Entertainment

The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 17, 2020 97.4k votes 7.9k voters 452.5k views 568 items

List Rules Only disaster movies should be here

These are the most entertaining, the most fun, the greatest disaster movies ever made, ranked by movie experts and film fans alike. There is a long history of these kinds of movies in cinema - never to be taken too seriously, always slightly histrionic - for moviegoers who love to watch cities leveled and populations run screaming for their lives. This list includes films that center around a natural disaster, like a storm, as well as other kinds of catastrophe that might cause an apocalypse.

This list of floods, fires, earthquakes and alien attacks is built from both your votes and those lists that Rankers have contributed. If you are a die-hard fan of disaster movies, if you know your F-5 Tornados from your 10.5 Earthquakes, make your own ranking of these to really impact the list order! And if you see a good film that should be amongst these greatest disaster movies of all time, please add it!

Be sure to check out Ranker's list of All Disaster Films.

Check out more great lists like the Best End of the World MoviesNew Disaster MoviesWorst Game of Thrones Characters, Best Horror Anime, and Celebrities With Allergies.

list ordered by
1
Twister is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1996

Actors: Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Paxton, Alexa Vega, Jami Gertz, + more

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Twister is a 1996 American disaster drama film starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as storm chasers researching tornadoes. It was directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton ...more
2
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1996

Actors: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, Harry Connick, + more

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Independence Day is a 1996 American science fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, ...more
3
Armageddon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1998

Actors: Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, + more

Directed by: Michael Bay

Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster thriller film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film follows a group of ...more
4
The Poseidon Adventure ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1972

Actors: Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine, Leslie Nielsen, Shelley Winters, + more

Directed by: Irwin Allen, Ronald Neame

The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features ...more
5
Deep Impact is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1998

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Elijah Wood, Téa Leoni, Vanessa Redgrave, + more

Directed by: Mimi Leder

Deep Impact is a 1998 American science fiction disaster film directed by Mimi Leder, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin, and starring Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, ...more
6
2012 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2009

Actors: Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, John Cusack, Danny Glover, + more

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

2012 is a 2009 American science fiction disaster adventure film directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, ...more
7
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1997

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, James Cameron, Bill Paxton, + more

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more
8
The Day After Tomorrow ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2004

Actors: Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Sela Ward, Ian Holm, + more

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, ...more
9
Dante's Peak is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1997

Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Jamie Renée Smith, Peter Jason, Grant Heslov, + more

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

Dante's Peak is a 1997 American epic disaster adventure film directed by Roger Donaldson, and starring Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Charles Hallahan, Elizabeth Hoffman, Jamie Renée ...more
10
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2005

Actors: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, + more

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

War of the Worlds is a 2005 American epic science fiction disaster film and a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh ...more
11
The Perfect Storm is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2000

Actors: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, + more

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which ...more
12
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1974

Actors: O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Steve McQueen, William Holden, + more

Directed by: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin

The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action drama disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. The picture was directed by John ...more
13
Volcano is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1997

Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Don Cheadle, Anne Heche, Keith David, Jillian Barberie, + more

Directed by: Mick Jackson

Volcano is a 1997 disaster film directed by Mick Jackson and produced by Andrew Z. Davis, Neal H. Moritz and Lauren Shuler Donner. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Jerome ...more
14
Outbreak is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1995

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Patrick Dempsey, + more

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston's non-fiction book The Hot Zone. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and ...more
15
Earthquake is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1974

Actors: Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Victoria Principal, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau, + more

Directed by: Mark Robson

Earthquake is a 1974 American ensemble disaster film directed and produced by Mark Robson. The plot concerns the struggle for survival after a catastrophic earthquake destroys most of the city ...more
16
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
physcod added 2007

Actors: Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson, Willow Smith, Alice Braga, + more

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's ...more
17
San Andreas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
analise.dubner added 2015

Actors: Dwayne Johnson

Directed by: Brad Peyton

San Andreas is a 2015 American disaster film directed by Brad Peyton. A Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter-rescue pilot, Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) must rescue his estranged wife and their ...more
18
Cloverfield is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2008

Actors: Odette Annable, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, Mike Vogel, T. J. Miller, + more

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Cloverfield is a 2008 American science fiction found footage monster film directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J. J. Abrams & Bryan Burk, and written by Drew Goddard. Before settling on an ...more
19
The Andromeda Strain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1971

Actors: Paula Kelly, David Wayne, Arthur Hill, Eric Christmas, James Olson, + more

Directed by: Robert Wise

The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science fiction film produced and directed by Robert Wise. Based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel of the same name and adapted by Nelson Gidding, the film ...more
20
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
kaylive added 1991

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton, Nikki Cox, Danny Cooksey, + more

Directed by: James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more
21
Alive is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1993

Actors: John Malkovich, Ethan Hawke, Josh Lucas, Illeana Douglas, Michael DeLorenzo, + more

Directed by: Frank Marshall

Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based upon Piers Paul Read's 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, which details the story of a Uruguayan rugby team. The ...more
22
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1979

Actors: Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon, Wilford Brimley, James Karen, + more

Directed by: James Bridges

The China Syndrome is a 1979 American thriller film that tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. It stars Jane Fonda, ...more
23
Airport is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
1970

Actors: Jacqueline Bissett, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Helen Hayes, George Kennedy, + more

Directed by: Henry Hathaway, George Seaton

Airport is a 1970 American drama film starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, directed and written by George Seaton, and based on Arthur Hailey's 1968 novel of the same name. It originated the ...more
24
Contagion is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
2011

Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, + more

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Contagion is a 2011 medical thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, ...more
25
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time
wiabux added 2007

Actors: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Alexa Davalos, Toby Jones, + more

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Mist is a 2007 American science fiction horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont, who had previously ...more