We all want to find out how the world will look like once it ends. The best apocalypse movies always imagine the ruin of modern society and show the story of unlucky survivors and how they try to escape the lurking doom.
In movies, the end of the world can be caused by a virus, zombies, nuclear war, a giant meteor, a water or food crisis, or some other natural or unnatural disaster. Either way, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic movies are about those who somehow survive the worst-case scenario for the planet. So if you are a huge fan of apocalyptic movies, you have come to the right place. These movies cover every stage of the apocalypse, from the decline to the end itself, and beyond. Let's dive in!
1. A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place is a prime example of how a simple concept can be flawlessly executed. The movie shows the presence of monstrous creatures that hunt based on sound which creates an atmosphere of tense suspense. If you watch a quiet place, you probably wouldn't want to make any sound too. Without any verbal dialogue, one family tries to survive the whole ordeal with the use of subtitled sign language which further heightens the tension. It's easy to get personally invested in the safety of these characters.
In this top-tier zombie comedy, a post-apocalyptic future is played out with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) who has adopted a rigid set of rules to survive, including Don't be a hero. When he meets the amusing Stetson-wearing Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), he is forced to collaborate and share his codes of conduct. Eventually, in all the confusion, he discovers a sense of family. Zombieland is riotous fun and the ultimate comedy to watch with friends thanks to Bill Murray’s cameo and the epic final act in an abandoned amusement park.
3. Children of Men (2006)
Plenty of apocalypse movies have a meteor hitting the Earth, nukes going off, or artificial intelligence throwing a tantrum however, this movie takes its storyline to a whole new level. Children of Men plays out a world where women lose the ability to give birth. It's an interesting idea that Alfonso Cuarón turns into a uniquely dark yet hopeful movie. The world slowly fades away as no new babies are being born.
4. Avengers: Endgame
The Avengers Endgame shows how superheroes fight to restore balance to the world after the evil Thanos wipes out half of all living things and retreats to his farmhouse sanctuary. In the movie, all of Marvels superheroes come together to face off against the big bad Thanos. The movie pulls together a fitting farewell to Earth’s mightiest heroes and paves the path for something new. The Russo brothers tackle real human issues with galactic proportions as they delve deep into PTSD, anxiety, and survivor’s guilt making the heroes both fallible and accessible. Endgame is heartbreaking but hopeful, and a worthy entry on this list.
5. Dawn of the Dead
George A. Romero is one of the leading figures of horror, and the second installment of his renowned zombie series is perhaps his finest work. Dawn of the Dead tells the story of four apocalypse survivors, trapped in a mall swarming with the undead. You can sense the tension, the dread, as they try to outlive their nightmarish new reality.
6. 28 Days Later
This Danny Boyle's movie tops many best zombie film lists. 28 Days later doesn't label the infected as zombies. Instead, it shows us the haunting image of a deserted London and our hero, Jim, exploring a city left devoid of life after a widespread virus outbreak. Jim who wakes up after a coma tries to find answers to what happened to everyone around him, and it only becomes bleaker and bleaker as he meets the infected and the military on his search for answers.
7. The Terminator
Terminator is still one of the best Apocalypse movies out there. Which is why the movie has so many countless sequels and spin-off shows. Terminator takes place, for the most part, in the very regular '80s, where Arnold Arnold Schwarzeneggerwho is the lead character, is a cyborg sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) the mother of future resistance leader, John. Now, the resistance also has its protective plans in place and sends Sarah a protector in the form of Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who will do anything to keep her safe. The Terminator will have you on the edge of your seat as the movie is intriguing and suspenseful at the same time.
8. Living Dead franchise (1968-2009)
The film that started it all, Night of the Living Dead essentially created the zombie and birthed an entire subgenre of horror that has become a staple in pop culture.
There are a lot of movies with living dead in the title, but when I say the Living Dead franchise, I'm specifically talking about George Romero's movies:
-Night of the Living Dead (1968)
-Dawn of the Dead (1978)
-Day of the Dead (1985)
-Land of the Dead (2005)
-Diary of the Dead (2007)
-Survival of the Dead (2009)
9. Planet of the Apes franchise
The first entry of the Planet of the Apes franchise tells the story of the end-of-the-world in a way that you don't know is an end-of-the-world movie until the end of the movie. The sequels in this franchise are all very great and a must-watch for every apocalypse fan. The most recent trilogy has been one of the best reboots of an old franchise ever.
