Adventure Movies

33 great disaster movies that’ll have you running for cover

March 21, 20242 Mins Read

Like the greater action genre to which they belong, disaster movies speak to something primal in all of us: the fear that our lives rest in the hands of unknown forces that care nothing about who we are or what we’ve done, as well as the innate desire to see stuff done get smashed up real good. For decades, filmmakers have seized upon the human anxiety that the universe could, at any moment, decide to squish us like bugs. Sometimes, the disaster itself is a backdrop to stories about human survival. Other times, wanton destruction is the whole point – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with a director flexing their effects budget, if it’s eye-popping, ear-busting and senses-overloading enough. 

You’ll find both represented on this list of the greatest disaster movies ever made. In putting together this list, we left out rampaging monsters and invading aliens and kept to the more common definition of ‘disasters’ – earthquakes, asteroids, tidal waves, geostorms, etc. Here are 33 classics of the genre that register 11 on the cinematic Richter Scale.


💣 The 101 best action movies of all-time
😱 The 100 best horror movies of all-time
😬 The 100 best thrillers of all-time
👹 The 50 best monster movies ever made

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