The 27 Best Disaster Movies of All Time

In reality, none of us wants to experience a dangerous catastrophe. On the cinema screens, however, they cast a magical spell over many people. A well-directed disaster movie grabs us emotionally and plays with our fears. But all viewers survived the collision of the Titanic with the iceberg, managed to save themselves from devastating hurricanes, or escaped from Godzilla. The list of such films is long. The 27 movies presented below are among the best of their kind.

01. Titanic

More than 1400 people were killed by the “RMS Titanic” when she sank after colliding with an iceberg in the early hours of the morning of 15 September. April 1912 sank.

The probably most famous shipwreck of all times offered from then on the template for numerous film adaptations. But the most impressive and successful disaster film about the sinking of the “Titanic” was created by James Cameron in 1997 with his film of the same name.

With numerous proven facts and original footage from the wreck of the “Titanic” integrated into the film, he created the touching love story between Rose and Jack. The daughter from a rich family, who wants to escape an arranged marriage, and the penniless artist, who saves her life, reach people emotionally even before the catastrophe occurs.

Elaborate special effects, a detailed ship backdrop, and a specially purchased terrain for the exterior shots let the viewer experience the time from the collision to the final sinking as intensely as if they were there themselves. A gripping depiction that can be watched over and over again.

02. Armageddon (1988)

An asteroid the size of Texas hurtling toward Earth that would wipe out all life on it upon impact is the perfect horror vision for a successful disaster movie.

This danger is discovered in the story by an amateur astronomer. Only 18 days left for NASA to avert disaster and save the Earth. The solution: the asteroid must be blown up from the inside. Of course, in the end, humanity is saved. But no Hollywood catastrophe without fatalities.

And so here, too, film characters will not live to see the film’s end. Special effects provide a special kick. Sensational trick techniques make the desperate actions on the asteroid very believable. A top-class cast with greats like Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Bruce Willis round off the spectacular film experience.

03. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

The consequences of global warming are a recurring theme when it comes to environmental protection and the dangers posed by damage to the environment. Roland Emmerich took on this problem and turned it into one of the best disaster movies of all time.

In “The Day After Tomorrow,” the U.S. paleoclimatologist warns of a new ice age just weeks away after an experience on his Arctic expedition. And indeed, more and more catastrophic meteorological reports are arriving: Tornadoes destroy Los Angeles, the most violent hailstorms occur in Tokyo, and snow chaos reigns in New Delhi. The situation around the world is rapidly deteriorating, and soon there is little hope of salvation.

The special thing about the film is certainly the message to the world to pay more attention to the environment. A scenario is staged that could one day become a reality. Incidentally, environmental organizations and reforestation projects were financially supported in order to keep production conditions “climate-neutral.

04. San Andreas Official (2015)

Earthquakes cause already, in reality, again and again, large damage. In the disaster movie “San Andreas,” an earthquake of unprecedented strength and a resulting mega-sunami become a death trap for countless people. The cause is the San Andreas Fault, which drifts further and further apart. Rescue pilot Ray is called to the disaster area, and a race against time begins, with his family also in danger.

Also recommend:   Funny Movies on Netflix: The 45 Best Movies For Laughs

Flame hells, destroyed buildings, and water masses give the viewer a picture of maximum destruction. Shortly before the release of the film, there was a violent earthquake in Nepal, which Warner Brothers took as an opportunity to change its advertising campaign and thus use this campaign to raise awareness and provide aid.

05. 2012 (2009)

According to the Mayan calendar, the world should end in 2012. In 2009, Roland Emmerich already showed us what this scenario could look like in his disaster movie “2012”. The scientist Dr. Satnam Tsurutani discovers in a copper mine that the temperature of the Earth’s crust is rising sharply. A scientific advisory board takes up the cause, and according to calculations, the Earth’s crust will start to melt in 2012. Tectonic plates become unstable and fracture.

Resulting consequences: Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis of unimagined proportions that would make the Earth uninhabitable. In 2012, Jackson Curtis, an unsuccessful writer who lives in Los Angeles, experienced the full extent of the disaster, coupled with the murder of people who wanted to provide clarification. An emergency ditch ends up as a crash landing on the Himalayas because the continents have already shifted considerably, rescue attempts in an ark, and masses of special sequences captivate the viewer in front of the screen.

And even though we know today that the Mayans were wrong with their prediction, some of those who saw the film between 2009 and 2012 will have wondered from time to time whether this is really how it will happen.

