The end of the world has fascinated mankind since the beginning of time. Writings about the end of the world are found even in the Bible and also in many historical writings. Cinematography has also made its mark on the apocalyptic end of humanity by creating hundreds of movies on this niche.
The movies on this list are films that present an end to the world due to either natural disasters, such as volcanoes, floods, or asteroids that will destroy the planet, or an end to the world brought by aliens who want to eliminate us, or the pandemics of deadly viruses that we cannot stop.
In this list created on Vid Reactor you will find only films that relate to an end of the world that will come, NOT a post-apocalyptic one.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
How about reaching a new Ice Age? This is the question that haunts the climate expert Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid).
His research indicates that the global warming phenomenon of the planet can trigger a sudden and catastrophic change in the Earth’s climate. The evidence taken by him from the Antarctic glaciers proves that this happened sometime, 10,000 years ago. Therefore, Hall warns officials that this will happen again if no action is taken. Unfortunately, his warning comes too late.
A virulent disease of African origin is accidentally brought to the United States, by some men who didn’t know, that the monkey they carry in the cage is the carrier of the deadly and very contagious virus. Colonel Sam Daniels and his team of military doctors must find the source and roots of the virus before it kills the entire population of the country and maybe the whole world.
The story begins in Zair, 1967: two men in special suits are investigating the emergence of a strange virus that kills the inhabitants in the provincial areas. The action is moving immediately in the present, into the modern American Institute of Infectious Diseases, which belongs to the US Army, where many terrible viruses are stored and studied.
Colonel Daniels and his men are preparing to fly to Zaire to investigate the new virus. Daniels fears that, unless urgently isolated, this virus will produce pandemics of unimaginable proportions. Unfortunately, the monkey-host of the virus, captured in Africa and sent by boat to San Francisco, is released and those who came in contact with it are infected. Colonel Daniels’ investigations are further compounded by the fact that two important US Army officers have been trying to hide the gravity of the situation for some time.
An addictive action-thriller of global proportions, the movie Knowing brings humanity face to face with the most terrifying predictions about the future of the planet.
In 1958, a class of students buries in a time capsule: drawings, artifacts, objects, and other stuff, to be dug up after 50 years. One was unique. The one made by a little girl and that seemed to be a string of meaningless numbers. Fifty years later, the capsule is released, and what’s inside it will completely change the life of Professor John Koestler (Nicholas Cage), his son Caleb, and the world as we know it.
John manages to elucidate the mystery of the numbers: they contained the coordinates of each major disaster of the past and future, the locations and the number of victims. In the course of events, all indications seem to be heading in one direction: The End of the World.
Independence Day (1996)
This is one of the best Will Smith movies and at the same time, one of the best end of the world themed movies.
The action starts all over the world at the same time, when some huge alien ships emerge above the largest cities in the world. Suddenly, aliens attack, and humans are in course of being exterminated. Everyone is trying to find ways to defeat these aliens but without success. But everything has a weak point, and this is why the most brilliant minds work together to find it.
An SF novel writer finds out what the United States government has known for several years that the Earth’s crust will be destroyed by colossal solar explosions, as was predicted by the Mayan calendar, which marked the end of the world in 2012 (end of the Mayan calendar). For the writer and his family begins a life and death race to reach one of the government-built ships, the only chance of survival in a world on the brink of collapse.
The Happening (2008)
The Happening is a movie about an unknown factor that kills everyone from the face of the Earth without known reasons.
In the middle of the events is a family which is trying to escape the path of this natural calamity (natural at first sight) capable of endangering the whole of humanity. The movie features Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo.
War of the Worlds (2005)
This film is a little different from other movies which are about the end of the world. That’s because, in a strange way, the threat that could bring our world as we know it to a total collapse has been among us, for millennia, and now it has emerged from the depths of the earth.
The main characters of the film are Ray Ferrier (played by Tom Cruise) and Rachel Ferrier (Dakota Fanning), a father and a daughter who are trying save themselves from giant tripod robots, led by aliens, who have come out of the middle of the Earth and are now trying to exterminate the human race and take our natural resources.
