The greatest movies of all time
The greatest movies of all time

By Dear Cast & Crew

Dear Disaster Fans,

If you think life right now is a disaster, maybe this will make you feel better.

Hold on to something secure, and get ready for wall-to-wall destruction in the newest video of our Greatest Movies A-Z series with WatchMojo. It will either comfort you when comparing it to life in 2020, or make you worried about what’s to could come:

Again, we gave ourselves some guidelines:

  1. One film per letter
  2. Articles don’t count (the, an, a, etc.)
  3. Final list should encapsulate the genre

And we went one step further, with some Disaster-specific rules to differentiate this from future videos:

  1. A natural or accidental event endangers many lives
  2. No aliens, monsters, or zombies

The last point is pretty self-explanatory, but the first one is worth diving into. We didn’t want to just stick to natural disasters, but we did want to exclude movies where there are bombs in a building, bus, boat or airplane. Those are more solution-driven problems, with a hero that usually comes to save the day. A true disaster movie is usually more about surviving against the elements, with no other “villain” to speak of. We also want to lean on the idea of “many” lives, which disqualified movies like Castaway and Apollo 13. Sorry, Tom.

So here’s some take-aways from our decision-making process, with a bit more detail than you’ll find in the “takeaways” section of the video:


If you lived through the 90s, you know this is true. The 70s are when disaster movies took off, but the 90s is when the scale of destruction was able to convincingly go off the charts. Post 9/11, it just didn’t seem as fun to watch cities crumble - not that we didn’t still get a regular onslaught of movies destroying New York.

D really is for Disaster! Not only are there a ton of movies to choose from, but they are relatively equal quality. Movies like Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak (and, to a lesser extent, Daylight), really typify both the genre and the 90s. Then there’s the old classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire, and the modern iteration of the disaster film: Deepwater Horizon, which is based on a true story. We went with The Day After Tomorrow in the end, because Roland Emmerich is really the 90s version or Irwin Allen (the Master of Disaster), and climate change has become so hot lately.

CHEATED OUT: The Hindenburg
Initially, we had it included based on pedigree alone, but after watching it we realized the plot was actually about a bomb going off and destroying the Hindenburg. That might not be how most of us think it went down, but it is the plot of the movie.

BEST BATTLE: Titanic vs The Towering Inferno
Many consider The Towering Inferno to be the ultimate example of the genre. But it does have the misfortune of going up against one of the biggest films of all time, which is undeniably also a disaster movie. And also, famously, not the financial disaster all the trade papers were predicting.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Beasts of the Southern Wild
It isn’t thought of as a disaster movie, but the entire plot revolves around a young girl surviving after a hurricane hits New Orleans. Plus, it’s such a great and beautiful film. And we’ll take any excuse to forget the existence of Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.

Think your list would be better? More balanced? Less heart-breaking? Let us know.


Dear Cast & Crew

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