06. Twister (1996)

Tornadoes are one of the fascinating forces of nature. No wonder the movie “Twister,” which deals with violent storms, became a successful disaster movie. Joanne Thornton saw her father killed in a tornado as a child. Later, she works with her husband Bill and a research team on a method to study tornadoes. But the marriage fails, and just as Bill returns to get the divorce papers signed, a series of violent tornadoes occur. Together they resume their work and once again become closer to each other.

In spite of the effects-driven action and the threatening forces of nature, the film is not short on fun and never takes itself too seriously. A good combination that made for success.

07. Independence Day (1996)

An alien invasion conquers the Earth shortly before Independence Day. U.S. President Thomas Whitmore hopes at first for peaceful coexistence. But he soon discovers that the creatures are coming from outer space to destroy the Earth. A short time later, metropolises such as New York, Berlin, and Los Angeles lie in ruins. The president, his ex-wife, and also the satellite technician Levinson could escape in time with Air Force One in the direction of Area 51 and face the fight.

Fabulous special effects and a mix reminiscent of “Star Wars,” “War of the Worlds,” or even “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” give “Independence Day” its special character.

08. World War Z (2013)

The book “Operation Zombie: Whoever Lives Longer Is Dead Later” provided the template for the film about zombie monsters. Former U.N. worker Gerry Lane is traveling with his wife and daughters when he witnesses a human being becoming infected by a bite and turning into a raging monster in a matter of seconds. He can bring himself and his family to safety. But it soon becomes clear: the zombie invasion is already in full swing around the world and must be fought.

An exciting story takes its course. Efficiently used 3-D technology skillfully integrates the audience into the action.

09. The World’s End (2013)

Twelve pubs in one evening and in each one glass of beer. That’s the goal of a revival tour by drug addict Gary and his childhood friends. But the evening takes an unexpected course that brings evil to light. A brawl between Gary and a teenager in one of the pubs reveals that the latter is a humanoid robot that loses a blue liquid instead of blood.

Also recommend:   The 45 Best Thriller Movies of All Time

And he is not the only one of his species. Gary and his friends soon notice that some things have changed. Robots have apparently replaced many people. And indeed: If a person becomes conspicuous, the robots take DNA samples, create a robot copy that looks exactly like the person, and replace the human with this copy. The showdown takes place in the last pub called “World’s End. Filming was mainly done in real locations.

10. White House Down (2013)

An attack on the White House in Washington by a heavily armed paramilitary unit, and Capitol Police Officer John Cale is in the middle of it with his young daughter. After an unsuccessful application as a bodyguard, he only wanted to show his daughter at least the White House, but suddenly he could prove his skills as a bodyguard. Cale has to rescue not only his child but also other hostages.

Shootouts, explosions, and all kinds of other large-scale action scenes don’t let you get bored, even if the movie is over 130 minutes long.

11. Deep Impact (1998)

An amateur astronomer makes an unusual discovery, turns to astronomer Dr. Marcus Wolf and investigates a large danger for all mankind: A comet is on a collision course with the Earth. But even before Dr. Wolf can warn and take action, he has a fatal accident. A year later, the threat came to light. Various measures are taken, but they do not prevent an impact on the Atlantic coast, and the water masses destroy the whole of New York City.

“Deep Impact” raced in terms of theatrical release with “Armageddon,” which deals with a similar scenario. It also won the race for earlier release in the end.

12. Gravity (2013)

Modern digital effects, suspense, and emotions make “Gravity” an exciting disaster movie even without debris fields of metropolises or other “bang effects.”

A team of astronauts in the space shuttle “Explorer” is endangered by debris from a destroyed satellite. Before they can even get to safety after being warned to work outside, one of the members is fatally shot. The biomedical scientist Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and her colleague Kowalski are hurled out into space, and dramatic scenes also take place on the space shuttle itself. To simulate the weightlessness in the movie, the actors were hanging on ropes in an opaque room for the whole shooting day.

13. Godzilla (2014)

A nuclear power plant is perfect for every imaginable disaster scenario. Add a monster that fed on radioactive material, and you have an ideal combination for a disaster movie. As seen in “Godzilla. Here a prehistoric monster called Muto destroys a nuclear power plant in Japan. Ford Brody is the son of the then-killed Sandra Brody and returns to Japan 15 years after the accident.

He witnesses Muto reawakening and breaking out of the exclusion zone with his father. There exists another congener who was mistakenly considered petrified. In addition, a Godzilla has appeared in Hawaii, which takes up the pursuit and takes the viewers on a breathtaking adventure.

