Natural Disasters

The Best '70s Disaster Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated May 3, 2019 236 votes 23 voters 37 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite disaster movies that were released between 1970 - 1979.

These are the best disaster movies from the ‘70s. Disaster films can impact the whole world a select group of people such as on an ocean liner or in a city. These disaster films from the 1970s are edge-of-your-seat thrill rides that still hold up today and are certainly fun to watch. With famous actors such as Sean Connery in Meteor and Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure, 1970s disaster movies are some of the most exciting and memorable films in the genre. This list includes man-made disasters like The China Syndrome and natural disaster movies like Avalanche.

Other great disaster movies from the nineteen-seventies include films such as Earthquake and The Hindenburg.

Now it’s time to determine the greatest ‘70s disaster movies. Vote up the good 1970s disaster movies to make sure that the right film makes its way to the top of the list. Don’t see your favorite ‘70s disaster movie? Feel free to add it to the list.

list ordered by
1
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway

Released: 1974

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
2
The Poseidon Adventure ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1972

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
3
Airport is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Jacqueline Bissett, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster

Released: 1970

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
4
Earthquake is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Victoria Principal

Released: 1974

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
5
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon

Released: 1979

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
6
Two-Minute Warning is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands

Released: 1976

Directed by: Larry Peerce

Two-Minute Warning is a 1976 disaster film directed by Larry Peerce and starring Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Jack Klugman, Gena Rowlands, and David Janssen. It ...more
7
Rollercoaster is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Rollercoaster Helen Hunt, Henry Fonda, Steve Guttenberg

Released: 1977

Directed by: James Goldstone

Rollercoaster is a 1977 disaster-suspense film starring George Segal, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda and Timothy Bottoms, and directed by James Goldstone. It was one of the few films to be shown ...more
8
The Cassandra Crossing ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Sophia Loren, O. J. Simpson, Martin Sheen

Released: 1976

Directed by: George P. Cosmatos

The Cassandra Crossing is a 1976 British disaster/thriller film directed by George Pan Cosmatos and starring Richard Harris, Sophia Loren, Martin Sheen, Burt Lancaster, Lee Strasberg, Ava ...more
9
The Swarm is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Michael Caine, Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1978

Directed by: Irwin Allen

The Swarm is a 1978 science fiction monster horror film about a killer bee invasion of Texas. It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog. The director was Irwin Allen, and the ...more
10
Airport 1975 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, Myrna Loy, Linda Blair

Released: 1974

Directed by: Jack Smight

Airport 1975 is a 1974 disaster film and the first sequel to the successful 1970 film Airport. It stars Charlton Heston and Karen Black and is directed by Jack Smight.
11
The Omega Man is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Eric Laneuville

Released: 1971

Directed by: Boris Sagal

The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It was written by John William Corrington and Joyce Corrington, based on the 1954 ...more
12
Airport '77 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Christopher Lee, James Stewart, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1977

Directed by: Jerry Jameson

Airport '77 is a 1977 disaster film and third movie in the Airport franchise. The film stars a number of veteran actors, including Jack Lemmon, James Stewart, Joseph Cotten, Christopher Lee and ...more
13
The Big Bus is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Stockard Channing, José Ferrer, Larry Hagman

Released: 1976

Directed by: James Frawley

The Big Bus is a 1976 American comedy film starring Stockard Channing and Joseph Bologna, and directed by James Frawley. A spoof of the disaster movie genre, it follows the maiden cross-country ...more
14
Avalanche is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Mia Farrow, Rock Hudson, Robert Forster

Released: 1978

Directed by: Corey Allen

Avalanche is a 1978 American disaster film, directed by Corey Allen and starring Rock Hudson, Robert Forster, Mia Farrow and Jeanette Nolan. The taglines for the film included "A Winter ...more
15
The Hindenburg is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Anne Bancroft, Burgess Meredith, George C. Scott

Released: 1975

Directed by: Robert Wise

The Hindenburg is a 1975 American Technicolor film based on the disaster of the German airship Hindenburg. The film stars George C. Scott. It was produced and directed by Robert Wise, and was ...more
16
Beyond the Poseidon Adve... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Sally Field, Michael Caine, Mark Harmon

Released: 1979

Directed by: Irwin Allen

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure is a 1979 American disaster film, a sequel to the 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure. It was directed by Irwin Allen and starred Michael Caine and Sally Field. The ...more
17
Juggernaut is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Omar Sharif, Richard Harris, Ian Holm

Released: 1974

Directed by: Richard Lester

Juggernaut is a 1974 British crime suspense film starring Richard Harris, Omar Sharif and Anthony Hopkins. The film, which was directed by Richard Lester, was largely shot on location on the TS ...more
18
Skyjacked is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, Susan Dey, James Brolin

Released: 1972

Directed by: John Guillermin

Skyjacked is a 1972 disaster film, directed by John Guillermin. The film stars Charlton Heston, James Brolin, and Yvette Mimieux, along with an all-star cast primarily playing the roles of ...more
19
Fire! is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Fire!
20
Damnation Alley is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Jackie Earle Haley, George Peppard, Jan-Michael Vincent

Released: 1977

Directed by: Jack Smight

Damnation Alley is a 1977 post-apocalyptic film, directed by Jack Smight, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Roger Zelazny. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith ...more
21
Orca is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Orca Bo Derek, Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling

Released: 1977

Directed by: Michael Anderson

Orca is a 1977 horror film directed by Michael Anderson and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, starring Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, and Will Sampson. It is based on Arthur Herzog's novel of ...more
22
Runaway! is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Ben Johnson, Ben Murphy, Ed Nelson

Released: 1973

Directed by: David Lowell Rich

Runaway!, also known as The Runaway Train, is a 1973 film made for ABC television directed by David Lowell Rich. It is an action thriller involving skiers trapped on a runaway train speeding ...more
23
SST: Death Flight is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Billy Crystal, Burgess Meredith, Tina Louise

Released: 1977

Directed by: David Lowell Rich

SST Death Flight is a 1977 made-for-television film, directed by David Lowell Rich. Produced by ABC Circle Films, the film featured an all-star ensemble television cast. SST Death Flight ...more
24
City on Fire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda, Leslie Nielsen

Released: 1979

Directed by: Alvin Rakoff

City on Fire is a 1979 disaster film directed by Alvin Rakoff and featuring an all-star cast. The film’s plot revolves around a disgruntled employee who sets fire to an oil refinery, setting off ...more
25
Gray Lady Down is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '70s Disaster Movies
Charlton Heston, Christopher Reeve, David Carradine

Released: 1978

Directed by: David Greene

Gray Lady Down is a 1978 disaster film by Universal Studios starring Charlton Heston, David Carradine, Stacy Keach, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, and is the feature film debut of Christopher Reeve. It ...more