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10 Best Movies About The Last Person Alive

May 30, 20249 Mins Read


  • Films about the last person on Earth don’t focus on the catastrophe, exploring themes of isolation and humanity.
  • Although not extensively done, these movies have provided a fascinating insight into post-human Earth.
  • From horror to comedy, these films about the last person showcase unique exploration of being human.

One subgenre of movie that often proves to be thought-provoking and compelling are films about the last person or people on Earth. These movies don’t necessarily go into the catastrophe that destroyed life on the planet, or even need to be particularly dystopian. Some of these movies can be more horror focused, and on the other end of the spectrum, they can be comedies. However, they all explore themes of isolation, loneliness, and what it means to be human.

This category of film has not been extensively done, but there is a catalog of movies extending back to at least 1964 with movies like The Last Man on Earth. However, these stories have provided an incredible insight and study of humanity and its impact on the planet, particularly focusing on what Earth might look like after humans are gone. Aside from being an interesting study and thought experiment, it also proves to be a thoroughly entertaining and engaging subgenre of film.

10 The Last Man On Earth (1964)

Screencap of Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth.

In 1964, Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend, received its first adaptation with the classic post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror movie, The Last Man on Earth. Matheson himself wrote part of the screenplay, although, due to feeling unsatisfied with the results, he chose to be credited by a different name on the film: Logan Swanson. The film itself proved to be a pioneering story which would inspire many other apocalyptic horror films.

The story is largely faithful to the novel it was inspired by, with some minor artificial changes and an alternative ending. While Robert Morgan remains potentially the only living human being on planet Earth, he is surrounded by the living dead, who have several symptoms in common with the vampires of legend. His desire for companionship and the exploration of humanity make this a compelling watch.


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9 I Am Legend (2007)

Will Smith looking scared as Robert Neville in I Am Legend

More than 40 years later, the novel was again adapted, this time retaining the name of the novel and the lead character, but changing much more of the story. Will Smith stars as the last man alive, who has a chance immunity to the virus that has wiped out almost all of humankind. He lives each day in a repetitive routine, trying to emulate normality, but constantly facing his isolation. His only companion is a dog whom he was given just before the virus outbreak.

The story sees Robert Neville lose his best friend when the dog defends him from some of the mutant monsters that remain in place of the humans. Then, he finds some other survivors, and is full of hope for a brighter future. The movie had a controversial ending, which led to an alternative ending being released and being made the official conclusion. A sequel is now in the works, with Smith returning, which follows the events of the alternate ending.

8 Night Of The Comet (1984)

Reggie looking concerned in Night Of The Comet

In 1984, Night of the Comet became an unexpected success, despite a small release. The film received widely positive reviews and has since become a cult classic. In addition, one of the characters in the film was part of the inspiration behind Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer a decade later (via EW). The movie is a delightful mix of dramatic horror and sci-fi comedy.

The Earth is set to cross into the tail of a comet, which last occurred around the time the dinosaurs went extinct. While people are excited to witness the astrological anomaly, it leads to the rapid demise of the human race as a mysterious red smog transforms most people into zombies, before disintegrating to dust themselves. The film is less serious in its approach to the last people alive concept, but it’s just as entertaining as any other film on this list.


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7 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Charlize Theron as Furiosa pressing a masked Tom Hardy as Max against a rig in Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road was the long anticipated fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise by creator and director George Miller. After years in development hell, the film finally came to light in 2015, starring Tom Hardy as the titular lead. The film is in some ways a reboot of the earlier 1979 original starring Mel Gibson, but with modern graphics and a much larger budget, it carves out a new path.

The film explores a post-apocalyptic world which is largely desolate. However, a few savage survivors remain, living in a barbaric and violent state. Max becomes an unlikely hero as he seeks to overthrow the corrupt leaders in charge and destroy the less than ideal new system of government.

