To qualify as post-apocalyptic, there has to be a major collapse of society, and a large portion of the population is gone. A post-apocalyptic film is about the few survivors and how they cope with the new world. This theme is very popular, and relevant, today; so here are the Top 25 Post-apocalyptic Movies of all time:
1 - The Last Man on Earth (1964) Vincent Price is the lone survivor after a disease turns everyone into living-dead vampires. This movie was the inspiration for most of today's zombie movies.
2 - The Stand (1994 ) the 4 part TV movie based on Stephen King's mammoth novel.
3 - Planet of the Apes, and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) "Beneath" has even more than it's immortal predecessor, it has apes and underground mutants who worship the atomic bomb. Watch the 2 movies together as 1 film.
4 - Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) Mel Gibson. Also Mad Max III: Thunderdome.
5 - The Omega Man (1971) Charleton Heston and Anthony Zerbe star in the first remake of "The Last Man on Earth," later remade again as 28 days.
6 - The World, the Devil and the Flesh (1959) Harry Belafonte based on the novel "The Purple Cloud," three lone survivors in New York City, when everyone else has vanished (they don't say how or why). It's a great story of how 3 people would cope if they were the last people on earth, and both men are in love with the 1 woman.
7 - Reign of Fire (2002) in the future, society has collapsed under the threat of dragons.
8 - 28 Days Later (2002) Directed by Danny Boyle. The 3rd remake of Last Man, but set in the UK, and the undead vampires are now zombies.
9 - I am Legend (2007) The 4 th and most recent remake of Vincent Price's "The Last Man on Earth," this time played by Will Smith. Actually a pretty good remake, and a fun film to watch.
10 - The Quiet Earth (1985)
11 - Casshern (2004) Kazuaki Kiriya movie about a diseased and polluted post-apocalyptic earth, and the battle to save it.
12 - The Road (2009) Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron
13 - Threads (1984) the effects of a nuclear holocaust on a small town
14 - The Book of Eli (2010) Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman
15 - The Day After (1983) life in a Kansas town the day after the bombs drop and end the modern world.
16 - Night of the Comet (1984) Teenagers are left alone after a comet kills everyone in their city.
17 - La Jetée (1962) In post-apocalyptic Paris after WWIII, the survivors research time travel to send someone back for food and medicine, and maybe a solution to avoid the war. This is the movie that inspired 12 Monkeys.
18 - Twelve Monkeys (1995) Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, directed by Terry Gilliam
19 - A Boy and His Dog (1975) based on a Harlan Ellison story, and the strangest movie on the post-apocalyptic list.
20 - The Happening (2008) Mark Wahlberg, directed by M. Night Shyamalan
21 - On the Beach (1959) After WWIII only Australia is left, but their survivors contemplate suicide to avoid suffering from the coming radiation sickness.
22 - Waterworld (1995)
23 - Prayer of the Rollerboys (1990) Corey Haim and Patricia Arquette
24 - Terminator Salvation (2009) the final Terminator movie set in the post-apocalyptic future.
25 - The Postman (1997) Kevin Costner
Escape from New York (1981) wasn't actually post-apocalyptic, but the prison world of Manhattan Island fits the profile. If this had qualified, it would have been in the Top 5. Excellent John Carpenter flick.
Worst Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Tank Girl (1995), Solarbabies (1986), and Stryker (1983)
Always looking for more Apocalyptic (and post-ap') movies. Let's keep our fingers crossed for some good ones in the future.
Also check out the Top2040 list of: Top 20 Zombie Movies
Or for more Post Apocalyptic viewing at top2040.com , check out:
Nothing beats a good "end of world" film. It's the hardest genre to spell, but we are drawn like moths to a flame of post-apocalyptic movies.