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13 Intense Post-Apocalyptic Movies And Where To Stream Or Rent Them Online

Hugh Keays-Byrne in Mad Max: Fury Road

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There's nothing quite like a good post-apocalyptic movie to get you through a tough spot. While some people turn to comedies to distract them from the world outside, some love to watch movies that show you just how crazy the world can become after nuclear war or some other cataclysm. But with so many options to stream or rent movies set in a dystopian future, it can be hard to find move you're looking for.

Lucky for you I've put together this list of intense post-apocalyptic movies to get you by for the time being. The entires in the following list come from all corners of the earth, from different eras, and even different genres. With that being said, lace up your boots, check your gas-mask, and grab your bag, because we're going to the wasteland with this one.

John Krasinski in A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place (2018)

Probably the quietest movie on this list, John Krasinski's 2018 lesson in theater etiquette, A Quiet Place, is as terrifying as it is silent. This monster movie follows the Abbot family as they fight for survival in a world that has been overtaken by the mysterious and sightless alien creatures who are drawn by sound. This intimate look at a family in crisis is one of the most terrifying and emotional experiences I have had in movie theater in a long time. And with the release of A Quiet Place II being postponed to a later date, now is the perfect time to watch this instant classic again.

Where To Stream Online: Hulu

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Will Smith in I Am Legend

I Am Legend (2007)

Starring Will Smith as Dr. Robert Neville, the last man in New York after a worldwide plague turned humans into zombie-like creatures, I Am Legend explores the idea of what happens when someone is basically totally isolated in what's left of the world. Equal parts medical drama and scary as hell horror movie, this 2007 thriller from director Francis Lawrence is one of the most terrifying monster movies to come out in the last 20 years.

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Coming to Amazon Prime April 1.

Apes and humans meeting in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

There are plenty of Planet Of The Apes movies to choose from, but none capture the dystopian look better than Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes from director Matt Reeves. Set 10 years after the Simian Flu wiped out most of the world's human population, this 2014 science fiction action blockbuster is led by a cast led by Andy Serkis as the ape tribe leader Caesar, who is forced to coexist with Gary Oldman's Dreyfus, Jason Clarke's Malcom, and Keri Russell's Ellie as both species fight for survival. With great special effects and an emotional narrative, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is worth the watch.

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

The shockingly beautiful landscape of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Released 30 years after the release of the last Mad Max movie, writer-director George Miller made sure to let fans of the franchise know that Mad Max: Fury Road was worth the wait. This Oscar-winning thrill ride follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they escape from the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) in a desert wasteland. With some of the most impressive special effects and action set pieces, Fury Road is as brutal as it is beautiful. Anyone who's a fan of the Mad Max franchise, or post-apocalyptic films in general, ought to love this mad dash.

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

The Humungus in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Though it is the second entry in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is often the film most people picture when they think about George Miller's iconic character. With memorable characters like The Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), and Feral Kid (Emil Minty), it's hard to forget this octane-fueled race across the desert. When a small group of settlers tries to defend themselves from a roving band of marauders, the emotionally-battered Max (Mel Gibson) comes to the rescue. I would recommend watching the original Mad Max and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome to complete the original trilogy, but if you had to choose one, you have to go with Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer (2013)

Before Bong Joon-ho made history with his 2019 thriller Parasite, the South Korean filmmaker showed audiences what would happen society was forced to occupy a speeding train after an attempt to stop global warming backfires. With a cast that includes Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, and Song Kang-ho, Snowpiercer is equal parts action film and exploration of social classes even when humanity is all but doomed. With superb acting from the main cast, a well-written narrative, and some great special effects, Snowpiercer is definitely a movie to check out when looking for something to stream.

