The Best End-of-the-World Movies

When you're just in the mood to watch the world burn, I present: The best movies about the end of the world.

There's a movie out there for every occasion. Rom-coms for Valentine's Day (opens in new tab). Tragedies for getting through a break-up (opens in new tab). And end-of-the-world movies for those dark moments where you just want to see everything fall apart (or you feel like everything is already falling apart).

The fun thing (is there such a thing?) about end-of-the-world movies is how creative they get. Alien invaders? Check. Sentient computers? Check. Time travel? Of course. Revolution? You betcha. Take a little vacation from what feels like the actual end of the world with these classic movies.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Riley Keough

Can the end of the world....turn into a feminist epic about rebirth and the destruction of patriarchy? We're sure hoping so!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Starring: Brooke Adams, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy

This throwback is one of the OG end-of-the-world movies. We recommend the 1973 remake of the 1956 original.

The Day After Tomorrow

Starring: Jake Gyllenhall, Dennis Quaid, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward, Dash Mihok

Remember watching this in high school environmental science? Anybody? Just me? Well, it looks a whole lot more like reality than it did back then.

I Am Legend

Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Willow Smith, Salli Richardson

Everyone needs a dog at the end of the world. Especially if the end of the world includes zombies!

Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy, Claude Akins, Austin Stoker

There have been a TON of Planet of the Apes remakes, but the 1973 original is a classic must-watch.

WALL-E

Starring: Jeff Garlin, Elissa Knight, Ben Burtt, Andrew Stanton, Sigourney Weaver

Listen, the end of the world can be cute. If there are robots involved.

Avengers: Endgame

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame broke our hearts (but put them back together) with this semi-apocalyptic finale.

The Matrix

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving

Is it weird to say that this is, like, the sexiest end-of-the-world movie? The leather, the woman in the red dress, Neo and Trinity? If the world ends with machine overlords, then I guess this is the way to do it.

The Hunger Games

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz

Okay, so The Hunger Games might not be an actual end-of-the-world movie, but it's supposed to take place after a world-ending authoritarian take-over so....we'll say that it counts. Plus, it's surprisingly inspiring to watch Katniss and Peeta and friends organize a rebellion.

Interstellar

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Timothée Chalamet

It's the end of the world...but in outer space. But in all honesty, this movie is breathtaking and we so, so recommend it.

Contagion

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law,

Okay, this might hit a little too close to home right now, but this cast was amaaazing and the movie's kind of a crash course in public health.

Pacific Rim

Starring: Charlie Day, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Hunnam, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman

Nothing like a good end-of-the-world action flick. The Pacific Rim soundtrack is unbeatable and the 2018 John Boyega remake is soooo good.

Thor: Ragnorak

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Taika Waititi, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Karl Urban, Idris Elba

Beyond the best Thor movie so far (although we're happy to be proven wrong by Thor: Love and Thunder), this is an end-of-the-world movie about a different world (phew!). Taika Waititi kills it as a director and the soundtrack is on fire.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Starring: Keira Knightley, Steve Carell, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Melanie Lynskey, Patton Oswalt

There's something strangely sweet about watching Keira Knightley and Steve Carell make the best of a bad situation—one month to live until an asteroid hits and destroys the world.

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Cecilia Nowell
Cecilia Nowell

Cecilia Nowell is a freelance reporter covering gender, reproductive health, and the Americas. Her writing has been published in Elle, Teen Vogue, The Washington Post’s The Lily, and The Nation.