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The Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Movies of All Time

a man plays a flaming guitar in the apocalypse

There is an endless supply of good apocalyptic movies. And every year we add a few more. It is truly a remarkable time for our favorite genre.

But what is the greatest post-apocalyptic movie of all time? Which one is the most rewatchable?

We polled several of our writers to list their top 5 favorite post-apocalyptic movies of all time. Here are the results.

Derek started Post Apocalyptic Media with his wife Stephanie. Formerly a licensed attorney in the State of Texas, he is currently prepping for the apocalypse.

#1 Children of Men

Children of Men (2006)
109 min|Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller|05 Jan 2007
7.9Rating: 7.9 / 10 from 460,207 usersMetascore: 84
In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

You can really feel the despair and hope of the characters as they struggle to find purpose as the last humans on earth. This one is a must see for fans of the post apocalyptic genre.

#2 Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim (2013)
131 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|12 Jul 2013
6.9Rating: 6.9 / 10 from 461,855 usersMetascore: 65
As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

In Pacific Rim the world is being invaded by giant monsters, much like Godzilla. Mankind has united to fight them off, primarily by constructing giant mech suits.

This is a layered, clever, and visually pleasing take on the Kaiju genre. If you haven’t traditionally loved Godzilla movies, don’t let that keep you from giving Pacific Rim a try.

#3 The Matrix

The Matrix (1999)
136 min|Action, Sci-Fi|31 Mar 1999
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 1,647,373 usersMetascore: 73
When a beautiful stranger leads computer hacker Neo to a forbidding underworld, he discovers the shocking truth--the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.

This movie was groundbreaking in its approach to philosophy and future technology. And it planted the idea in my head that maybe we really are in a simulation. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.

#4 Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers (1997)
129 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller|07 Nov 1997
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 266,776 usersMetascore: 51
Humans in a fascist, militaristic future wage war with giant alien bugs.

When aliens attack earth, killing billions, all of humanity mobilizes for war. What would that look like?

War, propaganda, genocidal aliens, retribution – Starship Troopers tackles the ugly side of war as well as the justifications.

#5 The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012)
142 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller|23 Mar 2012
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 835,983 usersMetascore: 68
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

A strong central government is prospering in a world of false scarcity. Young people from among the poor must risk everything for a small chance to leave poverty. To do so, they will have to survive the arena. Sound familiar? No, it’s not the NFL. But you may recognize that much of this plot was lifted straight from the 1999 book Battle Royale, and the 2000 movie by the same name.

 Honorable Mention

Zombieland
Resident Evil
I Am Legend
12 Monkeys
Terminator II

Ender’s Game
Independence Day
10 Cloverfield Lane
Mad Max: Fury Road
Z for Zechariah

28 Days Later
The Book of Eli
Bird Box
The Silence

Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

#1 Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

The Road Warrior (1981)
96 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller|21 May 1982
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 164,889 usersMetascore: 77
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline-rich community escape a horde of bandits.

Most of the movies on this list have 2 things in common: childhood memories and the word “Road.” The second Mad Max film is a masterpiece for so many reasons, but mainly it was also a huge part of my childhood.

#2 The Road

The Road (2009)
111 min|Drama|25 Nov 2009
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 221,314 usersMetascore: 64
In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea.

As a parent, this one was especially powerful to me. What would I do in each crazy situation? It actually took me a long time to watch it a second time, but I’ve been able to appreciate it a few times since, and it never gets less sad.

#3 Testament

Testament (1983)
90 min|Drama|05 Jan 1984
6.9Rating: 6.9 / 10 from 5,624 usersMetascore: N/A
The life of a suburban American family is scarred after a nuclear attack.

Another one I loved as a kid, especially since I could relate to the boy in the family. This one was brutal because it showed a nuclear blast, the ugly effects of radiation fallout, and was super sad when (spoiler alert!) the family members died off one by one.

#4 Threads

Threads (1984)
112 min|Drama, Sci-Fi, War|23 Sep 1984
8.0Rating: 8.0 / 10 from 11,707 usersMetascore: 92
The effects of a nuclear holocaust on the working class city of Sheffield, England and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

An incredibly gritty and depressing story of the effects of nuclear war on two families in the UK. I watched this one as a kid (that explains a lot!) and it has always stuck with me for obvious reasons. Side note: not a kids’ show.

