Apocalypse Movies thrill and terrify audiences by turn. The premise of the end of the world has long fascinated people, whether it occurs from a natural disaster, an alien invasion, or a viral strain that wipes out the majority of the population. Movies about the end of the world and apocalyptic films all have one thing in common: something happens to cause the destruction of the world as we know it. There are a number of really popular films that deal with the subject, but here are some of the most impressive apocalyptic movies I've ever seen. I can't wait to hear about your favorites, too!
1. The Day after Tomorrow
This is generally recognized as one of the most popular apocalypse movies of recent times, I think because the devestation is so complete. Lots of people flocked to the theatres either because they have that fatalistic interest in disaster films or because they wanted to see Jake Gyllenhaal. They came out stunned and probably more than a little paranoid about any inclement weather.
2. Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove – otherwise known as Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, because I love the full title – is one of Stanley Kubrick's best movies. It's also a great movie about the apocalypse. It's a brilliant satire, by turns morbid, hilarious, and terrifying, and it's worth the watch strictly because of Peter Sellers.
3. The Stand
I'll grant that there are arguably other movies I could have placed in this spot, but The Stand – the original version with Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Ruby Dee, Rob Lowe, and the decidedly creepy Jamey Sheridan – is one of my favorite apocalypse movies. I love the book more than I can even describe, and the original miniseries captured all the reasons the novel still leaves me terrified. I mean, technically speaking, this could happen. Every time I reread the book or watch the movie again, I'm paranoid for a month every time I get the sniffles or start sneezing.
4. The Road
The Road is one of the most stunning movies about the end of the world you'll ever watch. It's haunting, depressing, poignant, touching, and incredibly memorable. The world ends for reasons no one really understand, and the survivors are forced to keep themselves safe through their shell shocked attempts to move on. Many of their fellow survivors have turned completely savage, even feral, and it seems like there is absolutely nothing left to hope for in the aftermath.
5. Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes – the original, not the remake(s) – is one of the most popular apocalypse movies ever. It's absolutely iconic, from Charlton Heston's performance to Roddy McDowall's turn as a damn, dirty ape. The ending is one of the reasons people still love it so much – I mean, M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could pull of a twist like this.
6. War of the Worlds
I chose to highlight the original War of the Worlds because I honestly think it's better than the remake, even though the adaptation starring Tom Cruise had the advantage of lots of filming locations, CGI, and other special effects. There's something so fatalistic about the original, however, that you can easily understand why the radio report Orson Welles read to the United States caused such terror and havoc. If you're looking for good apocalyptic movies, you can definitely watch both, but I wholeheartedly advise seeing this one first.
7. Children of Men
Children of Men is more than just one of the best apocalypse movies. It's one of the best sci-fi dramas I've ever seen. It's filled with eloquent metaphors but none of them are overbearing, which is definitely a gift. The premise revolves around the fact that women cannot get pregnant, thus effectively damning the human race. When one woman gets pregnant against all odds, not only are you treated to a touching story of hope, but you also get to see some seriously amazing action as a result.
There are all kinds of apocalypse movies, some based on aliens, some on spiritual endings, and some based on environmental destruction. Since there was only room for seven movies about the end of the world, I know I'm missing films like Knowing, 2012, I Am Legend (that's on purpose, though; I can't even write about it without losing my stuff – the dog, the dog!), and many others. So, let me know about your favorite movies about the apocalypse that I may have missed!
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