The movie Deepwater Horizon is about to hit theatres, and it is the latest in a long line of disaster movies to grace the silver screen. Since the early 1970s, Hollywood has been churning out disaster movies pretty consistently, and many of them have turned out to be true classics. When we say disaster movie, we are referring to a film where an unexpected event (or disaster) occurs and it forces a group of people to survive against great odds and at any cost. We’ll exclude alien invasion movies such as Independence Day and War of the Worlds, as well as terrorist takeover movies such as Die Hard and Under Siege for the purposes of this list. So, with that definition in mind, here are the 10 best disaster movies of all time.
10. 2012 (2009)
This is the mother of all disaster movies in terms of scale and scope. Directed by Roland Emmerich of Independence Day fame and starring John Cusack as an everyman who has to save his family from the end of the world, 2012 plays on the ancient Mayan prophecy that the world as we know it would end in the year 2012. The world, of course, did not end four years ago as predicted by the ancient Mayans. But back in 2009, with three years to go, making this movie seemed like a decent way to cash in on people’s fear and anxiety. 2012 is a massive popcorn disaster movie that features everything from giant title waves cascading over the Himalayan Mountains to entire cities burning to the ground and airplanes falling out of the sky. It’s all poor John Cusack can do to keep his family intact amidst the over-the-top carnage around him. Filled with outlandish special effects and one cliff hanger scene after another, 2012 is a disaster movie for modern times. Mayan prophecies be damned!