17 Doomsday Movies for Preppers to Watch

I want to clarify that most of the doomsday movies out there are a bunch of Hollywood BS.  The heroes make ridiculous decisions that would get them killed in a true SHTF survival scenario.  The writers gloss over the less-entertaining aspects of disasters.

Have you ever seen a doomsday movie where the characters had to crap in a bucket or wade through sewage?

No, because that doesn’t make for good entertainment.

With that said, there is some value to watching prepping movies.  Aside from being entertaining, they are a good way to introduce the topic of disaster preparedness to your family or even your friends and neighbors.

As you watch one of the ridiculous doomsday movies, go ahead and pause it to ask, “What would you do in that situation?” or “Did you know that you need to boil water when the power goes out?” or (for your neighbors) “Do you have a 30 day supply of emergency food and water?”


28 Days Later

A bike messenger wakes up from a coma to discover that a virus called “Rage” has spread through London.  He finds a group of survivors who band together for survival. 

This isn’t your typical zombie virus movie and it is really well directed.  There are also some good survival tips in it, like collecting rainwater


The Road

This might be the best movie for introducing the idea of Bugging Out to your family.  

After the apocalypse, a father and his son travel to the sea to find safety.

There are important survival lessons here about how people can become savage in disasters, wilderness survival, and how to carry your gear.


The War Game

Released in 1965, this doomsday movie is an oldie but really worth watching. 

It is filmed in documentary style and shows the events leading up to and after a nuclear attack.

There are a lot of survival themes here from mental preparedness to mass chaos to bugging out to the country.


The Mist

Here’s a doomsday movie that doesn’t usually make it to other lists.

This supernatural horror movie written by Stephen King shows what happens when a mist takes over a town and residents have to be holed up in order to survive.  

There is a really controversial ending which teaching you the importance of mental preparedness and keeping hope.


The Postman

If you want to watch a doomsday movie that you can laugh at, then this is it (though I’m admittedly biased because I don’t like Kevin Costner).  

In the movie, an apocalyptic event has sent the world back into the Dark Ages (EMP anyone?).  Some survivors band together to form communities and others form militias.

You’ll learn how stupid it is to travel when SHTF and bartering beats money.


Right At Your Door

In this 2010 movie, a dirty bomb goes off in Los Angeles.  A man has to seal up his home – even though his wife isn’t home.  When she comes back, they are forced to communicate through the barricade of tape and plastic shopping bags.

There are some obvious criticisms with the survival advice given in the film (which will make for a good discussion about what you should really do) but the mental preparedness message is good.


War of the Worlds

This movie is great entertainment and you might even be able to squeeze in a few survival lessons too! 

When aliens invade the world to harvest human bodies, they use an EMP attack to destroy all electronics.  Tom Cruise takes his family to bug out.  Since he doesn’t have a plan, he has to figure things out on the way.  

The lesson? Have your Bug Out Bag packed and plan for disasters!


  The Colony

This sci-fi horror movie is about a group of people who have to live in underground bunkers to survive the ice age induced by climate change.

The movie features cannibalism and some other survival extremes, which makes it a good movie for asking “how far would you go to survive?”


Contagion

As far as doomsday movies go, this one is different from your standard “giant comet coming to crash into the earth” or “alien invasion” movie.  

It shows how a virus can quickly turn into a mass pandemic and the importance of being able to hunker down and isolate yourself from the contagion.  

Of course the plot focuses on finding a vaccination for it, but it’s still a pretty good movie to watch to start a discussion about pandemic prepping.


The Day After Tomorrow

Despite how unbelievable the scenario is (it is Hollywood after all), I actually liked this movie. 

I particularly like that they included a homeless man in the movie and he is the most prepared for survival with all of the skills he learned on the street.  Read Survival Skills Learned from the Homeless here.


Readers Picks

Here's some movie picks from our awesome readers. Leave your recommendation in the comments if you want to be featured.


The Day After 

From Kathy:

Super good movie from 1983 about a nuclear event


Red Dawn

From Rabid Reader:

What about “Red Dawn” showing the courage of youth?


The Way Back

From Daniel:

From 2010 based on the real history of Sławomir Rawicz a Polish war prisioner.

Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India. A lot of good information there.


All is Lost

From Kenshin:

 About being stranded alone in the sea. Not a doomsday movie, but lot of lessons there.


The Survivalist

From Catinthehat:

Released 2015/16 BAFTA nominates offering. Gritty , bleak , doesn’t pull any punches, very highly recommended by me.


Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America

From Reffitt:

The most realistic depiction of a pandemic I’ve ever seen. 

It shows everything from the rich and powerful sequestering themselves, families in quarantine zones trying to survive, hospital workers saddled with the terrible choice of helping others or trying to protect themselves from the sickness, the mass graves that will result from so many dying, what may happen to the elderly and insulin dependent.


What doomsday movies would you add to the list and what lessons can you learn from them? Leave your comments below and we will add them to the reader recommendations!

33 thoughts on “17 Doomsday Movies for Preppers to Watch

  1. Can I be picky? Right At Your Door, the guy is at home having to seal the house while his girlfriend is caught up in the explosions while at work. Good film tho

    • One of the most enlightening parts of the 1984 version of Red Dawn is how any military, government, invading army can obtain B(ATF)E form 4473 to locate/identify firearms owners. Gun registration without calling that.

  2. The Way Back a 2010 based on the real history of Sławomir Rawicz a Polish war prisioner.

    Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India. A lot of good information there.

  3. The Survivalist
    Released 2015/16 BAFTA nominates offering
    Gritty , bleak , doesn’t pull any punches, very highly recommended by me

  4. Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America is the most realistic depiction of a pandemic I’ve ever seen. It shows everything from the rich and powerful sequestering themselves, families in quarantine zones trying to survive, hospital workers saddled with the terrible choice of helping others or trying to protect themselves from the sickness, the mass graves that will result from so many dying, what may happen to the elderly and insulin dependent. It’s the most realistic SHTF movie I’ve ever seen.

  5. I’ve watched all these movies….and they were All excellent….However, I would like to give My Review of one of them so that others (Who agree with me) don’t end up wasting two hours of their life they’ll never be able to get back.

    The Survivalist: Ugh!! Oh Wow! BORING……..Made really No sense whatsoever…..slow…..and a HORRIBLE Ending as well. They didn’t explain anything in this movie. The viewer doesn’t know when or where it takes place. The viewer doesn’t know why he (and others) are in the woods surviving.

    There were a few things that a prepper would see as he was doing right, but this is definitely NOT the movie to watch to learn about survival.

    It was just so horrible on so many different levels.

  6. By the Dawn’s Early Light, starring Powers Booth, Rebecca De Mornay, James Earl Jones, and Martin Landau as the President of the USA.

  7. “How I Live Now 2013” – Although in the UK, this is how FEMA will react to US citizens. Although this is justifiable in the same sense if you were asked to manage / feed that many citizens, but with preppers/survivalists they will not want to be treated this way.

  8. The Naked and Afraid tv series was highly acclaimed for having some of the most apt scenarios on survival, with only the barest necessities available to the cast.

  9. IT COMES AT NIGHT
    A fascinating look at how paranoia will set in after shtf. Some great prepper stuff too.
    STAKELAND
    Zombified vampires have taken over. Need I say more?

  10. Dante’s Peak – it really highlights how you should know specific threats to your area (some townspeople actually thought the volcano was extinct!), multiple ways out of dead area, and what you and your equipment are capable of. Plus, it’s just a fun watch as far as disaster movie go.

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