10. Damnation Alley (1977) – Giant Gila Monsters, radioactive cockroaches, and the last of the Hell’s Angels on a mission to save Boston from a plague. Based on my favorite apocalyptic book by Roger Zelazny, the movie fell far short of the novel. However, it does a tremendous job of nailing spirit and setting of the mutant-filled post-apocalyptic genre.
9. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – An unstable Air Force General with access to nuclear weapons. The film does an excellent job of capturing the Cold War paranoia and America’s fascination with the atomic bomb.
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – Visitors from space with a message of peace, a giant robot capable of destroying the world, and an Earth population entrenched in violence. All of this makes for a thought-provoking look at the nature of man. Of course, I’m talking about the original and not the disappointing remake.
7. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – The dead walk among us looking for a snack. This is the original zombie apocalypse film. A little gory for my tastes, but it started a huge sub-genre.
5. Escape from New York(1981) – Set in the backdrop of World War III, Manhattan Island has been turned into a maximum security prison. This is an example of John Carpenter at the top of his game. The combination of lighting and music to produce a mood truly appropriate for the apocalypse is what made him one of the best directors in Hollywoond.
4. Reign of Fire (2002) – Dragons. Combine horror with the genre and you get a zombie
apocalypse. Combine fantasy with the genre and you get dragons nesting in London and burning everything in sight.
3. The Matrix (1999) – A machine-controlled Earth and men enslaved in a dream. Original concepts and some mind-blowing symbolism make this probably the best made apocalyptic film on the list.
2. Planet of the Apes (1968) – Apes rule and humans drool. In my opinion the best
anti-establishment film of the 60s. And it stars Chuck Heston.
1. Mad Max (1979) – A leather-clad police officer roams the dangerous roads of an apocalyptic world. When I think about apocalyptic stories, this is the first movie that comes to mind, capturing the true essence of a world falling apart.
What do you think? Am I on target with this list or do you think I missed one?