The End is Near: 9 Apocalypse Movies to Help You Prepare For Doomsday
So you might have heard that our remaining days on Earth are numbered. Like, to one. At least that's how a group of fundamentalist Christian doomsday prophets are calling it, prompting followers and skeptics alike to come to grips with the enduring resonance of life after the apocalypse. But filmmakers have never needed an excuse to genuflect when it comes to the End of the World. With this in mind, consider these entertaining and/or potentially instructive movies for your post-apocalyptic viewing pleasure:
On the Beach (1959)
Stanley Kramer's adaptation of the Nevil Shute novel was the first real Hollywood treatment of Cold War nuclear paranoia, complete with an all-star cast including Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. What transpired remains arguably the most bleakly romantic apocalypse film ever, wherein Earth's only survivors of a nuclear holocaust come together in Australia -- at least until the radiation gets them. The climax below culminates in a wasteland tableau that still kind of shocks viewers and influences the doomsday genre to this day.
Panic in Year Zero (1962)
Oscar-winner Ray Milland directed and starred in this D-movie about a family seeking refuge from a society turned upside-down with nuclear fallout, roaming hooligans and sweeping destruction. I love it for its collision of post-Eisenhower earnestness with the mortal terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis era, all bundled up in one solipsistic ball of class-conscious white-flight crisis. Kidding! I love it because I never get tired of seeing Milland order Frankie Avalon -- playing his son (!) Ricky (!!) -- to shoot people.
A Boy and His Dog (1975)
To the extent Stanley Kubrick used comedy to parse the impending apocalypse in Dr. Strangelove, director L.Q. Jones had a campy, tongue-in-cheek look at the aftermath with this curio. The results are neither good nor bad, but rather an ironic, over-the-top application of swingin' '70s culture to the glum genre nihilism that commenced with On the Beach.