Best Apocalyptic Movies to Pass the Time

It may not be the apocalypse, but the current coronavirus crisis has created a situation where we all have to lean heavily on home entertainment, because restaurants and movie theaters are closed and sports is canceled. And while some may prefer to spend their time watching comedies or romances or nature documentaries, there’s a certain catharsis to watching an apocalyptic movie.

Ready for some tension, action, sci-fi, and horror all wrapped into one? Apocalyptic movies have got all the ingredients to keep you at the edge of your seat.


10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, Rated PG-13)


Synopsis: “Outside is dangerous…inside is terrifying in the heart-pounding new thriller from producer J.J. Abrams. After a catastrophic car crash, a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up in a survivalist’s (John Goodman) underground bunker. He claims to have saved her from an apocalyptic attack that has left the outside world uninhabitable. But, as his increasingly suspicious actions lead her to question his motives, she’ll have to escape in order to discover the truth.”


12 Monkeys (1996, Rated R)


Synopsis: “Traveling back in time isn’t simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James is recruited for a mission that will send him back to the 1990s. Once there, he’s supposed to gather information about a nascent plague that’s about to exterminate the vast majority of the world’s population. But, aside from the manic Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), he gets little in the way of cooperation, not least from medical gatekeepers like Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe).”


Armageddon (1998, Rated PG-13)


Synopsis: “When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to stop it is to drill into its surface and detonate a nuclear bomb. This leads him to renowned driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), who agrees to helm the dangerous space mission provided he can bring along his own hotshot crew. Among them is the cocksure A.J. (Ben Affleck), who Harry thinks isn’t good enough for his daughter (Liv Tyler), until the mission proves otherwise.”


I am Legend (2007, Rated PG-13)


Synopsis: “Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other possible survivors, and works on finding a cure for the plague using his own immune blood. Neville knows he is badly outnumbered and the odds are against him, and all the while, the infected wait for him to make a mistake that will deliver Neville into their hands.”


Interstellar (2014, Rated PG-13)


Synopsis: “In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.”


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, Rated R)


Synopsis: “Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads the despot’s five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.”


Oblivion (2013, Rated PG-13)


Synopsis: “In the year 2077, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) works as a security repairman on an Earth left empty and devastated after a war with aliens. Jack has two weeks left before his mission ends and he joins his fellow survivors on a faraway colony. However, Jack’s concept of reality comes crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft. The woman’s arrival triggers a chain of events that culminates in Jack’s nearly single-handed battle to save mankind.”


The Book of Eli (2010, Rated R)


Synopsis: “Thirty years after war turned the world into a wasteland, a lone warrior named Eli (Denzel Washington) marches across the ruined landscape, carrying hope for humanity’s redemption. Only one other man (Gary Oldman) understands the power of what Eli carries, and he is determined to take it for himself. Though Eli prefers peace, he will risk death to protect his precious cargo, for he must fulfill his destiny to help restore mankind.”


The Matrix (1999, Rated R)


Synopsis: “Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question — What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.”


They Live (1988, Rated R)


Synopsis: “Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to keep the population subdued, and that most of the social elite are skull-faced aliens bent on world domination. With this shocking discovery, Nada fights to free humanity from the mind-controlling aliens.”


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