Welcome to our review of the best end of the world movies! There’s something about the looming destruction of everything we all know that brings out some of the most aspirational characteristics at the core of what it means to be human.
There’s hope against bitter odds, defeat, victory, and survival and all wrapped up in a grand and engaging spectacle. The loss of everything we know is a fear held universally. Which makes the triumph of survival all the more engaging. Of course, the broad spectrum of end of the world movies also makes for some incredible satire.
So, what are the best end of the world movies? It’s hard to pick just 10 of the best apocalypse films, but here it goes!
Christopher Nolan’s space epic depicts an Earth where climate change has advanced to such a degree that the planet is on the brink of no longer being habitable. A much-depleted NASA looks to evacuate the whole of Earth’s population.
First, they need to dispatch former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of scientists through the wormhole to evaluate which of three planets might be suitable for human life.
The movie is incredibly deep and thought-provoking. It lives up to Nolan’s incredible reputation for visual effects. A category in which the movie won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA. Additionally, there is an awesome surprise role that was never advertised on the posters!
The Avengers concept was first hinted at back in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. 23 movies later, the story culminates in an epic battle. Not only for the salvation of Earth, but for half of the lives of the whole universe.
Avengers: Infinity War and its direct sequel Avengers: End Game was shot back to back for an estimated cost of between $316 and $400 million. Placing them among the most expensive movies ever made. The story is interesting, surprising, and jumps across multiple universes.
It is no surprise that Infinity War topped pretty much all of the best end of the world movies 2018 lists when it was released.
As hinted above, the sheer volume of apocalypse movies has led to the emergence of a wonderful sub-genre of satirical end of the world films.
The World’s End is their unique take on the traditional apocalypse movie with a great cast and a funny script.
28 Days Later starts with a group of animal rights activists freeing caged chimpanzees from a scientific research facility.
Unfortunately, the chimps are infected with the ‘rage’ virus. Which proceed to attack and turn all of the humans present into zombie-like monsters who in turn destroy the country.
Another hilarious satirical apocalypse movie. This Is The End is one of the best end of the world movies on Netflix.
Seth Rogen and a troupe of well-known actors all play themselves whilst a house party at James Franco’s pad is interrupted by the end of the world.
All of the righteous souls beamed directly up to heaven, leaving a motley crew of shallow actors fighting for survival as society crumbles.
The context of a global pandemic is probably part of the reason that Contagion was highlighted as one of the best end of the world movies on Amazon Prime.
It is the story of a flu-like illness that spreads across the Earth and proves deadly to a large percentage of the population.
Aside from the bleak serendipity of the movie aligning somewhat to reality, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law both contribute first-class performances in this gripping thriller.
Many will be familiar with the modern adaptations of Planet Of The Apes. However, the original 1968 movie was one of the original and most iconic apocalyptic movies. Not least because of the amazing music score by Jerry Goldstein. Which has itself, been the subject of many a high school music essay ever since.
The plot is really engaging. Three astronauts away from a deep hibernation aboard their spaceship and crash land on a barren planet. 2,006 years after their departure, they eventually discover that the planet is run by a dominant species of heavily armed and aggressive walking, talking apes.
The ending is iconic. The astronauts come across the Statue of Liberty and realise that the alien planet they have discovered is in fact Earth, after the planet has been battered by nuclear war.
As with anything Pixar, this is not just a movie for kids. The plot is unique and the execution incredibly charming. Ultimately leading it to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Wall-E is a lonely trash collector robo. Who spends his days organising Earth’s rubbish into compact square boxes. His little world is turned on its head when he encounters the reconnaissance robot, EVE, who has been sent back to assess whether Earth can support life .
It turns out Wall-E has discovered one small plant that has grown in spite of the harsh environment! Thus sparks an adventure across space to the remnants of the human race who have lost the core of what it means to be human.
An epic journey to return home to our planet and treat the Earth with love and return it to its former glory. It is funny, heart-warming, and thought-provoking.
When this film came out, it really sparked a new generation of movies showing the destruction of major landmarks. Including the White House in a level of detail that at that point hadn’t been seen. Earning it an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound.
The storyline plays out what would happen if Earth was suddenly invaded by a hostile alien species. The best part? Probably Will Smith perfectly delivering the line “Welcome to Earth” after punching an alien square in the face.
The movie is riddled with political statements. Particularly the casting of a weak president and a vice-president.
The movie deals with the prospect that as humans, we have ignored the threat of climate change for too long. This ultimately leads to the dawn of a new Ice Age. As well as a father and son desperately fighting the harsh new climate, trying to save the human race in different areas whilst trying to make their way back to each other.
Whilst the plot is a little drier than a lot of apocalyptic movies – critics were very dismissive of the writing and the scientific inaccuracies. However, the visual effects are incredible. The presentation of a world buried beneath the ice is very intriguing for the viewer. The spectacle is what makes this film.
End of the world movies are undeniably interesting.
As humans, we all wonder how it will all end. Human history is littered with apocalypse visions and seeing some of those scenarios played out on the big screen is totally enthralling.
While this is our best end of the world movies list, there are hundreds more that we could have also covered – and we would totally recommend diving into the genre head first!
Over at Music Gateway we have plenty more film content for you to read. Why don’t you check out Famous Movie Composers, Famous Movie Scenes, or How to Become a Screenwriter? You never know, you could write the next big end of the world movie!
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