- Published Date
- by Frank Wilkins
Ever since images of Fritz Lang's expressionistic epic Metropolis flickered on a wall somewhere in Germany back in 1927, Hollywood has been enamored with visions of what may become of our society in the face of extinction and mass dehumanizaton.
Following is a list of our favorite apocalyptic nightmares in no particular order. Your favorite didn't make the list? Let us know about it in the comments section
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Ridiculously satirical humor that keeps getting better and better with every viewing. Some just don't get it, but the many who do rank it tops on any list. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Sterling Hayden.
Was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1994. Yes, it's that good. The 1978 version starring Donald Sutherland is worth a look as well. Stars Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, and Larry Gates
The first Pixar film to be nominated for six Academy Awards. Oddly, is often listed among Pixar's best and worst films on different Pixar fan lists. Needless to say, one of our faves.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero follows up the events of 1968's Night of the Living Dead with this cult classic that takes place in a shopping mall where survivors have hunkered down to fight off a zombie apocalypse. Stars relative unknowns David Emge and Ken Foree.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Brilliant Robert Wise film that not only inspired one of the strangest movie quotes in film history, "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto" but also led to a 2008 sequel which showed us that Keanu Reeves can't even pull of an emotionless alien character. Now that's bad acting! 1951 original stars Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
Though some say Los Angeles already represents a post apocalyptic vision of human society, the film takes place in that city in which genetically engineered robots walk about disguised as living humans. Directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
One of the few remakes that holds up to the original. Stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Jeff Goldblum.
Children of Men
Stars Julianne Moore and Clive Owen as survivors in a futuristic world where the youngest citizen is 18 years old and a pregnant woman has just been discovered. How's that for a setup? Directed by one of Mexico's greatest director's, Alfonso Cuaron.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Was renamed to simply The Road Warrior for its North American release, but yes, it was a sequel to 1979's Mad Max. Features one of the most expensive sets ever used on an Australian film. Stars Mel Gibson and Bruce Spence.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The George A. Romero classic belongs on any list of apocalyptic films, especially one with an 8.0 IMDb rating. Was made for a mere $114,000 and pulled in more than $30 million nationwide. Is now preserved in the National Film Registry.
Rare to have such a recent film on the list, but this one is just that good. If for no other reason, see it for Tilda Swinton's performance. Also stars Chris Evans and John Hurt.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Another sequel not only makes our list but is the only sequel to win an academy award when the original wasn't even nominated. Of course, it was for James Cameron's molten metal effects which were groundbreaking at the time. Stars Arnold Schwarzenneger.
28 Days Later
Could have very easily starred Ewan McGregor or Ryan Gosling in the lead role. Instead we got to see Cilian Murphy's junk. Directed by Danny Boyle and also stars Namonie Harris.
Said by Director Terry Gilliam to be the second part of the dystopian satirical trilogy which began with 1985's Brazil. Stars Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeleine Stowe.
The Thing (1982)
Despite having been released some 30-odd years prior, the effects hold up surprisingly well. Back in 1982 when it was released, the film stayed in the top ten box office for three weeks. Directed by John Carpenter and stars Kurt Russell.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Stanley Kubrick handed it over to Steven Spielberg who completed the film after Kubrick's death. Stars Haley Joel-Osment and Jude Law.
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Adapted from H.G. Wells' story told on the radio about an invasion of planet Earth by martians. Speileberg's 2005 remake was a pretty good one as well. Directed by Byron Haskin and stars gene Barry, and Ann Robinson.
"It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people." No, it's not a spoiler 40 years post release!
Yes, apocalyptic thrillers can be funny too. This one is. Directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone. Mmmm, yes, Emma Stone.
World War Z
Israel was winning against the infecteds… until Brad Pitt showed up. Directed by Marc Forster. Also stars James Badge Dale and Matthew Fox.