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List of Post Apocalyptic Movies

I’ve always been into post apocalyptic stuff. I said in my recent review of The Road that I think it’s because it’s such an interesting thing to fantasize about. Kind of like how you can daydream forever about what you would do if you won the lottery.

I thought it would be fun to put a list together of real post apocalyptic movies. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive list. There are going to be some rules as well as somewhat arbitrary moderation by me for what makes the list. This is what I’m thinking:

  • The movie takes place in the future. That is, a time beyond when the movie was made. So in this case, post-apocalyptic means post-apocalyptic EARTH and the HUMAN RACE.
  • But not just “the future”. There are some movies that take place in a Dystopian (Brazil) or Utopian (Time Machine, kinda) future that sort of imply that the reason was the apocalypse. But these movies aren’t really about the apocalypse, they are about the future.
  • The reason can be ridiculous. Zombies, aliens, giant space bugs from mars… bring it on.
  • But not just an excuse. Action movies are fine, and B movies are fine, but movies that are just total pieces of shit don’t get to go on the list.
  • There is some kind of vision. The bottom line is that I’m interested to see an interpretation of the apocalypse from someone who really thought about it and had some ideas about it.
  • It’s a movie. There are some absolutely fantastic post-apocalyptic things that have been on TV: Battlestar Galactica, Jericho, Kings… But this list is for movies.
  • It could be pre-apocalyptic as long as it’s also at least partly post-apocalyptic (The Day After Tomorrow).

Categories: Technological, Disease/Biological, Biblical, Nuclear/War, Meteor/Comet

Things to Come 1938
Five 1951
Invasion U.S.A 1952
Captive Women 1952
The Day the World Ended 1955
World Without End 1956
On the Beach 1959
The Day the Earth Caught Fire 1961
Panic in Year Zero! 1962
The Earth Dies Screaming 1962
The Last Man on Earth 1964
Omega Man
Charlton Heston has this badass shelter where he keeps out the night dwelling vampire zombies (“The Family”). He meets some resistance type folks, hooks up with a hot black chick, and ultimately develops the cure, which he delivers to save humanity before dying in a fountain posed as Jesus. Disease – 3/5
A Boy and His Dog
Easily the most fucked up in the genre I have ever seen. It starts weird, and just gets weirder and weirder and weirder. The dog can talk telepathically, and that is the least weird thing that happens. Nuclear – 3/5
Logan’s Run 1976
Bizarre half-realized cartoon. The drawn/ilustrated interludes are cool but don’t jive with the movie. But hey, it was 1977.
Mad Max
Mel Gibson
Zombie 1979
Stalker 1979
The Road Warrior 1981
Dust is killing people on Earth, and they are being encouraged to leave to other colonies, which are no picnic.
The Day After
I watched this whole thing and barely remember it. It was mostly inside and focused on character struggles rather than post apocalyptic stuff. It was originally made for TV so don’t expect much.
The first in this series. Also has Arnold but was far less popular. Sets the stage pretty well and a decent movie in its own right. – Technological -3/5
The Quiet Earth
This old balding dude has some classic isolation freakout scenes. Then ends up meeing this chick and dude and there is some love triangle stuff going on. Turns out they lived because they actually were dying at the time of the apocalypse. Plus, a super weird ending. Technological? 4/5
Epidemic 1987
Miracle Mile 1988
Hell Comes to Frogtown
Most people on earth have gone steril. Mr. Hell has not. He is a criminal, captured by the government and coerced into signing a contract to do their bidding. He gets sent out with two smoking hot chicks on a journey to Frogtown, to free even more hot chicks and impregnate them. It’s even better than I can describe, but for a movie all about fucking there isn’t a whole lot of it going on though. Boobs though. Disease – 4/5
Jean-Claude Van Damme 1) has a scene where he’s nailed to the cross like Jesus 2) does the splits thing like in every other movie he’s ever done and 3) totally rules in this movie like in every other movie he’s ever done. It qualifies as post-apoc because it’s a virus that has destroyed most of mankind. Biological – 3.5/5
Delicatessen 1991
Terminator 2
Arnold is sent from the future to protect a boy who is to become the leader of the resistance against the machines. Other terminators have the opposite idea. Technological – 5/5
The Stand
Steven King’s book adapted into a one-million hour movie.
Tank Girl
A couple of hot chicks battle against mega-corp with a tank and a jet with hot lesbian overtones and girl power. It’s either based on or spawned a series of comics that has as many or more fans than the movie.
Kevin Kostner is “The Mariner” who sails around on his cadamaran doing whatever he wants with his webbed feet. He meets this chick and his daugher, who has this crazy tattoo which points to dry land on her back. He tries to keep them from the Smokers and get there themselves.
12 Monkeys
Bruce Willis is some crazy prisoner sent to the past to investigate a disease that wiped out much of the human race. Super weird and good. Brad Pitt is involved.
The Postman
Kevin Costner is captured and escapes from an evil army. He finds some old mail in a truck and pretends to be a postal worker from a restored government to get into a nearby town. He swears in this kid who wants to be a postman too, which inadvertently begins a social revolution which is ultimately mobilized to destroy the evil army. Disease – 5/5
Apocalypse 1998
Tycus 1998
Last Night 1998
The Matrix
I hope everyone has seen this. It’s kind of amazing. Machines have taken over the world and people are used as human batteries. Their minds are kept occupied by a digital virtual reality (the matrix). Some humans have escaped are are battling the machines. Neo is a badass who can control the matrix. Technological – 5/5
Virus 1999
Ever Since the World Ended 2001
28 Days Later
Disease from chimps turns people into sweet zombies that can run in quarantined London. Disease – 5/5
The Last Man 2002
Numb 2003
Terminator 3
Another terminator is sent back to kill John Conner, and another terminator is sent back to protect him. John is in his 20’s but still rocking some teen angst. We get to see the real beginnings of “the machines”. – Technological 3/5