An asteroid the size of the state of Texas is flying through space towards Earth at a speed of 36,000 km/h. NASA Executive Director Dan Truman has only one solution to prevent the Apocalypse: to send in space a crew that will destroy the asteroid. The crew will not consist of astronauts, nor the military, but Harry S. Stamper and his team of wackos, the best, toughest, oil drilling experts.
After a very short training period in astronautics, the crew embarks on the great journey. The world must be saved even with the highest sacrifice.
Deep Impact (1998)
A comet is about to collide with Earth and people have to accept that such an event could affect their existence and maybe even they could lose their life. The one who discovered the danger is the young Leo Biederman, only 14, a member of the Astronomy Club. It just so happens that Leo notices a group of oddly placed stars. He fails to identify the comet, but an astronomy specialist does, who later dies in a car accident, on his way to announce the world about this imminent disaster. The comet is called Wolf-Biederman, and the trajectory is set: Earth.
The president of the United States announces the existence of the comet and the risks that its collision with the Earth would bring, but he calls for calm, announcing a solution for this disaster. Thus, the President sends a team of astronauts into space to change the trajectory of the celestial body. The mission fails, and the aftermath can destroy humanity.
President’s plan B is to build a huge cave that can accommodate a million people. Of these, 200,000 are researchers, artists, authorities, and doctors. The rest of the people who can be included in the list of survivors will be established after a lottery. Young Leo, who discovered the comet, is accepted on the list, but Sarah and her parents are exposed to the danger.
One of the best movies out there. Not just as an end of the world movie, but as any kind of movie. The story is simple, but the action and people’s reactions are great.
The movie starts with a party, the lights go out suddenly and an explosion is heard outside. No-one knows what happens, the people from the party go out and suddenly they are attacked by some kind of aliens. Now the action starts, everyone runs for their lives. Probably the best film shot with a handheld camera, making you feel that you are actually there.
San Andreas (2015)
After the San Andreas fault collapses, a catastrophic earthquake of more than 9 degrees occurs in California. A helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his ex-wife join forces to save their daughter trapped in the rubble, somewhere in the middle of L.A. But their intervention among the ruins is only the beginning of the problems because things degenerate even when they think everything is over.
The City of Angels, Los Angeles, is a unique place, but also a city facing pollution and crime. The land on which the city is built hides an incoming disaster that can be triggered easily. The director of an emergency intervention center, Mike is taken by surprise, when a volcano erupts in the middle of the city that threatens the whole population. With the help of young Amy Barnes, a seismologist, Mike will try to find a life-saving solution.
Not the most realistic movie, when it comes to how the world could end, but, we would say that “Volcano” is one of the best disaster movies to watch by just staying chill with a soda and popcorn.
The Mist (2007)
In a small town in the United States, an ordinary day for the citizens became an end of the world scenario, after a weird rain occurs from nowhere.
A strange and dense fog is present all over the town, and it caries some kinds of creatures out of this world. Anyone who enters the mist is killed by these mysterious creatures. Some locals are barricading themselves in the supermarket and try to fight for their lives.
A worth watching movie because the action is great, but mostly because it has one of the best endings in cinematography.
World War Z (2013)
One day, like any other, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is in a traffic jam with his family. As a former UN investigator, Lane feels that the traffic jam is not a common one; the sky is full of police helicopters and the streets, are full of cops on motorcycles.
Something causes people to attack each other fiercely – a lethal virus that spreads with a single bite, transforming healthy people into creatures of an imaginable wildness. The neighbors turn against the neighbors, friends against friends and anyone could become at any moment a mortal enemy. The origins of the virus are unknown, and the number of those infected increases exponentially every day, quickly becoming a global pandemic.
As the number of those infected rapidly overwhelms the armies of the world and governments, Lane is forced to return to the dangerous life he had led before retiring to launch a global investigation seeking the source of the epidemic, but also the means to stop this spread.
A sensational action-thriller, Contagion presents humanity in danger of extinction. The emergence of a terrible virus, which spreads at lightning speed and has the power to kill in a few days, spreads fear all over the world. The medical community is overcome by the situation and in addition to the fact that scientists cannot find an antidote, they cannot stop the panic caused by deaths. All this time, ordinary people are also trying to find a way of survival, in a society destroyed by the terrible plague.