#5 Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
120 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller|15 May 2015
8.1Rating: 8.1 / 10 from 864,792 usersMetascore: 90
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.

This movie is a gateway drug to a more serious post-apocalyptic movie addiction, and for good reason. If you don’t like this one because it’s just one big car chase, then realize that’s exactly why I like it.

 Honorable Mention

Mad Max 1

Snowpiercer

The Book of Eli

Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. Her favorite shows of all-time are Battlestar Galactica and Lost, and she's always happy to talk about her cats. :)

#1 The Matrix

The Matrix (1999)
136 min|Action, Sci-Fi|31 Mar 1999
8.7Rating: 8.7 / 10 from 1,647,373 usersMetascore: 73
When a beautiful stranger leads computer hacker Neo to a forbidding underworld, he discovers the shocking truth--the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.

Matrix broke a lot of tropes and conventions back when it first came out, in both visual effects and storytelling. I remember having no clue about the twist in the plotline and feeling so inspired when I watched the movie. It is one of the highest quality post-apocalyptic movies out there, in my opinion. Now, my opinion of Matrix 2 and Matrix 3 is less enthusiastic, but I’ll save that for another time. :)

#2 I Am Legend

I Am Legend (2007)
101 min|Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller|14 Dec 2007
7.2Rating: 7.2 / 10 from 679,921 usersMetascore: 65
Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure in this post-apocalyptic action thriller.

Although I prefer the alternative ending to the one in theaters, I thought I Am Legend was really good. The scenes involving the dog still haunt me to this day, and I haven’t seen the movie in years. Whenever I hear the song “Don’t worry, about a thing,” I think about the scenes with Will Smith and his dog. And I feel SO sad. Even all these years later, it is the only think I think about when I hear the song. To me, that’s a sign of a really powerful movie, which is why this is my #2.

#3 Independence Day

Independence Day (1996)
145 min|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|03 Jul 1996
7.0Rating: 7.0 / 10 from 523,137 usersMetascore: 59
The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

Oh my gosh, the original Independence Day was so much fun! And yes, it’s another Will Smith movie in my Top 5. I adored Independence Day and watched it so many times. I still think about the scene when all the people were standing on the rooftop, welcoming the aliens, and… Well, you know what happened after that. This was a great movie.

#4 Interstellar

Interstellar (2014)
169 min|Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller|07 Nov 2014
8.6Rating: 8.6 / 10 from 1,473,010 usersMetascore: 74
A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

I’ll admit – I am drawn to any science fiction movie that tries to tackle some of the crazier sides of quantum physics and explore those deeper issues. I liked Interstellar so much that I wrote about it for Post Apocalyptic Media right here. To show why this is in my top 5, here’s a quote from my article: “I absolutely LOVE the new post-apocalyptic movie Interstellar, partially because it really speaks to the physics geek in me and my love for all things time travel. My favorite classroom moments of all time involved learning time dilation equations and figuring out just how much time slows down as someone approaches c. Length contraction is also pretty crazy, along with the thought experiments that go along with it… What’s amazing to me is how this stuff is real.”

#5 Cloverfield

Cloverfield (2008)
85 min|Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller|18 Jan 2008
7.0Rating: 7.0 / 10 from 369,592 usersMetascore: 64
A group of friends venture deep into the streets of New York on a rescue mission during a rampaging monster attack.

Chalk this up to another movie that really made a lasting impression on me when I watched this. Here’s another movie where they tried to approach the cinematography from an original and unique angle, and it worked. I was scared while watching the movie, and I also felt a little sick too haha. It was really good, and it spawned 10 Cloverfield Lane, which was also really good.

 Honorable Mention

Signs
12 Monkeys

Pacific Rim
Ender’s Game
Battleship

Terminator
Children of Men

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Derek started Post Apocalyptic Media with his wife Stephanie. Formerly a licensed attorney in the State of Texas, he is currently prepping for the apocalypse.

Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. Her favorite shows of all-time are Battlestar Galactica and Lost, and she's always happy to talk about her cats. :)

Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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