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Best Apocalyptic Movies

Well December 21, 2012 is almost upon us.  If the Mayan calendar was right then we all be goners, but this is not very likely.  The world has always been obsessed with its own demise.  It is so unpredictable which may be why people are so frantic to figure out when it will be over.  Countless cults have tried to predict it, but, as we can clearly see, they were quite wrong.

Since this is such a popular topic, many films have been made about it.  Some have been great, while others have been cliche and bland (2012).  I’m here to countdown the short, but highly respectable list of great apocalyptic films.

Here we go:

28 Days Later…

Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up four weeks later to find the entire city of London gone.  At first not a soul is in sight, but he soon learns that London and the entire country of England has been infected with a rage virus.  While not exactly a zombie movie, 28 Days Later… has all the elements of one, but also builds upon that to become a beautiful film about the fight for survival.  The sequel, 28 Weeks Later, may be the better horror movie, but the original film by Danny Boyle gives an eerily realistic depiction of the after effects of a virus come rampant.

The Road

The world is ravaged as a father and son walk the roads searching for any means of survival.  We do not know much of the past, besides brief flashbacks, but we follow them as they try to make sense of this terrifying reality.  On the Road is gritty and unsettling, yet heartwarming as you watch this father-son so dedicated to one another in their hope for a better tomorrow.  Their perseverance is something we should all strive for in an apocalyptic world or not.

Children of Men

In the not too distant future of 2027, humans have lost the ability to reproduce.  Chaos is everywhere, but a sliver of hope appears in the form of a young pregnant woman.  It becomes a mad rush to get this woman to safety as everyone tries to get their hands on her.  Humans becoming infertile is a frightening future and is something that is not out of the realm of reality.  Alfonso Cuarón is an incredible director, and is someone we all need to see more of.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This is the 1956 version.  Not the 1978 remake, and definitely not the 2007 atrocity with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.  People have been infected with some sort of alien virus.  They all look the same, yet they each have lost their humanism and act in a cold, robotic way.  With everyone’s appearances the same, it was hard to know who to trust.  Communism propaganda was everywhere during the 1950s so when this film hit theaters it really shocked audiences.  The message may not be as powerful as it was during the 50s, yet it has yet to lose it eery feel.


After years of population and overconsumption, the Earth has become inhabitable.  Humans then abandoned Earth and left little robots named WALL-E to clean up their mess.  The films delves into an adorable love story between two robots, but the environmental undertones are quite evident.  Although this film is animated, it may be the most accurate depiction of a post-apocalyptic society.  The Western Hemisphere’s love of consumerism is a bit frightening at times, especially when presented with WALL-E as a possible outcome.

Little side note: Only Pixar could create such an adorably throught-provoking film.

The Walking Dead

Not a movie, but The Walking Dead sure does feel cinematic.  The show is on its third season, but I can argue that this is one of the best TV shows of the past 20 years.  The acting is about the only thing that suffers, but the new cast members look like they can turn that around.  All fellow Walking Dead fans, I feel your pain in this midseason break and I am counting down the days until it returns in February.

Special Mentions:

12 Monkeys

Dawn of the Dead (Original and Remake)

Planet of the Apes


Just in case you do believe that the world will end on December 21, 2012, bring in the end of the world with these great movies.  It will cause some great conversations and may even provide you with a possible survival plan!  Happy moviegoing!



3 comments on “Best Apocalyptic Movies

  1. Gary Overman
    December 14, 2012

    The Stand (1994) –A viral plahue wipes out the earth’s population, leaving very few surviviors.

    The Day After (1983) –A full nuclear exchange takes place between the US and the USSR

    Panic in Year Zero (1962) –A nuclear Holocaust takes place while the Baldwin family is starting a fishing trip

    On the Beach (1959) –People in Australia await the coming of a cloud of deadly radiation from a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere

    • kevinsmovies
      December 14, 2012

      Thank you for those! I have not seen them so it looks like I’ll have to check them out 🙂

      • Gary Overman
        December 18, 2012

        All of them are available on DVD, and they are excellent films. The Stand is based on a book by Stephen King,

        There is also the 1955 Roger Corman film called The Day the World Ended. It is also about the aftermath of a nuclear war.

        In case you did not know it, HG Wells’ War of the Worlds has been made three times. There is the 1953 effort with Gene Barry, the film with Tom Cruise, and there was also a third effort that followed the Wells book pretty closely, but it was not well-known.

        1956 saw the little gem called World Without End made. There, the first space flight is caught in a time warp and they crash land on an unknown planet, finding later that it is earth more than 500 years in the future following a devastating atomic war. This film BTW, is one of my favorites.

        These are also available on DVD as well. Hope this helps.

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