Where To Stream: Netflix

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Clive Owen in Children Of Men

Children Of Men (2006)

Personally, Children Of Men is one of my favorite movies in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic film genre. Set two decades after humans mysteriously became infertile, society has all but collapsed besides strongholds in London that feel more like prisons than thriving cultural centers. Starring Clive Owen as a Theo Faron, a civil servant dealing with the loss of his only child must help an illegal immigrant by the name of Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) escape the chaos after it's discovered that she is pregnant. This bleak and disturbing thriller was brought to life by Alfonso Cuarón, who would go on to direct Gravity and Roma in the years following its release.

Where To Stream: Starz

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Snake Plissken making his escape in Escape From New York

Escape From New York (1981)

What happens when the President of the United States is taken hostage in New York City years after the island of Manhattan is turned into a massive, maximum security prison colony? You send Snake Plissken in, of course. John Carpenter's 19981 dystopian classic Escape From New York follows Plissken (Kurt Russell) after he lands on the island and fights his way to the President. Between the former special forces soldier and his goal, however, stands a city filled to the brim with dilapidated buildings, barricaded streets, and ruthless street gangs who run the island. This legendary action thriller has some of the fight scenes, set pieces, and low-budget special effects you'll see in the genre.

Where To Stream: Shudder

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Wall-E exploring the wasteland in Wall-E

Wall-E (2008)

Although not as intense or terrifying as other movies that fall into the genre, but if you're looking for a fun and refreshing spin on the post-apocalyptic premise, Wall-E is sure to do the trick. Centered around a lone robot, Wall-E, who is left on a deserted Earth to clean up the pollution and piles of garbage left behind by humans long ago, this Pixar classic is fun, exciting, and optimistic through its exploration of love and new beginnings in a dead world.

Where To Stream: Disney+

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Don Johnson in A Boy And His Dog

A Boy And His Dog (1975)

If you're looking for a shockingly funny approach to the whole "life after the end of the world" scenario, then look no further than the 1975 black comedy A Boy In His Dog. Starring Don Johnson as Vic, an orphaned teenager who's lacking in both education and morals, this surprisingly funny science fiction movie also features a telepathic dog, Blood. Together, Vic and Blood wander the American Southwest as they are forced to work together to survive the difficult terrain and psychopaths left behind.

Where To Stream: Amazon

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Tom Savini in Land Of The Dead

Land Of The Dead (2005)

If we're looking specifically at post-apocalyptic scenarios, the fourth entry in George A. Romero's Dead saga, Land Of The Dead is probably the best representation of humanity after society has come crumbling down. With a cast that includes Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, and Asia Argento, Land Of The Dead is just as violent and thoughtful as the previous entries in the saga. Set years after the dead first began to rise from their graves and eat their victims, this 2005 zombie flick argues that just because you're rich and powerful, it doesn't mean you can shield yourself from what's happening outside your door, or walls in this case.

Where To Stream: Starz

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Bruce Willis in Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Probably the weirdest movie on this list, Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a futuristic prisoner who is sent back to 1996 to prevent the release of a deadly virus that wiped out much of civilization. When he is sent back to the wrong time period, Cole is mistaken for lunatic and taken to a mental hospital where he meets Jeffrey Goines, portrayed by a young Brad Pitt. Fans of time travel, dystopian futures, and director Terry Gilliam will love this one.

Where To Stream: Showtime

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Denzel Washington in Book Of Eli

Book Of Eli (2010)

Written by Rouge One and After Earth co-writer Gary Whitta and directed by the Hughes Brothers, Book Of Eli is more or less a classic western story set in the post-apocalyptic American West. With a cast that includes Denzel Washington as the titular character, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis, Book Of Eli offers an inspirational story in the midst of a bleak and damaged world. When Eli is told to deliver a mysterious book to the West Coast, he sets out on a journey across the American wasteland in an attempt to bring some salvation to those left on the dying planet.

Where To Rent Online: Amazon

Those are just 13 of the most intense post-apocalyptic movies you can stream or rent online right now. There are some pretty glaring omissions from this list, but as much as I wanted to include The Road on this list, it's currently not available for streaming or online rentals right now. I guess I'll have to settle for the amazing novel on which it was based.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.