Top 10 End of the World Movies

Photo Credit:

After EarthThis is the EndWorld War ZPacific RimThe World’s End. Elysium. Summer 2013 is loaded with end of the world movies. Naturally they will be compared to the best ones of all time. We’ve been obsessed with the apocalypse since the Cold War, an obsession that went over to Hollywood. The 2000s sort of perfected the sub-genre, leading to more parodies. You’ll find all kind of films on this list. So here are the ten best end of the world movies ever.

Photo Credit: Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Terry Gilliam’s off the wall sci-fi flick always has something interesting going on. The future is destroyed by disease and convict James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to see what information he can gather. Philosophical, exciting, and occasionally goofy (especially when talking about Brad Pitt’s performance), Twelve Monkeys is a sci-fi milestone.


Photo Credit: Melancholia (2011)

Looking at this list, it’s hard to say any of these films are ordinary (hence why they made the list), but Lars Von Trier’s quiet, solemn apocalypse might be the strangest of the bunch. The end involves another planet that seemingly came out of no where crashing into the Earth, killing all life. Kirsten Dunst gives a harrowing performance that makes the end seem like a gift, in a good way.


Photo Credit: Zombieland (2009)

As far as fun apocalypses go, it’s hard to top Zombieland. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin come together to hilariously kick zombie butt (not to mention Bill Murray playing himself). The big secret of this very funny film is that by the end climax you actually do care about the characters, something a lot of parodies fail at.


Photo Credit: Children of Men (2006)

This film feels like the most real, and possibly near future. For unknown reasons, humans lose the ability to reproduce. The youngest person on Earth is 18 years old. It’s a grim end and people are losing hope. That is until Theo (Clive Owen) discovers a pregnant woman. The film features one of the most exciting climaxes of all time, all shot in one glorious take.


Photo Credit: 28 Days Later (2002)

As far as sheer terror goes, this is likely the scariest zombie movie of all time. Danny Boyle helmed the film, lending it a documentary style to make the dead seem more lively than ever. It also boasts a career making turn from Cillian Murphy. Neither Murphy nor Boyle returned for the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which was still well done in its own way, though not as good as the terrifying original.


Photo Credit: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

There are a lot of great zombie flicks out there, but few are as clever and as funny as Shaun of the Dead. Edgar Wright’s first genre bending comedy hit home in major ways with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost breaking out into the world, hilariously fighting zombies all the way. Wright will conclude his “trilogy” of sorts (the second was Hot Fuzz) with this summer’s other end of the world comedy, The World’s End, which looks every bit as funny as this gem.


Photo Credit: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

The Cold War is an obvious reminder of why we have end of the world movies to begin with. This comedy revolves around the possibility of a nuclear bomb going off. The whole film feels like an incredibly intelligent political cartoon that never lets the tongue in its cheek budge. Stanley Kubrick put together a classic that will never be forgotten.


Photo Credit: The Matrix (1999)

It’s hard to imagine a better action movie. Back before Y2K, the Wachowskis revolutionized the way action scenes were filmed while begging philosophical questions of its audience. How do we really know our world is real and not the apocalyptic takeover of machines? And what a depressing and desperate apocalypse it is.


Photo Credit: Planet of the Apes (1968)

An obvious classic. Granted, by putting it on this list, I have somewhat ruined the great twist of Planet of the Apes. The famous Statue of Liberty scene shows an apocalypse like no other, one where we are long gone and a new species has taken over the planet. You don’t really know that it’s an end of the world movie until the very end, then it becomes one of the best ones ever.


Photo Credit: Wall-E (2008)

Yes, the best movie about the traumatic, depressing, and possibly genocide inducing apocalypse was animated by Disney. Following a little robot who falls in love while trying to clean up the Earth, Wall-E ends up being a cautionary tale about how we harm the environment. But politics aside, the film still boasts one of the best love stories in any movie ever. If this is what happens after the world ends, things might not be so bad.



Do you agree with our list? Let us know below!


By Matt Dougherty

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