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Viewers share 12 ‘classic’ survival movies that are being called ‘the best’

Viewers share 12 ‘classic’ survival movies that are being called ‘the best’

Fans claimed these were the 'best movies' to stream, but some critics would say otherwise.

When it comes to survival movies, some viewers claim some are much better than the rest.

Last week, cinephiles took to Facebook to debate which dramatic offerings and disaster flicks are the ‘best to watch’ and we have detailed 12 of them for you.

From Netflix projects such as Leave The World Behind and Don’t Look Up, to classics such as Twister and Dante’s Peak, these are some essential feature lengths to add to your watch list.

Or you may have already watched them - but there's nothing wrong with a refresh?

Don’t Look Up

You may remember Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up dividing Netflix subscribers when it was released back in 2021.

And with an average three-star rating on Letterboxd and a 55 percent score on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, it still looks like the jury is unsure.

Alongside the tagline ‘Based on truly possible events’, the movie follows two low-level astronomers who attempt to convince the public that the Earth will be hit by a meteor in six months.

This dark comedy is used to satirise the government and celebrity indifference to the ongoing climate crisis.

It also stars an ensemble cast such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet and Jennifer Lawrence.

Regarding Don’t Look Up, FOX 4 Kansas City's Shawn Edwards said: “If I wanted to get preached at, I'll just go to church.”

As we said, not everyone was left impressed.


2012 had a surge in popularity in 2020.
Sony Pictures Releasing

Based on the idea that the world would meet its end, 2012 is a disaster movie directed and written by Roland Emmerich.

This dystopian project follows struggling writer Jackson Curtis (played by John Cusack) and geologist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as they attempt to survive earthquakes, tsunamis and a global flood.

The 2009 movie, which was inspired by the apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar, actually had a revival in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Business Insider, 2012 was the second-most popular film on Netflix in March.

Despite being hailed as a must-watch, this Sony Pictures movie only has a 5.5 Metacritic rating and is considered a Letterboxd flop with 2.4 stars.


Tommy Lee Jones and Anna Heche in Volcano.
20th Century Fox

Another classic disaster movie branded one of the ‘best to watch’ by social media users is 1997’s Volcano.

Mick Jackson’s effort stars Men in Black's Tommy Lee Jones as Michael ‘Mike’ Roark - the director of Los Angeles’ Office of Emergency Management.

When an earthquake hits the city, seismologist Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) believes a volcano is opening up underneath the city but Mike isn’t convinced.

Soon after Amy makes her hypothesis, lava begins to flow and engulf everything in its path before a new volcano, Mount Wilshire, rises from the ground.

Unfortunately, Volcano currently has a 32 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and Empire Magazine’s William Thomas claimed it ‘didn’t make a lot of sense’.

“The supporting cast are wallpaper thin, but Volcano is at least hot on entertainment,” he quipped.

The Impossible

Available to stream on Netflix, The Impossible follows a family’s fight for survival during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Starring a young Tom Holland alongside Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, The Impossible claims that ‘nothing is more powerful than the human spirit’.

J. A. Bayona’s movie is just shy of two hours long and has been branded as Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes critics.

It also has achieved an impressive 3.6 star rating on Letterboxd - with many users praising Holland for his early acting efforts.

Regarding his performance as the young Lucas, one user wrote: “Watching The Impossible has me convinced Tom Holland’s superhero powers extend to surviving both tsunamis and teenage tantrums.”

The Core

Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart star in The Core.
Paramount Pictures

The Core follows a team of experts whose mission is to set off nuclear explosions in the core of the planet in an attempt to restart its rotation.

Starring Aaron Eckhart as protagonist Keyes and Hilary Swank as astronaut Rebecca Childs, this movie bombed at the box office in 2003.

It also grossed $74.1 million (£58.4m) despite its $85m (£67m) budget.

In 2010, American professor Sidney Perkowitz told The Guardian that he 'hated' the science fiction film.

He said: "The chances are that the public will pick [science up] and that is what matters to Hollywood.

"The Core did not make money because people understood the science was so out to lunch.” Ouch.

The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow was released in 2004.
20th Century Fox.

Another Roland Emmerich movie to make the list is The Day After Tomorrow starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The 2004 survival flick is based on Art Bell and Whitley Strieber’s novel, The Coming Global Superstorm, and depicts extreme weather events which cause a new ice age.