14. Contagion (2011)

Globalization has more than its advantages. Diseases, for example, can spread rapidly and cause a wave of death. “Contagion” takes up exactly this scenario in its story. It starts with a mild cough and ends in death. In Asia, Mitch Emhoff’s wife, Beth, becomes infected with a virus and dies. Clark, her son from her first marriage, suffers the same fate. Shortly after, an epidemic breaks out.

Even when the right vaccine can be produced, the drama does not end. Vaccination appointments must be raffled off, charlatans enrich themselves through people’s fears, panic reigns, and looting everywhere. The particular horror, however, awaits at the end, where it is shown how the disease was able to spread in the first place. A frightened bat, a piece of banana eaten by a pig, and unwashed hands are all it takes to spread a deadly virus in the shortest time possible.

15. I Am Legend (2007)

The film “I Am Legend” ‘s plot follows a similar direction to “Contagion.” Here, a modified measles virus that became a cure for cancer with a 100% success rate mutates into a deadly virus. More than 5 billion people die, and survivors become beasts. Virologist Robert Neville appears to be the only living person in New York in 2012. For a promising experiment to save him, he needs a human being. By chance, it is found, but the battle is far from won.

Also recommend:   Sad kids movies: The 20 saddest Disney movies of all time

The theme, which is based on the book “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, has already been made into a film twice before. “I Am Legend” offers everything a thrilling disaster film needs with impressive images, fabulous lead actors, and fast cuts.

16. Deepwater Horizon (2016)

In April 2010, there was no oil production in the Gulf of Mexico comparable to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig due to the size or depth of the wells. However, the project for the B.P. oil company is fraught with technical difficulties, leaving the operations manager, Jimmy Harrell, and his chief engineer, Mike Williams, worried about potentially dangerous problems. Unfortunately, B.P. executives, frustrated by the project’s long delays, have curtailed on-site inspections to make up for the lost time. However, Harrell, Williams, and his team helplessly protest for the sake of proper safety.

On 20 April, the workers’ fears come true in the most horrific way when the rig’s various structural and system failures trigger a catastrophic cascade that leads to a massive blowout and explosion that threatens them all. The worst environmental disaster in the history of the USA begins.

An action movie entertaining enough to justify the $100 million-plus production cost it took to bring Deepwater Horizon to life on the big screen. With Deepwater Horizon, director Berg strikes an unlikely but impressively delicate balance. On the one hand, his film honors the men and women killed and injured in the explosion off the coast of Louisiana. At the same time, it works just as well as a fast-paced and gripping disaster drama.

17. Greenland (2020)

Gerard Butler is associated with disaster movies. That’s because the “Fallen” series focuses heavily on apocalyptic themes, even if they aren’t exactly disaster movies. Although “Geostorm” (2017) is a terrible disaster movie, it had a lot of potential that the studio gave away. However, a real Gerard Butler disaster film is truly excellent, a cross between “Melancholia” and “The Shelter.”

A comet is on its way to us, and it has the potential to wipe us all out. His estranged wife and diabetic child were selected to be evacuated to secret bunkers along with several others. In the end, things don’t go as planned, and the family is left to fend for themselves.

This film is less of a CGI spectacle and more of a 1990s-style action movie with a lot of heart. In other words, a great film in every way with Gerard Butler.

18. Apollo 13 (1995)

The Disaster: Houston, we have a serious space shuttle malfunction here!

19. Mars Attacks! (1996)!

Catastrophe: Mars attacks Earth!

20. Piranha 3D (2010)

The disaster: piranhas attack a lake by teenagers celebrating spring break.

21. The Impossible (2012)

The disaster: A huge tsunami floods Thailand and separates a vacationing family!

22. London Has Fallen (2016)

The disaster: terrorists want to kill the most powerful leaders of the free world and throw the West into chaos.

23. Pompeii (2014)

Catastrophe: In the historical epic, a slave and gladiator struggle during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 n.Chr. for his great love and survival.

24. Outbreak (1995)

The disaster: Scientists desperately try to stop the Motaba virus. Meanwhile, there are plans to wipe out an infected city with a bomb.

25. Into the Storm (2014)

The Catastrophe: A multitude of tornadoes one day form a deadly superstorm.

26. The Towering Inferno (1974)

The disaster: security forces try to rescue people from a burning skyscraper.

27. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

The catastrophe: A ship listing – the sinking is near.

One thing is for sure: all 27 films put the viewer in suspense and evoke fears, but are also fascinating in a special way. Whether the scenarios have already been a reality, could become a reality, or belong to the realm of fairy tales doesn’t matter. Catastrophes attract the interest of people magically. But only as long as you are an observer and not in the middle of the action. That’s exactly what makes disaster films so popular and successful.

Leave a Comment