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Top 7 Movies Based On Natural Disasters Ever Till 2023

Contagion (2011)

Natural disasters have been a source of inspiration for many movie makers. Movies based on natural disasters have been popular among viewers ever since the dawn of cinema. The following list is a compilation of the top 7 movies based on natural disasters ever till 2023.

1. Contagion (2011)

When the film Contagion, depicting a respiratory virus turning into a worldwide disaster, was released in 2011, no-one expected that its fictitious story would become a reality less than a decade later. The events that have unfolded due to COVID-19, like panic buying, quarantine orders, social distancing, vaccine development, and social unrest, have eerie similarities to the movie. Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, even used Contagion as a source of information for understanding the pandemic as it was so well-researched.

The movie has an impressive cast, with Matt Damon as the protagonist, Mitch Emhoff, who is immune to the virus. Gwenyth Paltrow plays his wife Beth, one of the first victims of the disease. Lawrence Fisburne is a CDC virologist and Kate Winslet is an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, both of whom have the responsibility of locating, identifying, and preventing the virus. Jude Law is a conspiracy theorist who contributes to the public’s fear. Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, Elliot Gould, Chin Han, and Marion Cotillard also appear. Contagion is skillfully made, but those who are still traumatized by the current pandemic may want to avoid watching for now.

2. The Perfect Storm (2000)

The motion picture, The Perfect Storm, is based on a factual book that recounts the harrowing adventure of a fishing vessel, the Andrea Gail, which got caught in a violent storm out in the ocean in 1991. George Clooney plays the role of the captain, Billy Tyne and Mark Wahlberg plays the role of a beginner fisherman, Bobby Shatford. The movie portrays the crew's struggles to remain alive at sea and the families of the crewmembers at home in Massachusetts, worried about their safety.

In reality, the ultimate fate of the Andrea Gail is unknown because it was never recovered, thus the scenes of the boat in the movie were dramatized. Relatives of the crew sued the production for using their relatives' real names and for presenting them in a fictionalized manner, but the cases were dismissed. The movie also stars John C. Reilly, William Fichtner, John Hawkes as other crew members and Diane Lane as Bobby's girlfriend.

3. Twister (1996)

Twister is a highly acclaimed movie which focuses on a couple who are going through a divorce, and who find themselves in the middle of a tornado-filled Oklahoma. Helen Hunt stars as Jo, a meteorologist in charge of a team of storm-chasers who are trying to use a new weather-sensing device. Bill Paxton is Jo's husband Bill, a storm-chaser-turned-weatherman, and they reunite while they run from the storms. It was praised as one of the best disaster films of its era, and was even nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Sound Design and Best Visual Effects. Philip Seymour Hoffman also appears as one of Jo's storm-chasers.

4. The Impossible (2012)

The 2012 film The Impossible tells the true story of María Belón and her family's dramatic survival of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that caused the deaths of over 220,000 people. Naomi Watts was praised for her role as the survivor, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland co-star in this emotionally charged movie, which was widely acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of the devastating event.

5. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Roland Emmerich, director of 2012's Independence Day, is the mastermind behind The Day After Tomorrow, a natural disaster movie based on the 1999 book The Coming Global Superstorm, which portrays a sequence of disastrous weather conditions caused by climate change that brings about an ice age in the Northern Hemisphere. The movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal as a father-son duo, with Quaid playing the part of Jack Hall, a paleoclimatologist, who is trying to get the government to acknowledge his warnings, as well as make his way to New York to save his son, Sam, who is stuck in the New York City Public Library and is running out of time.

The movie got conflicting feedback from critics, both commending it for focusing on climate change and condemning it for the artistic license it took with the science. Despite not being totally accurate, it succeeds as an enjoyable tale of endurance. The Day After Tomorrow also features Sela Ward as Jack's wife, Emmy Rossum as Sam's romantic interest, and Ian Holm as a knowledgeable oceanographer.

6. 2012 (2009)

2012 was a widely acclaimed science fiction disaster movie that was based on the apocalyptic prediction that the world would end in December 21, 2012, according to the Mayan calendar. It is a modern retelling of a biblical flood story, wherein several world leaders build arks to save their people. John Cusack stars as a science fiction writer and father of two who attempts to save his family from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and find passage on an ark. 

The movie was highly praised for its spectacular visuals and large scale. Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson also appear in the film, playing different characters.

7. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

The 1972 disaster movie, The Poseidon Adventure, is based on the exciting novel of the same name by Paul Gallico. It depicts the harrowing events of a capsized cruise ship, caused by an earthquake and a huge tsunami, with its passengers struggling to survive. Gene Hackman plays Reverend Frank Scott, who tries to lead his passengers to safety in the middle of the ocean. The Poseidon Adventure has been praised for its excellent special effects, creative production, and talented ensemble cast. Its cult following has grown since its release, making it a remarkable disaster film.