Apocalypse movies have always created a powerful connection with the audience. Its appeal lies in the combination of suspense and adrenaline rush from horror or disaster movies.
The 19 Best End of the World Movies in this article reveals the strength of the human spirit when the apocalypse strikes. Maybe you’d get a tip or two for when it truly happens.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
English 2h IMDb
Director: George Miller
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
This dystopian film shows the grueling situation of people living in a desert wasteland. Director George Miller depicted how survivors fight over gasoline and water using gigantic customized vehicles.
According to critics and fans, it is the best among the installments in the Mad Max Franchise. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron gave brilliant performances. The detailed set and props created a mind-blowing world that transports its audience to a bleak time. The director expertly crafted the explosions and action sequences that kept viewers at the edge.
2. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
English 2h 4m IMDb
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum
This movie revolves around the effects of climate change and how it can destroy the world. It shows how a group from New York struggles amidst a super-strong global storm. The natural disaster ushers in another ice age that threatens the population.
Scientists watched the film to check for scientific accuracy. While some details fell short, they still believed it was entertaining and eye-opening. It has astounding visual effects that were way ahead of its time. Seeing a familiar place like New York go through a disaster makes it relatable to the most audience.
3. Deep Impact (1998)
English 2h IMDb
Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood
Deep Impact has the same storyline as the apocalypse movies released during the 90s. It’s about a meteor that’s about to hit Earth. This celestial body threatens to wipe out the human race. It’s up to a group of heroic astronauts to stop it from damaging the home planet to extinction.
This film stands out because it accurately depicts disastrous events of this magnitude. There’s natural science behind the space scenes and massive explosions. Having Morgan Freeman play the US president goes down in film history as one of the most epic roles of all time.
4. The Fifth Element (1997)
English 2h 6m IMDb
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman
This film stars Hollywood A-listers Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, and Milla Jovovich. Set in the 23rd century, it shows how Earth can survive amidst an evil plot. The responsibility of saving the world falls upon taxi driver Korben Dalles, played by Willis. His mission began when Leelo (Jovovich), a mysterious being, falls on his cab.
The mesmerizing visual effects and the surreal background kept the viewers in awe. It should be on the must-watch list of dystopian movies and science-fiction fans. Some viewers have found the plot too complex, but its beauty lies in its unconventional theme.
5. The Road (2009)
English 1h 51m IMDb
Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Based on a gripping novel, this movie is a bleaker take on a post-apocalyptic event. It revolves around a father and son, both survivors of a horrendous natural disaster.
Almost all life on Earth has been decimated. There are no animals, no crops, and only a few people. They journey towards the coast in hopes of a more conducive environment.
This end-of-the-world movie doesn’t have astounding special effects or futuristic themes. However, it stands out for showing the human side of catastrophic events. It heralds unconditional love and hope amidst trying times.
6. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
English 1h 41m IMDb
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Stars: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey
This movie opens with the news that Matilda, a meteor, will hit the Earth in three weeks. This doomsday situation led two strangers to meet and face the catastrophe head-on. Dodge (Steve Carell) is a man going through a midlife crisis, and Penny (Keira Knightly) is a carefree young woman desperate to meet her family in England.
This film is a different take on the usual disaster movies. It’s heartwarming and insightful, something that is usually not present in the dystopian genre. The main actors gave heartfelt performances. Their monologues about life and existence were memorable.
7. Retreat (2011)
English 1h 30m IMDb
Director: Carl Tibbetts
Stars: Thandiwe Newton, Cillian Murphy, Jamie Bell
Kate and Martin went for a vacation on Blackhholme Island to save their failing marriage. It’s a beautiful yet isolated place off the coast of Scotland.
The island holds some happy memories for the couple. However, this retreat worsened when an unknown soldier appeared at their door. He reveals a global pandemic that has claimed lives all over Europe.
This movie will keep you guessing until the end with its incredible plot and storytelling style. The pandemic theme hits close to home, and people will surely relate to it.
8. This is the End (2013)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Stars: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen
An unusual take on the apocalyptic theme, this movie is a hilarious satire of how celebrities behave towards the end of the world. Six actors who play themselves take shelter in James Franco’s house after an apocalypse. Endless comedy ensues as the cast vies for supplies and limited resources.
To say that this movie is entertaining is an understatement. The cameo appearances of actors are as good as the lead cast itself. The audience will get an abundance of memorable punchlines, pop culture references, and goofy antics. It’s the perfect movie to watch if you’re tired of the usual end-of-the-movie films.
9. 2012 (2009)
English 2h 38m IMDb
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: John Cusack, Thandiwe Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor
This movie follows the life of Jackson Curtis, a writer. He struggles to keep his family safe amidst a catastrophic apocalypse. The unbelievable disaster threatened to wipe out the whole human population. The movie derives its premise from the old assumption that the world will end on December 12, 2012.
This end-of-the-world film showcases realistic earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand. The special effects and the details of historical places were all phenomenal. Many viewers revealed that many scenes gave them the chills since they seemed natural. The underlying drama and emotional aspect made it a well-rounded movie.
10. War of the Worlds (2005)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
This visual masterpiece is an adaptation of the classic H.G Wells novel of the same title. Steven Spielberg brings his brand of cinematic magic to this remake. The film takes us on one family’s journey as they try to survive the wrath of alien forces.
