,747,860 worldwide.

6. Contagion | 2011 | 7.5 IMDB

After a global pandemic kills most of humanity, a man and woman struggle to survive. Contagion is the kind of movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, even when the film has reached its conclusion. This is one of those movies that can be watched over and over again, simply because it’s that good.

Written by Steven Soderbergh and directed by Steven Soderbergh, it’s a medical thriller that focuses on a virus that spreads throughout the world. Almost all of the characters in the film are doctors, scientists, and people who are close to the medical field. This gives the film a realistic feel, as they discuss the spread of the virus and the ways to keep it under control.

7. 2012 | 2009| 5.6 IMDB

Doomsday Preppers, Armageddon, the End of Days—there are a lot of theories about what will happen when the calendar flips to December 2012.

The disaster film 2012 gives the ultimate bad news: the end of the world, caused by a collision between Earth and a massive planetary object, will occur a few weeks before Christmas. John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson, and a group of other celebrities staring the film.

8. The Day After Tomorrow | 2004 | 7.1 IMDB

The film follows a group of people trying to survive after the sudden freezing of the Earth’s climate, causing a breakdown of society and the world’s governments. The main story is centered on Jack Hall, an ambitious reporter who attempts to find his son who was separated from him during the chaos.

9. The Towering Inferno | 1974 | 7.7 IMDB

The towering inferno is one of a kind disaster movie. The movie is based on a real-life disaster, the 51 story skyscraper fire at the First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles on April 4, 1987. The fire killed 64 people and injured over 100.

The movie is about an architect named Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) who designed a new skyscraper called the “World Trade Center”, because of its height, the tallest building in the world. When the building is nearing completion, a fire starts on the 81st floor, trapping the guests of a hotel on the top floor. As the fire continues to spread, the guests and hotel workers try to escape.

10. Titanic | 1997 | 7.8 IMDB

A romance set aboard the ill-fated Titanic, as two young lovers from different social classes, fall in love against the backdrop of the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage.

The film is, in fact, the romanticized portrayal of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which occurred on April 15th, 1912.

Written by the largest grossing film director of all time, James Cameron, it is a film that is almost as large as the Titanic herself. It was the first film to be released in over a year. It was nominated for 14 Academy Awards; it won 11. It was the second highest-grossing film of all time (at the time) behind only Cameron’s other Titanic film, “Titanic”.

11. The Perfect Storm | 2000 | 7.6 IMDB

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American survival drama-action disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, and John C. Reilly. It was based on the book of the same name by Sebastian Junger detailing the fate of the “Andrea Gail”, a swordfishing boat caught in the “Perfect Storm” of 1991.

12. Miracle Mile | 1988 | 7.8 IMDB

A man who has a bizarre premonition of a nuclear attack attempts to help save his girlfriend from the coming apocalypse.

A man has a bizarre premonition of a nuclear attack, attempts to help save his girlfriend from the coming apocalypse. A strange film, nowhere near as good as “12 Monkeys”, but still a very enjoyable sci-fi flick. It was the first film to be directed by Steve De Jarnatt.

13. The Mist | 2007 | 7.8 IMDB

After a violent storm, a dense cloud of mist envelops a small Maine town, trapping artist David Drayton and his five-year-old son in a local grocery store with other people. David starts seeing strange creatures inside the mist, which turns out to be a horde of carnivorous creatures. The film was directed by Frank Darabont.

14. The Quiet Earth | 1985 | 7.7 IMDB

The world has been struck by a series of cataclysmic events and humanity has been decimated. The few survivors are left without any recollection of how it happened. One man begins to see strange visions of people who are supposed to be dead.

A scientist finds himself alone after a bizarre global event causes every human being on the planet to vanish. He slowly begins to learn that he is not alone when he comes in contact with another survivor.

15. A Monster Calls | 2016 | 7.5 IMDB

A boy who tries to deal with his mother’s illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith.

The movie is based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay.

The film was directed by J.A. Bayona, and it’s his first English-language film. The film also stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, and Lewis MacDougall.
It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

16. The Happening | 2008 | 6.5 IMDB

A science teacher (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife (Zooey Deschanel) try to survive a worldwide environmental disaster caused by a mysterious toxin that causes humans to commit suicide en masse.

The movie was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who is best known for his films “Unbreakable”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Signs”, “The Village”, and “After Earth”.

The film was highly anticipated, but it had very bad reviews, mostly due to the film’s awful, the last 20 minutes are completely meaningless, and the fact that it was a huge disappointment.
The film cost $50 million to make, but it only made $65 million at the box office.

17. The Road | 2009 | 7.5 IMDB

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

It was directed by John Hillcoat, who is best known for his films “The Proposition”, “Lawless”, and “The Wettest County in the World”.

The film is based on the book of the same name, written by Cormac McCarthy. The Road had a budget of $20 million and made $2,966,618 at the box office.

18. Armageddon | 1998 | 6.9 IMDB

An asteroid the size of Texas is heading directly toward Earth at 22,000 miles per hour. NASA’s executive director, Dan Truman, has only one option—to send up a crew to destroy the asteroid.

The crew of seven astronauts must intercept the asteroid in just over a month, driving a nuclear explosive into it to split it in two before it can hit Earth. However, their chances of success are less than four percent, and if they fail to blow up the asteroid in time, the entire planet will be destroyed.
It was directed by Michael Bay, who is well known for his films “The Rock”, “Pearl Harbor”, and “Transformers”.

19. Doomsday | 2008 | 6.9 IMDB

An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, and it is too late to deflect it. The only hope for the world is to launch a group of eight highly trained astronauts to the asteroid. Their mission: to blow it apart before it reaches Earth.

However, with only 24 hours to save the planet, the astronauts are faced with the impossible dilemma of destroying the asteroid or saving themselves.

It was directed by Neil Marshall, who is best known for his films “The Descent”, “Dog Soldiers”, “Centurion”, and “Doomsday”.

20. Airplane! | 1980 | 8.8 IMDB

A madcap spoof of the disaster movie genre that pokes fun at the clichés and devices that were used in many films of the time. Airplane! satirizes such films as Airport 1975, The Poseidon Adventure, and the Airport series; in particular, the film is a parody of the 1968 film Zero Hour! which was also produced by Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams, the trio who also wrote and directed Airplane!

Our Honorable Mentions


1. The Book of Eli | 2010 | 7.5 IMDB

A lone warrior named Eli must fight his way across the wasteland of near-future America to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

2. The Poseidon Adventure | 1972 | 7.4 IMDB

A luxury liner capsizes and sinks after being hit by a rogue wave. A group of survivors tries to make their way to safety through the ship’s labyrinth of corridors and staircases and elevator shafts.

3. The Omega Man | 1971 | 7.5 IMDB

A medical scientist battles a plague of savage, flesh-eating mutants in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.

4. A Night to Remember | 1958 | 8.4 IMDB

On April 15, 1912, the White Star Line steamer “RMS Titanic” sank during her maiden voyage after colliding with an iceberg. The ship carried 2,224 passengers and crew of which only 706 survived.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still | 1951 | 7.7 IMDB

When mysterious spacecraft lands on Earth and its inhabitants present themselves as visitors from another planet, the human race is faced with a critical decision that could mean the end of our world as we know it.

6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | 2014 | 7.4 IMDB

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

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