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50 Disaster Movies Ranked

Combining spectacle with human drama, disaster movies are some of the largest, most epic canvases filmmakers can work on. And now we’re ranking some of the best and worst disaster movies, from Certified Fresh to Fresh to Rotten movies, all ranging from earthquakes (San Andreas), asteroids (Deep Impact), tsunamis (The Impossible), airplanes (Airport), fires (The Towering Inferno), boats (Titanic), and just about everything mother nature can throw at us (2012). So put on a helmet, wear a lifejacket, and hunker down in your fallout shelter as brace for the disaster movies ranked! Alex Vo

#1

Titanic (1997)
87%69%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100388%
Critics Consensus: A mostly unqualified triumph for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama.
Synopsis: James Cameron's "Titanic" is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#2

Contagion (2011)
85%63%

#2
Adjusted Score: 94726%
Critics Consensus: Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart -- and scary -- disaster movie.
Synopsis: When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#3

Deepwater Horizon (2016)
82%82%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97291%
Critics Consensus: Deepwater Horizon makes effective use of its titular man-made disaster to deliver an uncommonly serious -- yet still suitably gripping -- action thriller.
Synopsis: On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, igniting a massive fireball that... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#4

The Wave (2015)
83%65%

#4
Adjusted Score: 88688%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and blessed with a refreshingly humanistic focus, The Wave is a disaster film that makes uncommonly smart use of disaster film clichés.
Synopsis: A Norwegian geologist (Kristoffer Joner) and his family (Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro) fight for survival when a massive... [More]
Directed By: Roar Uthaug

#5

The Impossible (2012)
81%84%

#5
Adjusted Score: 88143%
Critics Consensus: The screenplay isn't quite as powerful as the direction or the acting, but with such an astonishing real-life story at its center, The Impossible is never less than compelling.
Synopsis: In December 2004, close-knit family Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in... [More]
Directed By: J. A. Bayona

#6

Black Sea (2014)
80%59%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84419%
Critics Consensus: Black Sea may not be particularly deep, but thanks to Kevin Macdonald's judicious direction and a magnetic performance from Jude Law, it remains an efficiently well-crafted thriller.
Synopsis: Soon after losing his salvage job, former naval officer Robinson (Jude Law) assembles a misfit crew of unemployed sailors for... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#7

Greenland (2020)
78%63%

#7
Adjusted Score: 84357%
Critics Consensus: Beware, comets of Greenland: Gerard Butler is here to protect Earth -- and show audiences an improbably entertaining time.
Synopsis: John Garrity, his estranged wife and their young son embark on a perilous journey to find sanctuary as a planet-killing... [More]
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 81474%
Critics Consensus: The Poseidon Adventure exemplifies the disaster film done right, going down smoothly with ratcheting tension and a terrific ensemble to give the peril a distressingly human dimension.
Synopsis: En route from New York City to Greece on New Year's Eve, majestic passenger ship the S.S. Poseidon is overtaken... [More]
Directed By: Ronald Neame, Irwin Allen

#9

Sharknado (2013)
74%33%

#9
Adjusted Score: 56489%
Critics Consensus: Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines "so bad it's good" for a new generation.
Synopsis: A monstrous storm devastates Los Angeles, leaving the streets flooded and infested with sharks.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#10

Airport (1970)
75%54%

#10
Adjusted Score: 75659%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this large-ensemble disaster movie, Mel Bakersfeld (Burt Lancaster), the general manager of a Chicago-area airport, must contend with a... [More]
Directed By: George Seaton

#11

The Towering Inferno (1974)
68%72%

#11
Adjusted Score: 70061%
Critics Consensus: Although it is not consistently engaging enough to fully justify its towering runtime, The Towering Inferno is a blustery spectacle that executes its disaster premise with flair.
Synopsis: Classic 1970s disaster movie about a fire that breaks out in a state-of-the-art San Francisco high-rise building during the opening... [More]

#12

The Burning Sea (2021)
74%64%

#12
Adjusted Score: 74392%
Critics Consensus: The Burning Sea falls back on disaster movie formula, but the end results are gripping enough to satisfy.
Synopsis: In 1969, the Norwegian government announces their discovery of one of the world's largest oil fields in the neighboring North... [More]
Directed By: John Andreas Andersen

#13

Snakes on a Plane (2006)
69%49%

#13
Adjusted Score: 75328%
Critics Consensus: Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn't perfect, but then again, it doesn't need to be.
Synopsis: FBI agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) boards a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, escorting a witness to trial.... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#14

Twister (1996)
63%58%

#14
Adjusted Score: 66225%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept blockbuster that emphasizes special effects over three-dimensional characters, Twister's visceral thrills are often offset by the film's generic plot.
Synopsis: During the approach of the most powerful storm in decades, university professor Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) and an underfunded... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 61268%
Critics Consensus: The schlock factor for Sharknado 2: The Second One is not as entertaining as its predecessor's, though fans of the brand will likely enjoy it.
Synopsis: A freak weather system brings in ravenous sharks to munch on hapless New Yorkers and iconic landmarks.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#16

