14 Movies About Doomed Missions With Little To No Hope Of Survival

List Rules
Vote up the movie missions that had no hope of return.

Movies about doomed missions are some of the most exciting films you can find. Not shackled to one specific genre, movies where characters get together to go on a doomed mission are fun to watch, and the best ones even manage to pull on your heartstrings.

Many of the missions that the following teams go on are doomed by greed, but there are also plenty of deadly assignments that are just snake-bit from the start. The most harrowing thing about these doomed missions isn't the fact that they're destined for failure - it's watching characters who know they don't have much time.

Don't worry: Not all of these doomed missions end in total destruction. Every once in a while, someone comes out on top, but it's up to you to determine which one of these missions was never going to end well.

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  • 1
    57 VOTES

    The Mission: With the sun dying out and Earth quickly turning into a cold, lifeless place, it's up to an international crew of astronauts to transport a bomb from their ship to the sun in hopes of bringing the fading star back to life and saving humanity.

    The Crew: Our international cast of astronauts is a combination of stern military types and more philosophical scientists who bring their various cultures to the Icarus II mission. If things had gone well, they might have all learned something from one another, but unfortunately, murderous/insane/eyeless Captain Pinbacker from the Icarus I is also aboard the ship, and he'd very much like for everyone on Earth to "go to heaven."

    How Do They Do? Things go wrong right off the bat when the crew of the Icarus II decides to intercept the Icarus I. With their shield panels damaged, the entire crew is at risk of being cooked by the sun. As if that wasn't bad enough, the ship's oxygen garden is destroyed during the shield panel realignment, which essentially seals the crew's fate unless they can board Icarus I and use the ghost ship's remaining oxygen.

    From here on out, things just go from bad to worse. Crew members freeze in the emptiness of space, one guy stares into the sun without a shield and sets himself on fire, and then Captain Pinbacker shows up and goes all Jason Voorhees on everyone left standing. It's not an ideal mission. Eventually, the remaining astronauts decide to jettison themselves and the nuclear payload into the sun, which reignites the star and brings warmth back to Earth.

    57 votes

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  • The Mission: The fishermen aboard the Andrea Gail, a commercial ship, have had bunk luck with their catch all season. The only way to make up for lost revenue is to go on one last fishing expedition for the season. After catching more fish than they know what to do with, they realize the only way to make it home in time to keep their catch from spoiling is to head straight through a confluence of weather patterns that threatens to sink them to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Crew: Our crew is a pretty solid collection of roughnecks played by a solid collection of character actors. Captain Tyne has two daughters at home and needs to make bank or he'll be financially ruined, two of the senior crewmen are at odds over their shared relationship with the same gal, and Mark Wahlberg is the new guy who just wants to make some extra money and not die in some sort of perfect storm scenario.

    How Do They Do? The guys don't do so hot when the waves crash in. Everyone acts admirably, but when all rescue attempts fail, they make a group decision to try and drive their boat over a rogue wave. After they capsize, all four members of the crew go down with the ship.

    58 votes

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  • 3
    65 VOTES

    The Mission: 300 Spartans are tasked with holding off 300,000 Persian soldiers led by Xerxes, a man believed to be a god-king, so they've got their work cut out for them.

    The Crew: Led by King Leonidas, the 300 Spartans are a collection of ripped-as-hell soldiers who are acting as his personal bodyguards. None of these guys want to bow down to Xerxes, let alone allow the Persian forces to breach the gates of Sparta. Never mind the fact that the actual Spartan Council doesn't want anything to do with these guys.

    How Do They Do? The Spartans fend off Xerxes and his army for a couple of days before finally succumbing to the overwhelming numbers they're up against. On the plus side, the Spartans prove that Xerxes is nothing more than a man, and they inspire the Greeks and their fellow Spartans to pick up arms against the Persian military.

    65 votes

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  • The Mission: The only thing that the Rogue One crew needs to do is secure the Death Star schematics in what should be an in-and-out job on the backwater planet Scarif.

    The Crew: This ragtag crew of rebels and renegades is made up of Jyn Erso, a young woman whose father actually played a part in the construction of the Death Star, and an assortment of would-be Han Solo types. Most notably, Cassian Andor takes the lead on the mission with his reprogrammed Imperial enforcer droid K-2S0. A blind warrior and his close companion are also tagging along.

    How Do They Do? The Rebel Alliance is against the Rogue One plan from the jump, rightfully deeming it a suicide mission, but that doesn't stop our crew from diving in head-first. The team makes their way to Scarif, where they transmit the plans to the Alliance before everyone - good guys, bad guys, and everyone in between -  on the planet is cooked by the fully operational Death Star. That being said, the plan does technically work out.

    75 votes

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  • 5
    41 VOTES

    The Mission: When the "Shimmer," an opening into an alternate dimension, begins to expand off the Southern coast, multiple groups of exploratory teams (both scientific and military) enter the area to study this strange opening into the unknown.

    The Crew: Led by Dr. Ventress, a government psychologist, the team is an all-female crew of scientists, one of which is the estranged wife of the only person to ever return from the Shimmer alive.

    How Do They Do? The mysterious creatures inside the Shimmer (a bear that screams like a human, mutated creatures, etc.) claim the lives of everyone involved aside from Ventress, who dissolves into a fractal of light, and Lena, who blows up a doppelganger version of herself and the actual Shimmer. She makes it out of the Shimmer, or maybe it's her doppelganger - the film leaves this unclear.

    41 votes

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  • 6
    40 VOTES

    The Mission: Following a catastrophic incident that causes a new ice age, humans are left to survive on a train, the Snowpiercer, that circumnavigates the globe. Everyone on the train is segregated by class, and in 2032, those in the "tail end" of the train lead a revolt against the train's elite in hopes of taking over the train. If they fail? They die.

    The Crew: Curtis Everett is the leader of the tail section, and he brings along a hungry crew who wants to upend the class system on the train while finding their friends and family who were taken by the upper classes.

    How Do They Do? Curtis makes it to the front of the train even as his crewmembers are carved away by the train's guards. When he finally reaches his destination, Curtis learns that the tail-end rebellion was created as a way to curtail their numbers. Rather than take over for the creator of the train (which is an enticing offer), Curtis chooses to set off explosives and derail the train.

    40 votes

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