Pre- and post-apocalyptic films tend to gain people's attention. We're not sure if its the destruction, the fact that this "could happen," or just the overall thrill of the watching people in tip-top survival mode. Whatever the case, it is an intriguing genre filled with intense storylines and visual effects.
From Brad Pitt's World War Z to the alien invasion Will Smith helped avoid in Independence Day, there's just something about humanity triumphing over something completely unknown. Buckle on in and get ready; here are some of the best end of the world films you're going to want to watch before, you know, the end of the world.
The Road Showed The Long-Road Of Apocalyptic Survival
Based on Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name, The Road is all about survival in a post-apocalyptic America. Starring Viggo Mortensen as a protective father and Kodi Smit-McPhee as his young son, the movie centers around their journey to find the ocean and, hopefully, civilization.
Of course, traveling to the ocean is no easy task, and the father and son soon find themselves having to ward off militia-type organizations and even cannibals. The Road is raw, moving, and illustrates some drastic end of the world circumstances in which a father has to make the best decision for his son, no matter the consequences.
One Bite And You're On The Enemy Side Of World War Z
When it comes to end-of-the-world movie storylines, a good old-fashion zombie virus outbreak is a good bet. And when Academy Award-winning actor Brad Pitt is leading the zombie annihilation charge, you know it's going to be a good one!
Bared on the Max Brooks novel of the same name, World War Z follows the story of former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane as he travels the world in search of a cure for a zombie virus outbreak. Of course, nothing is easy, and one bite means becoming part of the worldwide pandemic.
While 2012 Didn't End In Disaster, The Movie 2012 Did
If you remember, the year 2012 was supposed to mark the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar. Yet, we're all still here, and Hollywood decided to capitalize on the phenomenon that had people panicking up until December 21, 2012, passed.
The film 2012 is led by actor John Cusack who learns that the Earth's crust is destabilizing. The end result being world-wide flooding, earthquakes, and various other natural disasters. Of course, there's a plan: make escape pods for a select few people to help replenish civilization once everything is destroyed. No pressure, folks.
28 Days Later All Started With Chimpanzees
When it comes to global pandemics, it always seems to be something strange that is the cause. In the case of the movie 28 Days Later, the start of the zombie apocalypse is due to chimpanzees infected with a rage-inducing virus. And humanity gets infected all because animal activists didn't listen to the scientists and released the animals into the wild.
Anywho, insert Jim, a coma patient who wakes up to the chaos and is forced to run for his life. Thankfully, he joins a group of other survivors, and together, they try to escape the infected city of London.
28 Weeks Later Sees The Zombie Virus Start All Over
What's an almost-apocalyptic film without a sequel? 28 Weeks Later picks up right where 28 Days Later leaves off, with survivors evacuated from London, and the city's population all but wiped out. Now, the U.S. Army has intervened and is ready to relocate people back to London, which hs been quarantined.
Everything seems as though it's going to go back to normal. That is until one carrier of the "Rage Virus" makes their way to the city and the whole nightmare starts all over again.
Nothing Says End Of The World Like War Of The Worlds
If there is one film that blatantly states "end of the world," it's the remake of the H.G. Wells classic sci-fi story War of the Worlds. When a freak lightning storm interrupts dockworker Ray's visitation with his kids, things get more than interesting. You know, since it's an alien invasion and not sunshower.
With a teenage son and young daughter in tow, Ray, along with everyone else in the city, have to fight for survival. But, as they soon realize, the aliens have some advanced technology, and running isn't as easy as it sounds.
The Day After Shows What Would Have Happened During The Cold War
The Day After begins weeks before the United States is hit with a nuclear strike in the mid-80s. Focusing on a tiny town in rural Kansas, the film follows the townspeople and their mundane day to day lives leading up to the bombing.
While everyone is well aware of the possibility of the U.S. being attacked, nothing seems out of the ordinary. That is until everything is anything but ordinary. Ever wonder what a small rural town looks like in the aftermath of a nuclear attack? Well, The Day After gives a pretty vivid simulation.
Will Smith And Jeff Goldblum Save The world In Independence Day
Independence Day In The United States is typically a time for barbecues and parties, but the 1996 film had another idea. On the weekend of the Fourth of July, a strange light ignites the sky over major cities around the world. Obviously, with a phenomenon as strange as that, terror ensures.
Soon, the people of Earth recognize the occurrence for what it is, a mothership from another planet, i.e., a huge threat. The world's last hope is that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum can take out the enemy forces. Of course, they have no clue what they're up against since it's, you know, alien.
12 Monkeys Is More Than Bananas
Time travel meets global plague in the 1995 sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James Cole is sent back in time to 1996 to search for the Army of Twelve Monkeys, also known as the start of the global virus that wipes out the world.
His goal is to find the virus and bring it back so scientists can study it and, hopefully, stop it from spreading and forcing humanity to ground. Well, that plan is sound aside from the fact that the prisoner is sent back to the wrong time and the entire mission goes bananas.
When it comes to end-of-the-world movies, zombies, aliens, and random pandemics are typically the main event. Armageddon, on the other hand, brings something else to the picture: an asteroid headed straight towards Earth with the ability to destroy the entire planet and everyone on it.