6 When The Wind Blows (1986)

When the Wind Blows

When the Wind Blows is a truly unique undertaking in apocalyptic films. The film is a small independent British picture which recreates the story from the graphic novel of the same name by Raymond Briggs. However, the film did not simply adapt the story, it recreated the same art in an animated feature length adult film. For 1986, this was an incredibly impressive venture for smaller independent studios, but one that paid off with the final result.

Jim and Hilda Bloggs are an elderly couple living in rural England. They live simply, with Jim deriving pleasure by visiting the nearest town and reading the newspapers to keep informed. However, when news of an imminent nuclear war breaks out, the couple prepare their home for the worst. Having survived great wars in the past, they initially believe that this too shall pass, and they will be rescued, but as the film progresses, hope begins to fade.


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5 Snowpiercer (2013)

Curtis (Chris Evans) and Namgoong (Song Kang-Ho) next to each other looking stunned in Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is another film which was based on a popular graphic novel about the end of the world. The film was directed by Bong Joon-ho and stars Captain America himself, Chris Evans. In a world where the climate crisis reached a critical level, humans created a unique solution to preserve a small group of people in perpetuity.

All life now exists within the confines of a constantly moving train, which circles the Earth until such a time that the planet is safe to return to. However, things do not go smoothly, and complications among the inhabitants of the train, and the strenuous conditions outside lead to conflict. The story is incredibly unique, and while there is a small community that lives on, they are the last remnants of life on Earth, or at least that’s what they believe.

4 28 Days Later (2002)

Cillian Murphy's bloodsoaked Jim looks over his shoulder in 28 Days Later

In 2002, 28 Days Later was released to critical acclaim. The movie stars Cillian Murphy, as he wakes from a coma to discover he is the last man alive. This film evokes an especially eerie sense of horror thanks to the setting in the English capitol of London. Despite London’s reputation as a city that never sleeps, director Danny Boyle was able to maintain a tight filming schedule that delivered some incredible otherworldy footage.

By recording at the break of dawn, Boyle was able to capture some of the most recognizable landmarks and streets in the world, blocking off areas of one of the busiest cities on Earth. The film is outstanding, with an incredible performance from Murphy, and a captivating narrative to boot.


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3 A Quiet Place (2018)

Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) wearing headphones trying to establish communication from a transmitter in A Quiet Place- Day One Official trailer
Image via Paramount Pictures

In 2018, John Krasinski, formerly of The Office fame where he played Jim Halpert, delivered his major box office hit as a director with A Quiet Place. The film follows a family living in a post-apocalytic world that has been taken over by sightless aliens. While the aliens have no ability to see, they have a finely tuned, hyper-sensitive sense of hearing.

This is where the Abbott family have the advantage, as they are all fluent in sign language due to their daughter Regan being deaf. The story explores a tightly-knit family in their struggles to survive and make all the necessary provisions to live quietly and in hiding from their new alien predators. Overall, the film is deeply emotional and innovative with very little dialogue throughout.

2 Zombieland (2009)


Returning to comedy, 2009s Zombieland is a star-studded affair about a world overrun by zombies. A small group of misfits who find each other at the end of the Earth band together to look for a sanctuary in a devastated world. The cast is incredible throughout, with talent like Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin as the survivors.

The movie is unashamedly fun and light, opting for awesome action sequences over heavy themes. Thanks to the small ensemble and their wonderful chemistry, Zombieland works as an engaging and entertaining exploration of life in a fallen, empty world. And interestingly, because of the light-hearted nature of the film, it shines a light on the idea of how those with a positive mindset and determination survive and thrive.


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1 Planet Of The Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes Ending

Of course, the original 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, established in the marketing that the main characters were stranded on an alien planet. However, more than 50 years later, the twist ending which reveals that this planet was simply Earth in the distant future is now well-known. As humans chose to lean into mutually assured destruction, firing off nuclear missiles, the world and the former ruling class fell apart.

In the aftermath, apes begin to evolve and fill the void for power in the wreckage. As time passed, these creatures built new civilizations, and used any human survivors as their slaves to rebuild the planet in their new image. Once again, this exploration of a world where humans have all but become extinct, it’s fascinating to explore what that future and isolation could bring.

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