watchworthy presents

The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies 

Reference
Originally by
Updated March 26, 2020 31k votes 1.9k voters 85.2k views 108 items

List Rules Vote for your personal favorite Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

We all love a good apocalypse -- as long as it's fictional, of course. Whether you prefer the rip-roaring action of the Max Max films, the survivalist intensity of The Omega Man, or the introspective drama of The Quiet Earth, there's almost certainly an apocalyptic movie out there for you. The genre has been fascinating filmmakers and audiences since the early days of the Cold War, and it shows no signs of letting up in the future. (As long as there isn't an actual apocalypse to shut down the movie industry, of course.)

Read on and vote up your favorite cinematic doomsdays. It's the end of the world as we know it -- do you feel fine?

See also: Underrated films where there is only one person left.

Kevin Costner and Lars von Trier are among the directors who have worked on Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction movies in the past.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1991

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

More Terminator 2: Judgment Day 

#9 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Ranker Video
Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells

Released: 1981

Directed by: George Miller

Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The film is the second installment in the Mad Max film series, with Mel Gibson starring as Max Rockatansky. ...more

More Mad Max 2 

#381 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #69 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #300 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

3
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

Released: 2002

Directed by: Danny Boyle

28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, ...more

More 28 Days Later 

The Best '28 Days Later' Quotes Will Bring You Out Of A Coma #389 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #356 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

4
Ranker Video
Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Released: 1979

Directed by: George Miller

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by ...more

More Mad Max 

Things You Didn't Know About The 'Mad Max' Movies #63 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #29 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

5
The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman

Released: 1997

Directed by: Luc Besson

The Fifth Element is a 1997 English-language French science fiction action film directed and co-written by Luc Besson. It stars Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman and Milla Jovovich. Mostly set in the ...more

More The Fifth Element 

Things You Still Don't Know About 'The Fifth Element,' Even After Watching It 500 Times On Cable #8 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #56 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

6
Ranker Video
Mila Kunis, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman

Released: 2010

Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by the Hughes brothers, written by Gary Whitta, and starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, ...more

More The Book of Eli 

#101 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #551 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #94 of 94 The Worst January Movie Releases

7
Zombieland is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Emma Stone, Amber Heard, Bill Murray

Released: 2009

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Zombieland is a 2009 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma ...more

More Zombieland 

#239 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #116 of 1,017 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

8
Ranker Video
nikkc0001 added Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more

More Blade Runner 

Blade Runner Already Had A Sequel, And It Was The Trashiest Movie Of 1998 #192 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #37 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

9
Ranker Video
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Hugh Keays-Byrne

Released: 2015

Directed by: George Miller

Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 action film directed by George Miller. In a post apocalyptic desert wasteland where gasoline and water are scarce commodities, Max Rockatansky (Max Hardy) joins ...more

More Mad Max: Fury Road 

#399 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #239 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Ranker Video
Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson

Released: 2007

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

More I Am Legend 

#79 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #119 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #226 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

11
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more

More The Matrix 

33 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Matrix' Trilogy #160 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Ranker Video
Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Viggo Mortensen

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Hillcoat

The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a screenplay written by Joe Penhall, which is in return based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel of ...more

More The Road 

#367 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #245 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #36 of 90 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

13
Ranker Video
Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico

Released: 1978

Directed by: George A. Romero

This film is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero's series, but contains no characters or settings from them, ...more

More Dawn of the Dead 

#202 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #306 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

14
Ranker Video
PeterBänziger added Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

More 12 Monkeys 

Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys' #33 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #604 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

15
Ranker Video
Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, James Whitmore

Released: 1968

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, and James ...more

More Planet of the Apes 

#239 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #75 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #22 of 135 The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Made

16
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

Released: 2006

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. The screenplay, based on P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name, was credited to five ...more

More Children of Men 

#731 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #412 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

17
World War Z is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
MejaEhrenström added Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, David Morse

Released: 2013

Directed by: Marc Forster

This film is a 2013 American apocalyptic action horror film directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof is from a screen story by ...more

More World War Z 

#1,024 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #384 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

18
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies
Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

Released: 1996

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

More Independence Day 

13 Things That Prove Pacific Rim And Independence Day Are The Exact Same Movie #4 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Ranker Video
George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

Released: 1968

Directed by: George A. Romero

Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent zombie horror film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and ...more

More Night of the Living Dead 

#14 of 816 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #9 of 18 The Best (Or Worst!) Movies To Watch While You’re Going Stir-Crazy #29 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

20
Ranker Video
Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman, Kathy Najimy

Released: 2008

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

WALL-E is a 2008 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the story follows a ...more

More WALL-E 

The Most Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About WALL-E #6 of 598 The Best Animated Films Everlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
Ranker Video
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1981

Directed by: John Carpenter

Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then near-future 1997 in a distopian United States ...more

More Escape from New York 

#86 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #25 of 90 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

22
Ranker Video
MejaEhrenström added Rose Byrne, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner

Released: 2007

Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

28 Weeks Later is a 2007 British-Spanish post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film, structured as a sequel to the 2002 critical and commercial success, 28 Days Later. 28 Weeks Later was ...more

More 28 Weeks Later 

#71 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #68 of 816 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #7 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

23
Ranker Video
PeterBänziger added Tina Turner, Mel Gibson, Rebekah Elmaloglou

Released: 1985

Directed by: George Ogilvie, George Miller

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, also known as Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or simply Mad Max 3, is a 1985 Australian post-apocalyptic action adventure film co-directed by George Miller and George ...more

More Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 

#59 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #185 of 233 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #288 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

24
Ranker Video
Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid

Released: 2004

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

More The Day After Tomorrow 

#194 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #8 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

25
Ranker Video
Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Gerard Butler

Released: 2002

Directed by: Rob Bowman

Reign of Fire is a 2002 post-apocalyptic action fantasy film directed by Rob Bowman and starring Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler. It takes place in the year 2020 in ...more

More Reign of Fire 

#1,082 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #70 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time