Once again, Mr. Spielberg managed to create an awe-inspiring apocalyptic sci-fi movie. It may have the same theme as another end-of-the-world film, but the director brought something new for the audience. Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning had relatable chemistry as father and daughter.
11. Melancholia (2011)
English 2h 15m IMDb
Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland
A planet called Melancholia hurtles toward the Earth and threatens to decimate humankind. Amidst this impending doom, a young bride with depression struggles to fight the demons within. Even before the catastrophe, she already felt her world is ending.
Kirsten Dunst performed wonderfully in this surreal operatic drama that received several awards in Cannes. The accolades were well deserved, given director Lar Von Trier’s creative expressions.
Watching the movie is like watching a painting in action- something you won’t see in other apocalypse-themed movies. It’s also one of the greatest films about mental health ever made.
12. Independence Day (1996)
English 2h 25m IMDb
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum
The film is about how humans will survive a colossal alien attack on the planet Earth. The technologically advanced spacecraft has hit several significant places around the world. It is up to a former scientist and the government to plot a survival plan.
Independence Day is one of the few end apocalypse-themed movies that fit the whole family. Kids will enjoy watching the incredible spaceships. Meanwhile, parents will revel in the special effects and the superb acting.
It’s an iconic film that still resonates even after many years. Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith gave funny and heartwarming performances.
13. The World’s End (2013)
English 1h 49m IMDb
Director: Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman
Five childhood friends decided to reunite and go back to their hometown. They are all deadset on finishing a pub crawl they started 20 years ago. However, unusual things and people welcomed them back. Extraterrestrial forces are taking over the dead-end town. The friends battle it out with the aliens and try to face their past.
This dark yet witty comedy has an inventive plot that will keep you entertained throughout. The five male leads had an undeniable chemistry that would make you believe they were friends in real life.
14. Crazies (2010)
English 1h 41m IMDb
Director: Breck Eisner
Stars: Radha Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant, Danielle Panabaker
The Crazies is a remake of a classic 1973 film. It tells the story of a small town whose tainted water supply turned everyone into mindless killers. These violent people are set to kill humankind. Only four people survived this catastrophe, Sheriff David Dutton and his wife. It’s up to their hands to battle the horror that hit their hometown.
Many critics laud his film for its seamless plot and perfectly-paced momentum. The action sequences are engaging, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s also one of the rare films that have no plot holes and have flawless continuity.
15. Don’t Look Up (2021)
English 2h 18m IMDb
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep
An astronomy grad student, Kate Dibiasky, discovered a vast comet about to hit Earth. So she and her professor decided to inform the president and warn the public. However, no one’s taking them seriously. Greed, corruption, and politics took over the threat of a colossal catastrophe.
This movie showcased the human mind and behavior at its worst using wisdom, comedy, and drama. Many viewers believe it resonates with many issues the human race faces now. The star-studded cast gave gripping and believable performances. Even the cameo roles were also on point.
16. Snowpiercer (2013)
English 2h 6m IMDb
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
The planet Earth is frozen, and those who boarded the train, the Snowpiercer, are survivors. For 17 years, the train has run around the world. This unusual setup divided the humans inside into rich and poor. Those at the train’s tail are fed up with their pitiful existence. They decided to stage a revolution to spread the wealth around.
The movie hauntingly relays that the train is a condensed version of the world we live in. It showed the injustice and the division that destroys relationships. Tilda Swinton gave an incredible performance as the training leader. The visual effects are also mesmerizing.
17. Cloverfield (2008)
English 1h 25m IMDb
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan
A surprise party was interrupted by a loud explosion and the presence of a monstrous creature. All hell broke loose as massive reptiles wreaked havoc in the streets of Manhattan. The whole catastrophe is revealed through a handheld camcorder. Amidst all the chaos, three people struggle to rescue another friend.
Viewers of this film discourage those with vertigo from watching this film. Since most scenes come from the camcorder, shots are blurry and shaky. However, this unique take on filmmaking did not deter fans from enjoying it. The New York setting made it more relatable to the audience.
18. 28 Days Later (2002)
English 1h 53m IMDb
Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
When animal rights activists released a chimp infected with a virus, it nearly decimated the whole city. One of the few survivors, bike courier Jim, woke up from his coma and witnessed an empty London. He joins other survivors, Frank, a cab driver, and Selena, on a dangerous journey towards a safer environment.
This movie reveals the strength of the human spirit in times of adversity. It also shows the darker side of human nature. It’s not rabid or violent creatures that are the enemy; it’s other humans fighting to survive. Cillian Murphy gave an incredible performance that lingers even after the movie.
19. Last Night (1998)
English 1h 35m IMDb
Director: Don McKellar
Stars: Don McKellar, Sandra Oh, Roberta Maxwell
This film begins with the knowledge that the world is ending by midnight. However, there was no apparent reason why the apocalypse was happening in the first place.
The characters must decide what they will do with the last remaining hours of their lives. Some were partying, while others were expressing the love they never got the chance to show.
This existential drama tackles the end of the world in a very relatable way. You won’t help but question what you’d do if you knew the world was ending. The lead stars, Sandra Oh and Don McKellar, gave outstanding and memorable performances. The dialogue flowed naturally, and the plot was interesting.
The 19 Best End of the World Films in this article proved that the idea of an apocalypse is entertaining. They sparked curiosity and introspection among the audience. While they are products of fiction, most of the stories have a ring of truth to them.