This tense project has a ‘generally favorable’ 6.5 score on Metacritic, with Variety writing: “A disarmingly pulpy, eye-popping disaster movie during its first half, and an increasingly dull survival melodrama during its second.”

If you’ve yet to sink your teeth into The Day After Tomorrow, then you can stream it on Disney+ now.

The Perfect Storm

George Clooney in The Perfect Storm.
Warner Bros

Wolfgang Petersen brought The Perfect Storm to cinemas in 2000 and despite mixed reviews, it earned a staggering $328.7 million (£259.3) at the box office.

This disaster movie is based on the true story of a 1991 fishing boat named the Andrea Gail and its fated crew.

On Halloween Eve, the boat and its team are out of the sea when they are confronted by the fiercest storm in modern history.

Tense and harrowing, this emotional film is starstudded - with George Clooney playing Andrea Gail’s captain and Mark Wahlberg portraying Robert ‘Bobby’ Shatford.

Regarding the flick - which has an average 3.1 star rating on Letterboxd - one Facebook user wrote: “Thank you for this!! Starting The Perfect Storm now!”

Leave The World Behind

One of the newest films to grace this ‘best of’ list is Sam Esmail’s Leave the World Behind.

The apocalyptic Netflix movie is adapted from the 2020 book of the same name by Rumaan Alam and has divided critics and fans.

Reviewers have given the Ethan Hawke and Julia Roberts movie a strong 75 percent rating on the Tomatometer while streaming service subscribers have canned it at 35 percent.

However, The Observer obviously agreed with the audience score when they wrote: “Leave the World Behind is a dumb movie disguised as a smart movie, a middling thriller whose decorated cast and tricky camerawork can’t compensate for its undercooked, overwritten script.”

Leave the World Behind is streaming on Netflix now.


Twister also got a sequel in 2024.
Warner Bros

We’re seeing a Twister sequel this year starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Glen Powell, but sometimes you just can’t beat the original, right?

The 1996 offering sees Helen Hunt as Jo Harding and Bill Paxton as Bill - two spirited storm chasers who are trying to research tornados.

Directed by Jan de Bont and set in 1969’s Oklahoma, Twister received two Oscar nods for its efforts.

This blockbuster also has a strong 63 percent rating on the Tomatometer.

San Andreas

San Andreas stars The Rock as Raymond 'Ray' Gaines.
Warner Bros. Pictures

It wouldn’t be a list of classic survival movies without 2015’s San Andreas now, would it?

Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Raymond ‘Ray’ Gaines and Carla Gugino as his estranged wife, San Andreas sees a helicopter pilot risking it all to save his daughter after a massive earthquake hits California.

At the time of its release, IGN awarded the Brad-Peyton movie a strong 7.5 out of 10 rating and wrote: “There are some cracks in the foundation, but San Andreas is solid popcorn fare thanks to sharp visuals and The Rock.”

Letterbox may think less of San Andreas, however, as it currently sits with a meagre 2.4 star rating.

Independence Day

Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day.
20th Century Fox

The year is 1996 and the science-fiction action movie Independence Day has just hit cinemas.

Considered to be at the forefront of the mid-late 1990s sci-fi resurgence, this disaster movie was distributed by 20th Century Fox and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Independence Day asks the question: what would the Earth do if aliens arrived on our doorstep?

The Oscar-award-winning movie sees Will Smith portraying Captain Steven Hiller, while Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid and James Rebhorn also appear.

For once, reviewer and viewer scores on Rotten Tomatoes align - with Independence Day getting a 68 percent critic rating and 75 percent audience score.

Dante’s Peak

Dante's Peak is a disaster movie from 1997.
Universal Pictures

Roger Donaldson’s disaster movie Dante’s Peak has also been heralded as one of the best survival movies - but review websites may say differently.

The cult classic is set in the fictional town of Dante’s Peak where inhabitants such as Rachel Wando (played by Linda Hamilton) are fighting to survive a volcanic eruption.

Pierce Brosnan and Charles Hallahan also front the 1997 offering which currently has a low 2.9 star rating on Letterboxd.

Over on Metacritic, L.A Weekly wrote: “Too bad that by the time the volcano shoots its wad, the movie has already died a thousand deaths, ground to a halt by the interminable waiting for the damn thing to blow.”

Well, if some viewers are calling Dante’s Peak one of the ‘best’ survival movies out there, it can’t be all bad, right?

Featured Image Credit: Netflix/DreamWorks Pictures

Topics: Film and TV, Celebrity