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05.29.2015by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Most Epic Disaster Movies Of All Time

SAN ANDREAS is poised to devastate the box office this weekend which means it is time to think back on the best disaster movies of all time. Whether they be natural, supernatural, or otherwise, SAN ANDREAS could join the esteemed company of these ten movies. Keep in mind we are not saying these are the best movies but just the most epic. If your favorite didn't make the cut, feel free to add it to the talk backs below.

#10 - ALIVE

Not a global catastrophe but a shocking plane crash that forces a group of survivors to weigh whether the moral price of cannibalism is worth the struggle to stay alive. A disturbingly powerful film, ALIVE will also make the thought of flying over mountains all the much more disturbing than any global disaster movie could.

#9 - CONTAGION

Steven Soderbergh's viral outbreak thriller is no 28 DAYS LATER or WORLD WAR Z, but it does make the concept of an apocalyptic disease spreading around the world more frightening than any zombie movie could. I guarantee you will think twice about going to China or eating pork after seeing this movie.

#8 - TWISTER

Jan De Bont's tornado blockbuster does for funnel clouds what JAWS did for sharks. Stunning special effects are the closest most people will ever get to an actual tornado and it is handled brilliantly. TWISTER's effects still hold up two decades later making this one hell of a ride.

#7 - INDEPENDENCE DAY

I tried very hard to keep alien invasion movies off of this list, but INDEPENDENCE DAY just nails the global destruction. The iconic shot of the White House being destroyed may be one of the most shocking and perfect Hollywood images in movie history.

#6 - TITANIC

While I dislike James Cameron's overly melodramatic TITANIC, I cannot argue with the sheer magnitude of how well executed the ship sinking sequence is executed. Cameron is a visual artist who manages to make you feel as if you were there as the terrible tragedy unfolded. 3D or not, TITANIC is a visual marvel.

#5 - THE TOWERING INFERNO

Disaster epics used to be very common in Hollywood and very few were as good as THE TOWERING INFERNO. The film was star-studded, featuring William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, O. J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Gregory Sierra, and Dabney Coleman. Most movies these days cannot match a cast like that and I doubt many would tackle the subject matter in a post-9/11 world.

#4 - 2012

Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic movie is pretty stupid, but it is visually stunning. Don't expect there to be much logic in this movie but you cannot argue with just how damn impressive it is to see how the world could have ended if anyone knew how the Mayan calendar actually worked.

#3 - EARTHQUAKE

One of the more pulpy disaster movies, and clearly a template for SAN ANDREAS, EARTHQUAKE was epic enough to garner it a ride at Universal Studios which should speak to it's longevity. The level of destruction in this movie is just scary enough to keep you away from fault lines without going into destruction porn mode.

#2 - DEEP IMPACT

While ARMAGEDDON may be the more memorable summer disaster movie from 1998, DEEP IMPACT is the better movie. Taking a more dramatic approach to the end of the world devastation, Mimi Leder's film is more depressing and "realistic" in portraying how humanity would cope with the inevitable.

#1 - THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

Balancing that fine line between disaster porn and spectacle, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW carries a pretty blatant ecological plotline. Even with the less than stellar screenwriting, this movie manages to destroy the Earth while leaving hope for saving it.

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