The Last Voyage (1960)
60%57%

#16
Adjusted Score: 31018%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Cliff (Robert Stack) and Laurie Henderson (Dorothy Malone) are vacationing on an cruise ship with their young daughter when disaster... [More]
Directed By: Andrew L. Stone

#17

Don't Look Up (2021)
56%78%

#17
Adjusted Score: 68626%
Critics Consensus: Don't Look Up aims too high for its scattershot barbs to consistently land, but Adam McKay's star-studded satire hits its target of collective denial square on.
Synopsis: Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) make an astounding discovery... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#18

Volcano (1997)
49%32%

#18
Adjusted Score: 50854%
Critics Consensus: Volcano's prodigious pyrotechnics and Tommy Lee Jones' crotchety sneers at lava aren't quite enough to save this routine disaster film.
Synopsis: When a massive earthquake rocks the city of Los Angeles, Emergency Management department head Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones) returns... [More]
Directed By: Mick Jackson

#19

San Andreas (2015)
48%52%

#19
Adjusted Score: 57036%
Critics Consensus: San Andreas has a great cast and outstanding special effects, but amidst all the senses-shattering destruction, the movie's characters and plot prove less than structurally sound.
Synopsis: A seemingly ideal day turns disastrous when California's notorious San Andreas fault triggers a devastating, magnitude 9 earthquake, the largest... [More]
Directed By: Brad Peyton

#20

The 33 (2015)
49%59%

#20
Adjusted Score: 53995%
Critics Consensus: The 33 offers an appropriately inspirational account of real-life heroism, but its stirring story and solid performances are undermined by a flawed focus and an overreliance on formula.
Synopsis: Disaster strikes on Aug. 5, 2010, as a copper and gold mine collapses in Chile, trapping 33 men underground. With... [More]
Directed By: Patricia Riggen

#21

Earthquake (1974)
47%36%

#21
Adjusted Score: 48695%
Critics Consensus: The destruction of Los Angeles is always a welcome sight, but Earthquake offers little besides big actors slumming through crumbling sets.
Synopsis: When a major earthquake hits Los Angeles, the various residents of the city cope with the chaos and destruction. Successful... [More]
Directed By: Mark Robson

#22

The Perfect Storm (2000)
46%63%

#22
Adjusted Score: 50121%
Critics Consensus: While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers from any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye-candy and nothing else.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#23

The Hurricane Heist (2018)
47%23%

#23
Adjusted Score: 49045%
Critics Consensus: The Hurricane Heist is a throwback to the overblown action thrillers of yesteryear -- and a thoroughly middling example of why they don't make 'em like this anymore.
Synopsis: The rural town of New Hope, Ala., has a pair of super-sized problems heading its way: There's a hurricane bearing... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 53380%
Critics Consensus: The Day After Tomorrow is a ludicrous popcorn thriller filled with clunky dialogue, but spectacular visuals save it from being a total disaster.
Synopsis: After climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is largely ignored by U.N. officials when presenting his environmental concerns, his research proves... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#25

Deep Impact (1998)
46%43%

#25
Adjusted Score: 48466%
Critics Consensus: A tidal wave of melodrama sinks Deep Impact's chance at being the memorable disaster flick it aspires to be.
Synopsis: A comet is hurtling toward Earth and could mean the end of all human life. The U.S. government keeps the... [More]
Directed By: Mimi Leder

#26

The Core (2003)
39%33%

#26
Adjusted Score: 44065%
Critics Consensus: A B-movie with its tongue planted firmly in cheek, The Core is so unintentionally (intentionally?) bad that it's a hoot.
Synopsis: Geophysicist Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) discovers that an unknown force has caused the earth's inner core to stop rotating.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Amiel

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 42244%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On a flight from Hawaii to California, the engine dies on the plane Dan is flying. As he prepares for... [More]
Directed By: William Wellman

#28

2012 (2009)
39%47%

#28
Adjusted Score: 48015%
Critics Consensus: Roland Emmerich's 2012 provides plenty of visual thrills, but lacks a strong enough script to support its massive scope and inflated length.
Synopsis: Earth's billions of inhabitants are unaware that the planet has an expiration date. With the warnings of an American scientist... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#29

Moonfall (2022)
36%70%

#29
Adjusted Score: 44040%
Critics Consensus: Whether Moonfall is so bad it's good or simply bad will depend on your tolerance for B-movie cheese -- but either way, this is an Emmerich disaster thriller through and through.
Synopsis: In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#30

Armageddon (1998)
37%73%

#30
Adjusted Score: 42745%
Critics Consensus: Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie's antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.
Synopsis: When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#31

Raise the Titanic (1980)
38%29%

#31
Adjusted Score: 12654%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A U.S. admiral (Jason Robards) and his team (Richard Jordan, David Selby) compete with Russians in an attempt to salvage... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Jameson