With a misfit team led by renowned driller Harry Stamper, aka Bruce Willis, the crew stops at nothing to destroy the asteroid before it enters Earth's atmosphere. The mission isn't for the faint of heart, and the crew is going to soon realize they're risking a whole lot more than they bargained for.
Twinkies, Amusement Parks, And Zombieland
In 2009, Zombieland introduced theatergoers to the phrase "the double-tap," aka, making sure the zombie you just took out is actually down for good. Starring the quadruple-threat of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, the movie follows four strangers as they attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Equal parts comedic situations and tense scenes, Zombieland is one of those films that you kind of have to see to believe. Especially considering a majority of Harrelson's role is to get his character in the presence of Twinkies. Upon its release, Zombieland was the top-grossing zombie film in the United States, grossing $60.8 million in 17 days.
The World Had Been Infertile For 18 Years In Children Of Men
One rare occurrence we see in apocalyptic films is women being unable to bear children, or, at least, it's extremely rare. In Children of Men, that's exactly what is making the world crumble, the fact that humanity might not be able to live on because there are no longer new generations being born.
Taking place in 2027, the film explores humanity on the brink of collapse after two decades of infertility. With only a few countries holding onto actual governments, people of the world flock seeking asylum from violence and plague. But what happens when people learn there is one woman on Earth who became pregnant?
Enemies Work Together To Find A Cure In Daybreakers
If there is one thing that is common in a global pandemic movie, it's the ongoing search for a cure. But when 95 percent of the population has turned into vampires, and the remaining five percent of the humans are in hiding, what are the chances of a cure?
Well, Daybreaks explores a partnership between the infected and humans. Edward, a vampire, is trying to create a blood substitute for his kind since human blood is quickly running out. But when two humans, Audrey and Lionel, tell him they have a cure for vampirism, Edward rethinks his stance and works with them to fix the world.
Politicians Ignore Climate Change In The Day After Tomorrow
When paleo-climatologist Jack Hall explains the importance of climate change to politicians, and the rapid changes happening in the Earth's atmosphere, he is very much ignored. Ironically, a superstorm and freak ice age occur a few weeks after his presentation. With his son in New York for a high school competition, Hall will stop at nothing to save him.
The only probably is, the trip isn't that easy. There is no public transportation, and flash freezing is starting to become a regular occurrence. So, Hall and his team journey on foot from Philadelphia to New York in hopes of finding survivors.
Is Knowing The Date The World Will End A Good Thing?
Fifty years before the beginning of the main story, a young girl puts a piece of paper with a long list of numbers into her class time capsule. Fast forward to the present day, and young Caleb Koestler, Nic Cage's on-screen son, is the new owner of the mysterious paper.
As it turns out, the numbers represent past dates, times, and the number of people who died. But the last few dates haven't happened yet, and the very last one very well might mean the end of all humanity. It's up to Cage to get his son to safety and save mankind. There are also two girls and rabbits; enjoy!
Two Strangers Work Together To Escape Miracle Mile
One situation that always has a tendency to entrap the audience during end-of-the-world movies is a good love story. In Miracle Mile, that love story comes in the form of two strangers who were planning their first date, Harry Washello and Julie Peters.
After meeting at a diner and planning a date for later that evening, everything changes at the drop of a hat when Harry answers a wayward payphone call. It's a soldier saying the Soviet Union is about to drop a nuclear bomb on Los Angeles. Now, Harry will do anything to get himself and Julie out of Miracle Mile, California, because their lives depend on it.
It's Hard To Find A Silver-Lining in Melancholia
Imagine it's your wedding day, something that is supposed to be one of, if not the happiest day of your life. Now imagine that, but only there is a 100 percent chance there will be a huge blue planet crashing into Earth on the same day. That is pretty much the plot of Melancholia.
Starring Kristin Dunst as bride-to-be-Claire, the film follows her and her guests as they try to celebrate the day while knowing doom is about to rain down on them all. If it makes you feel any better about the sad premise, Dunst won a Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Is The OG Alien Flick
For those of you who like simple plots, the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers is exactly what it sounds like. Set in Santa Mira, California, the film follows Dr. Miles Bennell as he is overcome with the same patient complaint: some emotionless being has invaded their loved ones' bodies.
Of course, many dismiss any notion of weirdness going on around town. But, as Dr. Bennell, his ex-girlfriend, and his friend soon figure out, an alien species has duplicated the people of the small town and are beginning to take over.
The Day The Earth Stood Still Has An Interesting Storyline
Have you ever seen an end-of-the-world movie where Keanu Reeves is actually the cause of the apocalypse and isn't the one trying to save it because, you know, he's Keanu Reeves? If not, then you haven't seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, a remake of the classic 1951 film of the same name.
While the original was centered around a nuclear attack, the remake explores the more contemporary issue of climate change. The alien Klaatu is sent to Earth on a mission to change human behavior. Of course, when he meets a friend who wants to help him, Klaatu leaves out the part of eradicating mankind.
This Is The End Is Unlike Any Other End-Of-The-World Film
Featuring the creative and comedic genius of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson comes This is the End. The film is set in present-day Hollywood, during a party at Franco's house with pretty much every A-lister under the sun.
Then, of course, the apocalypse happens, and the folks who are used to having everything have to struggle to survive. The best part is, each of the guys is playing themself, and every cameo is bound to make you laugh. Anyone else remembering Emma Watson trying to take the guys out with nothing but an ax?