We’re a society on the path to self destruction. We’re doomed and we’ll eventually annihilate ourselves in some stupid war, through global warming, or some man made disease. Until then, you might as well live out your remaining days watching movies about your impending doom. This list is a great place to start.
20. DAMNATION ALLEY (1977)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Like most films in this list, Damnation Alley is set in a destroyed future but the catch is they have a huge armored truck they use to travel the countryside… and the truck is pretty badass.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Damnation Alley is one of those 70’s films where the poster art was far more exciting than the actual movie itself, but this was a childhood favorite, so I’m a little partial. Interesting side note: Damnation Alley was Fox’s big-budget sci-fi release in 1977, but ultimately was overshadowed by a lower budget Fox release called… Star Wars.
19. ZARDOZ (1974)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Sean Connery is an exterminator for a floating stone head god called Zardoz in a post-apocalyptic future. He wears barely nothing through the whole film and rocks one hell of a ponytail.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: A few weeks back I made a WTF movie list. Zardoz should have been on that list, but I forgot it so now I’m using it here. This title makes the post-apocalyptic list based on how odd it is. It’s worth watching for that alone.
18. BLACK MOON (1975)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Another oddity in the list. Black Moon is directed by Louis Malle and is set in a dystopian future where men are at war with women. A beautiful young girl flees the war and takes refuge at a manor house with a unicorn, a bunch of naked children and an old women who talks to rats.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: As absurd as it is, Black Moon has a lot of awesome moments, ideas, and visuals that make it worth including.
17. THINGS TO COME (1936)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Things to Come is the story of a second World War which last a decade and leaves the planet in total anarchy. In the aftermath a new civilization takes over and attempts space travel.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: One of the films that started the genre and absolutely deserves its spot on the list. For the 1930’s, this film was insane and given the political climate at the time, it’s easy to see why it was made.
16. A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Imagine a future wasteland where a man travels with his dog in search of food and sex. Oh… and they can both speak telepathically to each other.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: I love this film and Don Johnson is so perfect in it. The world of ruin they create still holds up to today’s standard, plus it has a great sense of humor and action.
15. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Charlton Heston crash lands on a planet inhabited by damn dirty apes and eventually finds out (SPOILER… INCASE YOU’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK) that the planet is really earth in the future, after man has destroyed it.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: The original that spawned a ton of sequels and remakes. There are some cheesy moments, but it’s still great post-apocalyptic treasure.
14. I AM LEGEND (2007)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: After a plague wipes out humanity, one man (Will Smith) is left to find a cure for the remaining population, who have all turned into monsters.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: I Am Legend is a remake of The Omega Man, which was a remake of The Last Man on Earth. I’ve seen all three and I Am Legend is vastly superior IMO. Fun Fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger was set to star in a Ridley Scott directed version of this film in 1998, but Warner Bros pulled the plug on it.
13. THE ROAD (2009)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The world is destroyed. A man and his son travel to the sea looking for a little hope.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: I hate when people tell you, “I’ve read the book, it was so much better than the movie.” Oh yeah, well did the book form images in front of your face and talk to you? No it didn’t. But… in the case of The Road, they would be correct. The book is unbelievably good. However, The Road is still a fantastic film filled with misery, depression, and hopelessness. Sounds fun right?
12. DELICATESSEN (1991)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: An apartment building filled with strange characters in a post apocalyptic world who treat food like money and answer to a butcher who owns the building. The butcher may or may not be serving them human flesh.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Delicatessen is goofy and fun, like most films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It also has one of my favorite trailers of all time.
11. SNOWPIERCER (2014)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the future the remainder of society lives on a train. The lower class in the back of the trian. The upper class in the front. It’s a pretty obvious microcosm for today’s society as a whole and as you could guess, the lower class get tired of taking shit and try to make their way to the front.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Snowpiercer was the sleeper hit of 2014 and masterfully paces itself through it’s entire run. And ladies, it stars Captain America… bonus!
10. WALL-E (2008)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Left on a ruined earth, a garbage collecting robot finds himself tangled up in a space adventure that may save mankind.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: There’s only space on this list for one animated film and that’s WALL-E (sorry, I know there’s a bunch of post-apocalyptic japanimation films, but they’re not making the cut). The first half of WALL-E almost doesn’t feel like an animated film and will make you wonder how long it took Pixar to make it. WALL-E makes the post-apocalyptic genre seem fun, if that makes any sense.
09. 28 DAYS LATER (2002)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A man wakes up in a hospital 28 days after being in a coma to find London deserted. Those left behind have become infected with a disease that makes them savage killers.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: This is one of my favorite Danny Boyle films and that’s saying a lot because the dude has made some hits. It’s intense, suspenseful, and manages to really elevate the post-apocalyptic zombie genre.
08. DREDD (2012)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The world has turned to shit and there’s only one mega city left on the east coast and it’s policed by one of the most intense motherf’ers around.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Dredd is a steamroller of an action film and is near perfect for what its aim is. Take Robocop and The Raid, mix them together in a futuristic wasteland and you’ll get something close to Dredd.
07. TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the future only 1% of mankind has survived a killer virus and one man is sent back in time to try and find a cure.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Twelve Monkeys was inspired by La Jetée, which could have made this list as well, only Twelve Monkeys is better. Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis do a great job, but the real star of the show is director Terry Gilliam, who creates such a twisted a memorable future within the film.
06. THE MATRIX (1999)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Who hasn’t seen The Matrix at this point? If you haven’t you’re weird, but I’ll still give you a brief synopsis. Neo lives day to day unaware that he’s really living in a fabricated reality that is soon shattered when he’s unplugged from the matrix and finds that mankind are slaves to machines.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: The Matrix was a game-changer and a phenomenal film that should be seen at least once by any film fan. Besides the insane action sequences it took the post-apocalyptic genre and reinvented it.
05. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Imagine a world where crime is so bad they send every criminal to stay in one huge maximum security prison. That prison is New York City and when the President accidentally crash lands there, Snake Plissken must go in and rescue him.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Snake Plissken. He is one of the greatest action heroes of all time and one of the many reasons this film deserves to be on this list. Plus, John Carpenter is one of my all time favorite directors and this is his first endeavor into post-apocalyptic film making.
04. CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the future, humanity is totally screwed and can’t reproduce anymore. Obviously 19 Kids and Counting got cancelled. When one woman becomes the first person to have a baby in decades, people start to lose their shit.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Children of Men is such a compelling story and told in a magnificent way. The direction, score, and cinematography are all absolutely perfect.
03. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: After the zombie apocalypse a group of strangers band together inside a shopping mall to ride out the storm of the undead.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: There are a ton of zombie movies that could qualify for this list, but this is the best of all of them. Don’t agree? I don’t care, it’s my list. Deal with it.
02. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The world is in ruin and madness. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron team up and try to save a group of slaves from a crazy warlord.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: Fury Road is the fourth film in the Mad Max universe and is by far the greatest of all of them. It is a visual feast and a spectacle unlike anything I’ve ever seen. As of now, it’s easily the best film of 2015. So great, in fact, that I had to go see it twice in theaters.
01. THE TERMINATOR (1984)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the year 2029 machines have taken over and humanity fights to stay…. come on, you know story.
WHY DID YOU PICK IT: The Terminator is perfect in my eyes. Sure, I may have astigmatism, but I love it regardless. But the main reason it’s number one is the nightmarish vision of the future it created. No other post-apocalyptic world scared me more as a youth and stayed with me after the film was over.