#32

Hurricane (1979)
33%44%

#32
Adjusted Score: 12879%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Navy captain's (Jason Robards) daughter (Mia Farrow) flirts with an ensign and a well-heeled native (Dayton Ka'Ne) in windy... [More]
Directed By: Jan Troell

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 36304%
Critics Consensus: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! bites off more than it can chew, leaving viewers with an overlong mess that isn't even bad enough to be good.
Synopsis: A monstrous tornado unleashes ravenous sharks from Washington, D.C., all the way down to Orlando, Fla.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#34

The Hindenburg (1975)
36%38%

#34
Adjusted Score: 36238%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nazi Germany's prized airship is threatened with sabotage, so Col. Franz Ritter (George C. Scott) is charged with its safety.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise

#35

Poseidon (2006)
33%43%

#35
Adjusted Score: 40264%
Critics Consensus: This remake of The Poseidon Adventure delivers dazzling special effects. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that any of the budget was left over to devote to the script.
Synopsis: After a huge tidal wave capsizes a luxury liner in the North Atlantic, individual survivors (Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#36

Airport '77 (1977)
33%32%

#36
Adjusted Score: 27000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story about the mid-air hijack of a multi-millionaire's private 747 carrying a collection of priceless works of art. The... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Jameson

#37

Hard Rain (1998)
32%34%

#37
Adjusted Score: 33407%
Critics Consensus: Hard Rain is an implausible heist movie soaked in disaster movie trappings.
Synopsis: The small town of Huntingburg is forced to evacuate when torrential rains bring rising flood waters. The local sheriff (Randy... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Salomon

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 21711%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fin and his wife April travel around the world to save their young son who's trapped inside a sharknado.... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 36001%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Terrorists have planted a deadly virus on a transcontinental train. On board are the glamorous Jennifer Chamberlain (Sophia Loren) and... [More]
Directed By: George Pan Cosmatos

#40

Airport 1975 (1974)
29%38%

#40
Adjusted Score: 21503%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When an in-flight collision incapacitates the pilots of an airplane bound for Los Angeles, stewardess Nancy Pryor (Karen Black) is... [More]
Directed By: Jack Smight

#41

Dante's Peak (1997)
28%38%

#41
Adjusted Score: 28954%
Critics Consensus: The movie works when things are on fire, but everything else - from dialogue to characters - is scathingly bad.
Synopsis: Volcanologist Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) and Mayor Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton), finally convince the unbelieving populace that the big one... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#42

Pompeii (2014)
27%34%

#42
Adjusted Score: 33072%
Critics Consensus: This big-budget sword-and-sandal adventure lacks the energy and storytelling heft to amount to more than a guilty pleasure.
Synopsis: In 79 A.D., Pompeii, a bustling port city, stands in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Milo (Kit Harington), a former... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#43
Adjusted Score: 15071%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fin has to go back in time to rejoin his shark battling friends to stop the first Sharknado and save... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#44

Daylight (1996)
26%37%

#44
Adjusted Score: 27535%
Critics Consensus: The opening's got a great fiery explosion and Stallone puts in another earnest, sympathetic performance, but all else in Daylight feels designed to annoy the audience into submission.
Synopsis: A group of armed robbers fleeing the police head for the New Jersey Tunnel and run right into trucks transporting... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#45

Into the Storm (2014)
21%41%

#45
Adjusted Score: 26617%
Critics Consensus: Clumsily scripted and populated with forgettable characters, Into the Storm has little to offer beyond its admittedly thrilling special effects.
Synopsis: As a new day begins in the town of Silverton, its residents have little reason to believe it will be... [More]
Directed By: Steven Quale

#46

Geostorm (2017)
17%35%

#46
Adjusted Score: 23165%
Critics Consensus: Lacking impressive visuals, well-written characters, or involving drama, Geostorm aims for epic disaster-movie spectacle but ends up simply being a disaster of a movie.
Synopsis: After an unprecedented series of natural disasters threatened the planet, the world's leaders came together to create an intricate network... [More]
Directed By: Dean Devlin

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 11918%
Critics Consensus: Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that's lost its bite.
Synopsis: Fin (Ian Ziering), his family and the cosmos have been blissfully sharknado-free in the five years since the most recent... [More]
Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 4281%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Journalist Maggie Whelan (Susan Blakely) discovers that her married boyfriend, Kevin Harrison (Robert Wagner), heads a company that is involved... [More]
Directed By: David Lowell Rich

#49

Meteor (1979)
5%13%

#49
Adjusted Score: 5645%
Critics Consensus: Meteor is a flimsy flick with too much boring dialogue and not enough destruction. At least the pinball game is decent.
Synopsis: In this disaster movie, Americans and Soviets must put aside their differences to save civilization from a huge meteor bearing... [More]
Directed By: Ronald Neame

#50
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Disaster movie sequel following two groups of adventurers as they race to salvage a doomed ship's treasure hours after it... [More]
Directed By: Irwin Allen