Best post-apocalyptic movies

RoadFilmHere is my selection of the best post-apocalyptic movies, and other films that focus on the themes covered in The Knowledge – of surviving in the aftermath of the apocalypse and rebuilding from scratch. But in this list I’ve not included films that cover only the catastrophe itself or dystopian futures in general. Also see The Knowledge’s list of the Best Post-Apocalyptic BooksBest Post-Apocalyptic Games and Best Post-Apocalyptic Apps.

Things To Come (1936)
Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, this sweeping epic of a film charts the recovery of humanity after it’s fragmented into isolated communities by a global war and ravished by plague.
The Omega Man (1971)
One of several adaptation of Matheson’s I Am Legend; the last human struggles against those infected by a mysterious contagion.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a drifter helps a small community against bandits
Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)
French film, shot in black and white and with virtually no dialogue, follows ‘The Man’ as he fights for survival in a brutal post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The Day After (1983)
A harrowing film about the residents of a small town in Kansas amidst nuclear holocaust
Threads (1984)
A documentary-styled account of nuclear holocaust on the inhabitants of Sheffield and the long-term effects for humanity
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Max is exiled from Bartertown into the desert wilderness and encounters a tribe of children living in a crashed jet plane.
The Quiet Earth (1985)
A man awakes alone in an empty world and embarks on a frantic search for other survivors
The Stand (1994)
Mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about the aftermath of global plague and the show-down between good and evil.
Waterworld (1995)
In a world reshaped by sea level rises, a sailor reluctantly helps a women and daughter escape the bandit ‘smokers’.
The Postman (1997)
Adaptation of Brin’s novel about a drifter who finds a postal service uniform and attempts to bring hope to a post-apocalyptic community.
Cast Away (2000)
A FedEx employee survives a plane crash and washes ashore a deserted island with a few packages.
Ever Since the World Ended (2001)
Hand-held documentary-style film on the tiny remaining community living around San Francisco 12 years after a devastating epidemic.
I Am Legend (2007)
The most recent adaptation of Matheson’s book: post-apocalyptic New York is deserted, but only by day.
Blindness (2008)
Based on Saramago’s book, the thin veneer of civilised society shatters as an epidemic of ‘white sickness’ turns those afflicted blind.
The Mist (2008)
Based on Stephen King’s short story about a group trapped by lethal fog. Touches on The Knowledge theme about long you can persist on contents of a single supermarket, and also offers a microcosm of the degeneration of society.
One Hundred Mornings (2011)
Two couples hide in a lakeside cabin to escape the turmoil of the breakdown of society around them.
The Road (2009)
Father and son struggle in a bleak and lawless world after an unspecified catastrophe. Every bit as haunting as McCarthy’s novel.
The Book of Eli (2010)
A lone man travels across post-apocalyptic America, protecting a sacred book he believes is the key to humanity’s salvation.
The Lost Future (2010)
Ironically, a post-apocalyptic jungle beset with mutated beasts is about the only film Sean Bean doesn’t die in. Sorry, spoilers.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Adaptation of Mitchell’s novel of nested-narratives – the apex of which is set in a post-apocalyptic future.
5 Shells (2012)
In the aftermath of economic collapse, two sisters wander a desert searching for a new home.
World War Z (2013)
Based on Brook’s novel, a race against time to curb the un-dead epidemic before it’s too late. I’ve allowed this zombie flick onto the list on the strength of the swarm visuals.
After The Dark (2013)
A philosophy teacher challenges his class to decide which ten of them should be saved in a nuclear bunker to rebuild civilisation, based on their different skills sets and expertise

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