80 years of post-apocalyptic cinema

DamnationAlleyEmma Anne James (Twitter) is a PhD researcher at the University of Leicester, writing her thesis on the critical analysis of post-apocalyptic cinema. She has written a guest post for The Knowledge website discussing the tropes and common themes, as well as the implicit assumptions within them, of these post-apocalyptic films. Here, she provides for us her exhaustive list of 78 American post-apocalyptic films released in the eighty-year period between 1933 and 2013. This includes absolute classics like On the Beach, some truly awful films like Creepozoids, and all three incarnations of The Planet of the Apes narrative (1968, 2001, 2011).

Emma’s research focuses on films released after 1968, and doesn’t include zombie flicks for various reasons including their general status as apocalyptic rather than post-apocalyptic films (see here for her definitions on this). She also includes a few films that have another type of narrative, but contain a very significant post-apocalyptic aspect in the film (for example, the last third of A.I. is significant for its iconographic and thematic use of a post-apocalyptic setting).


Here, then, is Emma’s complete list of post-apocalyptic films. How many have you already seen…?


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