Dawn of the Dead 2004
Resident Evil: Apocalypse 2004
Post Impact
A comet hits earth after a bizarre half-hearted laser beam effort to stop it. The laser beam continues to play a role as some weirdos try and use it for evil after the apocalypse, but honestly I had to stop watching it because it was so bad even I couldn’t take it. One star just for subject matter. – 1/5
Lost: Black Earth 2004
The Day After Tomorrow
Scientists learn that due to climate change the world is going to go into an ice age in two days. Natural – 3/5
A guy creates an android and puts all his memories into it. They both get involved with the same chick. It was kind of an interesting post-apocalyptic world, but the story would have stood alone without that aspect.
Children of Men
Woman lose the ability to have children. Disease – 5/5
The Signal
Signals that come across TV and Radio turn most people into murderers, who retain their rationality. Not a whole lot of the outside world is shown, focusing instead on smaller groups of people. Technological – 2/5
Resident Evil: Extinction 2007
20 Years After 2007
28 Weeks Later
Best zombie killing scene of all time, when a helicopter tilts forward and runs through a tribe of zombies in a field.Disease – 5/5
I am Legend
Will Smith and his dog are among the last on Earth. There are crazy vampire/zombie things that can only come out at night. They are just trying to survive. They met some chick who kinda joins the gang. This is based on a book and has various film adaptions with different endings. Disease – 5/5
Tooth & Nail 2008
City of Ember
An underground city is built to save humanity since the surface is ruined. Hundreds of years underground. People get weird. The cities systems are failing (power, water). A kid stumbles upon to some lore. Ultimately escapes and saves everyone. Underutilizes Bill Murray and Tim Robbins, but still fun. – Nuclear? 4/5
Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale is John Conner in the first in the series to actually take place post-apocalypse. I thought it was the weakest of the series. Technological – 5/5
Nicolas Cage gets obsessed with this sheet full of numbers that turn out to be a message from the future fortelling major disastrous events. The biggest disaster of all though, is apparently a solar flare which will incinerate Earth. Plus, aliens.
Natural / Aliens – 4/5
Some kind of sun activity heats up the Earths core and destabilizes the crust. The government has known about it for a few years and builds futuristic Arcs to save rich people. Littered with ridiculous plot holes and non-nonsensical scenes, but visually incredible. – Natural 3/5
Woody Harrelson and that kid who looks like the kid from Arrested Development traveling around killing zombies. Hilarious, and does a good job of capturing the apocalyptic feeling. – Disease – 4/5
The Road
Very well done and accurate translation of the Cormac McCarthy novel. The Man and the Boy are traveling South toward the coast in the extremely bleak ash-ridden post-apocalypse. – Nuclear? – 5/5
The Book of Eli
Denzel is a blind (you find that out later) vagabond badass carrying around the Bible. Gary Oldman wants it to control the world. He eventually gets it but it’s in brail. Plus Jackie from that 70’s show is there. Then he receites the entire Bible to some dude on Alcatraz.

There are surely many more I’m missing, so feel free to leave links to others. I’d like to make this as comprehensive as I can (within the stipulations above).