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.
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.
- 28 Days Later - 2003
- The Road - 2009
- The War Game / Culloden - 1964
- The Mist - 2008
- The Postman - 1997
- Right At Your Door - 2007
- War of the Worlds - 2005
- The Colony - 2016
- Contagion - 2011
- The Day After Tomorrow - 2004
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
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.
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 that teaches you the importance of mental preparedness and keeping hope.
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.
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.
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!
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?”
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.
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.
Here are some movie picks from our awesome readers. Leave your recommendation in the comments if you want to be featured.
- Red Dawn - 1984
- The Way Back - 2013
- All Is Lost - 2013
- The Survivalist - 2015
- Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America - 2006
- The Grey - 2011
- How I Live Now - 2013
- Goodbye World - 2013
- It Comes At Night - 2017
- Stake Land
- Dante's Peak - 1997
- Mad Max Trilogy
- Bushwick - 2017
- Survivors - 2010
- After Armageddon - 2011
- The Ultimate Warrior - 1975
- Into the Forest
- Defiance - 2009
- Testament - 1983
- E.M.P. 333 Days - 2019
- The Reliant - 2019
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 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.
From welder dave
When Miller wrote the mad max flicks he got it about right as he said in the second one the citys will explode only those mobile enough and ruthless enough will survive.
Another good one that actually is quite entertaining, but still shows a unique perspective with regards to SHTF, and the mental preparedness required to survive, is “Bushwick”. A convincing portrayal by Dave Bautista as a combat veteran with emotional scars, it's definitely worth the time.
Great series about survival. You can learn a few ideas here — BBC Survivors
Lots of valuable lessons in this story about the gradual collapse of the electrical grid after a pandemic wipes out a critical number of the skilled people who are needed to keep it going.
Not entertaining at all, but very honest and educational about depicting the natural phases we go through in a disaster and the events we will all face. Fair warning: it’s after-school special type of low-budget film.
The Reliant has so many important points. Even, though a person has practice bugging out and are prepared to do so. Nothing can be more frustrating than people you are with not being prepared mentally. I have no words for what The Reliant means to me. But it’s a movie that will challenge you to think about what you are going to do if the Something Hits The Fan in your lifetime.
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!