Top 15 Best Natural Disaster Movies

Best Natural Disaster Movies - Extra

#10. Contagion


While most natural disaster films threaten us by destroying the planet or our infrastructure, Contagion takes aim at humanity as a virus begins to quickly wipes out huge parts of the population. This film directed by Steven Soderbergh is surprisingly terrifying, especially when you see just how easy it would be for a deadly bacteria to infect humanity and quickly spread across the world. While our advancements in technology have allowed us to achieve the unthinkable, it has also made the world more deadly, as evidenced by this viral thriller.

#9. World War Z

World War Z

From one epidemic to another, this global action thriller takes the zombie formula and gives it an interesting twist. Instead of the dead coming back to life, some humans have been infected with a rapidly spreading virus that turns them into flesh-hungry, mindless, but very fast, almost insect-like hordes. Anyone bitten becomes a zombie, but there are some who seem to be immune. This is on here over any other zombie movie simply because of the viral explanation behind the inciting incident, but also because at a time when there are almost too many zombie movies, this one had something refreshing to offer.

#8. The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno

Here’s the first of two prime examples of classic disaster movies with more than impressive ensemble casts, and it’s also one of the rare, quality disaster films that uses fire as the force to be reckoned with. The film follows a fire that begins raging in The Glass Tower, designed to be the world’s tallest building. All this happens during the grand opening of the San Francisco skyscraper, which puts plenty of people in harm’s way.

Speaking of which, this movie is packed with huge stars like Steven McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Dabney Coleman and even O.J. Simpson. Aside from having such a star-studded cast, the movie was also a big deal because it was the first co-production by two major studios, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures. If you’re looking for a classic worth watching seek this one out.

#7. The Poseidon Adventure

The Poseidon Adventure

Speaking of classics worth watching, here’s another. Now before you get bent out of shape that this disaster movie happens in a ship, keep in mind that the disaster itself is caused by an undersea earthquake, which creates a massive wave that capsizes the SS Poseidon. It seems a little lighthearted to call this movie The Poseidon Adventure, especially when that adventure is described as “hell at sea,” but this is also a 1972 film so there had to be some way to make it sound more exciting than just Poseidon.

The film won two Oscars, including one for a score from composer John Williams, after being nominated for a total of eight. An impressive ensemble brings this filmt to life, including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall and even Leslie Nielsen, who would later go on to spoof these kind of disaster films with Airplane! in 1980. For the time, there were some pretty impressive special effects used to bring this disaster to life, so it’s definitely worth a watch.

#6. Perfect Sense

Perfect Sense

There are countless epidemic stories out there, a couple of them have already made it on this countdown, but none are as heartbreaking or original as this one. Perfect Sense follows a blossoming romance in tough times as an epidemic spreads across the world causing people to lose each of their five senses one by one. It’s not a traditional natural disaster flick, but you’ll see how society begins to slowly crumble as people lose more of their senses. Ewan McGregor and Eva Green are phenomenal in this unique drama that is powerful, engaging and even sexy at times. But beware, because it’s also pretty damn depressing. You can watch it on Netflix Instant right now.

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