Which are the all-time greatest apocalypse movies

Which are the all-time greatest apocalypse movies

Updated on September 10, 2022 16:01 PM by Andrew Koschiev

The power of end-of-the-world movies is unique. You'll undoubtedly experience a heart-pounding sense of tension as they combine the adrenaline rush of disaster flicks with the enveloping dread of horror pictures.

You have to sit there and mentally make your end-of-the-world to-do list alongside the characters because sometimes the movies take place just as the world is going to end. When an extinction catastrophe has already occurred, you may be concerned about your ability to survive alongside the other survivors.

You can panic as you see society fall apart in real time because the movie occasionally occurs in the middle of things.

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The biggest paranoias in society are reflected back at us in world-ending movies. The beginning of the Atomic Age caused anxiety for 1950s films.

The crisis of the 1980s was almost usually brought on by an impending nuclear conflict between the US and Russia.

And there are always lingering questions about what is out there in space and whether untamed forces of nature can wipe us out at any time, whether it be through comets headed for Earth, a sun preparing to encroach further into our solar system (or stop functioning altogether), or, you know, aliens.

You may observe the numerous neuroses we've experienced throughout the years by watching these looming disaster movies ning decades.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road – 2015

We have never seen a more exciting dystopian future than in George Miller's brilliantly shot action movie. The movie is set in a desert wasteland where survivors are shown fighting for water and also gasoline in a grotesque customized vehicle.

This is the chapter of Mad Max till date, with a couple of gleaming set pieces entrenched by the dominant performance of Charlize Theron as heroine Baron Furiosa.

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2. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – 2012

This is Hustlers' writer-director Lorene Scafaria's directorial debut. It starts with the news that a meteor is about to clash with Earth, and it'll destroy every form of life on the planet.

Taking inspiration from the 9/11 experience, Scafaria uses the inevitable end to find out what people feel about love and relationships from the perspective of two strangers – Steve Carrell, a middle-aged man. His wife suddenly left him and Keira Knightley, an impatient woman who is distressed to meet her family in England.

3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1978

 The first sign of the approaching is maybe that your partners stop behaving like themselves. Philip Kaufman's effectively thrilling remake of the 1956 classic pod people shows a different type of pandemic.

Here, people are gradually replaced by their doubles while they are fast asleep, making it impossible to differentiate between loved ones, friends, and invaders. 

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4. Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut – 1986

The Classic musical comedy of Frank Oz premiered in the theaters having a happy ending as the test audience disapproved of the original ending, where puppet plant Andrey II brings real destruction to the world.

The prescient version (officially remastered and then released in 2019 as The Director's Cut) was reportedly the better one all the way, with two extra songs and an amazing finale where enormous Andrey II destroys the entire Manhattan.

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5. The Mitchells vs. the Machines – 2021

Directed in a shining style that mixes 2D and 3D animation. This Netflix original takes a horrific concept – a time when our rapidly intelligent phones decide to wipe out the entire human race – and presents a hilarious, heartening family that is functional most of the time (includes Maya Rudolph, a school teacher mom and her queer daughter played by Abi Jacobson) who are the last ray of hope on Earth.

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6. Deep Impact – 1998

Deep Impact was released in the summer when the cheesy super blockbuster Armageddon of Michael Bay was released. Mimi Leder's destruction movie has the same plot – a meteor is rushing toward Earth, and the entire humankind is at risk of extinction until a team of brave astronauts can save it.

Bay's movie is big, crazy, popcorn-eating fun and one more incentive in the form of an Aerosmith song. But, if you want to watch how an event of extinction magnitude goes down, Leder's movie is a better option as it offers strong character drama and real science to huge explosions and space scenes.

This is also the movie where Morgan Freeman plays the President of the US for the first time.

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7. Children of Men – 2006

This is an elegant and tense thriller by Alfonso Cuaron. The movie got three Oscar nominations and was a critical darling bringing a reputation to the movies of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre.

London became a hellscape after a global infertility crisis; a cloyed activist played by Clive Owen should protect the first pregnant woman (Clare-Hope Ashitey) after a gap of eighteen years. This woman is all set to flee the country. 

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8. Take Shelter – 2011

Which is the point when getting ready for the worst turns into psychosis? Michael Shannon is seen in one of his most haunting performances as he plays the character of a blue-collar dad.

The latter, at one point, becomes obsessed with building an ideal storm shelter after he hallucinates and dreams about an upcoming climate disaster. Whether you are an optimist or a doomsday planner, the end will leave you breathless.

9. Melancholia – 2011

Those suffering from depression always feel the world is about to end. The worst part is nobody is aware about this. Kirsten Dunst as a young bride fighting depression gives an incendiary performance. A  planet called Melancholia will clash with Earth in the verdant, operatic drama of Lars Von Trier.

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10. The Day After – 1983

As the Cold War heightened during the Reagan years, a couple of movies put their efforts into the realistic portrayal of the worst-case scenario of an impending nuclear attack.

The movies which traumatized the generation are the 1983 emotional drama Testament and frightened Threads (1984), but out of all these, the most impactful was The Day After by Nicholas Meyer. Almost  100 million viewers watched the bombing on middle American characters. It is said that the movie influenced nuclear choices.

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11. 12 Monkeys – 1995

No doubt Bruce Willis is the star, yet Brad Pitt stole the show as Jaffrey Goines, who is mentally ill but a conspiracy theorist. Goines may be the only person with a secret to prevent a fatal plague in a tragic, wild sci-fi drama by Terry Gilliam.

12. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 2014

The original, as well as the rebooted Planet of the Apes saga, offers a lot of end-of-the-world delights. But, the most unforgettable cinematic representation of the post-human future is seen in the second Apes movie by Matt Reeves. In this movie, realistic motion-capture pirates start a war with the handful of humans left in demolished San Francisco.

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13. Wall-E – 2008

Pixar's sci-fi movie in a single setting – the trash concentrate which stays on Earth even when humanity has destroyed all the natural world and run away. The title tries to find its soul. The movie's almost wordless opening sequence stays with you long after the film ends.            

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