Top ten post-apocalyptic films

Top ten post-apocalyptic films

Be it a deadly virus, vampire invasion or just some good old fashioned nuclear fallout, there really is nothing like an apocalypse to kick-start those rusty survival instincts. After recently watching Hardware on Blu-ray (and playing lots of Fallout), I have decided to do a quick rundown (in no particular order) of my ten favourite post-apocalyptic flicks.

After the deserved slamming my last post received (predominantly for not including Bill Pullman in Independence Day), I figured it’s probably worth mentioning that I will have inevitably missed out many worthy post-apocalyptic titles, so apologies in advance. This does not extend to those who rate Book Of Eli, Terminator Salvation and I Am Legend as ‘classics’.

Oh, and I also haven’t mentioned zombie films. If I did, I’d be here all day!

The Road (2009)

Directed By:John Hillcoat

Starring:Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Probably the bleakest vision of a post-apocalyptic hell-hole yet, The Road follows the gruelling journey a father and son make across the barren wasteland that is now America. Despite being grim, hard-going stuff, The Road is an emotive, fantastically made journey that I hope I never have to make.

Planet of The Apes (1968)

Directed By:Franklin J Schaffner

Starring:Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter

Reasons to Duck And Cover: In a world where apes rule over man, things are pretty crazy indeed, especially for stranded astronaut Charlton Heston. Referenced countless times and loved by so many, the original Planet Of The Apes is certainly deserving of the praise this imaginative, epic film has garnered.

Hardware (1990) aka M.A.R.K. 13

Directed By:Richard Stanley

Starring:Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Often overlooked, Hardware is notable for its great robot effects and low budget prowess in this Terminator inspired film. When modern art becomes the ultimate killing machine, carnage ensues in a radiation blasted futurescape. Bloody, frantic and enjoyable, Hardware is best enjoyed on Blu-ray, due to some crucial image remastering.

The Last Man On Earth (1964)

Directed By:Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow

Starring:Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli

Reasons to Duck And Cover: The first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s cult novel I Am Legend, The Last Man On Earth has solitary human Vincent Price pitted against the fanatical vampiric hordes bent on his extermination. Creepy, atmospheric and bleak, The Last Man On Earth depicts an undead siege way ahead of its time, pre-dating Night Of The Living Dead.

12 Monkeys (1995)

Directed By:Terry Gilliam

Starring:Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Based on the French short La Jetée, Gilliam’s film is set in a virus blighted world where mankind huddles in isolated bunkers. Desperate to find out more about the disease that wiped out most of humanity, convict Bruce Willis is sent back in time on a fact finding mission. With its brilliant concept, intricate narrative and impressive performances, Gilliam has made 12 Monkeys a must-see.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Directed By:George Miller

Starring:Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Mel Gibson is forced into defending a fortified oil refinery against the bizarre forces of The Humungus, in a broken world devoid of law and order. Of all the Mad Max films, this has to be my favourite, with its desolate setting, morally ambiguous protagonist and intense car chases. Makes me long for the ‘80’s again.

Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)

Directed By:Luc Besson

Starring:Jean Reno, Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Besson’s first feature shows us a derelict world where the power of speech has been lost. Survivors Pierre Jolivet and Jean Bouise team up to fight off the frenzied attacks of a brutish Jean Reno. With no dialogue in this black and white struggle for survival, Le Dernier Combat is adventurous and gripping, one of Besson’s most interesting works.

Logan’s Run (1976)

Directed By:Michael Anderson

Starring:Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Mankind lives in a futuristic utopia, albeit with one drawback: at 30 execution is mandatory. Desperate to live, Michael York and Jenny Agutter attempt to flee their fates and locate the mysterious Sanctuary beyond the walls of their prison. Logan’s Run is classic Sci-fi post-apocalyptic entertainment made all the better by Michael York’s unflinching self-preservation. For those who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend.

Children Of Men (2006)

Directed By:Alfonso Cuarón

Starring:Clive Owen, Julianne More, Chiwetel Eijofor

Reasons to Duck And Cover: The year is 2027 and mankind has become infertile. With no children to repopulate the world, society is rapidly falling apart with civil disorder, totalitarian government and terrorist mayhem running rampant throughout Britain. Clive Owen is tasked with escorting the only known pregnant woman through this chaotic warzone and thus preserving the future of humanity. Dealing with issues of immigration, dictatorship and self interest, Children of Men is a fantastic watch, with an incredible tracking sequence that shows the director’s quality.

Delicatessen (1991)

Directed By:Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring:Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech

Reasons to Duck And Cover: Post-apocalyptic times are hard in this French movie set within a crumbling tenement block. The sinister landlord ensures his tenants are well fed… though the source of food is unsavoury to say the least. This surreal black comedy is a visual feast, with fascinating characters that culminate in a surprisingly emotive love story. To be watched alongside The City Of Lost Children.

List written and compiled by FilmFella Henry @filmfellahenry
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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

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