Akira, a 1988 classic is the perfect movie and entry-point for anyone interested in watching apocalypse anime. The storyline of the movie is set 31 years after World War 3 in a futuristic Neo-Tokyo metropolis where a secret military project threatens to endanger the city once more. When the government turns injured biker gang member Tetsuo (Nozamu Sasaki) into a violent telepath, history looks to repeat itself. Akira is both an epic-worthy movie and is deserving of its reputation as a landmark piece of animation.
11. Mad Max franchise (1979-2015)
This George Miller franchise starts with society teetering on the edge of destruction. The first Mad Max isn't post-apocalyptic. But as the franchise progresses, humanity gets further and further away from sanity. But luckily, so do the set pieces.
12. Shaun of the Dead
After the success of their sitcom Spaced, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg decided to create another movie that made it to the big screen. Shaun of the Dead takes place right at the start of a zombie outbreak, and it's still one of the funniest and most creative horror movies ever. After this movie, both Edgar and Simon enjoyed a whole lot of fame and praise launching their careers to new heights.
13. The Book of Eli
Taking a leaf out of the Mad Max book, The Book of Eli depicts a world full of bad people with no hope left for humanity. Thirty years after a nuclear bomb disaster, Eli (Denzel Washington) travels across the remains of America to deliver a book. He soon faces a classic post-apocalyptic wannabe dictator in the form of Carnegie (Gary Oldman) when Eli stumbles upon his town.
14. The Hunger Games franchise (2012-2015)
Like WALL-E, The Hunger Games does an uncomfortably good job of predicting how the end of the world will go. The difference is that The Hunger Games is far closer to the current state of the world.
In WALL-E, we abandon the Earth when we can't be bothered to fix it. In The Hunger Games, they distract themselves with entertainment that comes at the cost of others’ suffering.
Contagion is a thriller that tackles worldwide pandemic and virus outbreak that kills people within days of infection. The movie provides for tense, gripping thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Steven Soderbergh directs the movie as we watch everyday people coping amidst crisis whilst medical professionals scramble to find a cure. Momentum increases and tensions stay high as Soderbergh asks how regular people would react when faced with an apocalyptic virus.
No, not the Sylvester Stallone one from the '90s, but the gritty, tough-as-nails 2012 adaptation starring Karl Urban. In Dredd, the eponymous lawman brings about justice in the post-apocalyptic landscape of a collapsing Mega-City One. The film, adapted from the classic Judge Dredd comics, paints a terrifying picture of a future where police have the power to play judge, jury, and executioner.
A truck drives through a field of corn Paramount / youtube.com
Interstellar focuses on what could be the second-to-last generation of humanity, slowly running out of options on a dying Earth unless radical steps are taken.Things start out pretty grim, but Interstellar focuses on the idea that the childlike passion humans are capable of is what will save the world. As the main character says:
We used to look up at the sky and wonder about our place in the stars. Now, we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt.
18. X-Men: Days of Future Past
While X-Men Apocalypse may feature a character who, yes, brings about the literal apocalypse, it's X-Men: Days of Future Past that truly takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. The remaining mutants must send Wolverine back in time to warn the world of what will happen if Bolivar Trask's Sentinels are allowed to roam the world. By uniting both the old and new X-Men cast, Days of Future Past makes for a particularly thrilling watch.
19. Take Shelter (2011)
At what point does preparing for the worst become insanity?. In Take Shelter, Michael Shannon gives one of his most haunting performances as a loving father who becomes obsessed with building the perfect storm shelter after experiencing dreams and hallucinations about a coming climate disaster. No matter the stance you take at the beginning of this movie, the ending will knock the wind out of you.
20. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
With Mad Max 2, director George Miller orchestrated even more insane stunts – including a near-fatal accident involving a motorcycle crashing into a car – thanks to a bigger budget. Like the other Mad Max movies, Road Warrior sees Max Rockatansky traversing a desert wasteland when he finds himself moved to defend a group of settlers against a violent gang. Expect just as much exhilarating and energetic action as the first mind-blowing entry, but this time with more deadly boomerangs.