The list of the 10 ultimate disaster movies spans several decades, but the movies on the list still hold a unique fascination in the eyes of the public because of the scope of their plots. Sometimes, the acting, directing, and scriptwriting take a backseat to special effects, but there's no denying that these films are entertaining. Some of them involve end-of-the-world scenarios while others concern themselves with more localized disasters. Despite little love from critics, many disaster movies have raked in the money.
“The Poseidon Adventure.” A giant wave capsizes an ocean liner and the survivors must make their way from the top of the ship to the bottom, which is now above water. This ultimate disaster movie was a big money maker and inspired several sequels and remakes.
“The Towering Inferno.” The world's tallest building catches on fire at its dedication, trapping many party guests inside. This film stars Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, who battled over who would get top billing. The picture's star power brought in money and Oscar nominations.
“Titanic.” This ultimate disaster movie is often viewed as a love story, but it's primarily a disaster flick. The film is the best depiction of history's most famous shipwreck. It's also one of the top grossing movies ever made.
“Earthquake.” The “Big One” hits Los Angeles and destroys the city. Charlton Heston leads an all-star cast in another of the ultimate disaster movies that garnered big box office cash despite the contempt of critics.
“Airport.” Critics don't like this film either, but it was so successful financially that it nspired a number of popular sequels. Dean Martin leads this all-star cast as the pilot of a plane that a suicidal man intends to blow up.
“The Andromeda Strain.” A deadly alien microorganism escapes from the lab in this ultimate disaster movie. The film is based on a novel by Michael Crichton.
“On the Beach” (1959 version). The United States and the Soviet Union engage in a nuclear war and destroy all life in the northern hemisphere. There are some survivors in Australia, and the last US Nav submarine heads there. But, the survivors are doomed as radioactive fallout is headed their way. This is an ultimate disaster movie because it packs such an emotional wallop. Parents must plan how to kill their children to spare them radiation sickness before committing suicide themselves.
“Armageddon.” An asteroid is headed straight toward Earth, and humanity's only hope is that a space mission can explode a nuclear charge on the asteroid and alter its path. This film was panned by critics, but enjoyed success with audiences.
“Twister.” This is a fun film starring, primarily, gigantic tornadoes. The plot involves storm chasers, a profession that has been romanticized in recent years.
“Independence Day.” An entire race of aliens in invulnerable spaceships attacks the Earth, intent on wiping out humanity. Critics panned this movie, but it made good money at the box office as viewers liked the plot. The special effects in this film also help to make it one of the ultimate disaster movies.